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Time Flies

“Time flies”…over and over in my life I have heard this saying, yet it has never been truer for me than after this year. Last post I was talking about planning Fall Ball and the med school tailgate…events that now seem as if they happened a lifetime ago! I am so sorry that I have not been able to keep up with my blog posts – this year definitely turned out to be busier than I had expected. Even during our two weeks of CFM (clinical foundations of medicine), I did not have a moment to myself, as I was busy with people, events, and food in Ann Arbor. It’s funny because I actually think that I was more exhausted during those two weeks than I was during our ID (infectious disease) sequence – who knew that having fun could drain so much energy…or maybe I’m just getting old?!

Anyway, since I obviously can’t write about every thing that has happened between now and October, I’ll just touch on the highlights from the past month or so. First off, congratulations to the M4’s – they’re all officially doctors!! Some of the other student council advocates and I had the pleasure of attending graduation and seeing where we are going to be in a short 1095 days…-_- At graduation, M4 commencement speaker Bridget Cornett discussed the three elements of practice: commitment, making mistakes, and teamwork, and how they have lead to the “practice” of medicine. It’s an interesting concept, to be reminded that medicine is a field in which we are continually practicing, continuously learning, and continuously improving upon our skills to enhance patient care. Bridget stressed that while we may feel that the bulk of our schooling ends after graduation, medicine is truly a field in which we will be learning for the rest of our lives – and of course – that is one of the reasons why I chose to pursue a career in medicine…it’ll never get old! Throughout this year, I have come to know many of the M4s from participating in the Smoker, Biorhythms, and through Student Council. Although it was sad to say goodbye to people who have given me invaluable advice and of course, good company, it was also joyous because I could not help but share in their happiness and be excited for them as they closed one chapter and began the next. Special shoutout to Student Council president Sarah Gray – Sarah went above and beyond this year to help us out and I know that she is definitely an inspiration to the rest of us advocates – good luck in Chicago Sarah – you will be missed!

M1 Advocates at Graduation with StuCo Prez Sarah Gray

The day after graduation we had our Spring Biorhythms show. Biorhythms is a dance show run entirely by med students. We generally have two shows, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. The Spring show is mainly put on by M1’s, as the M2s were studying for Step 1, the M3s were busy ending their clinical rotations, and the M4s had graduated! I was in Phlomax, which consists of a group of hilarious (obvi) med students singing, rapping, dancing, and just generally clowning around on stage to parodies and modified med school applicable lyrics to some classic rap songs. It was probably one of the most laid back groups I’ve ever been a part of…making it insanely fun. I was also in the “Independent Women” dance – described as being “A dance with no special skills needed, just a serious commitment to booty dropping.” Thanks to our Sassy choreo, Shuby, for coming up with the best moves possible and having confidence in all of our dancing skills! Haha but actually, having Biorhythms practice once or twice a week during ID really helped relieve some med school stress and reminded me why I came to U of M – one of the only med schools that encourages you to have a life outside of just studying! For those of you attending UMich in the future, DO BIORHYTHMS!!! You don’t need prior dancing or singing experience and it’s a great way to meet people, relax, and have fun!

Phlomax at Biorhythms!

The Independent Women Crew

The last thing that I want to touch on is the HESP (Health Equity Scholars Program) Dearborn site visit. HESP is an organization at the med school that focuses on giving its members firsthand experience with social determinants of health for underserved populations in Southeast Michigan. Last week, we went on a site visit to Dearborn that focused on the Arab American population. We visited places like Zaman International, an organization that works to help women in need by providing access to healthcare, shelter, food, and a variety of other things. Zaman will be opening up a health clinic and hopes to collaborate with HESP students in the future, both in the clinic and with health fairs. This is just one of the examples of community outreach that we are able to participate in as med students! We were also able to visit a couple of Arabic restaurants for breakfast and lunch…has anyone mentioned the abundance of free food in medical school?! We ended the visit at the Arab American Museum, where we learned about how Arabs came to be such a thriving population in Michigan, and specifically in Dearborn.

When HESP does Arabic Food 😀

I can honestly say that I have not been bored once this entire year, there has always been something to do, someone to see, or something to study of course! Although this has by far been the busiest year of my life, it has also been one of the most fulfilling – and it has left me eagerly anticipating what the next three years will bring. So now that I have made this the longest post ever, I think I’ll finally stop writing. I just started my SBRP (summer biomedical research project) this week so hopefully in my next post I’ll be able to update you on that – and of course on life in Ann Arbor – which I’ve heard is the best place to be in the summer! Until next time, Go Blue!

The team, the team, the team

“We’re gonna believe in each other, we’re not gonna criticize each other, we’re not gonna talk about each other, we’re gonna encourage each other. And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know, it’s going to be Michigan again, Michigan.”

Even though this quote was said in the context of Michigan football, I believe that it applies to the medical school as well. However, before I dive into discussing the similarities between the football team and our med school class, I should probably start by introducing myself. Sorry that I’m a little late to join the Dose of Reality blogging team – but better late than never, right?! Anyway, my name is Alia Ahmed and I am a current M1 at UMMS (University of Michigan Medical School). I attended Wayne State University in Detroit for undergrad where I just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages and a concentration in Spanish. Ever since I decided to become a physician, I have dreamed of attending UMMS…and even though I still have a hard time believing it, my dream has finally become a reality.

Backtracking to Bo Schembechler’s, the Michigan football coach of 1983, famous words about “The Team”…

From what I’ve gathered in my first two and a half months here at Michigan, they’re all about the “team” – even at the med school. Cooperation and teamwork are carefully embroidered into our curriculum and emphasized during our small group sessions. My classmates are some of the most inclusive and helpful people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. It is this sense of camaraderie and the idea that “We’re all in this together” (cheesy High School Musical reference) that helps each of us continue to succeed in med school – and of course – it is also one of the big reasons why I decided to #GoBlueMed.

While my classmates are helpful in the classroom, that’s not to say that they are not just as helpful on the playing field. At Michigan, the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard” is ever prevalent among our “team” (that being us medical students). This weekend, I attended my first football game as a Michigan student. And what better game to attend than the night game against Penn State? It was especially sweet because our rivals expected us to lose but we surprised everyone with a nerve-wracking fourth quarter and an unexpected win! Along with 113,085 other people, I belted the fight song to my heart’s content from the seats of the Big House. I watched in awe as the football team worked together and made an epic comeback for one of the most enjoyable football games that I have ever attended.

And not only was Saturday amazing because of the game, but also because of the Galen’s/Student Council tailgate, which, as a member of Student Council, I was lucky enough to help coordinate. We raised over $1,000 at the tailgate and had over 150 attendees…it was definitely a day to remember. Shoutout to Julia Stella, M2 and Nithin Ravi, M1 – the head coordinators of the tailgate – for planning an awesome event!

Med School Tailgate on the Golf Course

In addition to helping out with the tailgate, as a Student Council Class Advocate, I have also been planning this year’s Medical School Fall Ball! Basically, Fall Ball is Prom for med students, so as you can imagine, it has taken a lot of work to organize. We finalized the menu, head count, centerpieces, DJ, and ticket sales this past weekend and I am getting more and more excited to see how the event turns out on Friday – I hope that it’s going to be another night to remember for everyone that attends!

My parents and sisters drove up from Bloomfield Hills this weekend to enjoy some of the sunshine with me in Ann Arbor. We went to Zingerman’s deli, which is something that you MUST try if you are ever looking for somewhere to eat in Ann Arbor. Zingerman’s is world famous and has even been featured on the Food Network J.

Ok, now I feel like I’m making this post way too long…but there’s just a lot to say because so much has been going on! Moral of the story – if you’re looking for a medical school where the students, the faculty, and everyone else at Michigan believes in you, encourages you, supports you, and treats you as part of the team, the team, the team, then you are without a doubt looking at the right place.

Until next time…Go Blue!