Thanks for tagging me in the medstudent tag, Shanice from Purely Positivitea! I loved reading yours, here goes mine!
Who are you and where do you study?
Hi! My name is Guðrún (you can say Gudrun if it’s easier, my name is Icelandic so it can be tough to pronounce!). I am starting my 5th year of medschool this August, at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, my hometown.
When did you start studying medicine or premed courses?
We don’t have premed programs here in Iceland – instead, our medical school takes 6-7 years. I started medschool as soon as possible with the Icelandic system, when I graduated from high school, back in 2013. I was 20 years old.
What made you choose the medical field?
That’s a good question and sometimes I’m not even quite sure how I ended up here myself. I was always interested in medicine, from a young age, but I was never one of those kids who decided to become a doctor when they were five. I have tremendous respect for that kind of determination, but there are just so many things I want to do in my life and so many future me’s whom I am waiting to become, if that makes sense. (I’m a writer/journalist, I work in resale during weekends and I’m a medstudent. And that’s just for now, more to come later! 😂)
So medicine was never the end-all, be-all for me, and there was never a clear cut, decisive “yes, I want to become a doctor”-moment for me either, but rather, I feel this career chose me, in a way. I had always liked biology, chemistry and other nature sciences and with every year passing I would subconsciously keep choosing courses and even entire academic programs that prepared me for medical school.
By the time I finished high school, it had become crystal clear in my mind that had to give medicine my best shot. There was just no other option for me, I could never have looked back without regrets if I hadn’t. I definitely do not regret that decision, medicine is who I am now.
How did you come up with your blog name/username?
My Instagram name came first, @ladyreykjavik. It was inspired by the title of an old Icelandic song which has been my favorite for a long time, called “Fröken Reykjavik”. The lyrics are about a young woman, walking around Reykjavik (my beautiful city!), wearing a new summerdress and red shoes. I collect red shoes by the dozen, so I’ve always identified with this lady and that’s where my Instagram name came from. The blog then got the same name, it only made sense.
If you want to listen to the song, here is a recent version of it from one of Iceland’s most popular current artists.
How would you describe your blog?
…as neglected, perhaps? 😂 Well, that’s a joke, but I would love to have time to write more posts. In the future!
My blog is a reflection of myself, I hope. It mostly centers around medicine and my experience of medical school, rotations, working in the hospital etc., but I also write about makeup and beauty, health, food and drink, traveling, lifestyle… I like to keep nothing off limits. This is my space and I love being able to share anything I am currently obsessed over with all of you!
What’s your favorite quote?
I change them up quite often (I loooove good quotes!), but right now it’s this one:
Best memory in medical school?
This is a real tough one! Finding out that I got into medical school is pretty high up on that list, though. So is celebrating finished finals with my crew of awesome girls. And to be honest, the everyday-struggles are pretty good too, when you look back.
What’s one course you struggled with?
I’ve struggled with a few, but most memorable was biological chemistry (not the same as biochemistry) back during my first year of medical school. I had taken a similar course in high school so I thought I wouldn’t have to study that much for it in university. I honestly just really neglected it for the first month or so. Boy, was I wrong!
Luckily, the final score consisted of two exams, one mid-term and one at the end of the course. My mid-term grade was a serious slap in the face, I would have failed the course had it only been that one exam. But it woke me up and I don’t think I have ever studied as hard as the following month, resulting in a stellar grade on the final exam. I’m still so proud of that turnaround – anything is possible when you put a lot of work into it!
What’s your favorite book?
My absolute favorite is “Spinster” by Kate Bolick. I’m reading it for the 3rd time now, its take on women’s elective singlehood through the centuries is PHENOMENAL. A must-read, in my single opinion!
What do you do in your free time?
During the winter I work parttime in the E.R., in resale during weekends and freelance as a journalist, along with being a full-time medical student, so my free time is limited. But when I do have the time, I love working on my Instagram account and my blog, writing poetry/fiction, going for a run or doing some yoga and meeting friends. But honestly, I am quite introverted – most of my free time is spent alone (or with my cat) somewhere, reading or writing or just relaxing. It’s a balance!
What do you want to major or specialize in?
I’m not sure yet. When I first started medschool 4 years ago, psychiatry was my number one interest. This fall I will finally get to study it, so I’m very excited!
But along the way I’ve become interested in so many more specializations. My biggest love so far has been emergency medicine, I always feel so at home when I am working in the E.R. There was a time when I fell in love with nephrology and now recently I’ve been doing a lot of surgery. I didn’t like it at first, but the more I do it, the more I like it! I am seriously considering it now – plastic and vascular surgery being on top of that list, currently. But we will see, I won’t have to choose for at least a couple of years, so stay tuned!
Who do you look up to?
So many amazing women and men inspire me every day, both in and out of the hospital, it’s hard to pick just one. But my nr. 1 role model is Mademoiselle, otherwise known as Coco Chanel. Coming from nothing, rising up and building her empire in a time when it was almost unheard of for women to even work outside the home; never marrying but always being in love… She is just goals!
How do you study (productively)?
I have found that a good plan changes everything. I like to set up my study material for the next day the evening before. That way I don’t have to spend time planning in the morning and there are no excuses, I can just get straight to work.
I also swear by a website called Cram Fighter – it sets up a great study plan really quickly and tells you exactly what you need to study each day! Just wish I had discovered it sooner.
Finally, studying in relatively short, timed periods with short breaks in between them has really helped me. I can’t stay 100% focused for more than around 30 minutes, then I need a break, otherwise I’m just waisting my time.
How do you stay motivated in medical school?
Motivation has never been a big issue for me, thankfully. When I’m strugglying, I try to remember how happy I was when I got the acception letter into medschool four years ago, and how thankful I am for being on this journey. That usually snaps me right back into my happy mode! 😉
What are your best tips for future medical students?
Staying excited but grounded, remembering that this will be hard at times and there might even be days when you want to quit, but as long as this is your passion, the journey will be worth it. Also, don’t do it alone! Medical school can be so competitive but you have to put that aside and make friends with your colleagues. It’s really the only way to do this, even in my introverted opinion!
…and that’s a wrap, hope you got some juicy bits out of that! 😜 I really want to keep the tag going, so:
Plus @saggoddess, @tinaxzw and @vivyangmd on Instagram (don’t think you ladies have blogs yet? But tagging you anyway!)
– you’re up next! Can’t wait to get to know y’all better. ❤️