AMSA On Call
  • Building, Maintaining, and Using Your Network

    Petros Minasi, Jr.

    At the end of this month, AMSA will once again host its annual national convention, this year in Washington, D.C.. The convention presents a great opportunity for pre-medical and medical students, deans and program directors, and health care leaders to come together and share ideas, thoughts, and discuss the future of medicine. 

    Attending conferences with your peers and future peers is one of the best things you can do to build you current and future network. Your network is an invaluable resource that is often overlooked by pre-meds. But perhaps overlooked is the wrong way to put it - the reality is we know we should have networks, but we don't always know how to properly build them and use them. Fundamentally, your network, like your friends, should have variety, because there are going to be different instances in your life where you will need the help and advice of people with different skill sets. Much how medical schools want academic and intellectual diversity in their incoming classes, you should want the same in your network. 

    Now building your network is sometimes a little hard, especially if you are "networking" just for the sake of networking. Oddly, ...

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  • Healthy exercises to start the year

    Tracy Lee, OMS II
    A.T. Still University-SOMA
    Wellness Coordinator

    AMSA Trainee Wellness and Professionalism Committee

    As promised in my last post, I will give a variety of easy exercises to start off your day and your year on the right foot. First, I will give some yoga exercises to start off breathing right and then some tips on how to get some cardio in.


    1. Child’s pose (Balasana): Start with kneeling on the floor. Spread your knees and touch your toes together. Then reach as far forward and with your stomach as flat on the floor as you can. This a good resting and starting pose. Try to concentrate on your breath and focus on what you want to gain from this practice of yoga today.

    2. Cat-Cow Stretch (Chakravakasana): Start with tabletop position, which is having your hands and knees on your floor and everything in 90° angle. To go into cat pose, hunch your back as how cats stretch (convex). Then to go into cow pose, move your back in the opposite direction (concave). This will help start your stretch. It feels really good in the morning when you wake up.

    3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukah Svanasana): Moving into ...

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  • New Year, New You!

    Tracy Lee, OMS II
    A.T. Still University-SOMA
    Wellness Coordinator
    AMSA Trainee Wellness and Professionalism Committee

    Welcome to the New Year! This means a new you, right? I know many have New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, stay fit, or be healthy. How about we start off the New Year on a good foot? One thing I read recently said to make it GOALS instead of a resolution. A goal is something we can work towards that will not necessarily “resolve” by the end of the year.

    According the American Psychological Association (APA), many people have a laundry list of goals they want to accomplish by the end of the year, but remember to take it one-step at a time. Here are some quick tips by APA to help accomplish your goals.

    1. Start small: Make reasonable goals —ones that you think you can accomplish rather than pushing yourself to make goals that may be a stretch for you personally.
    2. Change one behavior at a time: Behaviors are developed over time, thus, changing many behaviors at once can be overwhelming. Changing behaviors will require time. For example, I had a patient who was a heavy alcoholic and a minimal smoker. Since she ...

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  • The Pre-Med Plan in a Nutshell

    With the New Year, comes a fresh start. Last month we discussed shaping your personal statement, but in the New Year, let's shift the focus onto your overall plan.

    Depending on where you are in your pre-med studies, you are going to need to do different things, but at minimum, you want to make sure you have a solid plan. A good template for a pre-med plan includes three categories - academic performance, academic potential, and the qualitative factors that shape you. Let's break down how you can maximize each of these three categories:

    Academic Performance:

    Medical schools pay particular attention to not only the grades you receive in your classes (pre-med and overall) but also to the trends in your grades, the types of courses you take, and the variety of courses. The great thing about being pre-med is you can major in whatever subject your heart desires. If you look at the typical cross section of a medical school class you will find students who majored in engineering, art, music, business, languages, English, and pretty much anything you can think of. Regardless of your major, however, you’ll need to take pre-med prerequisite classes such as General Chemistry, ...

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  • It's Never Too Early to Think About Your Personal Statement

    There is no doubt that the medical school application is complex. As a pre-med, regardless of where you are in your education - just starting out as a freshman or sophomore, completing pre-med courses as a junior or senior, or studying for the MCAT - it's never too early to start thinking about your personal statement. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes pre-meds make is to not start thinking about their personal statement early enough. In fact, whether you realize it or not, you have already begun to write your personal statement, or at least gathering the experiences that will shape your story.

    So as you take a step back from the hustle and bustle of school during the holiday season, I invite you to start taking some inventory of what makes you you! After all, the personal statement needs to be personal, and too often pre-meds take about everything but themselves in the statement.

    First and foremost, it's important to have a clear reason for your desire to study medicine - the inevitable, “why do you want to be a doctor” question. Rule number one, it is not good enough, nor will it help you at all, to ...

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