Looking to Settle Down in Chicago

I’m in Chicago at the moment and I still haven’t settled down. I’m living at a friend’s place until I settle down at a place and trust me when I tell you, this is not easy. Apparently, so many try to get you to sign a leasing contract with you. I almost got myself in a mess with a bad apartment but I was glad that my friend advised me not to get it. Right now it’s December and many tenants are ending their leasing contracts. January is a great opportunity to sign up for great places because landlords and apartment management companies will be scurrying for people to sign into new contracts. The longer they wait the more money they will loose.

I was talking to one salesman in Chicago, and he said in this decade Chicago’s population decreased from 8 million to 3 million. I don’t know how much of that is true but it is believable due to the bad economy and also because of the fact that the economy hurt a lot of people. Chicago is an expensive city to live in and if people cannot afford to live here then they will obviously leave. I’ve looked at some apartments around Hyde Park and I have learned several things regarding in what to look for.

What to look for in leasing contracts?
– Heat
– Water

With your rent look for heat and water to be included. Usually, this attracts a lot of tenants as Chicago gets severely cold and so heat is a must utility t be turned on all the time during the winter.

Bonus things to look for:
– Proximity to Jackson Park Hospital
– Included Internet

Do not live very close to Jackson Park Hospital because it’s dangerous, but if you live near Lake Shore Drive then you can reach Jackson Park Hospital very quickly. Lake Shore Drive is the road that is parallel to Lake Michigan, which gives breath-taking views towards the water.
If Internet is included then that’s a big plus point; however, if it’s not included then it could work positively for you because if so many people using the same Internet can slow down the network.

There is a 99% chance electricity will never be included in any of the leasing contracts with the rent. Electricity is always an extra utility that you will have to pay for but if it was included with your rent then that’s awesome.

Parking
If you are bringing a car to Chicago then make sure you are good at parallel parking because you will need to do a lot of it. I’ve talked to several Chicago police officers and they complain that one of the biggest issues they have to deal with is parking. Parking is limited and so street parking is in majority of the places. Only in the suburbs there are parking lots. Street parking is no problem in residential areas but at places where you have to pay the meter, and then it will add up. In residential areas, street parking is free but it’s not all fun and games when it snows; you have to shovel off the snow and so it’s hecktic.

Question Based Studying for the USMLE Step 1

As promised, I will write in detail on the USMLE Step 1. These tips that I write is for helping you all. I already passed this phase so this is based on my experiences. USMLE Step 1 is back to basics where you have to know the detail concepts of things that you may not have to remember during clerkships. I already signed up for a question bank for Step 2 CK and it seems less stressful than USMLE Step 1. However, it seems trickier than USMLE Step 1 as there are more than one good answer. For the USMLE Step 2 CK they test you on what is the “best” answer out of all the good answers. So, it seems to be more memorization based then concept based, but correct me if I’m wrong.
Image from Google Images
Anyways, going back to the main topic of this topic, doing questions after questions is a key method in covering all angles of the USMLE Step 1 test. Don’t worry about USMLE Step 2 CK for now, as you need to pass Step 1 first.
For the USMLE Step 1, I regret not doing enough questions. I did all of USMLE World questions 2.5 times and half of USMLERx questions. There are about 3000 USMLERX questions and about 2100 USMLE World questions with a total of 3600 unique questions. I wish I finished USMLERx questions as doing more question helps grasp the concepts better. However, USMLE World is the best Qbank, which I think, is a must and to fully penetrate the medical concepts, one should add a second question bank. If you have time then add a third question bank; the more questions you do the better but keep in mind USMLE World is the best and it’s a must.
A secondary question bank helps because they present with different questions, which can present the medical concept in an alternate view to better understand it.
So, at the end of the day, just keep doing questions. Do not neglect questions, especially USMLE World questions. Also, keep First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 by your side as it should be read often with questions.

Getting Ready to Settle in Chicago for a Long Time

So what’s going on now with me these days? Well, I’m getting ready for core rotations aka clinical clerkships, as that is the next step. At the same time I’m trying to get the input from my senior students on what to do in studying for Step 2 CK. I’m going to most likely study the same way as I did with Step 1 but in a shorter time period because of rotations. Nowadays, my senior students talk about how they are studying for Step 2 CS and how it takes months to schedule an exam. SJSM requires 96 weeks of rotations but ACGME requirements only needs 72 weeks with 48 weeks of core rotations from ACGME approved hospital sites. Therefore, it looks as if I’m going to have to live in Chicago for a very long time. Chicago is a beautiful city but the snow is not my best friend. Whatever the case may be I have to learn to cope with in the windy city.

Image from StudentDoctor

The feeling of completing the USMLE Step 1 is exhilarating. I graduated at the bottom of my class in Bonaire for basic science, and most of the teachers did not help, but I stayed firm and continued to go through. And I will tell you this, if I can do it then you can too. I still haven’t gotten any place in Chicago so I’m still looking for a place. I looked on craigslist and staying in a descent place in Chicago costs you an arm and a leg. As you can see I’m running around taking care of things but I will make sure to update this blog often and keep reading.

As for those who are studying for Step 1, don’t worry, I will continue to write posts about Step 1 and how to overcome that test. I know what you went through and I can say that from experience.