I’m just shy of working a year as a GRA (Graduate Research Assistant) and I absolutely love the job. Keep reading to hear about what I do and if you’re given the opportunity, why you should too!

What is a GRA?

A GRA, or Graduate Research Assistant, is a graduate student, Masters/Doctoral, assigned to a college or department to assist in research projects. Several tasks include (but not limited to): organizing & collecting data, completing various paperwork, analysis, and updating databases. Often, universities offer pay in the form of a stipend to help students pay for graduate school. GRAs’ role is to take some of the burden off the researcher by completing tedious behind-the-scenes tasks.

What do I do as a GRA?

As a GRA, I work for our College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines which includes nursing, social work, and nutrition/dietetics. In my years time, I began with updating faculties’ CVs, organizing and filing papers, and collecting data. After Christmas break, I began collecting contact information for a study done by a nursing PI, and most recently, working with social work in drafting a survey and now organizing the results in SPSS (statistical processing software).

Why do I love being a GRA?

I have never been involved in research – clinical or social or beyond – and enjoyed getting a taste of the behind the scenes of it. The entire process is tedious and requires a lot of background work for anything to get published.

I particularly enjoyed this job as I had been used to working in a fast-paced hospital job that was physically and emotionally demanding for 8-12 hours at at time. My mother would often mention that not having a break is illegal, and yes, Mother, you’re right. But that’s healthcare. ANYWAY, this job has been a wonderful change of pace for me. I can mindlessly enter data while listening to my favorite podcasts and taking time at the end to check my work. Being a GRA has helped me build strong relationships with our faculty and learn more about the research process. It has allowed me to work from home during a pandemic and expand my experience as a graduate student.

Why YOU should take this opportunity if you can:

  • Pay. This job can offer excellent supplemental income for a budget-conscious graduate student.
  • Flexible hours. I could choose between 10 and 20 hours per week when I was hired. At the time, I had another job and consequently chose 10. I choose to work two hours/weekday, but a person could work 5 + 5, 4 + 3, or when busy, work more hours one day, and less the next. It is for project completion rather than working “just to work.”
  • Enhancing your graduate student experience. As mentioned above, I love working with faculty & staff and getting to know them through this experience. It has been enriching to become a reliable and trusted member of the research team.
  • Easy resume-builder. This exposure no doubt makes a person more employable – regardless of your field. It shows you can follow instructions, work both independently and collaboratively, and timely.
Pre-pandemic office setup: the best almond milk latte from Archives coffeehouse, dual computers, and a podcast playing while entering data.

With that, I hope you have learned about the role of a GRA and why it is an invaluable experience to add to your professional endeavors if offered. ūüôā



Hello everyone! I am in the midst of medical school applications and have wanted to share content with what I’m learning in my nutrition courses, but I am prioritizing my future this time. ūüôā That being said, listening to podcasts has became part of my daily routine. Since there’s not much for weekly TV shows to look forward to in 2020, I find myself looking forward to weekly podcast releases.

In this post, you’re going to find my favorite podcasts, where to find them, and when they’re released. Enjoy!

News Pods:

+ NPR News Now: 5-minute international news updates, updated hourly. I love this for a quick get-in-the-loop refresh.

NPR News: 09-24-2021 1PM ET NPR News Now

NPR News: 09-24-2021 1PM ET

+ The Daily: produced by the New York Times, Michael Babaro. A hot-topic news discussion eloquently hosted. Another great refresh for what’s happening in the world. Podcast episodes are released daily, on weekdays, and sometimes bonus episodes on the weekend.

Germany, and Europe, After Merkel The Daily

After 16 years in power, Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, is walking out of office one of the most popular politicians in the country.In those years, Ms. Merkel has not only served as the leader of Germany, but also as a leader of Europe, facing down huge challenges ‚ÄĒ such as the eurozone and the refugee crises ‚ÄĒ all while providing a sense of stability.As Germans head to the polls this weekend, the question is: who can lead Germany and Europe at a time when the world faces no fewer crises?Guest: Katrin Bennhold, the Berlin bureau chief for The New York Times.¬†Sign up here to get The Daily in your inbox each morning. And for an exclusive look at how the biggest stories on our show come together, subscribe to our newsletter.¬†Background reading:¬†The race to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel after 16 years in office is the tightest in years. But the two leading candidates are anything but exciting, and that‚Äôs how Germans like it.Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat who is modeling himself as the candidate of continuity, has a fair shot at being Germany‚Äôs next chancellor.For more information on today‚Äôs episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily. Transcripts of each episode will be made available by the next workday.¬†
  1. Germany, and Europe, After Merkel
  2. Redrawing the Map in New York
  3. Submarines and Shifting Allegiances
  4. A ‚ÄėRighteous Strike‚Äô
  5. One Family’s Fight Against the Dixie Fire

Medicine Pods:

+ Nutrition Rounds: hosted by Danielle Belardo, a newly-minted cardiologist and vegan, you learn the facts about the integration of nutrition into medicine from an evidence-based approach. Basically my two favorite things. Dr. Belardo has several guests on to discuss their domains. Episodes are released variously.

Episode 4- Eminence versus Evidence Based Nutrition Nutrition Rounds Podcast

Hosted by: Dr. Danielle Belardo¬† Instagram:¬†@daniellebelardomd Twitter:¬†@dbelardomd Facebook:¬†Dr. Danielle Belardo, MD Danielle Belardo is a Preventive Cardiologist in Newport Beach, CA Learn more about Dr. Belardo here Read Dr. Belardo's Blog here: https://d-belardo-md.medium.com/ ¬† Produced by: Dr. Kasey Johnson Instagram:¬†@drkaseyjohnson ¬† ¬† A discussion on evidence based nutrition with Kevin Klatt, PhD, RD Before todays episode starts, we want to acknowledge the 122,000 Americans who have lost their lives to COVID19.¬†¬†We acknowledge the great challenge that those in healthcare and others on the front lines are facing, as well as the many individuals who have lost a loved one to COVID19.¬†¬†Our hearts also go out to the many lives affected by the sequelae of the pandemic, including the many individuals who have lost their jobs, and have been under financial and psychological stress. We DENOUNCE incidents of racism and violence that continue to ravage the black community.¬†We want to acknowledge the heart breaking murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who have lost their lives to longstanding systemic racism.¬†¬†We stand behind the black community who have our endless support.¬†¬†Black lives matter. Please support black owned businesses and charities if you are financially able to at this time. Scroll down our show notes for an extensive list of black vegan influencers and black owned vegan businesses. ¬† Eminence versus Evidence Based Nutrition. This interview is an important one. Nutrition science can be so confusing. With so many dietary groups advocating for various different dietary patterns, how do we know what to believe? Nutrition science is a complex living organism, and we are working on projects to help get the accurate scientific information out there. About Kevin Klatt, PhD, RD ‚Äď Co Director of Research and Education at IOPBM He is the recipient of the inaugural Dennis Bier, MD Young Career Editor for The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition! This one of the most prestigious accomplishments in Academic Nutrition in the world. Kevin is a Cornell and NIH trained PhD, RD, and current scientist at Baylor College of Medicine, and is one of the worlds most respected nutrition scientists. We are honored to have him on our team at IOPBM. About Learn with IOPBM Courses (everyone) learn.iopbm.org Courses | CME/CE https://learn.iopbm.org/cme ¬† Full Time Students, dietetic interns, & residents and fellows in training get 30% off https://learn.iopbm.org/students ¬† Black Lives Matter. Support & Amplify Black Vegans.¬† Follow on Instagram: @doctor.tarr @iye.loves.life @Veganstreetfair @domzthompson @badassvegan @berryvegandelights @whereitallvegan @joveganista @powerplantkitchen @too_good_eats @juice.ave @cbivegan @nilevegan @willowbeezsoulveg @plantbasedlifestylecafe @thevegandoughnutco Black-Owned Vegan Food CompaniesAtlas Monroe¬†(Nationwide) Aya Raw¬†(San Diego, CA)Better Chew¬†(Bay Area, CA) BGab‚Äôs Goodies¬†(Chicago, IL) Coco Luv Vegan Cookies¬†(nationwide) Eat Project Pop¬†(Nationwide) Good Girl Chocolate¬†(Nationwide) Golde¬†(Nationwide) Green Soma¬†(Atlanta, GA) Hella Nuts¬†(Nationwide) Houston Sauce Co.¬†(Nationwide) kub√© Nice Cream¬†(Nationwide) Mac & Yease¬†(Nationwide)¬† Maya‚Äôs Cookies¬†(Nationwide) Misha‚Äôs Kind Foods¬†(Los Angeles, CA) More Life Liquid¬†(Bonita, CA) Mylk Dog¬†(Nationwide) Rooted Delights¬†(Nationwide)¬† Southern Roots¬†(Nationwide) The No Cookie¬†(Nationwide) Way to Life Foods¬†(California + nationwide shipping) Black-Owned Vegan Grocery StoresGreen Taste Vegan Goods¬†(San Francisco, CA) Larayia‚Äôs Bodega¬†(Los Angeles, CA) No Carne Bodega¬†(The Bronx, NY) Sunshine‚Äôs Health Food Store and Deli¬†(Houston, TX) S√úPRMARKT¬†(Los Angeles, CA) The SV Market¬†(Nationwide) Vegan Fine Foods¬†(Fort Lauderdale, FL) Vegan‚Äôs Delight¬†(The Bronx, NY) VegSide Mkt¬†(Houston, TX) V Marks the Shop¬†(Philadelphia, PA) Black-Owned Vegan Beauty Brands¬† Base Butter¬† Beauty Bakerie Bombd Aesthetics Candy x Paints Dimension Nails Doubledown Cosmetics Ecoslay Emaje Naturals¬† Foxie Cosmetics Hello Aloe Naturals Loving CultureJacq‚Äôs Janet and Jo¬† JD Glow Cosmetics¬† Jos√©phine Kaike Kinky-Curly Klarity Kosmetics¬† Lovinah Skincare Mented Cosmetics Mudd Beauty Nola Skinsentials Obia Naturals OrganiGrowHairCo Oshun Organics Range Beauty Ressentir Cosmetics Refinne Silkt√°ge Suite Eleven The Vegan Esthetician Spa The Wellness Apothecary True Moringa Black-Owned Vegan RestaurantsA Live Kitchen¬†(Laurelton, NY) A Piece of Soul¬†(Columbia, SC)Azla Ethiopian Eatery¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Belmont Vegetarian¬†(Worcester, MA) Blueberry Cafe¬†(Newark, NJ) Bunna Cafe¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Can‚Äôt Believe It‚Äôs Not Meat¬†(Chicago, IL) Compton Vegan¬†(Compton & Los Angeles, CA) DaJen Eats¬†(Eatonville, FL) Dirty Lettuce¬†(Portland, OR) Detroit Vegan Soul¬†(Detroit, MI) Drop Squad Kitchen¬†(Wilmington, DE) ELife Restaurant¬†(Washington, DC & Capitol Heights, MD) Gigi‚Äôs Vegan Cafe¬†(Kansas City, MO) Go Vegan Grill¬†(Atlanta, GA) Greedi Kitchen¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Greedi To Go¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Green Gene Vegan Cafe¬†(Albuquerque, NM) Green Seed Vegan¬†(Houston, TX) Grenville Kitchen¬†(Jacksonville, FL) Happy Apple Cafe¬†(Kansas City, MO) Happy Ice¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Humaitree House¬†(Augusta, GA) ITSO Vegan¬†(Grand Prairie, TX) Jackfruit Cafe¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Jikoni Cafe¬†(Norfolk, VA) Judahlicious¬†(San Francisco, CA) Juju‚Äôs Vegan¬†(Lincoln, NE) Juices for Life¬†(New York City, NY) Kale Cafe¬†(Daytona, FL) Life Bistro¬†(Atlanta, GA) Lindiana‚Äôs Souther Vegan Kitchen¬†(Houston, TX)¬† Lov‚Äôn It Live¬†(East Point, GA) Majani¬†(Chicago, IL) Meme‚Äôs Twisted Potato¬†(Little Rock, AK) Munchies Diner¬†(Santa Ana, CA) Natural Blend Vegan Cafe¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Natural Oasis¬†(Rochester, NY) Nola Vegan¬†(New Orleans, LA) NuVegan Cafe¬†(Washington, DC) Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor¬†(Boston, MA) One World Beat Cafe¬†(San Diego, CA) Original Soul Vegetarian¬†(Chicago, IL) Plant-Based Pizzeria¬†(Atlanta, GA) Plum Bistro¬†(Seattle, WA) Quickie Too¬†(Tacoma, WA) Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Ras Plant Based¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Rawtopian Bliss¬†(Columbia, SC) Refocused¬†(Baltimore, MD) Seasoned Vegan¬†(New York City, NY) Senbeb Cafe¬†(Washington, DC) Senses Vegan¬†(Norfolk, VA) Simply Pure¬†(Las Vegas, NV) Slutty Vegan¬†(Atlanta, GA) Sol Sips¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Soul Food Vegan¬†(Houston, TX) Soul Good Vegan Cafe¬†(Durham, NC) Souley Vegan¬†(Oakland, CA) Soul Vegetarian¬†(Atlanta, GA) Spoiled Vegans¬†(San Diego, CA) Sprout Natural Choice¬†(Catonsville, MD) Stuff I Eat¬†(Inglewood, CA) Sunshine Vegan Eats¬†(Buffalo, NY) Sunset Kava¬†(San Diego, CA) Super Juiced¬†(Oakland, CA) Sweet & Natural¬†(Mount Rainier, MD) Sweet Soulfood Nola Vegan Cuisine¬†(New Orleans, LA) T&T Lifestyle¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Tassili‚Äôs Raw Reality¬†(Atlanta, GA) The Greener Kitchen¬†(Baltimore, MD) The GruB Factory¬†(Baltimore, MD) The Land of Kush¬†(Baltimore, MD) The New Vegan¬†(Delray Beach, FL) The Nile Cafe¬†(Philadelphia, PA) The Queen‚Äôs Table¬†(El Paso, TX)¬† The Reizod Vegan Experience¬†(Columbia, SC) The Southern V¬†(Nashville, TN) The Veg Hub¬†(Oakland, CA) The Vtree¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Tri Lounge Cafe¬†(New York, NY) Trio Plant-Based¬†(Minneapolis, MN) Twisted Plants¬†(Cudahy, WI) Two Mamma‚Äôs Vegan Kitchen¬†(Oakland, CA) Uptown Veg¬†(New York City, NY) Urban Vegan Kitchen¬†(New York City, NY) V-Eats Modern Vegan¬†(Dallas, TX) Vegan Mob¬†(Oakland, CA) Vegans Are Us¬†(Vineland, NJ) Vege-Licious Cafe¬†(Nashville, TN) Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin¬†(Miami Beach, FL) Veggie Castle¬†(South Richmond Hill, NY) Veg On the Edge¬†(Santa Cruz, CA) Veltree¬†(Charlotte, NC) Verdure Inc¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Viva La Vegan¬†(Atlanta, GA) Wasota Vegan Paradise¬†(Austin, TX) Where It All Vegan¬†(Columbus, OH) Whipped – Urban Dessert Lab¬†(New York, NY) Black-Owned Vegan Bakeries¬†Blackstreet Bakery¬†(Portland, OR) Brewer Bakes¬†(Indianapolis, IN + nationwide shipping) Brown Sugar Baking Company¬†(Seattle, WA) Devi‚Äôs Donuts and Sweets¬†(Long Beach, CA) Guilt Free Pastries¬†(Memphis, TN + nationwide shopping) Heavenly Vegan¬†(The Bronx, NY + nationwide shipping)How Delish HD¬†(West Orange, NJ)Jalen‚Äôs Bakery¬†(Fresno + nationwide shipping) Lush Life Vegan Bakery¬†(Madison, WI + nationwide shipping) Mo‚ÄôPweeze Vegan Bakery¬†(Denville, NJ + nationwide shipping) Shyah‚Äôs Vegan Bakery¬†(nationwide shipping) The Uptown Vegan¬†(New York, NY) The Vegan Doughnut Co.¬†(Lakewood, OH) Vegan Dream Doughnuts¬†(Atlanta, GA) Black-Owned Vegan Food TrucksBurger Hive¬†(Fort Lauderdale, FL) Malibu‚Äôs Burgers¬†(Oakland, CA) Mattie‚Äôs Vegan Eats¬†(Kansas City, MO) Planet Vegan¬†(Fresno, CA) Sassy‚Äôs Vegetarian Soul Food¬†(Austin, TX) Vurger Guyz¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Black-Owned Vegan Pop-Ups & CateringAmeen‚Äôs Foods¬†(Los Angeles, CA) B.A.D. Gyal Vegan¬†(Brooklyn, NY) Bams Vegan¬†(Dallas, TX) Black Rican Vegan¬†(The Bronx, NY) Blufox Co¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Charlie‚Äôs Brownies¬†(Los Angeles, CA)¬† ¬†¬† CLR Trust¬†(New York, NY) Deelish by Deedi¬†(Baltimore, MD) Good Green Grubbery¬†(Washington DC) Krafted Culture Catering¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Lettuce Feast LA¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Louisville Vegan Kitchen¬†(Atlanta, GA) Maya‚Äôs Cajun Kitchen¬†(Mesa, AZ) Merkaba Meals¬†(Kansas City, MO) Naomi Vegan Meets¬†(Hampton, VA)¬† Nanas A Vegan¬†(The Bronx, NY) One Cup¬†(San Diego, CA) Pescky Kitchen¬†(Denver, CO + nationwide shipping) Plant-Based Papi¬†(Portland, OR) Sabrosa Vegana¬†(New York, NY) Sneak Eats¬†(Mount Vernon, NY) Straight Up Fast Food¬†(Los Angeles, CA) The Hood Bruja¬†(Los Angeles, CA) The Remix¬†(San Diego, CA) The Source¬†(San Diego, CA)The Vegan Hood Chefs¬†(San Francisco, CA) The Vegan Lion¬†(San Diego, CA) The Vegan Spot¬†(Kansas City, MO) Topknotch Vegan Vittles¬†(Kansas City, MO) Two Vegan Sistas¬†(Memphis, TN) Urban Soul Grill¬†(Michigan & Ohio) Vegan Crave¬†(Kansas City, MO) Vegan or Nah¬†(Los Angeles, CA) Veg Nation¬†(St. Louis, MI) Voodoo Vegan¬†(Los Angeles, CA) We Be Grubbin‚Äô¬†(Bakersfield & Los Angeles, CA) Zizi‚Äôs Vegan Catering¬†(Charlotte, NC) (list cred: VegNews)
  1. Episode 4- Eminence versus Evidence Based Nutrition
  2. Episode 3- Happy Heart Month! Women’s Heart Health and Prevention with Martha Gulati MD
  3. Episode 2- Your Body in Balance – Hormones and Nutrition with Neal Barnard, MD
  4. Episode 1- New Decade = BIG news! Happy New Year! And #docsgovegan updates
  5. Episode 9- ALL about Plant Based Keto – with Dr. Ethan Weiss and Dr. Carrie Diulus

+ The Doctor Goals Podcast: Dr. Trot hosts this podcast discussing everything from pre-medicine through her experience with residency. She hosts several guests who each share their unique experiences. Great, uplifting stories! Episodes are released variously.

9 Things You'll Want to Know Before Becoming a Doctor The DOCTORGOALS Podcast

The title says it all. You'll want to save this episode.   RATE. REVIEW. SUBSCRIBE! * * * COMFY DOCTORGOALS SHIRTS * * * Did somebody say coffee? Probably not, but you should check this out: Super Coffee РLow calorie + packed with caffeine + sprinkled with protein. Use the code DOCTORGOALS to get 20% OFF your order! drinksupercoffee.com
  1. 9 Things You'll Want to Know Before Becoming a Doctor
  2. MINISODE: Most Memorable Case with Dr. Mariam Molani
  3. Is an MBA Worth It as a Doctor With Dr. Mariam Molani
  4. The Test Taking Strategy That Changed Everything With Dr. Lauren Bessette
  5. Secret to Success: The Lesson That Changed My Perspective

+ Reconciling Medicine: The Drs. Paro (John and Rene), discuss their experience navigating medicine together, and their current lives together. Everything in this pod ranges from insightful storytelling to laughing your butt off. Highly recommend if you want to feel inspired and learn about a powerful physician couple. Episodes are usually released on Fridays.

Episode 39 – Fad Diets Are Dumb Diets Reconciling Medicine

The Doctors Paro will equally make you laugh and ruffle your feathers with this episode about diets. Listen….. we've been working on figuring out the truths about nutrition for weight loss, body composition and overall health. We've fallen into SO MANY "fitness and wellness" traps. After lots of reading and trial and error – we've come to understand a lot.We are in no way dietitians or nutritionists. But the truths we speak of here are backed in nutrition science – no gimmicks. And spoiler alert – the way to achieve the goals most people have when searching for a diet is not sexy or flashy. It's boring and takes way more time then we want it to.Episode Takeaways:Brief Review of Episode 13 Food is Fuel.The Pyramid of Importance.If A Diet Requires You To Buy A Bunch Of Shit, Don't Trust It.If A Diet Promises Fast Results, Don't Trust It.What Are The Reasonable Expectations?Common Diets And Why They Work But Aren't Magic.
  1. Episode 39 – Fad Diets Are Dumb Diets
  2. Episode 38 – Share the Medical Mic with Dr. Lauren Powell
  3. Episode 37 – Fitness in 2020: Racing Towards Justice
  4. Mini Episode – Reconciling Life
  5. Episode 35 – The Quarantine Album

+ This Podcast Will Kill You: Erin, PhD, and Erin, PhD, go through each episode discussing infectious disease 101 with an entire series on COVID-19. Each episode also features recipes for Quarantinis and non-alcoholic Placeboritas. Cheers! *Released periodically :)*

Ep 82 Anthrax: The Hardcore Spore This Podcast Will Kill You

Twenty years ago this month, letters containing Bacillus anthracis spores were mailed to various politicians and news media offices in the US, resulting in illness, death, and a widespread fear that transformed anthrax from an agricultural disease or occupational hazard into a potential weapon of bioterrorism. In this episode, we explore the many dimensions of anthrax, from the different ways B. anthracis can cause disease to the incredibly long and varied history of the pathogen, a history of which bioterrorism is only a very recent part. Adding to anthrax’s multifaceted nature is the fact that B. anthracis is an environmental pathogen, one that can greatly impact livestock and wild animals, which requires collaboration across fields to effectively identify and control anthrax outbreaks. To help us explore this pathogen from a One Health perspective, we were so thrilled to chat with Dr. Johanna Salzer, Veterinary Medical Officer in the Bacterial Special Pathogens Branch at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who filled us in on the veterinary side of anthrax, and Morgan Walker, spatial epidemiologist at the University of Florida, who talked us through the environmental factors that affect B. anthracis distribution and emergence. Tune in for a much more than surface-level look at this spore-forming pathogen. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  1. Ep 82 Anthrax: The Hardcore Spore
  2. Ep 81 Chagas disease: The Reverse Triple Discovery
  3. Ep 80 Dysentery loves a disaster
  4. Ep 79 Hemophilia: A Hemorrhagic Disposition
  5. Ep 78 Bartonella: Keep Calm and Carrión

Life Pods

+ Life Kit: NPR’s series that is a short clip of “how-tos” ranging from how to talk about uncomfortable things to getting a puppy. I love the organization of this pod and I always learn something new!

Is It Laziness, Or A Sign You Need To Slow Down? Life Kit

We don't question whether our pets, friends or family have earned their right to exist, so why do we sometimes think about our own lives in those terms? What we learn about the value of productivity and the negative connotation of "laziness" is part of the problem, says social psychologist Devon Price.In this episode, Price, author of Laziness Does Not Exist, shares tips for rethinking the concept of laziness and how feeling "lazy" is actually a useful signal from our bodies and our deepest selves.
  1. Is It Laziness, Or A Sign You Need To Slow Down?
  2. How To Stop Getting Interrupted At Work
  3. In 'We're Not Broken,' Author Eric Garcia Takes On Myths About Autism
  4. Dating Over 50: It's OK To Be Nervous, But Don't Let That Stop You
  5. There's More To Getting In Shape Than How You Look

+ Rise: Rachel Hollis is an inspiring lady. This one is full of empowering messages, inspirational speakers, and ways to help your feel good. I highly recommend her books, too! *released weekly*

+ As a Woman: Dr. Natalie Crawford is a reproductive endocrinologist (or fertility physician), which she discusses in depth, but she also discusses her perspectives of going through medicine as a woman. Her podcast is inspiring to myself as an aspiring physician, but also an empowered woman.

True Crime Pods:

+ Crime Junkie: Ashley + Britt take a deep-dive into a new crime each week – whether it’s solved or not. Their ability to deliver the story makes you wish it was never over. They duo is huge on advocating for personal safety and bringing justice to these crimes they describe.

+ Counterclock: Delia D’Ambra is a reporter who has done an excellent job bringing light to the unsolved case of Denise Johnson from over 20 years ago. Because of this podcast, there have been new leads and it is not longer considered “cold.” Season 2 is coming soon, but in the meantime, you can binge all of season 1.

+ Park Predators: Delia D’Ambra is at it again with this one. 11 episode-mini series explaining a different crime taken place in a National Park. The sound effects, story-telling, and descriptions help me picture each park scene she describes. Edge-of-your-seat type of stuff here.

Wondery Series Pods

These are usually 6-part episodes that give you an inside look to several hot-topic scenarios including serial killers, deviant behavior, and true crime. Some of my favorites are listed below.

A neurosurgeon practicing when he shouldn’t be. My jaw was on the floor the entire show.
The Dating Game Killer was around in the 1970s when the country was terrified of the threat of emerging serial killers. It blows my mind the amount of loopholes this man made it through to keep reoffending.
All about the infamous life of Jeffery Epstein. While disgusting, if you’re interested in more information about this man, I recommend this podcast.
Yep, just like the popular Netflix show. I liked this one better than the show, however.
All about the Golden State Killer.
Kim Goldman, the sister of Ron Goldman, also killed by OJ Simpson. I loved this perspective.

Thank you for reading! Enjoy these fantastic shows in your free time as I do.



Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a lifestyle post. If you enjoy this, let me know and I will do them more often. ūüôā

We are in the midst of a global pandemic that does not discriminate on who it infects. I am writing this after working 24 hours in the ED after an outbreak within my city of about 57,000 people. I am trying to find a sense of normalcy and establish as much of a routine as I can for the time being. With that, I will walk you through what has become a “normal” day for me!

7:30-8:00 AM

Wake up, check my DMs, emails, and other notifications on my phone. If I remember, I do a guided meditation on the Headspace app, or read. Bae & I are reading House of God still and I’m very into it.

8:00-8:30 AM

Skincare time – my new found routine. I first wash/cleanse, use toner, a vitamin C serum, and then a moisturizer with SPF. I believe this is essential to having the best skin I’ve had in my 20s (so far). ūüôā After this, I brush my teeth, change into something comfortable but less slob-like than pajamas. (I’ve found this practice greatly affects my productivity). I loosely make my bed and head downstairs.

8:30-9:30 AM

Water before anything else. I’ve been making iced lattes daily (check my instagram highlights for how to make them yourself), and eat breakfast. Breakfast is usually light – either PB toast and banana, or avocado toast. After I’ve eaten, I use the time to figure out what I need to get done during the day.

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Prior to the pandemic hitting, I worked as a graduate research assistant for my college as a master’s student. I opted to work 2 hours/day and set those hours as 10-12 in the mornings. Since the job I’m doing is tedious, I made sure to set the same exact timeslot to #WFH.

So what do I actually do? I am working with a public health nursing professor and a professor in the rural health department of the medical school on developing a study measuring attitudes toward domestic violence. I am currently doing grunt work collecting contact information for the facilities we are going to study. In order to do this, I grab (what’s left of) my coffee, and turn Grey’s Anatomy on while I enter contact information into a spreadsheet for 2 hours. It isn’t so bad at all.

12:00-1:00 PM

Lunch time. I’ve been making a lot of stir fry lately – it’s very forgiving and allows you to add whatever veggies you have on hand. This way, I don’t feel the need to go to the store just to make a recipe that sounds good. I really don’t like to do other activities while I’m eating, so I take a good amount of time to cook, eat, and clean up.

1:00-3:00 PM

After my mental break, I go to work on the academic stuff. This week, I have a reflection due for my counseling class and a wiki to complete after listening to our patients. We had a class meeting last night and did a course wrap up/reflection discussion. In counseling, I have a few journal entries left to reflect on, one more exam in biostatistics, and a few more micronutrients to learn! Then one more year of graduate school!!!!

3:00-5:00 PM

In this time, I have done a combination of lightly exercising and relaxing. It is finally getting warmer here in ND and my dog is loving the daily walks. This day, I took my yoga mat outside and did a quick flow after our walk.

5:00-7:00 PM

These are @doctormeetsdietitian ‘s almond cookies ūüôā

Dinner. I usually cook for my family during this time, but we have also been ordering out about once a week to support local businesses. In this time, I have also been baking. ūüôā

7:00-9:00 PM

I return to more schoolwork and do some reading or extra studying if I need to. If I have completed my planned schoolwork for the day, I take the time to do laundry, straighten out my bedroom or hang with my parents.

9:00-10:30 PM

Bae usually calls me around this time and we chat and play either Monopoly, Battleship, or Clue on our phones. Each of them are $4 on the Apple app store and a really fun way to connect when you don’t live near each other while following social distancing orders. After we’re off the phone, I wash my face again with a makeup-removing cleanser, use a retinol, moisturize, and use eye cream. My face feels so fresh when I go to sleep.

11:00 PM

I try to be asleep at this time, but that isn’t always the case given the circumstances. If I can’t sleep, I’m recently obsessed with Struggle Meals videos on Tastemade, or reading House of God.

Other things I did this week:

  • Donated blood
  • Ran to campus to grab a textbook from my office (the entire building was locked).
  • Got a free car wash for healthcare workers ūüôā
  • Picked up the new lemonade Trulys – by the way: they’re slightly sweet but still 100 calories/can. I realized stevia is added to this pack!
  • Baked vanilla cherry cupcakes
  • Ate ChikFilA with my parents
  • Sat outside during Zoom meetings

That being said, my days don’t deviate from the above too often with an in between blackboard collaborate class, or Biostats on Wednesday nights. I hope you’re able to check out some of my favorite products just because I love them and hope you will too (they’re not sponsored, btw). Stay safe out there, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face! We will get through this!



First of all, to anyone reading, I would like to say thank you for your support throughout this incredibly daunting season in my life. I made it through and I hope this is the first and last time I have to take that test. I’ve heard from several peers that the MCAT is the most important standardized test throughout the extent of your medical training. At first I didn’t believe it. Medical students, residents, attendings… take standardized exams all throughout their education. The MCAT, however, is what sets up the possibilities of those. It tests your mental stamina, proves that you have the persistence to become a doctor, reassures you’re becoming one for the right reasons, and tests several other traits of character. There is nothing more humbling than thinking you did really well on a practice exam and reading your score realizing you did far worse than you imagined. This is my experience and how I can help you!

*I want to make a disclaimer that it is extremely important to note that my experience is what I did, what worked (or didn’t work) for me and my experience. I am writing this to help anyone out there through my perspective. That being said, every student is unique and what worked well for me may not for you.*

Alright, let’s jump right in!

The Time Frame:

Many resources, student forums, and supporting peers recommend anywhere from 3-6 months to really dedicate time to study for the MCAT.

I deeply studied for about 2.5 months and began reviewing about 6 months before that.

The majority of students taking the MCAT take it after their junior year in order to apply to schools prior to graduating. I took it after my 5th year of college. I had just finished biochemistry, taken 20+ credits in sociology throughout my undergrad, and used my MCAT review books alongside some of my last undergrad courses to familiarize myself with the content the MCAT tests on. There is no “right” or “wrong” time to choose when to take the test. It depends on:

  • how much dedicated time you think you need
  • how “fresh” you feel the material is/how much material you think you need to learn
  • how graceful you can be to yourself allotting for days you NEED off [for a mental break]. And trust me, you’ll need them.

I recommend making a list of the content areas you need to review the most, including specific topics. I wrote down all of the sections of the Kaplan books (such as electrochemistry, glycolysis part I, the immune system, etc), and then crossed them out as I went through them.

The Resources:

I did my best to obtain as many free resources as possible. However, I feel it’s extremely important to purchase some kind of comprehensive review books regardless of the test-prep company. I purchased Kaplan from Amazon, but I’ve heard good things about Next Step as well. Point being, it doesn’t matter which books. As long as you have something to base your review on. Below are the free resources I used and what I used them for.

  1. The MCAT Podcast/The MCAT CARS Podcast by Medical School HQ. Specific subjects, pearls, and questions.
  2. Jack Westin CARS passages ~ if you subscribe by email, you get a CARS passage daily. It’s amazing. I did this almost daily.
  3. UWorld MCAT [free trial] ~ practice questions. You can select the content areas you want to get questions on. Upgrade for longer access.
  4. Khan Academy MCAT ~ select from all content areas – including CARS – watch lesson videos, do practice questions with instant feedback.
  5. Next Step MCAT ~ free diagnostic half length exam, free full length exam, free question banks!!!
  6. Kaplan ~ I purchased the review books and received 3 complementary full length exams with the code that came with my books.
  7. AAMC Full Lengths ~ the American Association of Medical Colleges – ie, the company that GIVES the MCAT. I recommend purchasing and taking their full length exams at the end of your prep. I’ve heard these are the ones that give you the most accurate prediction as to what you’ll score on the real thing. This is the same site you use to sign up for the MCAT.

All of these resources in combination helped me substantially. I listened to both the podcasts on my way to class my last semester of undergrad and caught myself shouting out the answers when Dr. Gray + Clara would ask them. ūüėÄ The CARS podcast was extremely helpful in familiarizing myself with how the CARS section aims to function. Additionally, I spiral-bound my Kaplan books (cheap at your local office supply store), and took then with me everywhere. I annotated them, marked them up, and I’m fairly certain I answered every single practice question offered throughout them. Again, you NEED some form of review book that lays out what you will be tested on, but I firmly believe it doesn’t matter which. Kaplan was great for me.

The How:

The first month and a half (halfway through May after graduation), and the majority of June, I reviewed material for about 8 hours a day, 6 days a week. I spent most days early in the morning, studied until lunchtime, ate and decompressed, then returned for an afternoon session.

After reviewing the material, I began learning the format of the exams by doing practice questions (mostly to assess knowledge), practice passages (to get a feel for the way the questions are asked), and full-length practice tests. Up until my test date, I had taken 8 practice exams. After each practice exam, I reviewed each question and learned what my weak (as well as strong) areas were. I would use the following day to review the weak areas and re-learn the content.

While I believe the MCAT should be your life in the time you’re preparing, it is necessary to allow time for yourself. Regardless of what that is – using weekdays for longer prep days and weekends for shorter, more relaxed prep, making equal prep on all days for shorter studying in duration, or whatever works best for you. I was able to stick to my schedule while accounting for exercising 5-6 days/week, working one 12-hour-shift per week, and other social events I had throughout the summer. Knowing myself, I knew needed game nights with my roommates, long talks, walks, and my amazing social network.

The Know:

MCAT prep is not specific on testing what will be on your test on any given test day. That being said, the safest way to prepare is to know everything. I’m not joking, either. The Kaplan books do a great job of outlining what is considered “high yield” (or most likely to be on the test). Those are the topics one must know like the back of their hands. The rest, you better believe you should know, also. “High yield” simply means those are the topics most likely to show up on test day. Knowing that helped me in my prep. Here’s a few things I think you NEED to know for test day.

1.AMINO ACIDS. Like you’ve never known anything else. You must know the names, the properties, the three-letter abbreviations, the one-letter abbreviations, which are most similar to each other, etc. Throughout my MCAT experience, I had found that there were amino acid questions throughout both the chem/physics section as well as the biology/biochem sections. Sometimes the questions will display themselves in a very discrete manner such as, “which amino acid is cyclic?” and you’ll be given options in the form of the three-letter codes. Others are not-so obvious… “As described in the passage, which amino acid could also be used for X, Y, Z?” leaving you to deduce which AA of the given options is most similar in nature to the other – property-wise. In these cases, it helped me to take each multiple choice answer and list the properties. If you truly know your stuff, the right answer will scream out at you. If you know anything for the MCAT, make sure you know the amino acids ever-so-thoroughly.

2. Psychiatric Disorders. I haven’t heard a lot of talk about this, but on several of my practice tests, a discrete question would present itself asking which disorder a patient had based on the given symptoms. Have a general idea of the classes of psychiatric disorders, and you’re guaranteed to get at least one question correct on your test. ūüėČ

3. Terminology. ESPECIALLY in the psych/soc section, I believe the terminology is very specific to the MCAT. Sure, these terms are psychological & sociological terms, but the ones you need to know are very MCAT-specific. In undergrad, I had taken 21 credits in sociology (I strongly, strongly recommend if you have the option), and 9 credits of psychology, but prior to studying for the MCAT, I had no idea what “self-serving bias,” the differences between “foot-in-the-door” technique an “low-ball” technique, and what the heck “groupthink” was. While all of these terms sound like you could make an educated guess as to what they mean, in which you’re probably right, do not be too confident. These terms are often very similar to each other and the test will likely make you decide between two options which are indeed, very similar. This is why you NEED TO KNOW your stuff. As I prepared, I found it extremely helpful to write down a term as you see it; on a practice test, while reading, in the podcast, etc. and writing it down and defining it in YOUR terms. Then study that extensively. ūüôā

4. CARS. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. Vital to becoming a physician. In this section, you’re given nine passages and 53 questions to answer about them. Then can be on anything – architecture, Roman/Greek history, ethics & medicine, sociology, you get the point. Not what us pre-meds are accustomed to – we want the science and hard evidence. Many students (including myself) find CARS the most daunting section simply based on the aspect of unfamiliarity. When I took my diagnostic test, I was mortified by my CARS score. But it didn’t stay that that way. By the end of my prep, I ended up scoring higher on CARS than the science sections. All I did was figure out HOW to tackle CARS. It took me a while to understand that CARS is not about comprehension, it’s about inference. What is the author’s attitude about the topic? What is the tone of the overall passage? What is the underlying message? Shifting my perspective on it gave me a much better shot at it.

5. Punnett Squares. I cannot even tell you how many times I drew these out during my practice. If you don’t remember how you survived freshman biology and then a semester of genetics, I HIGHLY suggest learning how to draw and solve Punnett squares and then interpreting them. Learning the inheritance patterns as well as the basics of genetics will benefit you plenty – I can almost guarantee it.

The Strategies:

Here are the test-taking strategies that worked for ME when I took my eight practice tests and carried over into test day:

  1. Discrete questions first. In each of the science sections (chem/physics, bio/biochem, psych/soc), there are 59 questions. Most are passage-based, but nestled between passages are several questions that are not related to a passage and ONLY require outside knowledge. These were my favorite questions. On each section, I went through and did these questions first. Why? Due to time constraints, I didn’t want to risk getting those “simpler” questions wrong in the event that I’d run out of time. These questions, overall, I tended to do better on in comparison to the passage-based questions, so I made sure I did them first. I’d then go back and do the passage-based questions. If you decide to do this, make SURE you go back to all the unanswered questions. ūüôā Sounds obvious, but you never know how you’ll act under pressure.
  2. Recognizing pseudo-discrete questions. While there are obvious discrete questions on the MCAT, there are also what we call “pseudo-discrete” questions. These are passage-based questions that have very little to do with the passage. LOOK OUT FOR THEM. They’re really just a knowledge-based question and testing what you know. ūüôā recognizing this early helps you save time and not scan through the passage when you don’t have to!
  3. Outlining CARS. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills was not what I thought it was, as previously discussed. As I mentioned previously, my CARS section improved the most over time. A lot of this I can attribute to both reading the text out loud, and outlining the passage. My outlining did get a bit excessive, but I am a kinesthetic learner, so this was the missing piece I needed (see above). This is what I did on the last 2 practice tests I took, and the exact strategy I used on the dry erase board I was given on test day. I used so much ink and I do not regret it.

The Good:

No one’s MCAT story is perfect, and mine was far from it. The best piece of advice I can offer is TAKE PRACTICE TESTS. Again, I ended up taking eight total. The best part of this is that walking away on test day, I didn’t feel surprised by anything: the content, the way the test was formatted, the length of the breaks, and mentally working with all the consequences of taking a 7+ hour-long-exam. I cannot emphasize this enough. I walked out of my test feeling probably as good as I could’ve mentally, and I believe I can attribute that to knowing how the test would be formatted. Another note to the good was that, I found a great balance with my flexible job, working one 12-hour shift per week, consistently exercising, and maintaining (somewhat of) a social life. I believe I can attribute this to having been busy most of my undergrad, but I also believe if you make studying your priority (hello, YOU want to be a doctor!!!!) you can achieve a good balance, too.

The Bad:

I will not sugar-coat anything that has to do with this process. There were several, several times throughout my preparation that I doubted myself, felt like I was wasting my time, and questioned the worth of the process. And there were lots of tears throughout the months of preparation. The material was challenging, frustrating, it took up the majority of my summer, and I had a little bit of FOMO when seeing others’ “fun” summers. I had just graduated and completed FIVE years of college for Pete’s sake. I kept telling myself this was part of the process and I heavily relied on my social support system. I cannot thank everyone enough for this. My family, friends, roommates, coworkers, tennis league friends, etc … the kind words did not go unappreciated. Another difficult part about the process was not being able to work as much as a normally do and I was therefore making less money. I scaled back on things and attempted to prioritize my spending. Overall, the MCAT was simply a season of my life and I’m looking to appreciate that part of my plan as much as I can.

The Test:

There is not much to say about the test itself. As mentioned previously, I was accustomed to the format, the content, and during my very last week, I felt like there was nothing else I could do to make my test day any better than I could’ve. Some of this could’ve been the feeling of burnout, sure, but I felt mentally ready. The test itself happened. The testing center staff was phenomenal. During my second break, the only 30 minute break, one of the staff members came out to check on me because she had thought I exceeded my break (she thought it was another 10 minute break), and wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out on precious time. Each time I signed back into the secured testing center and handprinted my way in, the staff wished me good luck. When I finished my test, in the extremely quiet testing room, I raised my hand per protocol and soon heard “YOU’RE ALL DONE!!!” I must’ve had a shocked look on my face, but as the testing facilitator approached me, I realized I was the last test-taker to finish. I was 1 of 3 students taking the MCAT that day; and the last of the 3 to check in (the others were mostly taking the NCLEX and education cert exams). I had never felt so relieved. The kindness of this testing center’s employees made my experience far more relaxing than it could’ve been. This just shows how a little kindness goes a long way.

The After:

I walked out of the testing center with tired eyes (despite wearing glasses with blue-blocker lenses). My phone screen looked like I needed a magnifying glass; the text looked so small compared to the previous screen I had been staring at for 7+ hours. I bought myself a coffee, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling I had when I was sitting in Starbucks waiting for my coffee. I was oddly hyper-aware of my surroundings and slightly in shock that I had just finished the MCAT. Three + whole months were done in a painstakingly long 7+ hours. I then took a nap, and enjoyed drinks and dinner. My overall feelings about the test are rather consistent with how I felt about my practice tests; like mentioned previously, nothing was shocking or uncomfortable after walking out. Now, I just wait until early September to find out! This post MCAT life? Well, it’s a much more relaxed season of life. ūüôā

MCAT-taking friends, please, PLEASE, let me know if any of this information helps you in your preparation. I wish you all of the success in your preparation + on your test. And always remember, it’s a standardized test that does not define your worth. It’s simply a number that allows you to apply to medical school. Let the admissions committee decide if your score is “good enough;” not you, not your peers, not your parents!

Thanks for reading!



First off, phew. It is been a ride these last five years! Part of me can’t believe it’s over and can’t stop thinking “where did the time go?” but the other part of me is feeling extremely relieved.

I will never forget the day I registered for classes in July of 2014. I had just graduated high school (with a great amount of senioritis), and was itching to get out in the “real world.” I’ve had a dream that came with a plan since I was in early high school and I was going to do anything I needed to in order to achieve that lofty goal. I was going to become a physician. I could feel it in my bones. I pictured myself in my white coat and hospital-owned scrubs with my stethoscope around my neck. In my mind, I was so close to this opportunity.

The month before this freshman orientation, I got a call from the tennis coach at my school where I’d be starting in August, with a request for me to join the tennis team. Now, this is a bit of side story, but it’s important, just trust me.

After having said “YES” a bit reluctantly at first, I realized that being on a sports team in college was going to shift mindset a little, I mean, I had played high school tennis for 5 years so I was used to this. But not in the way that I had imagined. I was excited and nervous to be offered this opportunity, so I took it!

Let’s fast forward to the July day when I registered for my first college classes. I got my student ID photo taken, my mom attended the “parents in college” orientation, and I met with an academic advisor. I will never forget the words, “you will NEVER accomplish all of this in 5 years” at my academic advising meeting. I was heartbroken. How dare someone tell me what I can/cannot accomplish! Little did I know, this was a defining moment for me. And a wake up call at best!

july 2014 on campus for new student orientation!

I told this man that I would be on the tennis team, taking honors courses, would be a dietetics major (with two semesters of clinicals), and taking pre-medical courses. I thought I could take it all on, and boy was I wrong.

After leaving orientation, I cried in the car with my mom. I just wanted so badly to go through college and start medical school. Why did I feel a compelling need to move on with my life? My mom reassured me that it would be alright (duh, Maddie, DUH), and that we would come up with something. I remember her saying, “so you have to go another year, what’s the big deal?” She was right. And little did I know, going that extra year would be one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life.

Flash forward to now. What have I gotten out of spending this “extra year” in college? Let me tell you.

I spread out my credits.

I didn’t have to take HUGE credit loads each semester. The pre-medical coursework is tough and dense in science. These courses are all on you. You can’t rely on any extra points given for “participation” or “worksheets.” It’s YOU. You’re the one determining how much studying you’ll be doing and how prepared you’ll be for those exams. I was able to spread some of the courses out while taking more sociology courses. It gave me a great balance between the courses and I believe contributed to my success.

I was able to “balance” school and playing tennis, and then later school & work.

last collegiate tennis match ūüôā

Because I took on a smaller course load (credit-wise) per semester, I was able to focus well on a few courses and also participate on the tennis team. As a side note, being a collegiate athlete is far more time-consuming than a high school one. I volunteered, practiced around 20 hours a week, and attending team events. Having this structure actually helped me prioritize my needs and I believed helped me even beyond my athletic years.

I minored in two fields I am also passionate about.

When I started college, I intended on becoming a dietitian and then a doctor. I felt ambitious and ready to take on the world as I previously mentioned. Instead of taking on this extremely clinical-based path, I changed my major from dietetics to nutrition. My degree was focused on public health and government-program based nutrition rather than clinical nutrition. Because of this, I was required to take several sociology courses and as a consequence, I fell in love with that field. The MCAT (or Medical College Admissions Test) now has a “behavioral science” section with plenty of sociology.


With anything, I have learned there is no need to rush good things. In my last year of college, I felt the same feeling of “senioritis” I felt during my senior year of high school that I hadn’t felt in my fourth year. Though my year was tough both emotionally and academically, I learned plenty about myself and what I want to become. I don’t think that the extra year can ever harm a person; it just gives you more of a shot at developing and experiencing more and more valuable things. I was able to extend my college experience and prolong these amazing years of my life by just one more. In that amount of time, I lived with friends, and wrapped up my favorite (but difficult) course! And now, I am a college graduate.

best degree ever. ūüėČ

So no, I wasn’t able to go straight to medical school like my 18-year-old self had imagined, but my life experiences along the way were invaluable and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. If someone tells you you might have to go to school a little longer than you initially thought, trust in the process!

Thanks for reading!



Here, you’re going to find my guide to reducing waste, getting the most out of your money, and enjoying your food! College students, moms & dads, single girls (and guys) who want to make the most of the food you spend your money on, keep on reading!


Raw, frozen vegetables can be roasted, saut√©ed, or used in any dish fresh vegetables are cooked in. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies, on top of oatmeal, and in baked goods. What if you made too much of an entree? Freeze it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or in a specific, spendy, trendy container. It can be a Ziploc bag or an air-tight container. Just make sure you remove as much air as you can to preserve and maintain freshness and reduce freezer burn. Always date the bag so you know how long it’s been stored. Frozen goods can last up to a year depending on how well it’s sealed. ūüôā


Those that know me know that I am a blend of a planner and letting spontaneity take its chance. That being said, I enjoy having a tentative plan of what I’m going to eat throughout the week; what I will have for snacks, which fruits I’ll purchase, and what I’ll cook ahead of time. This is no-fail, because if I decide to eat out with friends and I still have food at home, I can eat it for breakfast or lunch the next day. I am a huge fan of cold pizza for breakfast.

Be flexible.

I don’t believe in any specific foods only being eaten for breakfast, or any specific foods being eaten for dinner. I will eat fried rice leftovers for breakfast after a workout (with a fried egg for protein), and I’ll make whole-wheat waffles for dinner. America is one of the few cultures in the world that eats dessert-like items for breakfast (donuts, coffee cakes, jumbo muffins, sweet rolls, chocolate chip pancakes, etc). I believe that having the mindset that food does not need to be eaten at certain meals, at specific times, and as certain meals opens up a lot of opportunities. At the end of the week, it isn’t too unlikely you’ll find my roommate and I making breakfast sandwiches for dinner.

Buy in bulk. 

Heading to your local co-op provides you the opportunity to buy in bulk. This means getting larger quantities of non-perishable foods that can be stored on the shelf for a long time and used when needed. Some of my favorite items to buy in bulk include nuts, oats, chia seeds, dried fruit, lentils, beans, rice, and quinoa. Buying in bulk keeps these foods accessible and on hand whenever you need. AND, it reduces cost! Win, win.


Invest in some high-quality food storage containers. I prefer the glass Pyrex containers; they are microwaveable, don’t taste like plastic, and last a long time. Before I eat a meal that I’ve cooked (in which I know there will be leftovers), I make sure to store the leftovers in these containers. This not only helps save food for the week, but helps to portion it as well.

What other methods do you use to help you save money and eliminate food waste? Let me know! Thanks for reading as always!



Let’s face it. We all spend plenty of time on our iPhones. But it doesn’t ahve to be all wasted time. Here, you will find my comprehensive guide to getting the most out of using your iPhone. From apps, features, and some of my favorite things! I hope this guide will help you get the most out of using your iPhone and other Apple devices. ūüėÄ Enjoy!



Within the clock app, Apple added a new feature in 2016 for users to help keep a consistent sleep schedule. For someone like myself who doesn’t have much of a regular sleep schedule, it helps! Each night, I am able to set an approximate time that I want to be sleeping, and set when I want to wake up. It calculates how long you’ll be sleeping based on when you set it. It then goes on to track a sleep history over time in the Health App so the user is able to get a feel for how well and how long they are sleeping for.

My favorite feature of all is the ringtones associated with this feature. They are somewhat tranquil sounding and gradually get louder as to not startle a person as they’re waking up. 

Screen Time: 

On the most recent iOS update in 2018, you’ll discover this wonderful feature. Within the settings app is the the tab titled “Screen Time.” Here, you can look and see how much time you spend on your phone every day. It also allows you to break down the amount of time spent on which apps so you can see where you spend your time. I have added “caps” to my social media apps each day (no more than 2 hours spend on them total per day). This really helps me to stay off my phone when I need to be productive. It also reminds me how ridiculous I feel for spending so much time on my phone. Seriously.¬†

Night Shift:

This feature was added to an iOS system to help your eyes from being strained while looking at your phone. You as the user are able to adjust how “warm” you wish your screen to look and when. I personally keep my phone on night shift most of the day and night. Way to go Apple!!!

Apps [all free!!]:

Sleep Cycle: 

Another sleep-tracking app. It does its best to analyze how well you slept (by using the microphone feature), and gives you a look at how long you slept, and the quality. It is a great app to try if you want to try to improve you sleep quality or are wondering why you aren’t sleeping well. You get a diagram on feedback for the hours you slept and and quality of your sleep at that time.

White Noise Deep Sleep Sounds:

Speaking of sleeping… If I am having trouble sleeping, I prefer the “fan” setting and I sleep well. It’s nice to have on hand while studying, too. There are plenty other white noise features including an airplane cabin, thunder, wind, and plenty other relaxing sounds.

Event Countdown:

My favorite way to look forward to events to incentivize challenging tasks. I currently have one of my best friends’ weddings noted, when my next races are, and soon, my MCAT date. EEK! 


This app sets a timer that helps with productivity. You can choose to lock your phone so that you aren’t able to use it (perfect for studying). You’re able to pick the amount of time you want to keep it locked for and the amount of time you want.

Kaplan MCAT Flashcards:

I like to have these on-hand. Any bit of studying counts, and if I’m sitting waiting in a line, I can quickly and easily review! 


Ok, Maddie, you’re a nerd, we get it. This is my favorite “game” on my phone. You get to choose a medical speciality and case and you’re the provider. You must review the patients’ symptoms and medical history, then head to the exam where you then order diagnostic labs and imaging, and bedside intervention where you then make a diagnosis and disposition and you’re consequently scored on how you did. I have learned so much from this app!!!

Get productive – I hope this helped! What are your favorite iPhone features and apps? Send me an email or shoot me a message on instagram! Thanks for reading!



Finals are among the most stressful occurrences for students everywhere – college students, graduate students, and everyone, everywhere. We are tested on material taught over the course of 16 weeks crammed into 5 short days. While this time period can be stressful, lacking sleep, and full of anxiety, I have learned some habits that help me thrive in this critical time period that happens at the end of every semester. 

What’s left?

What is left in each course? Chapter 22 homework? A lab report? Each exam you’ll be taking? Make a list. Of EVERYTHING. Add the dates & deadlines. Simply writing these things down eases any bit of panic. You won’t miss a single thing! And this way, as soon as a task is done, nothing beats the gratification of crossing things off a list. I hang mine up where I can see it until the last task is done! 

Break it down.

About two weeks prior to finals, with my comprehensive list of academic tasks and deadlines, I make tentative plans for each day in both my paper planner and on the sticky notes on my computer. This way, I have it available wherever I need it. This helps me stick to the plan. I start by making a (reasonable) list of everything I wish to accomplish that day. 


Getting in a good workout is essential to my success. It grants me mental clarity and focus, and I feel great afterwards. It’s also a great distraction from the stress of exams and studying. When I exercise during this time, I do not bring any study material with me to attempt to read over. I designate time for the gym and crank up the tunes. One hour at the gym¬†is not going to cause you to fail. In fact, it may even help you do better. ūüôā

Clean up.

Every exam period, I clean my bedroom and organize the parts that may have become disordered from the craziness of the semester. This includes recycling old papers and receipts, clearing off my desk space, washing my bedding, wiping down my computer, and cleaning out my car. These simple practices just give me more mental clarity and less scatter-brain. 


I will forever refuse to pull an all-nighter to study. Preparing and utilizing designated study time and blocking off specific time to do so prevents the build up of stress, or the thoughts of “I should be studying” [see last point]. I do my best to¬† relax before bed and trust in my preparation for the upcoming exam. Sleeping 7-8 hours before an exam has proven to help students focus. Take melatonin and go to bed. ūüėÄ I value hydration as well as proper nutrition and find them crucial in this time frame. Taking care of yourself overall is one of the best things you can do now and in the long run!¬†

Reward yourself.

Give yourself something to look forward to when you’re done. Get drinks, buy yourself something you can wear or read, or go on a small road trip! My best friend and I take a road trip to Fargo as soon as we finish our last finals for the last few semesters. It is so nice to get out of town and switch up the scenery. 

Designate time to study.

Allocating specific time to study (depending on how specific you want to get) has allowed me to eliminate that dreaded last-minute cramming. For example, one hour for chemistry, a half hour break for lunch, an hour and a half of creating a study guide, 1 hour at the gym… etc. The key is to be productive in that designated time. Remove distractions, fill up your coffee cup, and study! The most difficult aspect of this for me was getting the notion of “I need to be studying 24/7 to do well!!!” out of my head. The amount of time “studying” is simply not effective if it involves a lot of scrolling through social media (I speak from experience). One hour of focused studying is far better than two hours of distractions. 

Now relax, take a deep breath, and trust in your preparation to do well on all of your exams. Good luck, my friends!




A year ago, I said I would never run more than a 10K. In fact, I said I would probably never run a 10K again. My story of how I got here fully expresses how proper training and diet wins. Every. Single. Time. The human body is amazing. This is my story of getting from the beginning of my running experience – where running made me feel sick – to finishing my first half marathon feeling great ūüėÄ

12 Weeks Out:

I registered for the race and began the Hal Higdon’s “Novice 1” Half Marathon Training plan. My runner friends gave me advice throughout this process and I cannot thank them enough. The most important piece I retained was to never skimp on long runs. They are the most important in conditioning yourself for the endurance you will sustain. Since the race was in my hometown, my hospital offered a 50% off discount for employees – making it that much more worthwhile.

The Training Process:

blisters? Keep going. ūüėČ

The runs themselves continued getting easier, but were never easy. My training plan started out with 2 miles 2x/week then 4 mile long run on Sunday. That occured for 2 consecutive weeks, then the following week, add half a mile, and a mile to the long run (again for two weeks). I did this with a combination of 2 days of cross train/week and 2 rest days/week. Each week, the mileage was increasing – where I was reaching 7, 8, 9, and closed it off with 10 before the race. I stuck to the plan as closely as I could keeping in mind taking more rest days if necessary. One thing I can pride myself on is listening to my body and not exerting it. If I needed an extra rest day, I’d take one.

My crosses were either gentle rounds of tennis, or cycling. From my understanding, the purpose of cross training is to keep the heart rate up while giving your body a break from the repetitive physical nature of running.

I loved this training plan and I think it was the perfect starting point for myself as an extremely novice runner. In fact, it is formulated for newbies like myself. The next half I run, I plan on doing the novice II plan.

I tried to run in either the morning, before it got too hot & humid, or in the late afternoon/evening, knowing full-well that I do not tolerate heat well. As a whole, this worked well. The only aspect I think I would’ve changed is being able to run in the morning more often, when races are held, but it is difficult when you’re a student, an intern, and you work. ūüėÄ

Throughout this training process, I discovered what to eat, when to eat, and experimented with different foods. For me, and knowing full-well that every human body is different, it was a process. Before most of my runs, I simply ate a package of fruit snacks. Yes, they’re highly processed, have a ton of corn syrup, and have slim to none in terms of nutritional benefits. However, because they are simply sugar, they make for quick energy that is readily available for the body and doesn’t usually upset the stomach. After my long runs were starting to get longer, I tried Bolt energy chews – much better ingredients, maltodextrin, green tea extract (a small caffeine boost). They consistently worked for me and I would recommend them to other athletes both personally and professionally. After getting down to the end, on my 8, 9, and 10 mile runs, I tried Clif’s “shot” energy gels after mile 6 consistenly. These easily dissolve in your mouth and realistically, do not require any chewing – making it easy to “eat” mid-run.

As a whole, I tried keeping my diet as “clean” as possible, especially throughout the month of September leading up to the race. This included avoiding alcohol, fried foods, pizza, and eating less dairy. I consumed a lot of carbs – bagels, bread, rice, and starchy vegetables as well as lean protein (chicken, fish, beans), and plenty of other vegetables. I usually ran 2 hours after eating a full meal and tolerated this well.

The Two Days Before:

I ate a lower-fiber, higher carbohydrate diet consisting of a lot of white grains, less vegetables (and thoroughly cooked vegetables). Fiber is crucial to a balanced diet, as it adds roughage to the GI tract, ferments in the large intestine, and helps maintain a balance in the digestive tract. But if you are preparing for a race, especially with a sensitive stomach (like myself), reducing fiber can help TONS. Because that fermentation of the high fibrous foods takes more than 24 hours to digest, which can lead to GI upset and cramping. I had experienced both of these two things throughout my training process, so low fiber leading up to the race worked well for me.

I also upped my water intake as well and started adding Nuun electrolyte tablets to 16 oz of water. I rotated between water and electrolyte water. I also had plain black coffee (obviously).

my roommate, Kai, the black lab mix, joined me for my last taper ūüėÄ

The Day Before:

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I drank 64 oz of water with 32 additional ounces of electrolytes + water. I ran one mile, and my roommate made roasted potatoes and white pasta. Nothing has ever tasted so good. I went to bed at 10 pm and slept through the night.

The Race:


It was 29 degrees F. I woke at 6:00, drank 16 oz of water + electrolytes along with a tortilla with peanut butter. I also ate a pack of Bolt energy chews. I met up with my coworkers who were also running, and we made our way to the start.

I got to run with Alex & Matt until about mile 4, where they turned off to finish the 10K. After that point, I do not remember much. The neighborhoods were familiar, the streets I’ve driven on my entire life, but it is difficult to describe the thoughts and scenes you recall in those moments.

Reaching mile 7 was approaching a large incline on the Greenway of Grand Forks; I knew it was the turning point of the race, meaning more had been ran than there was left to run. Approaching mile 8, I slowly finished an energy gel and kept going.

At mile 9, I wished I had gone to the bathroom before the race started. Pausing my watch, I used the bathroom and got back on track. This set my time back more than I had planned for, but all I can attribute to this is knowing for the future. Oh well. What did I learn? Always use the bathroom prior to starting a race. Even if you think you it’s nervous energy causing the urge. Just go. ūüôā

Approaching mile 12, the very last full mile of the race, was perhaps the most difficult part of the entire race. Not even because it was the last, not because I was gassed, not even that I had never ran this distance before. I had trained, I was conditioned, I was ready for this!! It was however, the ever-so-slightly above freezing temperature, the wind chill, running south against a northern wind. I cranked up my music, (I believe Make Me Proud by Drake), and pictured my dad at the end waiting for me. Finally coming within sight of the finish was relieving, yet so far away.

Again, it is hard to recall the rest of what occured. I have never felt so relieved, energized, and proud. Seeing my Dad’s face at the end made me so happy. I was congratulated (and wished a Happy Birthday) from a large group of my ER coworkers volunteering as medics at the end – it made it so much better.

ER nurses & paramedics volunteering as medics – and greeting me at the end of the race ūüôā

The Next Few Days:

The day following the race, my quads and hip flexors were incredibly sore as predicted. But alongside the physical symptoms after having just ran 13.1 miles for the first time, I felt so many emotions. Is post-run depressions something real? In short, I felt like I needed to go for a run; what I had been doing for the past 12 weeks in training. It is difficult to come down from such a high after completing such a self-fulfilling feat. I laid low and took it easy that day which was exactly what I needed.

The Monday following, my friend and I signed up for another half. But do not worry. It isn’t until June. ūüėÄ The only reason we registered so early is it fills up within the first few minutes!!

What’s next?

Technically speaking, now that I am scheduled to run another race, I have an extra drive to stay in “running” shape. This is greatly hindered however, due to the weather in North Dakota. I still plan on running 3 miles (indoors) a few times a week along with strength training, and cross training through playing tennis and cycling. I also would love to incorporate more yoga into my fitness routine for mobility and strength.

A Special Thank You:

With everything I have accomplished so far (I am extremely blessed), I have realized how much support it takes to get to each these milestones. My parents, simply believing in me with each of these feats, and my Dad specifically waiting for me at the finish line of this race. My friends: Koryn, for making me dinner the night before, encouraging me throughout the process. Shelby, biking alongside my Sunday long runs (in the bitterly cold sometimes), Jenna, for giving me advice & encouragement throughout the process, Rachel, for your perspective and your experience. And everyone else along the way – your advice and positivity has helped me get to where I am now!

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A year ago, I said I would never run more than a 10K, and here I am. I ran a half marathon on my 23rd birthday – and this is not the end!

Thanks for reading and following along with my journey!



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This summer provided me with plenty of opportunities both professionally and personally. These are the words behind my summer.


1. Diabetes

The theme of my summer. My wonderful preceptor is a Certified Diabetes Educator and was gracious enough to ensure I learned from her. Diet. Medications. Carbohydrates. Being immersed in such a specialized area of practice will hopefully help me later on in my education. And with that, 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal, and take 500 mg Metformin with meals 2x/day if you’re first diagnosed. Ok, it’s not THAT simple. ūüėČ

The largest contributor to the success of my internship was my preceptor. She is an amazing human being. She is working her “dream job” in this field, has ran marathons, and went back to school in her 60s. I absolutely adore her and aspire to be the kind of professional she is.

Another HUGE portion that I was fortunate enough to gain from this internship was cultural competency. The majority of patients we served were from all different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Through this, I was able to learn about dietary patterns, foods, and a lot of food words in other languages. Culture is so important to consider when treating our patients. There is nothing like direct immersion in the field.

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2. Vehicles

With living in a different city this summer, I quickly learned that my car, granted to me at 16, was aging and wasn’t going to make the biweekly commute. My first car, (given the nickname Black Beauty, like the horse), was sold to another 16 year old girl this summer. And for me? I am now making my first car payments – ever. But it wasn’t that easy or simple.

My parents were kind enough to let me take their cars for my 70-mile commutes in the meantime. And parking my dad’s pickup at the downtown clinic I interned at wasn’t exactly the easiest or comfortable experience. I am that much more grateful for a nice, and reliable vehicle. I pray that my new car will hopefully last me for years upon years.

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3. Scrubs.

My friend and coworker has been nagging me for well over a year to watch the show Scrubs. I had a million excuses, but I finally caved. I am hooked. Part of it is how much Elliot reminds me of someone I know very well… ūüėÄ Regardless, this show is part of how I wind down at night and I love it. PS, did you know Scrubs is ‘supposedly’ one of the most medically accurate TV shows?


4. Balance.

Maybe not what you’re thinking. My weekdays were full of clinic patients doing health education (primarily diet), and my weekends were full of acute, fast-paced emergency room patients. The environments were polar opposites. And I didn’t really stop. Scrubs and tennis shoes then dresses and jewelry. STEMIs and strokes, then DASH diets. I was a machine this summer. This helped me to realize that in my professional life, I will seek a similar variety with the call, the emergency room, the high-acuity events, but ALSO, the education, and preventative aspect in the clinic. I cannot believe this was summer #5 in the ED!


5. Beer.

The girl who has always hated on beer is also the girl who was open to try it. Yet still never liked it. Until this summer. I discovered I am a fan of ales – especially ones with citrus. If you have any recommendations, send them my way! I’m open to try any!


6. Chipotle.

Nope, my hometown/college town does not have a Chipotle, believe it or not. The city I interned it, you better believe it did. This is my favorite quick food option. Brown rice, sofritas, black beans, extra lettuce, corn salsa, cheese, and……… GUAC. Until we are in the same city again, Chipotle. ‚̧

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7. Soulmate.

I was so fortunate to be able to live with a friend from elementary school this summer. Bailey just graduated with her bachelor’s in dietetics, so you can imagine our in-depth discussions. We lifted heavy together, made dinner together, and ventured on the walking trails of the city. But beyond that, Bailey gave me a piece of mind among the chaos. She reminded me the importance of sleeping enough, allowing myself to take breaks, and overall, taking care of myself. She is a beautiful human being. We were destined to be friends. Bailey, I cannot thank you enough for making my summer the best way it could’ve been.


8. Road Trip!!

I got to visit one of my best friends from college in Duluth, MN for a long weekend (with my now reliable vehicle). We hiked in Gooseberry and ate really well. Jenna is now done with her first week of pharmacy school. You go girl. ‚̧

The best growth I have experienced this summer were the things that were at first, out of my comfort zone. I had never lived in a different city, and I had never gotten to see MY OWN patients. Everything has flown by per usual, but looking back, despite all the work and time spent progressing I am so satisfied, and so happy. Here’s to the start my second week of my 5th year of undergrad! ūüėČ

Thanks for reading!