US vs. Korean Med Schools


Lena is a 3rd year med school student from Korea

Lena is a 3rd year med school student from Korea

Hi everyone! My name is Lena and some of you may know me as ‘twinklinglena’ on youtube. I’m so honored to be here as a guest blogger for Jamie’s awesome website. So many of my subscribers/viewers have been curious about the differences between Korean and American medical schools. I talked about most of them throughout my videos but Jamie and I thought it would be a cool idea to write a blog about it.



The most frequent question I get is ‘how much Korean do I have to know in order to study at a medical school in Korea?’ (By the way, if you’re curious about how foreigners can get into Korean med schools or get a doctor’s degree as a foreign doctor, check out this website for more info: First of all, I don’t know about all the other schools but in my school and most medical schools here we learn in 100% Korean. Therefore you shouldn’t have any problem speaking/writing in Korean. We do use English-based medical terms but we also learn them in Korean as well so when you take the Korean Medical Licensing Examination(KMLE) to get a doctor’s license, all the exam questions will mostly be in Korean rather than English.



In the states, medical students have to take 3 steps of USMLE(United States Medical Licensing Examination) test in order to be a doctor. On the other hand, in Korea, we have KMLE(Korean Medical Licensing Examination) but we only need to take it once(one written exam and one clinical exam) at the end of our senior year which is in the beginning of January. Also, unlike US med schools, we don’t have ‘Shelf Exams’ that students take at the end of their clinical rotations. Instead, we have finals covering all the rotations we finished during that semester.


MCAT, Suneng(Korean SAT)

American medical schools are normally graduate schools(which means you need an undergraduate degree to be eligible to apply) whereas Korean medical schools are mostly undergraduate schools. All Korean high school students take the ‘Suneng’ at the end of their senior year which is sort of like an Korean SAT but way way way harder and more competitive than American SAT. So after graduating high school, students go to medical school directly. Being a doctor in Korea is considered to be a high privilege so it’s not easy to get in.


School Curriculum

In Korea, most medical schools take 6 years to graduate whereas in America it’s normally 4 years. As I mentioned above, medical school here is undergraduate school (In contrast, I am currently in graduate school but now our school changed the curriculum to only accept undergraduate schools. It’s confusing I know, there was a big change during the last few years)  So for the first 2 years we take general required courses in university. After that during the last 4 years we focus on medical related subjects. Third year students learn basic science such as biochemistry, physiology, anatomy etc. On fourth year we start to learn clinical medicine. Finally during the last two years we rotate every department in our school hospital in small groups(6-8people each) and actually get to observe clinics and surgeries.


How My Days Are Like

Attendance time for every department is different but normally it’s around 7-8 o’clock and sometimes earlier than 6. Right now I’m rotating the ER(Emergency Room) and it’s a bit different from other departments considering the department’s uniqueness. For our first week in the ER we have to do day shifts, which means we’re there from 7am to 6pm to help doctors(mostly interns) when they need a hand and often professors give us lectures in the conference room and during our rotations we almost always have to give presentations about patient cases. Today I got a chance to insert a foley catheter which is a flexible tube that is passed through the urethra and into the bladder to drain urine. I was so nervous before doing it but after finishing it I felt so accomplished and excited. Next week we have to do night shifts that start from 6pm to 7am in the morning. Although I am super exhausted and tired right now and had absolutely zero weekend time for myself, I feel happy and delighted to be able to learn and observe and even participate in the actual medical field.



I live at home which is about 5 minute car ride from school/hospital but most students live at a dorm because a lot of them are from different cities. Many students also rent houses near school especially senior students who enjoy the independence.


Study Place/Time

Our school gives us individual study cubicles in our school’s medical library. Every student gets a seat and it’s big enough to stack books and other stuff on it. Each class has a separate room full of desks and for senior students(meaning 6th year students, which is us) who have to take the KMLE at the end of the year, our room is located in a more secluded area with better desks and chairs to help us study more. When there’s an exam, most students study at least 6 hours a day when we have class and when we don’t, at least 10 hours a day. But for seniors like me, our study time depends on our rotation schedule. Some departments give us more free time while others do not. Basically we have to study everyday for the KMLE but it’s up to every individual’s study style and pace.


These are some of the characteristics and differences I found while attending medical school in Korea and watching a bunch of American medical student youtubers such as Jamie;) Hope you got some insight and found them somewhat helpful. If you’d like to see more in depth life of a Korean medical student, check out my youtube channel!( Lastly I’d like to thank Jamie for inviting me to her online home and I’m very happy we got a chance to collaborate.


Time Management Tips from Amanda (@coffeeandscrubs)

Amanda is this week's guest blogger. Amanda has an awesome Instagram and an awesome blog as well. Check her out @coffeeandscrubs at Instagram

Amanda is this week's guest blogger. Amanda has an awesome Instagram and an awesome blog as well. Check her out @coffeeandscrubs at Instagram

Thank you so much, Jamie, for allowing me to write about this topic of time management. It’s funny because if you asked me 2.5 years ago as a first year if I would be able to balance school, work, a blog, and a social life, I would have laughed and then frantically gone back to studying for my class exam. But I remember one faculty telling us that first year that we will get better at studying and time management as the years progress.

I would 100% agree with this. Having good time management is part experience, part strategy. While I can’t give you guys experience, I can definitely give you guys some tips that I have found successful!






Make a mental list of priorities and stick with it.

During the first two years of medical school, studying was always my number one priority. But I learned very quickly that I wanted to prioritize things that made me healthy and happy. So, I had to do away with Netflix, crafting, playing music, and oftentimes sleep. But I knew I wanted to keep working out (3-4 times a week), relationships, a leadership role, and social events with my classmates.

The key was mentally laying out my day first thing in the morning and not allowing myself to sway away from this schedule. For example, I used to have days where we would have class, leadership meetings, and lab and even thought I was exhausted, I still forced myself to work out because it was on my list for the day (sometimes I swear I’m trying to drive myself crazy)! I believe this tip is what helps me the most with time management.


Removing barriers to having a successful schedule

Amanda is a third year medical school student. 

Amanda is a third year medical school student. 

Okay guys, you know how it goes when you have to work out. It’s a huge process sometimes! Changing into workout clothes, doing the actual workout, showering, getting ready, and eating can all take up quite a bit of time when you don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. Things like grocery shopping and cooking can be a similar ordeal. Here are some of the ways I cut out the barriers to having a successful schedule:

  • Wearing work-out clothes to class and going straight to the gym afterwards

  • OR if I didn’t have class, I would go to the gym right before a big meal (i.e. lunch or dinner) so that I would do the whole gym-shower-food thing in a row and leave a chunk of time to study before and after

  • Buying groceries in bulk on Sundays and meal planning for the week

  • Making “overnight oats” (Google a bunch of awesome recipes) so that I could grab one for breakfast to eat in class.

  • Locating all the fridges on campus nearest my favorite study areas so that I could pack lunch and dinner. This allowed me to eat healthy and remove any travel time to eat.


Making a weekly and daily to-do list

This one seems pretty obvious but sometimes it really helps to make sure all your ducks are in a row before you sit down for a solid study sesh. This list may also include your life stuff too so that you can be aware of all that you need to do over the week.


Tip: use one sheet of paper a week and label Monday-Sunday across the rows. Leave some room on the side for your “weekly” goals. Under each day, lay out things that must be done and each morning, write down your tasks for the day. I like to be extra and draw a checkbox so I can be super satisfied checking that task off. I try and keep this sheet of paper on my desk whenever I studied so I could be aware of what I needed to do.


Complete tasks without distractions and use “self-care” as a motivation to use your time well

I think this is the hardest tip but one that I believe is the most helpful. Whether it’s grocery shopping, working out, studying, blogging, etc. etc., I try to complete that task without moseying around too much. I always like to tell myself that if I complete this task within two hours, I’m going to give myself 3 hours to watch Friends on Netflix later (this actually happens every day lol!).

Self-care is also something I didn’t realize was important until the middle of 2nd year. I think we often forget to “treat ourselves” in fear of wasting precious study time but I think that mental, emotional, and physical health should be equally as important as doing well in school. So, my biggest advice is to allow yourself time to do what makes you happy and use that to motivate yourself to get through the other important things in your life.

I hope these tips help some of you guys out there. Time management is always a work in progress but with time and practice, you can perfect your own rhythm. I sometimes wish we were Hermione Granger and had a Time-Turner for all of our tasks but one can only dream!




Debunking Med School Myths


I recently went to my five-year high school reunion. Beyond the awkward small talk with that guy I took to prom and commenting on how much people had changed, the most common topic of conversation was how medical school compared to what my former classmates had seen on T.V.

"Do people hook up as much as they do in Grey’s Anatomy?"

“Do you have any time to shower, eat, or sleep?”

“How many heroic, life-saving acts do you do each day?”

People always wonder if medical school is like TV or the movies. I’m gonna say for the most part, NO.

First of all, there are very few movies or shows that actually depict medical school itself. That’s probably because, at least for the first two years, there isn’t a lot going on. We mainly sit in a lecture hall, take notes and listen, go home and study. Maybe take a nap. At orientation right before we started class first year, a fourth year student described the first two years of med school as “a monotonous hell.”

I would say the T.V. show that most accurately depicts the first two years is “Survivor”. Maybe “Naked and Afraid” if you’re really unlucky.

However, once you get beyond those first two years, your life starts to move a little closer into “Scrubs” territory. You actually get to see patients, although you rarely (if ever) make any life-saving decisions or stick your finger in someone’s aorta to stop the hemorrhaging.

I’m not sure if people actually hook up in the on-call rooms, but most likely if you’re in there you’ve been working for about 20 hours, have coffee breath and Cheetos-fingers, and just want to sleep. But I do have to say that my roommate found her awesome boyfriend in our medical school class of 156, so miracles do happen.

Patients don’t always have some obscure disease that only one doctor has ever heard of or seen before. I’m pretty sure I watched an episode of “House” one time where the patient ended up having the plague. Like the Black Plague- the disease that killed off like half of Europe in the 1300’s. Usually patients have an asthma exacerbation or a broken bone or something else that one of your friends in third grade got to skip school for.

Overall, I would say that medical school, while vital and fascinating for those actually interested in being a doctor, has only 4-5% of the drama and action of medical TV shows or movies. I am still looking out for Dr. McDreamy, though.


Erin is a second year medical school student. 
Find out more here: 



Maintaining Relationships in Med School

I’m currently a third year in medical school and my boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year and a half now. We met during the summer after first year, and it’s funny because I was pretty keen on not starting a relationship back then. My focus was on school and doing well in my second year. Long story short, it obviously all worked out :)

Medical school is a huge thing to take on by itself, with all of the material that needs to be mastered and then regurgitated for exams. Add a relationship and that’s more time you need to carve out, because it wouldn’t be a great relationship if you didn’t spend time together. If your significant other is not supportive or asks for more time than you can (or are willing) to give, then it makes it so much harder. On the flip side, most people our age have much more time than medical students so it can be lonely for the partner who isn’t in school.

Here are some tips for what has really worked in my relationship. My boyfriend has a career in software development and we have been doing long distance since last summer.


Set aside dedicated time for one another.

My boyfriend is big on planning and it really worked well for us to have a deadline. Aside from exam weeks, we would agree on a time that was good for the both of us to just put our work down and be together. Sometimes it would be a proper date night and other times it was just catching up on the latest episode. It was great because it forced me to focus and maximize my study time instead of “studying” with Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat open. If I was more stressed than usual, we would set a start and end time. It seemed silly to me when he first suggested it but having the break was refreshing and I wouldn’t feel guilty about taking too much time. Even a 15-minute break just chatting on the couch about our days helped so much!


Prioritize your partner when you can.

Time will be limited and a good chunk of it will be dedicated to studying. Even though they didn’t have a huge exam to worry about, it was still time you took for yourself that you didn’t have together. After each exam block, I always made it a point to spend that day with my boyfriend. He was the one who would bring me food at the library when I studied late, so it was a clear choice for me to be with him instead of going to the class social, for example. Even if he didn’t, I would still choose to spend the evening with him because he patiently gave me the time I needed when I was cramming. This doesn’t mean that I spent all my free time with him but a good portion of it includes him because it’s important to me to share the time I have with him.


Don’t compromise when it comes to your schoolwork.

This is an absolute must. I entered medical school with an ex-boyfriend who didn’t understand how much studying needed to be done. I really struggled with balancing schoolwork and the relationship, and ultimately my grades suffered and we broke up. Your partner should understand when you need to study and not pressure you to pick schoolwork over them or make you feel guilty. Yes, it sucks that you can’t take the night off because of pharmacology but both of you need to understand that it was your decision that landed you in this position, and both of you have to be okay with it in order for it to work.


Remember that your partner is just that - your partner, and he/she also has needs.

I’m getting ready to apply for residency soon and my list of things to get done seems never-ending. My boyfriend has been incredibly supportive and listens to all of my frustrations and worries, until one day I unloaded a huge list of stressors and he stayed silent. We had barely talked all week because I was on my Surgery rotation and the first thing I did on the phone was fret about paperwork for audition rotations. I felt like a terrible, selfish girlfriend when I heard him describe his rough week and realized I knew nothing about what he was dealing with. It can be easy to get caught up in the bubble that is school but try not to forget about everything else. Even when they’re not stressed out, there are still parts of their lives and stories about their day that they want to share with you!



How to support a significant other who is in medical school (boyfriend’s POV)

Supporting a significant other who is in medical requires understanding, flexibility and support. I was amazed at the sheer amount of information my girlfriend had to consume on a daily basis and the vast amount of time she had to commit to studies without distraction. It’s a completely different lifestyle than I have ever encountered from someone who was in a project oriented major going into a 8-5 job. There were many times in her second year where she would wake up at 6AM to review lectures and study, come home at 5PM, eat a quick dinner, and head right back to the library. I knew I had to be understanding and supportive of her studies because they were important to her. So I would try to plan date nights around her study schedule to create nice interludes and help her pace herself so she wouldn’t burn out. She and I both enjoyed doing work at coffee shops so we would often have study dates and buy each other lattes or the occasional pastry. She would have her laptop and all of her notes out while I would do some coding or online coursework. Come exam time, the stress was palpable.


Though we lived in the same apartment, I would almost never see her the week prior because the amount of studying I described above just got a huge exam multiplier. Sometimes I would go to bed and say goodnight to her while she was still studying, and wake up for work to her already on her third cup of coffee and still going strong.As you can tell from my little anecdotes, having a significant other in medical school requires much emotional support and encouragement. Here’s a list of things that my girlfriend said she appreciated:

  • Lend an ear, let them rant a little about their exams, teachers, or grades.

  • Take them out to fun & spontaneous, yet time-sensitive dates to create an intermission between the books.

  • Double check with their workload before hanging out with them. Most of the time they will prefer to hang out rather than study and the temptation is quite the time killer.

  • Feed them. Sometimes they forget to eat. 


Yang is a third year medical school student. 
Find out more about her here:


December Wish List // Gift Guide

One of my holiday favorites is gift guides that pop up all over websites, blogs, and magazines right around this time. I love it because it's a great way to discover unique brands and products. I thought it might be fun to do my own December favorites/gift guide post for all the loved ones in your life (including yourself!)

December Favorites.png

1. Glossier is my new beauty find & obsession. I have several favorites but this balm dotcom lip balm can be enjoyed by almost anyone. If you want lip balms with something a little extra, try one of their flavored balm dotcom series! 
2. When you or someone you know is in need of some serious girl power inspiration, turn the pages of this book filled with adorable illustrations by Rachel Ignotofsky. Contained within are achievements of 50 remarkable women in the fields of sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
3. Caffeine molecule necklace in rose gold. Enough said.
4. Once in awhile I come across a book that I just can't put down until I've read it cover to cover. This book is special because I felt like Dr. Kalanithi was able to beautifully verbalize all the deep-in-my-soul reasons why I wanted to go into medicine. Highly recommended for everyone, not just those in the medical field! 
5. Another one of my new obsessions is phone cases with exchangeable back plates from Casetify. New phone cases instantly make you feel like you have a new phone, which is great if you can't upgrade your phone for awhile!  
6. Echo (aka Alexa) comes in handy for many reasons but here are my favorite ways to use it:

  • "Alexa, play some holiday music"
  • "Alexa, set a timer for 8 minutes" (for cooking pasta or when you really need that cat nap)
  • "Alexa, what's the weather like outside?"
  • "Alexa, set an alarm for 7am tomorrow"
  • "Alexa, ask me board review questions" (new skill! Alexa asks Family Medicine Board Review questions; more info on this on my vlogmas day 8 video description)

7. Nothing makes stapling as fun and glamorous as this acrylic stapler with gold accents. Brighten your/someone else's desk with this fun item!  
8. An inspirational mug + some nice, hot tea = an instant mood lifter. Show your intellectual girl crush/lab partner/homework buddy how boss you think they are! 


P.S. This was my first time attempting to use PhotoShop, so bear with me on the poor graphics. I promise I will work on my skills to make better visuals! 

Leg Day Workout

Hi everyone!

 Here is the workout I did on Vlogmas Day 6! You guys can watch and follow along here. I tried not to use as many equipments so you can follow along even if you don't go to the gym or if you are new to the gym [workouts 7, 8, & 9 requires machines]. 



Hope you guys find the workout helpful & let me know what you think! 


Favorite Podcasts

When I was studying for my Step 1 back in May 2016, I quickly realized how valuable driving/commuting time can be if used properly. Under the pressure of the strict Step 1 study schedule, audio lecture was one of the ways I utilized what used to feel like wasted time in the car/train. I used Dr. Goljan's Pathology lectures*. I loaded it onto my iPod and set it to play automatically whenever I turned on the car. Thanks to Dr. Goljan's colorful personality and lecture style, I almost always continued to listen through my entire trip no matter how short or far the distance. I'm pretty sure I was able to repeat some of his jokes word for word at some point.
[*I do not own Dr. Goljan's audio lectures & cannot distribute the files. I suggest using Google to find out where they can be found]

 Now that I'm living my post-Step 1 life, I rarely need to listen to audio lectures during my commute to feel productive. During long trips, I still try to make the most of my time by listening to podcasts. Podcasts are great because there is a great variety of contents you can choose from depending on your mood, kind of like Netflix for ears! Much like TV, the "listen-ability" of a podcast varies not by topic but the delivery of the content via its speakers. So I think podcast is a great way to learn about topics you normally would not have looked up yourself and escape the dreaded "med school bubble." 

I still consider myself a "novice listener" so my list isn't going to unearth any hidden Podcast gems if you are already a seasoned listener. But if you are new to Podcasts and would like a few programs to get started, you may find this list helpful! 


Duration: 35-45 min/episode
About: in depth discussions/conversations about all facets of life [restaurant tipping, online dating, parenting, educational system, politics, and more] from the perspectives of economists and social scientists. 
Personal note: I can't get enough of the host's [Stephen Dubner] slightly nerdy and friendly voice in this podcast. The topics sometimes sound dry, but the program rarely is. Great source of conversation starters (as I am constantly in need of those). 


Duration: 30-60min/episode
About:  answers questions such as "are there benefits to hunting endangered species?", "exactly how much do you want to know about your Korean celebrities?", & " how far should lawyers go to provide the best defense to the worse people?"
Personal note: I always feel smarter after listening to RadioLab. They once did a story on Henrietta Lacks (unwitting donor of famous HeLa cells still used as immortal human cell line) & I found it so interesting that after I reached my destination I sat in my car until the end of the podcast.  

Serial [season 1]

Duration: 30-50min/episode
About: a 17-year old high school student gets convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend. Did he really do it? 
Personal note: this podcast has been very popular so I'm sure many of you know about it but in case you don't--  once you start, it'll be hard to stop listening to this season. I once read that a woman ran her marathon while listening to the podcast. Prepare yourself! Undisclosed is sort of a spin-off podcast started by a family friend of Adnan Syed [the person discussed in Serial season 1]. Undisclosed season 1 discusses Adnan's case in much in depth. I'll be honest- I did get a little bored by all the nitty gritty details by about episode 10 but I thought the first half of the season was excellent. I couldn't stop thinking about it for about a month. Undisclosed now has moved on to season 2 where they investigate wrongful conviction cases. 

The Moth

Duration: usually ~20 min for the regular podcast & ~60min for Moth Radio Hour (collection of favorite stories)
About: true stories told live by storytellers. Some hilarious, some tragic-- it's basically a live version of Humans of NY but from all over the country. 
Personal note: this podcast has me literally laughing out loud or tearing up in my car depending on the story. The Moth also hosts live events throughout the country and I highly suggest it! 

Other favorites: TED Radio hour, This American Life, Reply All


What are some of your favorite podcasts? 


Morning Routine: Family Medicine Rotation Edition

Hi everyone,

First, I'd like to thank everyone for all the positive and encouraging comments on my most recent YouTube video announcing this blog/web store. There are still some kinks to be worked out [for example, I JUST figured out how to enable comments on blog posts], so I really do appreciate your patience and suggestions! 

Morning routine is one of the most requested videos on my channel. I'm still brainstorming and thinking of creative ways to portray that tiny portion of my day on video, but in the meantime I'd like to share what my typical morning routine looks like currently. Keep in mind, I'm on one of the least time-demanding rotation of 3rd year (family medicine), so this morning routine looks much different than the past few rotations. Regardless, i think it's nice for people to see that not all of medicine involves getting up at 4am to pre-round on still-sleeping patients. 

7:00am - I'll be totally honest. My actually alarm is always set about 30 minutes before my desired wake time. Clearly, I haven't figured out a way to break my multiple 9-minute snooze addiction. I've never been a morning person & it's just as difficult for me to wake up at 7am as it is at 4:15am. So far my best wake-up combination has been: adequate amount of sleep (7-8hrs) + an alarm clock that simulates sunrise. Occasionally, I also use the Sleep Cycle app, which gently wakes you up when you are at your lightest sleep within a 30 minute window. 

7:15am - when I finally manage to get myself out of bed, I make my way over to the kitchen to make my coffee. Lately, I've been using my Nespresso Pixie machine for its convenience and speed. My breakfast choices range widely from smoothies (warmer months), yogurt with fruit, oatmeal (colder months), to eggs and toast (when I have more time). I usually like to catch up on social media feeds while I eat.

7:45am - after breakfast, I brush my teeth and start to get ready for work. I try to keep my outfits minimum and hassle free. You can check out my business casual outfit video here

8:00am - before officially starting my day, I think it's really important to review my agenda for the day and make sure I have everything I need before leaving the house. This is also when I pack my lunch and mentally map out the rest of my day (e.g. are there any errands that I can take care of on the way from point A to point B?) 

8:30am - my office is only 20 minutes away door-to-door so leaving at 8:30am allows me to get to my family medicine office before patients start arriving at 9/9:30am. Let me know if you guys want me to share my Spotify playlist or a list of Podcasts I like to listen to in the car!  

That concludes my current morning routine for family medicine rotation! What is your morning routine like? Comment below!