What are useful things to have during medical school?

Prince_Avocado

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Hi!

I'm starting medical school in about 6 weeks and I wanted to know if there were things that you guys brought or purchased that really helped you through medical school. I'm getting a monitor for my laptop so that I can have two screens to work with. I'm a lot more productive with two screens so it's essentially a must for me. Also, a lot of my professors from college told me to invest in a high quality mattress since I'm going to live in a private dorm, so that's another thing I'm probably going to get.

This is my first time living alone so I don't really know what to bring besides the essentials like clothes and toiletry. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
 
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M&L

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I’d say get first aid before school starts .
from other stuff - get rice cooker (you can also steam veggies in it ). I would also get a toaster oven (with horizontal load) vs vertical toaster ( you can make nice hot sandwiches and such . ). Instead of coffee maker get a French press and make coffee in it.
 
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scoopdaboop

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You're going to be sitting on your chair for a long time... I got the SMUGDESK ergonomic office chair on amazon for like 80 bucks and it's great.. I can recommend it after sitting on it for 6 hrs a day.

Get a table that's easy to assemble, I got one that I just had to fold the table legs, and it was cheap. I see people in my class trying to sell their enormous tables for like 200 bucks, don't be like that.

A monitor I recommend is one of the portable monitors on amazon that's 15 inches and you can bring it to school etc. It's about 100 bucks, but I guess if you care about gaming, you can shell out 50 more bucks to get a decent 144 hz gaming display that will function as a dual display along with your laptop, but you lose the portability factor.

Buy yourself a slow cooker, maybe a whiteboard too.
 
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Prince_Avocado

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You're going to be sitting on your chair for a long time... I got the SMUGDESK ergonomic office chair on amazon for like 80 bucks and it's great.. I can recommend it after sitting on it for 6 hrs a day.

Get a table that's easy to assemble, I got one that I just had to fold the table legs, and it was cheap. I see people in my class trying to sell their enormous tables for like 200 bucks, don't be like that.

A monitor I recommend is one of the portable monitors on amazon that's 15 inches and you can bring it to school etc. It's about 100 bucks, but I guess if you care about gaming, you can shell out 50 more bucks to get a decent 144 hz gaming display that will function as a dual display along with your laptop, but you lose the portability factor.

Buy yourself a slow cooker, maybe a whiteboard too.
I didn't know portable monitors were a thing. I just googled it and I'm completely mind blown. Will definitely look into it!
 

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An electric water kettle is great if you like tea, it's also good for instant ramen cups of you enjoy those.

A book stand is good if you like physical books in front of you.

If you like handwriting notes, I used graph rules paper. It's got smaller lines than college ruled and is better for starting diagrams on.
 
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MerYangBey

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You don’t really need anything other than what you use in regular life. I wouldn’t pre-buy a bunch of stuff.
One thing that I got 3rd year which I wish I had before are Bose noise canceling headphones. I consider them a good investment if you don’t have them already.
 
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deleted1005514

If you like whiteboards go to Home Depot or Lowe's in your new town and buy a sheet of showerboard. For $13 you'll have 32 sq ft of whiteboard, and you can either screw it directly into the wall or adhere it with Command strips.

Besides that, good headphones or earbuds, a really good mattress, and either a crock-pot or instant pot. I would say a crock pot if you're a true cooking beginner...you can throw a bunch of stuff in it in the morning and have dinner ready when you get home, or make a big pot of something on the weekend and bring it for lunches during the week.

Don't be in a rush to buy everything right away. Thanks to amazon prime you can get anything you might need fairly quickly.
 
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little_giant

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I’d say get first aid before school starts .
from other stuff - get rice cooker (you can also steam veggies in it ). I would also get a toaster oven (with horizontal load) vs vertical toaster ( you can make nice hot sandwiches and such . ). Instead of coffee maker get a French press and make coffee in it.
Why FirstAid before school?
 
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1. A good laptop - Fills many rolls. Youtube, watching movies, playing video games. Internet browsing, chatting, zoom, etc. Oh yeah, and studying too (I think)

2. A decent TV. Used for netflix, background noise, etc.

3. George Foreman grill. If you don't know how to cook, this will make you seem like a chef, especially on a budget.

4. Coffee machine or other stimulant producer. To be fair, I didn't start my torrid affair with coffee until residency. But I made up for it with soda during med school (I'm surprised I'm not diabetic). But now, I can't live without my legal drugs to the point my wife reminds to order more before I run out otherwise I get cranky.

5. Double ply toilet paper. No explanation. Your butt does a lot for you, do it a favor. Don't scrimp on toilet paper.

6. Alcohol. Not necessarily for you, but this is how you make friends. And I was told on multiple occasions alcohol has made me look decent looking.

7. Comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet a lot. Whether it's in the labs, going to classes, practicals. When you hit rotations. And also you just plain need to exercise and keep in shape.

8. Exercise equipment. Depending on where you're staying, you may not be able to get to a gym all the time. Whatever you'll need to keep in shape. Heck, even doing simple weights, crunches, push ups etc.

9. Condoms/Contraceptives. If you need me to explain the birds and the bees at this stage, wait until you get to the reproductive systems in anatomy!

10. Your favorite blanket and good pillows. The one constant joy you can get is a good nights sleep.

11. Xbox. Because those who get Playstations are dead to me.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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An instant pot and some cook book for the instant pot can make good food quickly. If have the funds maybe a blue apron or some other type of “food subscription”.

agree with first aid, used it a lot as a guide but may not be as important for you since step 1 is P/F when you take it (most likely). But I did also find it a useful guide in general for what I should be focusing on.

Good headphones

invest in some high end thing for your favorite hobby so you can unwind.

some kind of coffee maker, you can blow $$$$ on Starbucks or some variant, best to make your own and use money for fun.

Spotify comes with Hulu as a bundle

Netflix
 
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pinkowl250

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I used a pdf of First Aid for a while, but definitely recommend buying it at some point! Got mine de-spined and hole punched for easy portability.

Other things people already mentioned but I highly second are good dining table/desk for studying, office chair, crock pot or instant pot, Spotify premium, and noise canceling headphones. Personally I splurged on nice highlighters and erasable pens. Make sure your laptop is durable/high quality, the worst thing as a med student would be to have it give out on you after a year or two.
 
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M&L

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Ah got it I thought it would be just for studying for STEP 1. Didnt know it was used to reinforce class material
Yeah first aid is reference resource that has all the High yield stuff . I personally look through it before even watching the lecture on the topic - gives you a good idea of what is important
 
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Hi!

I'm starting medical school in about 6 weeks and I wanted to know if there were things that you guys brought or purchased that really helped you through medical school. I'm getting a monitor for my laptop so that I can have two screens to work with. I'm a lot more productive with two screens so it's essentially a must for me. Also, a lot of my professors from college told me to invest in a high quality mattress since I'm going to live in a private dorm, so that's another thing I'm probably going to get.

This is my first time living alone so I don't really know what to bring besides the essentials like clothes and toiletry. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Rice cooker, slow-cooker, or insta-pot
 
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GreenDuck12

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Quality containers with clasp lids that don't leak for bringing meals to campus. Make sure you look for ones that have removable rubber lining so that you can wash it thoroughly to prevent mold from growing.
 
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BunnyMan17

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1) A laptop with a bit of oomph and touch screen/pen. I really appreciated the later but I know some people weren't as big a fan
2) A good coffee mug/thermos. I got an otherwise nondescript yeti with my undergrad logo on it so i could tell it apart, easily top 5 impulse buy
4) Coffee maker that you can program, I see them for about $25-$35 at wally world
5) Quality office chair, your lower back, thighs and everything inbetween will thank you
6) Geek squad or similar warranty for said laptop. Maybe I just have bad luck but that absolutely saved my life on multiple occasions. Think I purchased a few years at ~$100/year and I've more than made my money back.
7) Spotify premium and decent ear buds
8) Some slightly fancier tupperware. My housemates stole mine but it was awesome while I still had it
9) Gym membership. As much for the reason to go somewhere not medically related as the excercise
10) I didn't get an instapot till recently but my crock pot was bomb during preclerkship.
11) I got a really nice and pretty large UHD TV (or 1080k? eh, fancier than the hamster powered doodad I had in college) refurbished on Amazon for ~$400. Definitely a luxury item but it's been really nice to use in those few hours of introvert free time every few weeks.
 
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nutrabullet rx to have nutritious smoothies, instant pot. The smoothies will give you more energy than even coffee, its crazy. nutribullet rx is basically like a vitamix. Usmle Rx 360 subscription. I'm a big fan of the onyx 13.3 inch e ink android tablets, it's so much better than a computer for studying.
 
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little_giant

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Why is everyone recommending expensive headphones? I made do with $15 wired earphones and didnt have an issue... I feel like the extra $150 would be better spent on healthier food over noise cancelling or better bass
 
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BunnyMan17

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Why is everyone recommending expensive headphones? I made do with $15 wired earphones and didnt have an issue... I feel like the extra $150 would be better spent on healthier food over noise cancelling or better bass
I've never got to the level of $150 and I had some $30 wired Sony earbuds that are still among my favorite, but for me it's really a comfort and functionally thing. I have some galaxy buds now that cost about $100 and I love them. They come with a bunch of different tip sizes/shapes, which is nice cause in the past I've had issues with my apparently weirdly shaped ears. I can wear them almost indefinitely and not notice them in my ears. I can stand up and walk around when watching lecture videos. The tap controls seemed gimmicky to me at first but they're actually really nice. I can spread out my books between me and my laptop and stop/start without reaching across the table. They're not noise cancelling persay but they do a good job blocking out outside noise.

Again I suppose $150 could be high but spending a little extra on something I use almost every day was a good investment thus far. You learn to appreciate the little things/small comforts when you're trying to study for a shelf after that 24+4 shift were all the spitty druggies decided to descend on your ER and the attending got cut off in traffic on their way to work.
 
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2020od

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It sounds a little shallow but I’d recommend an iPad with apple pencil use. I started using an iPad halfway through my time in school and I noticed that it was much easier to write my notes and follow along better in classes. I wish I had started studying with an iPad since day 1. It was a great investment! Good luck with everything!
 
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Eye-eye

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If you like handwriting notes, I used graph rules paper. It's got smaller lines than college ruled and is better for starting diagrams on.
Better yet, engineering paper. The grids are lighter so they don't bother you if writing text, but are still dark enough to graph/diagram with.
 
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Oligodinero

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It sounds a little shallow but I’d recommend an iPad with apple pencil use. I started using an iPad halfway through my time in school and I noticed that it was much easier to write my notes and follow along better in classes. I wish I had started studying with an iPad since day 1. It was a great investment! Good luck with everything!

Yup. I imported all my PowerPoint lectures into Notability the night before lecture, then annotated the slides during lecture with my Apple Pencil . Well worth the investment.
 
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Prince_Avocado

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1. A good laptop - Fills many rolls. Youtube, watching movies, playing video games. Internet browsing, chatting, zoom, etc. Oh yeah, and studying too (I think)

2. A decent TV. Used for netflix, background noise, etc.

3. George Foreman grill. If you don't know how to cook, this will make you seem like a chef, especially on a budget.

4. Coffee machine or other stimulant producer. To be fair, I didn't start my torrid affair with coffee until residency. But I made up for it with soda during med school (I'm surprised I'm not diabetic). But now, I can't live without my legal drugs to the point my wife reminds to order more before I run out otherwise I get cranky.

5. Double ply toilet paper. No explanation. Your butt does a lot for you, do it a favor. Don't scrimp on toilet paper.

6. Alcohol. Not necessarily for you, but this is how you make friends. And I was told on multiple occasions alcohol has made me look decent looking.

7. Comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet a lot. Whether it's in the labs, going to classes, practicals. When you hit rotations. And also you just plain need to exercise and keep in shape.

8. Exercise equipment. Depending on where you're staying, you may not be able to get to a gym all the time. Whatever you'll need to keep in shape. Heck, even doing simple weights, crunches, push ups etc.

9. Condoms/Contraceptives. If you need me to explain the birds and the bees at this stage, wait until you get to the reproductive systems in anatomy!

10. Your favorite blanket and good pillows. The one constant joy you can get is a good nights sleep.

11. Xbox. Because those who get Playstations are dead to me.
George Foreman grills are banned at my medical school lol. Somebody probably set a dorm on fire or something :rolleyes: .
 
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aldol16

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In no particular order:

1) Good coffeemaker. This is always underestimated. You'll be drinking a lot of coffee these next few years so invest in a good one that will last and make you good coffee. Might as well enjoy it. If you're not familiar with the nuances of coffee-making, look at the differences between regular drip/pour-over coffeemakers vs french press vs percolators vs cold brew. You might even spring for an espresso maker instead if you would instead like to craft your own drinks.

2) Comfortable chair. Many dorm-style chairs are incredibly uncomfortable and make your ass go numb after sitting in them for awhile. Nothing more annoying when you're studying than to have to constantly readjust your position. Invest in a comfy one - doesn't have to be expensive. Staples or Office Depot usually run sales on lower-end models.

3) In terms of essential books/resources to have for pre-clinical years:
- First Aid
- Pathoma (you should get this later on towards Step 1 time so you don't have to pay for the longer subscriptions; before that you can see if your peers keep a PDF of it somewhere)
- Costanzo Physiology

4) Headphones and/or bedroom speakers for studying. If you're a coffee shop/library studier, you'll want nicer headphones that you can wear. Noise cancelling are great but expensive. Cheaper alternatives exist (though not noise cancelling). Speakers are nice if you're more of a bedroom studier. I've always hated wearing headphones for a prolonged period of time. Most make my ears hurt.

5) This one is by no means obligatory but if you have some spare money, you could consider investing in an iPad with Apple pencil. You'll have an easier time in some classes if you can draw things out rather than typing your notes. Anatomy and biochem come to mind. A lot of physiology also is more conducive to drawing/is quicker to draw than type. Use the Notability App. You can crop and paste pictures into your notes that way if you need a Google graphic or something.
 
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stickgirl390

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These were the items I used the most during med school, most on a daily basis:

1) iPad w/ Apple Pencil
2) Laptop
3) Gaming controller for anki (100% worth it for ergonomic reasons, believe it or not)
4) Laptop stand/riser (did WONDERS for ergonomics. Actually a lot of people in my class brought these to lecture)
5) Yeti tumbler!!!!!!! Didn’t get this until M2, used it allll the time. My coffee stayed hot all through lecture.
6) If you have the money, and prefer lattes/cappuccino to regular coffee, I recommend going in on a proper espresso machine. I ended up saving tons vs going to Starbucks/coffee shop everyday. I cant do a regular coffee pot.
7) For clinicals: the White Coat Clipboard
8) Keep bandaids and breath mints in your backpack
9) A good backpack with an exterior compartment for an umbrella
 
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I didn't buy much specific for medical school. Pretty much everything you need you likely already have from your time as an undergrad.

Personally I liked annotating my notes, so I used a graphics tablet/laptop. I found out quickly that it was too costly to print all the slides. These days, the ipad/pen probably do the same thing that my setup could do. Other classmates preferred to type their notes in the "presenter notes" section of the powerpoint files we were given.

You just have to figure out what works best for you. Then, keep it simple, don't go overboard.

I don't think a new mattress is needed. See how the one in the dorm works first. While I love my new tempur-pedic mattress, the truth is most young 20-something-year-olds don't really need a fancy mattress. I slept just fine on what seemed like a non-breathable rubber hospital mattress in my grad school dorm. At that age, you can sleep on a tile floor and wake up feeling rested. Your professors probably recommend the better mattress because they're old enough that everything is sore when they wake up--that's a part of aging. Take advantage of the free mattress, and if it turns out to be horribly uncomfortable, then go ahead and buy a new one. Otherwise, once you get your own place, buy a decent mattress based on whatever size bed-frame you end up getting.

Otherwise, use all that money and spend it on an extra getaway/vacation before you start medical school.
 
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medicineisforme

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1. iPad with stylus that's good for writing and or drawing

2. Toaster oven & crock pot or rice cooker or a stacked steamer

3. Invest in healthy food don't start off with loading yourself up with junk eat properly

4. Good mattress and comfortable and inviting linens

5. Good desk chair for sitting for long periods of time

6. Music subscription

7. A comfortable chair such as a butterfly chair etc that you can relax in and study in which gives a bit of variety to where you sit and keeps you off of the bed so you develop better sleep habits (guilty as charged though)

8. A good water bottle

9. Good bag for carrying your stuff around

10. Don't underestimate the power of some simple Tylenol, NyQuil etc because when you want them you're really going to want them so come armed with a supply of basic medications and other first aid stuff

11. Amazon prime, don't go overboard on buying stuff before you get there because it may be that you come having ordered tons of stuff and realize you don't use half of it, so take it easy and order as you go

12. If you have a hobby or something that helps you relax invest in it, you'll need it

13. Comfortable shoes

14. Some kind of noise cancelling headphones or ear buds

15. Give yourself a few luxury items to invest in yourself maybe it's a video subscription, or a lotion, etc

16. Depending on the location of your medical school (say if it is NYC totally different story) buy a car that won't break down as soon as you drive away with it! It doesn't have to be new and it doesn't have to cost 18k but get something that'll last and won't spend half the time in the shop, the last thing you need is your car not starting and running late to clinicals

17. Laptop don't cheap out but again be reasonable don't get a super fancy one either with all of these accessories and special things that you're never going to use either.

18. Good quality storage containers for food with snap on lids - I don't recommend glass simply because they are heavy to carry around if you bring lunch etc in them.

Good luck!
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Love my noise canceling headphones. Definitely worth the investment.

Also recommend getting first aid. I take all my notes in it. It’s good because it consolidates all of them in one place, plus when I get to the final or eventually to dedicated, the areas that don’t have notes are things I haven’t gone over yet.
 
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harvard_of_the_west

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Any size suggestion? Currently have an iPad mini but I’m not sure if I should invest in a larger one.

I really like my regular iPad (7th generation). It's three tenths of an inch smaller than the iPad air, still has a retina display, and costs hundreds of dollars less. I also really like the apple pencil and the apple magnetic cover/keyboard. I used all 3 items + the Notability app to take my notes during my postbac year and loved this method!!

Personally, i feel the iPad regular (10.2") and iPad Air (10.5") are the only two sizes that you should consider. The iPad mini might be hard to write/annotate/view the slides on and the iPad Pro just seems too big...but it's all personal opinion and preference. You really can't go wrong with the regular iPad though...which also happens to be the cheapest.

One last note, Apple does a pretty good "Back to School Sale" sometime around August. It may be worth looking into this to see if you can score a good deal. Last year I got a free pencil and a very discounted iPad and cover/keyboard.
 
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I really like my regular iPad (7th generation). It's three tenths of an inch smaller than the iPad air, still has a retina display, and costs hundreds of dollars less. I also really like the apple pencil and the apple magnetic cover/keyboard. I used all 3 items + the Notability app to take my notes during my postbac year and loved this method!!

Personally, i feel the iPad regular (10.2") and iPad Air (10.5") are the only two sizes that you should consider. The iPad mini might be hard to write/annotate/view the slides on and the iPad Pro just seems too big...but it's all personal opinion and preference. You really can't go wrong with the regular iPad though...which also happens to be the cheapest.

One last note, Apple does a pretty good "Back to School Sale" sometime around August. It may be worth looking into this to see if you can score a good deal. Last year I got a free pencil and a very discounted iPad and cover/keyboard.

Just got an iPad 7th generation too. I had an iPad Pro in grad school but gave it to my husband when I started med school because I didn’t think I would use both it and a laptop. Turns out it comes in handier than my laptop for pdf textbooks and annotating ppts, and because they’re pretty cheap right now ($250 new at Best Buy), I don’t have to feel guilty about having both. I use onedrive through the school to back up files so I don’t have to spend extra on memory.
 
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sharkbyte

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-A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. The Bose ones are pretty expensive but they're worth it and it will last you a long time.
-Spotify student subscription
-Comfortable bed, desk and chair - sleep and studying are important, and it's better to invest in higher quality things that you can take with you afterwards or sell
-Crockpot and rice cooker
-White board for drawing things out
-TV + video games (if you play), I didn't set up a TV in my room until M4 year and wish I had had one all 4 years
 
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Eye-eye

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Alternative opinion on coffee:
If, like me, you were pretty coffee-naïve going into med school, and your med school gives you free coffee like mine does, DON'T get a coffee maker or try to learn to discern good versus bad coffee. When you're drinking 3 cups a day, being able to drink ****ty free coffee will save you a lot over $3/cup good coffee you can get at the coffee shop between lectures. Same with the floors, where there's generally free coffee on the unit (****ty and usually super strong, but it does the job) and there's no time to go get better brews. I'm so glad I didn't have a coffee maker or know the difference between good and bad coffee going in.
 
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mwsapphire

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I think if you're school provides a tablet and you got a high qaulity laptop during college ( macbook, etc.) I don't think any other tablet/computer is needed. Maybe splurge on a nice keyboard/stylus and headphones.

I highly recommend a cold brew infuser to make qaullty cold brew. Steep for 24 hours with course grind coffee , then dilute 50-50 with water. Way better for your stomach if you're like me and have acid reflux.

Make sure to get some basic kitchen supplies. Ik an instapot or whatever is worth it, but a small cast iron or non stick pan will do you wonders. Also spices. Plenty of spices. Seasoning blends if you don't wanna buy individual.

Also, is the first aid book really only 50 bucks? Im looking into buying it right now, and it almost seems to good to be true if you look at how expensive other things are....
 
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bananafish94

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I didn't really buy anything new. I did get a new drip coffee machine but probably could have continued using the old one. I used the same computer from college. I didn't buy any fancy headphones or remotes or anything like that and never felt like I was at any disadvantage. I agree with First Aid, but not because you need to study for Step 1 yet, it's useful as a reference for particularly high yield point. Although your school might give it to you for free so look into that before you buy anything. And if you're doing pathology M1 year you might as well also buy Pathoma since it's the gold standard for high yield material. Neither are that expensive relative to their value.

If you're going into M1 year this isn't super time sensitive yet, but starting in M3 year you will have to dress in business professional attire everyday so it's probably a good idea to start slowly accumulating appropriate clothes if you don't have them already.
 
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  1. Pre-Medical
I think if you're school provides a tablet and you got a high qaulity laptop during college ( macbook, etc.) I don't think any other tablet/computer is needed. Maybe splurge on a nice keyboard/stylus and headphones.

I highly recommend a cold brew infuser to make qaullty cold brew. Steep for 24 hours with course grind coffee , then dilute 50-50 with water. Way better for your stomach if you're like me and have acid reflux.

Make sure to get some basic kitchen supplies. Ik an instapot or whatever is worth it, but a small cast iron or non stick pan will do you wonders. Also spices. Plenty of spices. Seasoning blends if you don't wanna buy individual.

Also, is the first aid book really only 50 bucks? Im looking into buying it right now, and it almost seems to good to be true if you look at how expensive other things are....
Will definitely look into the cold brew infuser! Thank you!

I just bought the first aid book for $40 on Amazon yesterday! The price seemed very reasonable to me on Amazon lol.
 
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Prince_Avocado

Full Member
Jun 29, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
I didn't really buy anything new. I did get a new drip coffee machine but probably could have continued using the old one. I used the same computer from college. I didn't buy any fancy headphones or remotes or anything like that and never felt like I was at any disadvantage. I agree with First Aid, but not because you need to study for Step 1 yet, it's useful as a reference for particularly high yield point. Although your school might give it to you for free so look into that before you buy anything. And if you're doing pathology M1 year you might as well also buy Pathoma since it's the gold standard for high yield material. Neither are that expensive relative to their value.

If you're going into M1 year this isn't super time sensitive yet, but starting in M3 year you will have to dress in business professional attire everyday so it's probably a good idea to start slowly accumulating appropriate clothes if you don't have them already.
My school provides discounts on UWorld and other resources so I'm just going to wait until school starts to get it at a discount. They don't provide the first aid book sadly so I already purchased it. Thanks for the tips!
 
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BobbyKoch

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2+ Year Member
May 13, 2017
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What are some favorite chairs in various price ranges?

I got an ikea office chair last year and it sucks, but I rarely studied from home anyway. With COVID paradigm, I’ll need to upgrade my home ergonomics.
 
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