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Why backpacks & bandages?

Monday, October 31, 2022

Hi there!

I have so many posts in drafts, so many travel pictures I want to share (both from Aruba and my latest destination after that, Italy) but I wanted to briefly pop by and also talk about something else than traveling.

On Wednesday we have our bachelor graduation ceremony, so we will not only be officially titled as bachelors of medicine but will also get to visit the stage to celebrate our merits. Only that I haven’t been feeling too festive about it at all. I’m extremely proud of myself and of all my classmates for getting this far, but I’ve also been utterly terrified about the next steps! Realising just how exhausted I’ve been for the past multiple years and knowing how much harder the work will get is not a very comforting thought, and there’s oh so much work to do and oh so much responsibility to carry on our particular career path, both of which I’d currently rather not do. I’ve been playing with these thoughts in my head and talking about it with some friends and the wisest of them all, my grandma, and even though the masters (3 years worth of internships at different hospitals at different departments) still is terrifying my excitement for it at no point disappeared. I chose this career path because I genuinely love medicine, and diving neck deep in its interesting subjects. Whether I will or will not be able to carry the increasing workload with irregular schedules, that remains to be seen but as one of my friends said, I’ll never know if I don’t try! So, the current conclusion is still the same as before, to get back to education once my turn comes at the end of March 2023 (here in the Netherlands the start date of the masters of medicine is divided over large periods). So I still have quite some months to get more comfortable with my new study language Dutch (honestly probably the main reason for my terrified state – studying medicine is hard enough, but doing it in English and then again in Dutch does add another pickle), get some rest, find a home in which I could stay for more than 12 months, and create a routine that works for me and helps me to hold on to my energy.

Siena, 2016

Siena, 2022













So, on that note, as I did not turn my ship and sail away from medicine, I figured it’s a good time to rename the blog. I’m planning to keep on traveling as much as I can (and already have all kinds of great plans to be the traveling sort of a doctor) and if you’ve ever seen me travel you know I always travel light with all my belongings in a backpack, so I figured that would be fitting. And what more fitting than something that has to be in that backpack for my clumsy adventures and also in my school environment, bandages. So there you go, backpacks & bandages!  Other than the name and the profile picture (from 2016 eh) no changes have been made – I still blog when the time’s right and about topics that I feel like blogging at the time. It is my public sort of a diary after all. I will also try and include some more medicine related things hence I usually get the most questions about those, but the rest remains to be seen.

For fellow stressed med students out there – it’s normal to doubt yourself but we’ve got this, we just have to try, and then if we really haven’t got this that’s also quite alright. I hope you’re all (med students and non-med students alike) doing well and as always, thank you for reading. x

Love, Anna


P.S. I’ve only studied medicine myself but I’m fully aware of the challenges and hard work of other careers too, so please do know that when I talk about medicine being tough I am not comparing it to anything else, just speaking about it as its own unit!


Greetings from the Caribbean

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Hi y’all!

Long time no see, as per usual. Well, here I still am! The same girl on the other side of the screen. Only now my title has changed (I’m now instead of a starting medical student finally officially Bachelor of Medicine!) and so has my location. And well, quite a few other things too but we’ll get to that!

So what’s happened since the last updates?

  • There was Christmas holiday in Finland
  • Then there was a quarantine and yet another quarantine
  • Visited Salzburg & Innsbruck in Austria
  • Graduated from the Honours Programme
  • Short easter trip to Finland
  • Celebrated King’s Day and said hi to the Dutch King himself
  • Made a day trip with friends to Rotterdam and S’ Hertogenbosch
  • Hosted friends from Finland who were finally able to visit
  • Food truck festival, birthday dinners and parties, High teas, local music festivals, combined birthday parties
  • Said bye to some housemates and hi to some new ones and then bye again
  • Graduated from Bachelor of Medicine
  • Completed my Dutch language requirements needed to start my Masters of Medicine at Maastricht University (in Dutch!)
  • Completed a rather long round of therapy, that I will still return to to make sure what I’ve learned will stay with me
  • Short summer trip (while still studying for a resit) to Finland
  • Took a gap from my studies until late March 2023
  • Packed my things and took off to Aruba to volunteer at a dog resort


And here we are! Currently laying in bed, under a mosquito net with the fan whirring to aid me to sleep in this 30C heat, with one of the resort dogs as my temporary housemates due to the resort being particularly full (not that I complain!). It’s been a very busy year, and I came here to take a break from everything while also trying to practice some Dutch before starting my masters later in that said language. Thankfully there’s still some time til that eh!

As always, I’ve really missed writing, and being on this paradise island is not only about being surrounded by dogs but getting in touch with other things that I so enjoy, so this time I will promise (mostly to myself) to write more often. I can’t wait to tell you about my experience in Aruba so far! Right now though I shall get some sleep, as we have a early morning before cleaning the kennels. Ayo!




How to catch up when I’ve had a poor study period

Monday, June 7, 2021

Hi there!


Hope you’re doing well! So, we had exam week last week and just started with a new block this week. As a study break I wrote this short blog post but I ended up never taking another break to actually post it, so here you go, another belated post! Our exam results will come in a few weeks so for now I don’t know whether my efforts were enough this time, but I definitely tried my best with the last week’s grind, which is always a good feeling. Anyway, below’s the text from last week, and the first and last wishes still obviously stand!

I hope the sun’s shining like it was (finally) here in NL, and that you don’t have to worry about more exams this semester (unlike us)! We have a double credit (an unfortunate outcome of covid adaptations) next week, before starting our last block of this academic year.

As I’ve mentioned, there’s been a lot going on and I have needed a lot more breaks than usual, and had a lot less energy for studying than usual. This means that I don’t only have revision to do for the exam, but also quite a bit of catching up. Our block is a block of 8 weeks, and includes topics from psychiatry, neurology and the musculoskeletal system. It is thus quite a lot of information, and we still have quite a few lessons next week and not that much extra time. So, below are my tips for catching up and revising as efficiently as possible:


  • postpone everything else until after the exams (work, other projects etc)
  • take enough breaks, preferably doing sports or briefly meeting friends or going outside
  • make a list of everything you need to revise
    • I list out on paper all the lectures, practicals and cases we’ve had in the block and mark old scholarly what I’ve already covered and what yet not (crossing over smth is very rewarding)
    • I like to mark separately the things I need to study more detailedly and start with those before getting to revising everything
  • instead of watching lectures, I go through the slides while listening to my own music – this helps me to stay focused and motivated even when low on energy. If the slides are unclear then I’ll look up the lecture, and if something is still unclear, one can contact the lecturer.



Here’s an example of my current to do list:

  • prep for case 12
  • prep for skills
    • MSE
    • shoulder, neck & spine
    • sciatica
  • study missed case (5)
  • do paper notes on cases 1-10
  • go through missed lecture slides and take written/typed notes
    • Neck & Shoulder
    • Vertebral column
    • HNP
    • Osteoporosis
    • Uveitis and Glaucoma
    • Cataract & AMD
    • Stroke
    • Logistical regression
    • Dementia
    • Cognitive development & healthy aging
    • Neuroanatomy & neurobiology (go through again)
    • Mental state examination
    • Stress and behaviour
  • read through and fill in computer notes on cases 1-10
  • read through lecture notes and practical preparation notes
  • study anatomy on Complete Anatomy and with Netter’s Anatomy Colouring Book
  • make flashcards when in need of another study method and go through them daily


Yes, this does mean that my following days are quite packed. However, I love grinding my studies. I love the study dates with friends, enjoying the coffee a little extra when it’s giving me extra motivation for studying and currently also studying on the roof in my bikinis. I will probably run out of time, but for that very reason I shall go to bed now, get a good night’s sleep and have an alarm at 10 so that I will fill my energy batteries again to be able to make the most out of my little time until the exam. When ever I get distracted I drink some water/tea, have a little dancing/singing break or clean/organize something. Maybe some of those tips might work for you too when ever you’re in the same situation?


What ever you’re busy with I hope you’re not too busy and that you’re taking care of yourself! For everyone else at exams, best of luck, we can do this!


Love, Anna





Friday, May 14, 2021

Hi y’all!

Hope the day has started well for you too! Netherlands is treating us with a rare sight of blue sky and sunshine until now, and because of the national holiday yesterday, we’re having a free day. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have tons of tasks to do and cases to study for university and emails to send for work, but I got to sleep in without an alarm and have breakfast while reading (currently reading: A fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy) so I truly can not complain.

In general I’ve been feeling a lot better lately, and while I certainly have a lot to work on still, I’ve also been able to focus a bit more on what’s really important to me. One of those things (while obviously not the only one) is obviously studying medicine. I’m also interested in just about everything else, but being a medicine student is a huge part of my life as it takes a great chunk of my time and as it is the one thing that is bringing me towards my dream. As I keep mentioning, I truly love my studies. And it’s always nice to focus on the positive, right? So that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll finally start telling you guys a bit more about my life as a medicine student! So, to start with, this is me! A girl with messy hair, a coffee mug in my hand (very important), big smile on (most of the time), a bruise from basket ball (I have never played that sport before trying it out with my friends last week) and studying in the weirdest of places.


I will definitely keep writing about all these other random topics and I will definitely still keep my texts very honest, and that’s actually what I want to THE ME in my medicine studies-related posts as well: I’ve failed exams, I’ve struggled with assignments, I’ve needed to stay silent in class because I didn’t prepare well enough, I’ve over exhausted myself and I’ve done silly mistakes. While obviously these are not things I’m proud of, they are normal things and things that especially medicine students often don’t talk about. We live in a world where everyone is supposed to be an over achiever, and social media makes it look very easy. I’m an over achiever by heart and I can tell you it’s not easy.

So, from now on you will be hearing and seeing more about my study life, my struggles with my studies and how being a medicine student doesn’t mean that one wouldn’t have anything else in their lives (I refuse to stop being generally interested in everything, it all just comes down to prioritising). A medicine student can have and should have a social life, does not need to and should not be constantly over achieving, and also requires rest and other things in their lives to balance the demanding studies (also by the way a full disclosure – I’m very much aware that medicine is not at all the only demanding study line, just being a student in itself is demanding). So I’ll still keep thinking about random topics, still talk about mental health care, still go on my little trips (when corona allows), still share my favourite recipes and my favourite pictures, but just with a little more med student content. If that’s your cup of tea, nice, stay tuned! If you’re not interested, just skip the topics (you can actually choose a category you want to read on my blog on the side bar) you can’t bother to read.

As I keep repeating, I really like blogging as it’s one of my favourite outlets, so I’m quite excited! However, I will not be promising a certain amount of posts in a certain time, as that’s just not how I roll. But hopefully you’ll be hearing from me soon!

Have an absolutely lovely day, hugs from the Netherlands! x

Love, Anna