Prithwijit Roychowdhury, MS2

University of Massachusetts Medical School
Johns Hopkins University, B.S. Molecular Biology and Anthropology
Age 24
From Sturbridge, MA

What does your typical day of medical school look like?

8AM- Wake up, meditate, eat breakfast
By 9AM – Walk to school
9-11AM – Anki/Study 
12-3PM – Attend afternoon classes/labs
3 – 6PM – Anki/Study
6 – 7PM – Gym
7 – 9PM – Anki/Study or any Extracurricular Activities
10PM – Sleep

How do your classes and lectures compare to those at your undergraduate institution?

Classes in medical school are more structured and generally longer than in undergrad. Courses are also faster paced (block scheduling vs semester long classes). This means that we generally had more midterms in medical school and as such more frequent exams. The information felt more concentrated and delivered more quickly than in undergrad. The instructors generally seemed as though they were more invested in our learning in medical school than in undergrad – this is likely due to the fact that many of them are clinicians and can see us as their future colleagues/entering into their own profession.

How has your approach to learning and/or studying changed since you were an undergrad?

My approach to learning and studying has changed dramatically since undergrad. Whereas in undergrad I never used flashcards or studied everyday, in medical school I rely primarily on Anki (spaced-repetition flashcards) and study everyday in order to try to stay on top of the vast amount of material that we are expected to retain.

How would you describe the unique culture at your school? Are there special events or activities that you consider very representative of the culture at your institution? What influence has this culture had on your experience in medical school thus far?

The culture of our school is always positive and extremely supportive. There is never a time where I feel like I cannot look to older students or my faculty mentors for advice or guidance on keeping up with the material, learning a physical exam technique or getting career advice. Part of this culture began with our orientation for MS1 which was a fun camping trip where MS2s were in attendance and helped facilitate class-bonding and activities. Throughout the year we also had several social events where faculty could hang out with students and spend time interacting outside of class.

Can you give us a brief description of the area surrounding your school and the things you do for fun? What are some things you like and dislike about the city/town you are located in as a student?

Worcester is a gem of a city nestled in the Heart of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Surrounding our school there are several fantastic restaurants to try out, parks and small beaches to relax at, and bars and pubs that all have distinct characters depending on your interests. There are always some sort of events happening in the downtown area of Worcester called Shrewsbury Street and it’s always fun to check out these areas and meet new people.

Likes about Worcester: Distinct neighborhoods with new/up and coming cafes and eateries. A lot of colleges/graduate programs in the area bring in a decent amount of young people. Low cost of living.

Dislikes about Worcester: Lack of effective public transportation, City is kind of spread out

What resources have been most useful to you in self-learning medical school material or in expanding on material taught in class?

Anki (Zanki Deck), SketchyMedical, Pathoma, First Aid

What seemed to be important topics or points of interest during your interviews? Were there particular aspects of your application that your interviewers focused or recurring themes between interviews?

I think one of the most important elements of interviewing for me was defining my narrative and fit for the program. So this required a fair bit of self-reflection to identify what my values are and what my vision for my career is. I was able to establish this early on and tailor my secondaries as well as my interviewing and now my experiences throughout medical school with this lens.

What is one thing you would do differently if you could go back to your undergraduate years or the time between undergrad and medical school?

If I could go back to my undergraduate years I would be have adopted Anki use much much earlier. As far as learning and memory, there is no way that I find more effective to store things in my brain than with Anki.

Given the number of obstacles we face en route to a career in medicine, everyone at some point feels doubtful of themselves. How has this affected you and what has helped you persevere through these sorts of feelings?

Commitment to a singular vision, meditation, and talking to 2nd years who have gone through the struggle. Each of these is refreshing in its own way and helps provide me with perspective and the motivation to continue.

How do you maintain your mental health while balancing school, work, family, and other social obligations?

Mediation & deep breathing. I have also recently started playing the ukulele which I find to be cathartic.

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