Many people know that an important part of medical school is choosing a specialty — the field of medicine that you plan to practice for the rest of your career. However, fewer people know just how many different factors weigh on this decision. As my classmates and I navigate through third year, I thought I would share several of the factors that enter the balancing act: Clinical interest: The simplest, yet ...

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When I started medical school, I believed the challenges would be purely academic: a rigorous four-year chapter in my life, with a shiny MD on the last page. I had no idea it would alter the very core of how I approach the world. I came to medical school immediately after undergrad -- a path increasingly less common as admissions committees tout the values of “real life experience.” While I should ...

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Well, I'm officially that old, bitter resident. I had to walk uphill to medical school 10 miles there and back. “In my day,” medical school was fail, pass, high pass, or honors. I recently found out that the medical school I graduated from has changed the first two years of basic science courses to simply pass/fail (while retaining the honors/high pass grades in clinical rotations). I am so annoyed!  Why ...

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Incoming students, you need to hear this: it’s not all about you. Let me explain. My first hospital rotation was on an oncology floor. I answered a patient’s call light by myself. She asked if we had any extra tissues, I said yes, and as I turned to leave she said, “I just got a phone call from my mother’s nurse.” Her mother was in hospice care, and the nurse had ...

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You submitted your application in July. You completed all of your secondary essays by mid-September. Other than one interview that resulted in a waitlist decision you’ve heard nothing but radio silence. What can you do? Whenever I work with medical school applicants I emphasize that the application process is ongoing because the admissions process is fluid. It is not as if you submit your primary application and secondary essays and the ...

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“And then he said, ‘I … I just want to help people you know?’” The table burst out laughing. I struggled not to spit out my breakfast burrito while chuckling. The laughter slowly died down, and I took another gulp of stale hospital coffee. My classmate was recounting the story of one of the pre-med undergraduates he had begun to mentor. I was too tired to think clearly about why ...

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Chapter 1: Physiology “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Bound by flesh and bone, therein lies a mystery of undefined potential which the cosmos cannot even parallel in mystery and in complexity beautiful and terrifying. It is that which allows movement to leave the study hall beneath the starry sky, professors to lull us to sonorous sweet slumber, to remember minute ...

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Running has been a constant in my life, and it always will be. I’ve gone on runs in snowstorms and 100-plus degree heat waves, Christmas mornings and birthdays. That hour or so dedicated to running is sacred, reserved for a few minutes to clear my head, a sort of reset button to each day. I’m surrounded by nothing but the sound of shoes hitting the pavement and gasps of heavy ...

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We need to fail more tests in medical school. I'm serious. In first year, our class had two of the most memorable weeks of our schooling: A crash course on biochemistry taught by a professor who is widely accepted as one of the best teachers in our medical school. His in-class lecture style kept students engaged and entertained; I, and many of my classmates, learned tremendous amounts of his material and ...

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The past three and a half years have flown by, and somehow, I’m completely done with clinical rotations! I just finished up on the pediatric infectious disease service, and this rotation was unlike my others in one key way: I was joined on the service by students who are training to be nurse practitioners and pharmacists. Training alongside other students isn’t itself new, but on every other rotation, they’ve always been ...

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