Medical school can get busy, and I didn’t plan to write this post in my schedule, but I like it. Shanice over at Purely Positivitea blog tagged me. So I decided to participate because it’s a fun tag. You will get to know me and my medical school journey a little more. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I like writing it!
Who are you and where do you study?
My name is Alina, and I study medicine in Quebec, the French province of Canada.
When did you start studying medicine or premed courses?
Medical school started the first time for me when I was 28 years old in Europe. I had no prior science knowledge at all. I completed three full years of medical school and spent the 4th year working on my application to come back to Canada. Where I started again as a first year med student at 32 (I’m now 33 but don’t tell everybody!)
What made you choose the medical field?
I always liked helping and caring for people even as a kid. Although the medical field is not a “child dream” for me, I always had that feeling that I wanted to touch people’s lives. I get to do that in the medical field in many different ways. You cannot cure every patient and every disease, but you can show every person that comes to you – compassion and empathy.
You can make them feel understood and, I honestly believe that can have a significant positive impact on someone that is ill. I didn’t have the requirements to get into medical school in Canada but some events happened in my life and the chance showed up for me to go to Europe and I jumped on it. If you had told me six years ago that I would be becoming a doctor – laughing would have been my answer.
How did you come up with your blog name/username?
Everybody around me was telling me that I should share my notes and my drawings. So I started posting them on my personal Instagram, the response was so positive that I decided to go all in and do a blog and a Facebook page. The problem was that I didn’t have a name. It took me about a month before I came up with Coffee And Anatomy.
It’s going to sound so cheesy, but this is really how it happen. I had a flash in the shower; I ran out of the shower to see if the name was taken and surprisingly it wasn’t. So right away, I created Coffee and anatomy on Instagram and later that same day got www.coffeandanatomy.com
How would you describe your blog?
I started the blog to share my story because I was receiving messages from people that were only 20-something and thinking that they were too old for medical school. They were telling me that my path was inspiring them. It turned out that they inspired me in return.
The medical community on Instagram is amazing, and it keeps me motivated to do what I do. I’m still new at this and still figuring things around but I love it, and I love reading all the positive messages that I get!
What’s your favorite quote?
“Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”
Best memory in medical school?
This is a tough question because, in reality, I have been in medical school for a few years now! If I had to choose one; it would be the moment I was sitting in the main amphitheater of my current medical faculty. On the very first day of medical school back in Canada for the welcoming day.
What’s one course you struggled with?
Physics was never my cup of tea and is still not. I don’t think all never understand physics. It like my brain shuts down; luckily I don’t need physics to become an MD.
What’s your favorite book?
I’m not sure I have an all time favorite book. I’m reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi right at this moment, and I love it.
What do you do in your free time?
My favorite thing is interior design! I can spend hours shopping for new pieces for my place, and switch things around. When I was a kid, I was moving the furniture in my room all the time. I also love cooking, shopping and reading non-medical books. I also blog and do photography and other things we all do I guess.
What do you want to major or specialize in?
Not quite sure yet but surgery is growing on me more and more!
Who do you look up to?
The list is long! I look up to people that have curvy and untraditional pathways, and that made it to the top, not only in the medical field but in life in general!
How do you study (productively)?
I made a post recently on this; you can find it here: How To Manage Your Study Time.
How do you stay motivated in medical school?
Shadowing is my primary source of motivation. I think this is crucial in the first two years because you can get moments that you feel far from your goal. So as soon as I have the chance to head to the hospital to spend some time following a doctor around I do it. I think it’s also imperative to surround yourself with people that have the same vision as you. They will become everything; your family, your tribe, your support group. They are going through the same thing as you are so they get you.
What are your best tips for future medical students?
You will have doubts, many doubts – about your capability, about yourself, about what the heck you are doing there. You are there because you are capable, you were capable of making it to medical school, you are capable of getting through medical school. But don’t’ put everything else in your life on the backseat, yes you will have less free time but don’t forget to enjoy life. These years are the best years of your life and medicine is fun! Never lose that feeling of getting excited about learning and life!