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When I was home for the holidays, I learned that my dad had packed away a box of photos years ago — mostly from my sister’s childhood, with a few of my brother and me as well — and labeled it with bold, black sharpie “Not Album Worthy.” Flattering, to say the least.

It got me thinking, though, about finding the joy in the small things in life and all the less-than-perfect moments. It’s easy to feel that there isn’t something particular to photograph or talk about or write about, especially during the colder, more academically intense months of school, but that’s never really true. I actually sometimes find that it’s when we’re the *most* sleep-deprived or worried that the little moments of joy touch us most deeply. Perhaps it’s that we let our guard down, and are simply willing to laugh out loud (even when home alone…) at some absurdity or another. Perhaps it’s that we need contrast in life to figure out what really makes us happiest. Perhaps it’s something else. Regardless, I’ve been making an effort to appreciate more of those snapshots that don’t “make it into the album.”

Attending to the details and — perhaps just as importantly — appreciating the details can take you a long way in caring for your patients and caring for yourself. Of course we shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture, either, but I think it’s essential to create the time and space to remind ourselves of all the beauty between the lines. At the end of the day, patients and doctors are all simply people, and everyone appreciates when you notice what’s important to them.

Having completed the Comprehensive Clinical Assessment at the beginning of the month, our class is now heading toward “let’s-survive-through-Step-1-board-exams” mode, but hopefully we’ll still enjoy the next few course sequences leading into our study period. We’re currently in Gastrointestinal, and then we do Reproduction followed by Endocrine.  With each course being only two weeks, it feels like the pace is picking up and the end is in sight!

In other recent news, I was in the fourth biorhythms show of my life (this time in a Tahitian dance piece that was SO much fun!), I finally got a Labrador puppy, and I helped to publish the sixth issue of The Hippo, the med student literary and visual arts magazine (available at