There's a pivotal scene in the 2007 Pixar movie Ratatouille, in which the restaurant critic Anton Ego takes a first bite of the movie's titular food. He is then whisked back to a moment in his childhood, during which his mom provides love and comfort through a helping of her homemade ratatouille. This scene is a homage to Marcel Proust's seminal "Madeleine Episode," as described In Search of Lost Time, published almost ...

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I heard about you a few times before I ever met you in person. It was my first day on the palliative care service — a week that felt like a relaxing break from the sixteen-hour days I was used to on surgery. Many people don't know what palliative care is. But I suspect these days if you are still living that you know it well. I first heard of you ...

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“What challenges do you see yourself facing as a doctor?”
I’m sitting in a suit, facing a young Asian woman with black, round glasses across a desk. On the desk in front of her is an iPad, and she sits cross-legged, hands resting on her legs. I’m in my interview for medical school, and the woman across me, who introduced herself as Angela, is awaiting my response. I pause and mentally check ...

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Despite growing older, the contents of my phone calls back home have remained the same. However, the contents of my life have not. Conversations with my parents consist of what I plan to cook that week or how I'm feeling about my workload, but rarely do I share the details of my research project or my struggle to conceptualize the nephron. This is not because I don't want to share these ...

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OK, quick — word association time. I say “doctor,” and you think what? “Smart,” right? And it’s true. Doctors are smart. But before you buy into the myth that every doctor has breezed through school and could fall out of bed with a #2 pencil and crush an exam without thinking about it, consider that over 1,100 internal medicine doctors fail their board exam every year. And that’s just one medical specialty. When ...

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Recently, at medical schools across the country, first-year students officially donned the physician's traditional white coat for the first time. The white coat ceremony is a powerful symbolic moment. It signifies that the students are moving beyond their identity as ordinary citizens and into their new identity as healers. The ceremony celebrates their idealism and their commitment to a life of caring for others. And, although they may not realize this, ...

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Think studying abroad doesn’t fit with your future plans? Think again. Since the day I applied to university, I had been researching how I could incorporate global learning into my undergraduate degree program, while also thinking about my future goals for getting into medical school. When I was accepted to do a Bachelor of Science with a double major in chemistry and biology, I surprisingly still found time for extracurricular activities ...

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“First Aid For The USMLE Step 1 — cost: $45, format: reference book.” “Pathoma — cost: $99 (1-year subscription), format: video explanations + reference book.” “SketchyMedical — cost: $150 (1-year subscription), format: cartoon video memory device.” Our naïve MS2 eyes were glued to the screen as our noble MS3 predecessors clicked through the slideshow, pausing to talk about which third-party study resources were “super high yield” and which were only “moderately high yield” ...

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What is your gut reaction when you hear the words "hospital chaplain?" Maybe it's an eye roll or confused stare about what you believe to be an incoming attempt at religious conversion. As a family member anxious about a loved one in the hospital, maybe it's a sigh of relief. As a patient, maybe it's an overwhelming fear of incoming bad news. Health care chaplaincy is chronically misunderstood, beginning with ...

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I have just finished another round of that dreaded process that we call “the interview process.” Without fail, this process has haunted me almost cyclically every 3 to 4 years in the last 11 years of my life. First, there were medical school interviews, residency program interviews, and then lastly, fellowship interviews. You would think that after so many rounds of applying, it would get easier. You would think after I ...

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