Sorry for just a long silence. Every time that I have sat down to write a post, I’ve either been interrupted or have struggled with writing a post. The truth is, a lot of stuff is just hard to describe (succinctly) in words. Sometimes, I realize that I can’t convey all of the feelings or experiences through this blog to everyone…and this makes me feel a little frustrated…
But I’m going to try to do it anyway and hope that it’ll be enough to somewhat satisfy your curiosities of what UMMS is like and what medschool is like.
We now have a few days left of the final sequence (Human Growth and Development) of M1 year left and it’s been a little bit hard to study the material (Darn you, nice weather…and the impending feeling of summer!). It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the end of M1 year because it has gone by so quickly. It truly feels like a dream. It felt like those endless days of trudging through the Michigan winter would never end, but already I’m listening to the not-so-silent whirring of my air conditioner as I type this blog post. I guess life flies by when you’re…studying in medschool? I kid…sort of…
In the next post, I’ll write a summary of lessons learned, but for now, here are 3 things going on in my medschool life:
1) Ending of M1 year + moving into a new apartment.
2) Starting of SBRP (Summer Biomedical Research Program). I’m really excited to start working with the Prechter Team at University of Michigan and to learn more about Bipolar Disorder. I’m very interested in psychiatry, so I think it will be a very interesting and fruitful summer.
3) In a few weeks, I’m going to have pet chinchillas! They were born in April, so they will be cute little babies! After a lot of deliberation and talking to my brother, who is an owner of two chinchillas, I decided to get two of my own. Stay tuned for updates and cute pictures of (essentially) fuzzballs.
Here’s to the great start of the summer and great weather!
Talk to you all soon,
Sorry for the long absence! Time has madly rushed by and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that winter break is here. As I sat on the plane home yesterday (see picture below), I couldn’t believe that I was already flying back home for break. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been away for ~5 months.
Home Sweet Home
The past 5 months have been incredible and I wouldn’t exchange those 5 months for anything in the world.
Here are a few reflections from the past few months:
1. Don’t underestimate the value of Flextime Quizzing. When I was deciding between schools, Flextime quizzing wasn’t a huge part of my decision making process. However, Flextime Quizzing has made a huge impact on my quality of life at medical school. It’s given me the flexibility to take a day off when I’ve been feeling sick or to travel to other places to see dear friends. It’s given me the opportunity to explore the beauty of Michigan and to call home to let my parents know that I’m doing okay. It’s also given me the opportunity spend time with friends at the medical school and to take the time to enjoy our current experiences as medical students (including Michigan sports!). I know that without Flextime Quizzing, my medical school life would have been significantly different. (See some pictures below of what Flextime Quizzing has allowed me to do)
Seeing Lake Michigan for the first time!
Visiting college friends in NYC.
Surprising Katrina for her birthday!
Building "Gingerbread Houses" (It's actually a rocket ship.)
Watching Michigan Hockey!
2. Studying is still the same. Yes, you do have to study in medical school and it can still feel like #thestruggs sometimes. However, it’s incredibly rewarding to leave an 80 question anatomy practical with the realization that we know so much more than when we started medical school 5 months ago. Anyone want to know what muscles flex the leg and what nerves innervate them? Anyone?
3. We still have a lot to learn. As we’ve engaged in small group discussions and shared our thoughts about various topics in medicine, I always arrive at the same conclusion: I still have a lot to learn. It’s great to be at a place where the diverse views and perspectives challenge my own pre-conceived notions and biases and that we have the opportunity to engage in these conversations. Many of us may have written about how our experiences have given us “cultural competency and literacy” in our medical school applications. (And, it is true that our class is collectively filled with people who have had many different life experiences.) However, I think that we’re all realizing that we still have a lot to learn when it comes to cultural literacy and in understanding how to work with a variety of people.
And, of course, we still have a lot to learn in general…can’t wait for the GI tract anatomy dissections when we go back to school…
Now, back to eating the rare commodity that is my mom’s home cooked meals…
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Every morning, I walk through a parking garage and catch the elevator from the 2nd floor to the 7th floor. The parking garage is shared by a myriad of people.
Yesterday, as I was running (well, rather jogging…which is often slower than the pace of someone speed walking…) to catch the elevator, I saw a familiar face. It was the face of a patient that I had met while shadowing. For the sake of anonymity, I won’t say what department or give identifying details about the patient. As we walked by, we shared a smile and I wondered if he recognized me. After all, the hospital here is enormous with a lot of faces and people. It’s easy to be just another face in the crowd. Easy to share another smile. Easy to continue walking past one another.
I remember this patient and his/her story. I remember thinking how easily one’s life trajectory can be altered by one doctor’s appointment. This person had visited the doctor for a simple symptom–only to leave the doctor with a completely unexpected and life altering diagnosis.
When I was shadowing, the patient was getting ready to undergo a fairly important surgery. As we pass each other by, I briefly entertain the thought of stopping and asking how the surgery went; I think of explaining that I was a medical student and remembered him/her. I want to ask how s/he is feeling. But I don’t. Why? I’m worried that it could be breaching the patient’s confidentiality by acknowledging that I remember him/her. I’m worried that s/he would be uncomfortable because I remember. It’s also chilly in the parking garage…stopping this person would mean that s/he would have to stand in the chilly garage for more minutes than required.
And as the elevator doors close, I’m still torn and I wonder if walking on by was the right choice…or if I should have stopped to ask and to talk.
I still don’t know.
Wow. It’s already week 3 and I can’t believe it. Lately, the days seem to be blurs of specific moments and I am still so incredibly thankful to be here. Granted, UMMS is not the Millennium Falcon and I am not a master Jedi like I had always imagined. However, I think everything turned out much better than I could have ever imagined.
I’ll follow my fellow M1 Daily Dose bloggers and write a “quick” introduction. I grew up in Bozeman, Montana and went to school at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Here, I stumbled into an Economics concentration with a focus on household and education economics (…after changing my concentration about 5 times…). I graduated in 2010 and joined Teach for America. For two years, I had the opportunity to teach some of the cutest, weirdest and most lovable 2nd grade students in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. During this time, I observed the great need for child psychiatrists in Bed-Stuy and the impact that such a shortage had on many of my students and their abilities to succeed in the classroom. And, at the end of my two years, I made the tough decision to leave teaching and found myself applying to pre-medical post-baccalaureate programs for “career changers.” Fast forward two years: I am at the University of Michigan Medical School and blogging on Dose of Reality!
As I’ve already written, these past few weeks have truly been a blur.
The White Coat Ceremony was surreal. It was hard to believe that the journey to becoming a doctor was truly beginning for our class. As I received my coat, I could only think: WE DID IT. The White Coat Ceremony was a testament to the amazing community who helped me get to medical school and UMMS. There were so many people involved in my journey here: my parents who let me live with them for post-bacc; my professors and mentors who wrote letters and gave me enriching experiences; my former students, who reminded me to “show grit” in their letters and phone calls; my barista friend who gave me free coffee on all those late night MCAT study sessions. The list goes on. It is clear: I did not get here on my own. And, looking forward, I know I will not successfully get to the end of medical school on my own.
This feeling has only been further confirmed by our first and second patient presentations. The presentations have been heart-breaking, eye-opening, and inspiring. I am so grateful for the willingness and generosity of the presenters to be vulnerable and open for the sake of helping us to become better doctors in the future.
From these patient presentations to our upcoming Family Centered Experience to our dedicated faculty/staff at UMMS and to my awesome classmates, I am constantly surprised by how committed the community is to supporting our journey and goals. I am so happy that I chose to attend the University of Michigan Medical School and I cannot wait for the next four years!
This is truly a place where “when you want something, the world conspires to give it to you.”