Archive for February, 2010

Study Tips: How Future Doctors Study

Well my honey is making his way through the first year of med school, and I do NOT envy him his workload. But at least his study techniques are useful! Check them out:

“Pimpin'” It

So when the hubs came home from school on Monday he casually asked me, “Have I told you about pimping?” You can probably imagine the look I gave him after that weird question, but he quickly explained that it is an actual term med students use for one of their study techniques–explained to him by his 40-something class moderator (and she is a serious and respected ER doctor who just finished her second residency).

The basics of “pimping” are simple: You go over your notes and study alone, and then get together with someone you work well with and take turns firing off questions at each other, one after another. It is fast paced and intense, and really gets your synapses firing.

The way my sweetie and his study comp do it is to simply say something like, “Tell me about keytones.” The questioner lets his partner start off with a simple description, and then fires off questions until the discussion continues. They spend hours doing this, but hopefully your major doesn’t require that much “pimping.” 😉

Become the Teacher

Another method that works really well for a lot of the study groups is to take turns being the teacher. One of my sweetie’s study groups gets a small room in the library and each take a topic they’re familiar with to re-teach to the group. They discuss problems, hypotheses, and questions together, go over anything confusing from lecture and of course mess around cracking jokes and stuff, which helps them all stay sane on full-day study dates. Then they swap teachers.

The group gets the benefit of going over notes again, while the teacher gets to really focus on wrapping his or her mind around their teaching topic.

Solo Study & DIY White Boards

While group and partner studying are both awesome ways to dig deeper into material, you first need to have the foundation of solo-study. For tips about how to study on your own, check out these memory tips and consider these thoughts on how to kickstart your study habits. (Still not getting anything done? Time for some ridiculously easy ways to kick distractions.)

A new tip we picked up from a second year med student this year was to DIY a whiteboard (shown above!). It is really easy and ridiculously cheap. We found a huge sheet of whiteboard at Home Depot and cut it down to fit on our desk (they have a saw available for free there). We got four desk-sized pieces for only 10 bucks, so the extras got passed on to other students. Now the hubs slaps down his computer and notes on the whiteboard, and writes down chemical reactions, internal processes, and all kinds of things I don’t understand, like the stuff he wrote in the photo you see up at the top there…

Bonus points if you know what’s going on in that photo. It is a super-intricate process of creating ATP… And such. Haha.

Even if you aren’t a science student, this could be a great tool for brainstorming essay ideas, diagramming sentences, time-lining historical events, and making a note-to-self so you retrieve laundry before it gets stolen. 😉

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8 comments February 26th, 2010

Drab to Fab: Dorm Decor Basics

Cinderblock getting you down? I can’t say I miss the prison-style walls of my old dorm room, but I did have a great time dressing them up on the cheap, and I’ve still got the room-design bug… I scan the aisles of stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshall’s (the “Big Four” of bargain shopping!) every week scouting out deals (I usually don’t buy anything but I get tons of ideas for DIY projects).

If your dorm room needs some kick and you don’t know where to start, check out these design basics to get you started. And don’t think we’re stuck bargain shopping–it wouldn’t be SCL without some DIY links. 🙂

Lighting is terrible in most dorm rooms, so bring your own to pep up the space. I like to have good strong lighting for study time (“task lighting” like a desk lamp), something a little softer for just hanging out, and something super low (Christmas lights or a low-watt lamp) for relaxing. The light level in your room can be an amazing mood-altering tool, and you can find lamps for as little as $10 at stores like Wal*Mart, Target, or–my all-time dorm fav–Ikea. And (as you will note in the DIY) I am a believer that a little romance can go a long way–DIY a chandelier to hang over your bed (or to give to your girlfriend for Valentine’s day, boys!).

DIY: (But be careful!)

Mirrors are a key element in any dorm room. They throw light around to brighten up sometimes dingy dorm lighting and look amazingly chic (a great stand in for artwork). Plus you get the added bonus of having somewhere to check out your hair. Target has some super cute over-the-door mirrors for $15 (of scrimp a little and opt for their $5 version), or you can thrift around for some (or ask you relatives–who knows what you’ll get).

  • I admit, I am not handy enough to make a mirror… and I don’t know anyone else who is, either. 🙂

Artwork doesn’t have to be expensive!

DIY by grabbing some canvases, paint, and brushes for under $20 at an art store (if your local one has coupons or discount days, wait for those! Our Michael’s does a 40% off one item coupon once a week!). You can even just grab some canvas fabric (a few bucks at a hardware store), a grass mat from the beach, or even some cardboard to paint on. Frame fabric or wrapping paper for a graphic punch. Even easier (and free-er) go old-school and do a photo or magazine collage on your wall.

Not artsy? Shop thrift stores for funky frames and vintage books or album covers (cool + cheap), or scan the Big Four for pre-fab artwork at a big discount.

Bed, couch, study zone: your XL Twin has a lot of functions in such a small space, so dress it to work for all of them. Pile throw pillows on to turn it into a “couch” (day-bed style) during the day, then toss them in the closet and crawl under some fluffy blankets at day’s end.


Inspiration is what keeps me going when I look at my white white white apartment walls. Get your own here:


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2 comments February 8th, 2010

Cheap and Easy College Recipes: Cranberry Apple Chicken

I love eating, but cooking new, flavorful foods (with their tons of crazy and expensive ingredients) intimidates me. In fact, I whipped up some sweet and sour sauce the other day, but I was so nervous about getting all the food on the table at the same time that I freaked out and burned the chicken I was cooking at the same time. The fire alarm even went off.

So this month, let’s take it nice and easy: here’s my favorite last-minute recipe, and you only need three ingredients.

Cranberry Apple Chicken

2 chicken breasts (defrosted if frozen)
1 Granny Smith apple
1 can whole cranberry sauce

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Core and dice apple. Put apple bits into a bowl.

3. Pour cranberry sauce into the bowl with apple bits, mix well.

4. Spoon half the cranberry mixture into a pan (metal or glass, even a pie pan will work). Place chicken breasts on top of the mixture, then spread the remaining cranberry apple combo over the top of the chicken.

5. Bake for 40 minutes. Catch up on the TV you missed last night on Hulu. Or study. Your choice. 😉

6. Check chicken for done-ness (it should be cooked all the way through, with no pink in the middle).

7. Enjoy!

p.s. Sorry there’s no picture–I forgot to take one before we CHOWED this stuff down. 🙂

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Add comment February 1st, 2010


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