Samantha Margulies, a recent fourth-year medical student who matched to Yale-New Haven Hospital for obstetrics and gynecology, gives us her expert advice on succeeding in medical school and beyond.
1. Tell us about yourself:
Samantha Margulies: My name is Samantha Margulies and I was born and raised in New Jersey. I was accepted into a dual-degree, eight-year, BS/MD program with St. Bonaventure University and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. I love to Zumba and travel! If there’s a such thing as an avocado addiction, I may have that…
2. Looking back on your medical school experience, what would you say to the young and naïve “first-year you”?
SM: You’re awesome; keep telling yourself that even when it doesn’t feel that way. Don’t forget to exercise and make time for family and friends. Seriously.
3. What tips do you have for USMLE?
SM: Make yourself a study schedule and stick to it. Stop listening to what all of your classmates are doing and how they’re studying. You do you. Deactivate whatever social media you’re addicted to. Leave your phone on silent in a different room while studying. Schedule in breaks so that you don’t fall behind on your plan.
4. What advice do you have for the students going through clinical rotations?
SM: Read every night — study material for the shelf and recent research about whatever rotation you’re on. Do questions from whatever question bank you like most. Listen to and watch videos if that helps you learn. Shelf exams are important but so are the clinical impression grades. Read about your patients for the next day so that you seem ultra-prepared and can perhaps predict questions that attendings will ask you! Volunteer to do things. Smile.
5. What recommendations do you have for medical students to maintain their sanity?
SM: Eat healthy food; your body needs it. Exercise; your body needs it. Have a routine so you don’t constantly feel behind schedule. Get outside as much as you can — even if it’s walking to the supermarket and taking the long way.
6. How did medical school differ from your expectations?
SM: I originally thought that medical school was going to be four years of only studying and not enjoying life. However, during my orientation, an upperclassman said to a group of us that medical school was the best four years of his life. I wanted to be able to say the same thing and I definitely can. Remember, medical school can be an amazing experience. You just have to learn how to time manage.
7. What things did you do during your four years of medical school that you believe particularly impressed your residency program?
SM: I have a passion for medical education that I developed throughout my four years. This was a very hot topic of conversation during my residency interviews. I think being honest in the hobbies and interests section of the application sparked numerous interesting conversations.
8. What attracted you to your chosen specialty?
SM: This is a difficult question to answer in a short paragraph. When I was in high school, I shadowed physicians of all different specialties. This may sound silly, but when I shadowed an OB/GYN, I wouldn’t look at my watch to check the time. Now, this may be because the physician I worked with was awesome, who knows. During the first two years of medical school, I experimented with liking all different specialties. By the time third year rolled around, I was between two specialties — OB/GYN was one of them. It took two weeks of my OB/GYN rotation, one of which was night float, for me to know I simply can’t apply for any other residency. When you know it, you know it. However, have no fear, not everyone has the same draw to a specialty like I had. It’s okay to not have that feeling, as long as you’re happy!
9. Here is a fun one — Please share an easy and quick recipe that got you through tough weeks in medical school!
SM: This is easy. I’ve made the same breakfast every morning for almost my entire medical career. If I had to wake up too early for surgery to make it, I would inevitably have it for dinner when I came home. It’s a type of breakfast sandwich:
– 1 bialy (If you’ve never had a bialy before, you’re missing out.)
– frozen spinach
– sweet Mun-chee cheese (a rare-ish cheese that is only sold at certain stores, a local supermarket by my parents’ house sells it)
– 1-2 egg(s)
– add black beans and crushed red pepper if having for dinner or lunch
1. Microwave the bialy for 20 seconds if frozen. Cut open bialy. Place as much frozen spinach as you want on both faces of the bialy. Cover the spinach with cheese. Place into toaster oven and toast to your liking. (If you want to add black beans and crushed red pepper, this is where you would add it so that it can be toasted, too.)
2. While the bialy is in the toaster, make an egg (or two) over medium on the stove.
3. Once bialy and egg(s) are respectively complete, remove bialy from toaster oven, and add as much avocado as you’d like to the non-holed side of the bialy.
4. Place egg on top of bialy, and close the sandwich. Voila!
Careful that the egg’s yolk doesn’t squirt all over when you take your first bite, although that may be the most fun.