Top 5 Benefits of Osmosing with Family

Apr 18, 2019 by Abigayle Huntley

Second year med student shares benefits of having loved ones help her study using Osmosis.

As a second year medical student, I study constantly, using many different resources: my class notes, helpful YouTube videos, past lectures by the faculty at my school, and of course, Osmosis. As a newly married woman (I tied the knot between M1 and M2), I find that one of my greatest challenges is balancing married life with preparing for class and of course, the ever-looming USMLE® Step 1 exam.

One of the ways that I’ve found to balance these two domains of my life is to (pun intended) marry them together using Osmosis! Both my husband and I have enjoyed spending quality time together over an Osmosis flashcard deck. In this article, I’ll lay out the top 5 advantages I’ve noticed as I’ve learned to Osmose with family! Don’t worry if you’re not married. These benefits apply to Osmosing with roommates, friends, parents, siblings… your dog probably won’t be able to participate, but grab any other loved one and start Osmosing!

Benefit 5: You can’t skip ahead.

Let’s be honest. When you’re doing 100+ flashcards per day, it’s easy to recognize a card and skip through some of the information without reading it carefully. If bae is reading the question, you have no choice but to wait until they’re done! In my own experience, this has both thrown me for a loop at times -- because I hadn’t fully read that card in weeks -- and helped me to learn facts that I otherwise would have overlooked!

Benefit 4: You get to use another part of your brain.

When you’re reading flashcards by yourself and answering them, you’re using only the part of your brain that reads, processes, and recalls the answer. That’s great, but letting someone read the questions and flashcards to you forces you to listen, hear, process, and recall the answer and then state it aloud, incorporating several different parts of your brain. At least in my own experience, this is a challenge, but it also helps me to think through my answers more thoroughly and it seems to help me retain what I have learned even more effectively than reading alone.

Benefit 3: You get a chance to teach someone in your own words.

Hearing my husband try to pronounce “campylobacter,” “exophthalmos,” and “pseudohypoparathyroidism” is not only entertaining, it gives me a chance to teach him what I know. This is great on many levels. First, it helps me to solidify and synthesize the knowledge I have about any particular topic. Second, it gives me a chance to consider how I might explain a certain diagnosis or treatment to my future patients. In this way, I’m learning to be a good doctor, instead of just learning a bunch of high-yield facts.

Benefit 2: You get to show your loved ones what you’re up to.

Let’s be honest -- it’s hard for non-health care, non-student people to understand the struggle of medical school (or dental school, or nursing school, or audiology school, etc.). It can feel like you are totally isolated from the people who would normally be your biggest supporters, because no matter how much you are able to tell them about the struggle, they won’t really feel the struggle. However, having someone join you for a stack of flashcards will give them a taste of the sheer breadth of the knowledge you are trying to fit into your brain. True, they won’t fully “get” what it is like to be you, but Osmosing with your loved ones at least means they have a better idea of why you’re feeling so stressed the week before that killer micro exam.

Benefit 1: You’ve got someone there to pick you up when you’re feeling down.

I have the worst perspective when it comes to reviewing. If I get three or more answers wrong in a row, I start to panic and wonder if I’m failing at everything. My husband can tell when I start to get discouraged and always reminds me of the many answers I do know. Osmosing with someone who loves you and knows how to encourage you can inspire you to keep learning, where on your own it might only result in frustration. Medical school (or whatever school you’re in) can feel like an incredibly long road if you go it alone. But when you’ve got people by your side, who you can trust to pick you up when you’re feeling down, it’s easier to keep moving toward your goals.

These are my top five reasons to Osmose with family, but it’s not an exhaustive list. Try it out, and let me know what your favorite thing is about sharing Osmosis with your loved ones!

About Abigayle

Abigayle is an M2 student at Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois. She is interested in specializing in emergency medicine or primary care. In her free time, she loves to bake (and eat) delicious desserts, crochet, and volunteer at her church.