Product Review: Rose Gold MD One Stethoscope by MDF Instruments

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I recently received a generous gift from MDF Instruments and wanted to share how much I love this product! MDF Instruments was very kind and sent me a Rose Gold Edition MD One Stethoscope, which you can purchase by clicking on the banner below if you would like!

Shop Stethoscopes - Rose Gold

First and foremost, this stethoscope is absolutely breathtaking. The rose gold stainless steel gives such a classy touch to the stethoscope, regardless of the color of the tubing. The combination of rose gold with white tubing is my personal favorite. Just look at this beauty!

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On top of this beautiful aesthetic, the MD One Stethoscope has so many features that make it unique. I am a huge fan of the interchangeable ear tips. I personally use the small ones (because I have teeny tiny ears) but I can change them if I ever need to or if someone else needs to use my stethoscope. Additionally, the green dot indicator is so great! It shows you which sound channel is open without having to tap to figure it out – because let’s be real, we’ve all come close to busting our eardrums tapping on the diaphragm of our stethoscopes too many times.

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This stethoscope is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to use this when I start seeing patients! Not only is this the perfect “accessory” to go with a white coat, it is also a high-quality diagnostic tool made by a company with an incredible mission! Thank you MDF Instruments for sending me this incredible gift!

 

Read below to see what the experts at MDF have to say about the various features that make this stethoscope stand out from the rest!

Rose Gold MD One Stethoscope Details

Why Rose Gold?

We know there’s no harm done in wanting to look great. In fact, we began designing stethoscopes in honor of some of our favorite nurses and doctors who love to bring a bit of their personality to work. We are honored to create a product that allows professionals to not only express themselves but also proud to be themselves at work. Not to mention the rose gold tone stainless steel also works hard! It delivers powerful acoustics, as stainless steel is super dense and is great at conducting sound.

100% Stainless Steel Chestpiece + Green Dot Indicator

Our Rose Gold MD One Stethoscope’s chestpiece and stems are handcrafted in 100% premium stainless steel. You may notice a green dot on the stem. The green dot indicator is designed to allow users to know which sound channel is open – no need to tap!

Extra-Thick Tubing

Additionally, the tubing of the stethoscope is thicker than most other stethoscopes to really insulate sound. You might notice that the tubing is a bit longer too, to allow for more space between you and your patient. Longer tubing normally means compromised acoustics, but because of the thick insulated tubing and quality of metal used in both the headset and chestpiece, we are able to make the tubing longer.

Premium Stainless Steel Headset

The stainless steel headset is angled at 15 degrees for comfort. Most stethoscopes only list the metals for their chestpiece, but the headset also deserves the same high quality metal as your chestpiece!

Ultra-Sensitive Diaphragm

The Rose Gold MD One Stethoscope also features a fixed diaphragm, which eliminates the guesswork between hearing high and low frequency sounds. Tunable diaphragms seem ideal, but determining the right amount of pressure to read different frequencies can be an arbitrary process and can lead to misdiagnosis.

Small, Medium, & Large Eartips for the Perfect Fit

We offer our silicone ComfortSeal eartips in three sizes: large, medium, and small, an industry first! These ultra comfortable eartips also help seal in sound and tune out ambient noise. Pop off the eartip and you will see our patented SafetyLock Eartip Adaptors that protect your ear canal should your eartips ever slip off.

Green Packaging

When you open the package, you may notice that we no longer use the black foam packaging that most stethoscopes arrive in. Though the black foam is aesthetically more pleasing, we have made the conscious choice to use more environmentally friendly packaging.

The middle compartment holds the nametag, small and medium sized eartips, replacement diaphragms, and interchangeable bells on a clippable metal holster for adult, pediatric, and infant use.

Going Clear

You may notice that our rings have changed from colored to clear. We chose to make this change because we want to make it easier to recognize when it’s time to clean/replace rings and eartips.

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Lastly, if you should ever lose your eartips or need replacements of any part, simply register your product and request your replacement parts online! Your parts will be sent out to you 100% free of cost!

Life-Time Warranty

Registering not only gives you access to our Free-Parts-for-Life program, it also registers you for our Life-Time Warranty! Our Life-Time Warranty covers defects in the chestpiece, headset, and tubing – for life!

Breast Reduction: Reflections at One Month Post-Op

Disclaimer: This blog post contains stories of some of my most vulnerable moments in life. Sharing these stories has one intended purpose: To show other women who are carrying the burden of large breasts – no pun intended – that they are not alone. If you do not have the maturity to react to this blog post appropriately, please do not react at all. This is a very real problem, and one that I intend to help spread awareness about by sharing my personal experience.

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Let me start by saying that breast reduction advocacy has grown to become something very near and dear to my heart. Having spent the beginning of my adult life as a large-breasted woman, I understand how difficult it is to live with that burden and how rare it is to find other women who truly understand your struggle. I have every intention of being a listening ear for anyone struggling with this. Please do not be afraid to reach out to me.

I was a late bloomer. When I was 15, I finally started my period after years of thinking I was missing out on something wonderful. I was terribly wrong. Periods aren’t fun. I was a flat-chested ninth grader at the time. I’ve included a picture from the summer before ninth grade for reference.

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Once I started my period, I “blossomed” very quickly – in other words, I went from barely an A cup to a D overnight. Here’s a picture of me in the middle of 10th grade, not even one year after starting my period. (I apologize for the blurry quality – I had to crop out the other person in the photo.)

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By the time I was a senior in high school, I was wearing a DDD bra that was much too small for me, but I refused to admit my breasts were any larger than that. The picture below is me during spring break of my senior year of high school. (Again, I apologize for the blurry quality from cropping another person out of the photos.)

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Living with large breasts through the latter half of high school was tough. To say teenagers are cruel is a vast understatement. I felt that three things always happened to me:

1) I was made fun of by other girls for having large breasts. They would make fun of my inability to wear a normal bathing suit top (I had to custom order them from “ugly old-lady stores”), my huge bras that were far from cute, and the fact that my breasts were not perky like other 18-year-olds. There were many times when girls would make fun of “pepperoni nipples” (large nipples that result when breasts grow very quickly and stretch out the nipples) without realizing that their comments were implanting themselves into my mind and destroying my self-image.

2) I was harassed by boys because I had large breasts. Many boys would make inappropriate comments about the size of my breasts. They would “accidentally” brush up against them in the hallway. They would stare at my chest when I talked instead of making eye contact. One time, I was giving a presentation in class and when I sat back down, a boy passed me a picture he had sketched of me – a stick figure with balloons on its chest. You know what I was wearing the day I gave the presentation? A baggy t-shirt.

3) I was berated by adults, especially teachers. Teachers would pull me into the hallway out of the classroom (while everyone was looking to see what was going on) to tell me that I was “lucky” they weren’t writing me up for a dress code violation. Meanwhile, other girls were wearing skimpier clothes and getting away with it, simply because they didn’t have large breasts. What they didn’t realize is how hard it was for me to find clothes to wear. What teenage girl wants to be limited to wearing baggy t-shirts every day while all the other girls are wearing cute clothes? There was one teacher specifically who did this to me so often that by the end of the year, I was forced to stand up for myself by informing her that there were no clothes I could wear to disguise my large breasts and that she was just going to have to try to put herself in my shoes. She left me alone from that point forward.

My large breasts had become a very unfortunate part of my identity. I started thinking about having a breast reduction in high school, but thought I was too young to even consider it.

During my freshman year of college, I met a girl who was a few years post-breast reduction. She strongly encouraged me to consider the surgery and said it was the best decision she had ever made for herself. Now that I’m on the other side of the surgery, I know she was right. Having a breast reduction was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I finished college in three years, so every summer was packed with extra classes to try to finish on time. I never had an extended period of time off that would’ve allowed me time to heal if I had a breast reduction, so I pushed it off until I finished college. By the time I finished college and scheduled my breast reduction, I was wearing a G cup! I knew something had to be done. I was constantly in pain, unable to exercise properly, spending excessive amounts of money on bras, unable to find clothes that fit properly (it was a huge pain in the butt trying to find a suit that fit and disguised my large breasts for medical school interviews), and completely ashamed of my body. I hated looking in the mirror and was so upset by the image staring back at me.

I had a consultation with a plastic surgeon in January, and scheduled my surgery for May.

Below are some pictures of me from my college years before undergoing a breast reduction. (I tried really hard to hide the size of my breasts in pictures, so I apologize that these photos don’t do it justice.)

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Hopefully at this point, you can see why I was fed up. I was sick and tired of being the girl that couldn’t/wouldn’t go to the beach because she couldn’t find a bathing suit to fit her. I was sick and tired of trying to exercise but not being able to do anything involving running/jumping/quick movement. I was sick and tired of having to wear three sports bras if I wanted to have a slight chance of keeping up with everyone else. I was sick and tired of back and neck pain. I was sick and tired of people mocking me. But most of all, I was sick and tired of not being able to look in the mirror and love myself. I couldn’t love myself with G breasts, even though I know I should’ve been able to.

So in May 2017, I had a breast reduction. Having a breast reduction was by far the best decision I have ever made, and I mean that with my entire heart. 

Since having a breast reduction, I have had the chance to connect with so many amazing women who are also interested in this procedure. Many of them are struggling with the same insecurities I faced before my surgery. Many of them had questions that I’m sure other women who are considering breast reduction are also thinking about. I’d like to share my answers to some of these questions below.

Keep in mind, my answers are based on my experiences. In no way do my answers constitute a professional medical opinion. Please talk with your physician for medical information. These are simply my experiences.

 

Does insurance cover breast reductions?

It depends on your insurance policy and on the plastic surgeon you choose.

Some surgeons have a cash business, meaning they do not accept insurance. In that case, you would have to retroactively apply for your insurance company to reimburse you for the cost of surgery, but you have to pay out of pocket first.

Other surgeons do accept insurance, but many insurance companies require proof that the procedure is medically necessary. This proof may come in the form of a written evaluation from a primary care physician, notes from a visit with a chiropractor, etc. Speak with your insurance company about what they need from you in order to approve the procedure.

What can I expect on the morning of my surgery?

The morning of my surgery, I had to be at the surgery center at 6:20 AM. I was taken back almost immediately. I was given compression socks and a gown to change into. I was instructed the night before to stop eating after dinner and to remove all jewelry. Then, a nurse started an IV in my hand. The anesthesiologist came in and spoke to me. He asked me about allergies, previous surgeries, etc. I also discovered he did his residency at the same place I’ll be attending medical school, which is also the same place my plastic surgeon did his fellowship! Small world!

After the anesthesiologist finished, my plastic surgeon came in. I removed my gown and he “marked me up,” which basically means he drew all the places he would be making incisions, the place he would reposition my nipple, and any other markings he needed. I asked him all my final questions and he assured me everything would be fine. He let me cover myself back up, then he shook my hand and left the room.

The nurse brought my family back for a few minutes. Then, they started administering anesthesia into my IV and that’s the last thing I remember. Honestly, I don’t even remember much about waking up from surgery or the ride home.

This is the picture my sister snapped of me right before I went into surgery.

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Did you have any techniques to help you relax the night before surgery and the morning of?

The night before surgery, I went and got a massage to help relieve the tension in my back and neck. This was the best idea! I didn’t even think about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to lay on my chest for months, so this was my last chance to get a massage for a very long time and I’m glad I took advantage of it. It also helped calm me down and get in a relaxed state of mind.

The morning of surgery, my sister drove me to the surgery center and we listened to worship music all the way there. Since it was so early in the morning, we were driving as the sun was coming up, and it was so peaceful to sing worship while watching the sunrise. It was a nice reminder that if God can paint such a beautiful picture with His creation, He could see me through surgery.

How long does the surgery take?

I think this really depends on the surgeon and how much tissue needs to be removed. My surgery lasted less than 2 hours.

Were you nervous about going under anesthesia?

Not really. I had been under anesthesia before to have my tonsils/adenoids removed, and again when I had my wisdom teeth removed. But this was definitely the biggest procedure I have ever had done. I was more nervous about the procedure than I was about the anesthesia.

How did you persuade your parents that a breast reduction was necessary?

My parents were pretty supportive of my surgery from the beginning. My dad was a little concerned about the psychological toll, but once I explained the psychological toll of having large breasts, he was on board. My family has been very supportive through this process.

Did you have large areolas before surgery? Do they resize them during the surgery?

Yes and yes. I had very large areolas before surgery, which was a result of my rapid breast growth. When you have a breast reduction, the surgeon will cut around the areola/nipple and move your nipple to the appropriate height. When they do this, they also reshape/resize the nipples to match the new size of your breasts.

Can a breast reduction and breast lift be done in the same procedure?

As far as I’m aware, a breast reduction usually consists of a lift also. When they remove excess tissue and close the incision, it lifts at the same time.

To watch an animation of how a breast reduction is performed, click here.

How bad is the scarring after surgery? What do your scars look like? How dark are they?

The scarring has not been as bad as I expected. I would imagine the scarring would be different for everyone based on things like skin color, skin elasticity, complications of surgery, experience of surgeon, technique used to close incisions, etc.

My scars look like an anchor and they are actually very light. I plan to start using scar cream and vitamin E to help reduce scarring once I’m sure the incisions are fully closed.

Did you feel immediate relief after surgery?

Yes! I never realized I had trouble breathing until after surgery when I discovered what it felt like to be able to breathe normally. I also have not experienced any back or neck pain since my surgery (other than the pain from sleeping in a chair for two weeks). It’s amazing the difference I can feel already!

What was the pain like during the first week?

Honestly, the pain wasn’t bad at all. This may be because I was taking narcotic painkillers or because I am young so my body is resilient. I’m not sure. But I didn’t really feel much pain. The only thing I felt for the first week or so was pressure when the drains were being emptied, but even that was minimal.

Did you have to have drains? Did they hurt while they were in? Did they hurt coming out?

Yes, I had drains for 5 days. I only really needed them for 2-3. However, I had my surgery on a Thursday, so the office was closed over the weekend and I had to wait until Monday to have them removed. They didn’t really hurt while they were in, but the longer they were in and the less drainage I had, the more I could feel them.

I got my drains out at 5 days post-op. When the nurse took them out, it felt like a whirlpool coming out of my breast. Before they were removed, I had imagined that they were just inserted at the underside of my breast. I had no idea they were coiled up in my breast tissue. When they came out, I could definitely feel it. Getting the drains out was probably the most painful part of this whole experience, but even that was maybe a 3 on a scale of 1-10.

How bad was the bruising after surgery?

It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Some people have liposuction on the sides of their breasts along with the actual breast reduction, but I didn’t have to have that done. My plastic surgeon said the liposuction actually hurts much more than the incisions and causes a lot more bruising. Overall, my bruising was minimal and did not turn to any dark colors. The darkest it ever became was a mustard yellow. It wasn’t too bad at all.

Were your stitches dissolvable? How long did it take them to dissolve?

Yes, my stitches were dissolvable (I think most are for this type of procedure). It took about two weeks for most of the stitches to dissolve, but the stitches on the end where the knot was tied took a bit longer (3-4 weeks). They were barely noticeable.

What bra would you recommend wearing after surgery?

The surgery center I went to gave me a surgical bra to wear for the first few days. I woke up in the surgical bra with dressings in place after my procedure. I had heard crazy things about how you won’t be able to lift your arms for a month and things of that nature. But the surgeon said that shouldn’t be a concern, and I was able to lift my arms and put on a more comfortable sports bra after about 5 days. Since then, I have been wearing over-the-head sports bras with no cups, no underwire, and no padding. Just the bare minimum. Honestly, after this surgery you won’t need a bra. Your breasts will be very perky on their own. I mostly wore a bra for the purpose of holding the gauze in place as my incisions were healing.

How long did it take you to get back to normal functioning after surgery?

I think “normal functioning” is a relative term. For the first week or so, I wasn’t able to really use my arms for anything. I gave myself my first shower on day 5. I didn’t drive until the end of the second week (after I was off narcotics). I slept in a recliner for two weeks. It’s still hard to sleep on my side at 5 weeks post-op, but I can manage. I still can’t reach things that are too high and force me to stretch too much. I’m not able to lift heavy things. But I’m not limited in very many things, and I think that’s great!

Have you experienced any negative things in relation to your breast reduction surgery?

The only negative thing I experienced in relation to my surgery was a blister on my left breast, which is currently healing and should be fine in the long run. Other than that, everything was seamless.

What did you experience during the first month post-op?

Day 1: I was extremely elated by the results of my surgery. I was also taking painkillers every four hours and couldn’t really feel much.

Day 2: I had my first post-op appointment with my surgeon and got to see my breasts for the first time. I was so happy and excited about the results. The dressings were removed but the steri-strips remained in place and the nurse put new dressings on the incisions. My breasts were very stiff and high up on my chest, but the surgeon said they would fall and settle over the next several weeks.

Day 3-4: I relaxed around the house, ate a lot of Italian ice, and watched a lot of Dancing with the Stars. I didn’t do much and barely used my arms. My family came over for dinner and I had a massive headache due to light sensitivity from the painkillers. I also experienced terrible nightmares from the painkillers.

Day 5: I got my drains out! It was such a weird sensation. (Read above about drain removal.) This was the first day I was able to take a shower as well. Man, was that an amazing feeling. I stopped taking my painkillers as soon as the drains were out because I was so tired of nightmares and migraines. The only medication I took from this point forward was Tylenol, and even that was usually only before bedtime. I also started noticing that my nipples were hypersensitive and very easily irritated. This was a sensation I was not used to because when my nipples stretched when my breasts grew, I lost most of my nipple sensation.

Day 10: I had another post-op appointment with my surgeon and he said everything was healing wonderfully. I had a small blister on the underside of my left breast, but he ensured me it was nothing to worry about because it would resolve itself.

Week 3: I left my family and went to stay with my boyfriend. He’s been a wonderful caretaker also. Healing progressed normally. My breasts started to fall and settle into a more natural shape. The blister started scabbing over and looked like it was resolving itself like the surgeon said it would. The nipple hypersensitivity I was experiencing in the first two weeks had resolved to a normal level of sensitivity.

Week 4: Everything was wonderful except the blister. When pieces of the scab began falling off, the blister opened up and got irritated. It grew and became concerning. I sent pictures to the surgeon, but he said it looked like it was healing fine.

Week 5: I’ve been putting MediHoney on the blister and it’s healing, slowly but surely. I have an appointment with my surgeon next week.

When will you know your new cup size?

It’ll take up to six months for my breasts to settle completely. Until then, the surgeon suggested I avoid buying bras with fixed cup sizes. For now, I’ll be rocking sports bras, bralettes, or bandeau tops – because hey, I can do that now!

Has your breast reduction taken a psychological toll on you?

Yes, but in the best way! I am so confident about my body. I love looking in the mirror. I feel like a normal woman in her 20s. I can go shopping for cute clothes and wear bralettes/bandeaus. I can go without a bra if I need to. I absolutely love it!

If I’m being completely honest, there was one day where I felt a negative psychological toll, but not from what you’d expect. There was one day where I looked in the mirror and wondered if I should have gone with a smaller size. I wondered why I asked him to keep them so big. But by the following morning when I looked in the mirror, my worries were gone and I was back to loving my results.

 

Again, I am so happy I made the decision to have a breast reduction. It is the best thing I have ever done for myself. 

Here are some pictures of me after my breast reduction. Keep in mind, I am currently only 5 weeks post-op, so I have a lot more healing to do. But I am in love with the newfound confidence I have because of this life change!

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I advocate for breast reduction because it has made such a profound positive impact on my life.

If you have any questions about this procedure, please feel free to reach out. You can contact me by clicking here or by messaging me on Instagram (@whitecoatwisdom).

 

Peace and blessings,

Michelle

 

 

Low Budget MCAT Studying for a High Score

The process of preparing for medical school is arguably one of the most expensive endeavors of a pre-medical student’s career. On top of the cost of attending a college or university, pre-medical students may also have to invest in MCAT preparation materials, AMCAS/AACOMAS primary and secondary application fees, and travel expenses for medical school interviews.

As a student in a tough financial situation, I couldn’t afford to pay thousands of dollars for an MCAT prep course. I often found myself wondering if I would be as successful as my peers who were enrolled in these courses. As I was studying for the MCAT, I occasionally felt like I was at a major disadvantage.

You know what they say about hindsight, it’s 20/20. Looking back now, I can see that forgoing an MCAT prep course and using more inexpensive materials did not harm my score in the slightest!

For those of you out there who are pursuing a career in medicine but are restricted by your financial situation, please hear me when I say this: The only thing that can keep you from succeeding on the MCAT is your attitude toward it. There are so many free/inexpensive resources available if you are willing to let go of the idea that you must use the “big name” test prep companies to succeed. (Hint: There is really nothing super special about them anyway!)

Additionally, AAMC offers a Fee Assistance Program (FAP) that will cover the cost of the MCAT (if you apply and are approved before you register for the test!), AAMC section banks, AAMC practice exams, the Official Guide to the MCAT book, and other materials! The FAP application can be found here.

Below is a basic outline of how I studied for the MCAT using free and inexpensive resources. Please understand that this study plan may not be the best tool for everyone. Everyone should figure out how they study best and tailor their study plan to their individual needs.

  • Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package (9th Ed.)
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    I chose to use the Examkrackers MCAT review books for the bulk of my studying because I felt they helped me understand the basic concepts without bombarding me with unnecessary details. These books are less expensive than other companies (depending on where you purchase them), but these books were the most expensive resource I used.The way I used the Examkrackers books was fairly simple. I outlined each chapter and did the review questions at the end of each section. If I missed a review question or felt I didn’t truly understand the concept behind it, I would write the question out in my outline.Here’s an example of one of the pages of a physics outline:Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 4.00.41 PMExamkrackers also provides multiple passages for practice at the end of each subject book. These are great practice before moving on to AAMC material.I believe the 10th edition is now available for purchase, although it is more expensive.
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  • Khan Academy MCAT Series (FREE) – https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat.
    I used Khan Academy MCAT videos to supplement topics presented in the Examkrackers review books that I had a hard time understanding. Since I am a visual learner, watching Khan Academy videos and occasionally taking notes on them really helped me understand difficult concepts.
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  • AAMC Section Banks (FREE, if approved for the Fee Assistance Program).
    I used these section banks to solidify what I learned through Examkrackers after I was done outlining the chapters and watching Khan Academy videos. I would complete a full set of 100 questions on one day, then go back over the next few days and review the questions I missed to see which concepts I needed to spend more time on.If you start to run out of time and must choose the most important things to do before your test, I personally believe questions are more beneficial than reading/outlining review books. Questions allow you to simulate the test atmosphere while simultaneously uncovering which topics you need to spend more time practicing.
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  • AAMC Unscored/Scored Practice Tests (FREE, if approved for the Fee Assistance Program).
    I took and reviewed the Unscored MCAT Practice Exam about two weeks prior to my scheduled MCAT date. This gave me time to review concepts I didn’t quite grasp before taking the scored test.I took and reviewed the Scored MCAT Practice Exam about three days prior to my scheduled MCAT date. This helped boost my confidence, build my stamina for the real MCAT (let’s be honest, 7 hours is a LONG time to sit in one place and stare at a computer), and pick out the concepts I was missing most frequently to review them one last time.I highly recommend taking both of these practice exams in a distraction-free environment under test-like conditions. It will help you feel more comfortable on exam day.

If you take nothing else from this post, remember this: You are capable of much more than you think you are. Be confident in your ability to succeed, recognize that you are only competing against yourself, and give it your best effort. You can do it!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions that I did not address in this post! I cannot wait to see you all succeed on your MCAT and take another huge step toward becoming amazing, compassionate physicians!