Two doctors I work with were recently asked to testify in court. I knew it was a case involving domestic violence and I knew I wanted to see what it was like to testify: One day I’d like to work with families in the foster care system, and that will likely mean having to testify in court. So I asked my clerkship director, and with her support, the clerkship coordinator ...

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As the process of applying to medical school and residency becomes hyper-competitive, we medical students often feel forced to pursue our passions only in ways that are “high yield.” It may seem counterintuitive, but the further we go in our medical training, the more inertia we seem to have about giving our time and energy to the everyday people in need. We’re so pressed for time from our participation in ...

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“Hefur þú lært um Staphylococcus aureus?” I almost don’t recognize the bacteria name because my grandmother pronounces it differently in Icelandic. “Já–” I’m about to translate my microbiology flashcard for her when she interrupts, her hands busy kneading the cookie dough and her eyes on my little sister near the oven. That’s the bacteria that almost killed her eleven years ago, she tells me. I can hear her words building up. This ...

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shutterstock_223662796 I was checking my email when it happened. My boyfriend had texted me saying that he was late arriving to the airport. So I stood outside with my suitcase behind me and clicked to an email from my mother. I didn’t notice until too late that someone had approached me, and I screamed when I saw a black man reach out to ...

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A thick green glob landed on my scrub top at the same time that the first drop of sweat rolled down the small of my back. I tried not to grimace and discretely walked over to the hand sanitizer dispenser. But like every other hand sanitizer I had tried, this one was empty. Yesterday I had also discovered that the only bathroom in the hospital had no toilet paper. It ...

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shutterstock_58359934 We recently took our last exam as first-year medical students. Sitting in the same library that I used to as a pre-medical student, I thought about what it was, exactly, that changed this year. For me, the point of transition from pre-med to med student really happened over last Thanksgiving break. I had come home from my first term of medical school more ...

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Recently, I began to think of death as a friend. My grandfather was hospitalized on Mother’s Day, and by the time my parents called me on Monday morning they couldn’t tell me anything more than, “He’s in the ICU with multiple seizures. They’re taking him off ventilation tomorrow.” Reaching for the knowledge I’ve spent all year chipping away at textbooks to acquire, I asked about neurologic exams, autonomic drugs and ...

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