We as humans start learning new things since we are born and continue learning until the last breath we take on this earth. We learn lessons that are essential to our lives such as walking and talking, all the way to life lessons that we learn when we face death. I learned a lot through my lifetime; as a child, as a student, as a citizen,  and I continue to ...

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In a time of rising health care costs, it’s hard to talk about the financial strife of physicians, who as a whole over time do very well financially. We see the bills from our doctor’s office, and it’s hard to imagine why anybody would complain about the upfront investment of a medical education, when the payoff seems so good. Many recent articles make the case for why becoming a physician is ...

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I’m a first-year medical student who recently discovered the magnetic pull of surgery. As one might assume, on my first day scrubbing into the OR under a pediatric surgeon, I was beyond excited. The surgeon’s precision and expertise fascinated me, and the constant activity in the surgical suite was something I could definitely get used to. Adrenaline was as pervasive as anesthesia in the OR, and I knew I’d thrive there. However, ...

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“Pregnancy termination” and “infanticide” are two different words, used by two very different kinds of people, to describe the one exact same thing: abortion. The source of an argument is found by looking at the words used to frame it; the rest is filler. I am a medical school student. Like many of you reading this, my life is spent between the walls of the library and the walls of the ...

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I am a professor of family medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. During their third and fourth years, students must complete a four-week clerkship in family medicine. The clerkship includes a "significant-event reflection" project, in which students discuss patient encounters that they've found especially meaningful. Over nearly a decade as a facilitator for these groups, I have heard many powerful and emotional stories. I've often felt deeply moved--and admiring ...

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Pre-med students are characterized by a number of things. Most notoriously, they prominently carry type A labels. Perhaps the intricately color-coordinated notes give you away. Maybe it is your strict, military-like regimen with which you go about your daily existence. Whatever it is, you are not alone. Many pre-meds turned medical student harbor these behaviors to some degree. After all, we get to where we are because of years of ...

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I arrive 7:15, 15 minutes before I was supposed to come in. I make sure to bring a shelf review book, knowing that I will be getting significant use of it that day. After surreptitiously observing my surroundings, I attempt to seek out a physician of sorts, a guide, a mentor, a guru that could aid in my quest for knowledge and experience. I am seated in a chair against a ...

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“It won’t be the last sacrifice you make for medicine.” These were the words my surgical intern said between yawns as I expressed regret at having to miss a distant cousin’s wedding. The digital wall-clock read a blurry 3:15 a.m. as we sat together in the on-call room, the coffeemaker dripping black gold into the pot. She had three pagers affixed to her scrub pants which would beep intermittently in turn, signaling anything ...

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I made it through the rigors of pre-med. I made it through (almost all of) med school, with a few scars to show for it. And now that I’m a big, bad MS4, I finally have the time and the distance to reflect on all the literal blood, sweat, and tears it took to get here. I am a loud and proud Duke Blue Devil. It was my dream school despite ...

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Dear future doctor, Please remember. Remember what it feels like to be a patient. Remember the pain, remember the anguish of the unknown, remember the detours of being referred from one physician to the next, and how you hoped that this doctor would  finally be able to diagnose you and empathize with your suffering. Remember the agony of not knowing what caused the mysterious, writhing pain; however, at the same time being ...

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