I’ve been mean to my body lately. And since I know better, I talk negatively to myself about why I continue to be mean to my body. Lately, I’ve been considering why I do this -- why we do this -- and how to think about ourselves differently. Several months ago I had immobilizing low back pain. I broke my low back in high school, and this pain was similar. After ...

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I just had a conversation with a physician and faculty member at my school. He started the conversation like this: “It’s alright if you disagree with me, and I can disagree with you too. Good academic discourse should allow people to disagree with each other.” He then allowed me to question him and explain my perspectives for over an hour as he explained his answers, helped clarify some points, and gave ...

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I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I am in medical school, which alone tends to drive people into scheduling mayhem. I am in student government. I am on the official basketball team at my school. I am preparing for an AMSA talk. I workout regularly, I continue to write, I cook and do my laundry and spend time outside when I can. My caffeination is at an all-time ...

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I stood in line at the grocery store waiting to pay for my items. The woman behind me, who would be categorized as obese, was eyeing some of the snacks so conveniently placed in the checkout aisle. She grabbed a meal bar and analyzed it for a few seconds, then said aloud to me: “You ever had one of these? They’re pretty good. And they’re gluten-free, that’s how you know they’re healthy.” Healthy. What ...

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A few days ago I received a message: “Any advice for incoming med students?” As an old, wise, seasoned, now-second year medical student, I know everything. Just kidding — I fumbled my way through first year like everyone else, and just like you will too. No piece of advice allows you to opt out from the challenges of medical school year one. My advice isn’t the “normal” recommendations incoming medical students receive. You ...

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Dr. Eugene Gu. He is -- was -- a surgical resident at Vanderbilt University. His resume exemplifies academic perfection: valedictorian in high school, undergraduate degree from Stanford, medical degree from Duke, surgical residency at Vanderbilt. He also founded his own research company. Not once throughout the span of his academic or professional career would one have any reason question his capability or competency. But several weeks ago Vanderbilt fired him, citing “performance” issues. Why? Because ...

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A few days ago I learned about a different manifestation of imposter syndrome. The “usual” one, of course, shows up as, “I shouldn’t be here because I’m not qualified or smart enough to be here.” The one that was confessed to me a few days ago, however, went like this: “I shouldn’t be here because I don’t know what I’m doing here.” They explained how it seems that everyone is filing away into ...

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Learned helplessness. It’s a psychological concept marked by a perceived loss of power, and it’s prevalent in medicine. We are taught early on how little we are in this colossal world. We are told what to do, when to do it, and what we will get for it. Our objections go unheard or—worse—ignored. Let me quote a paragraph from The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz:

They were conducting a series of experiments on basic ...

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In medicine, there is a key group of people we seem to be excluding: introverts. I noticed this twice at the recent AMSA convention. It made me realize how often our culture in medicine rewards the boldness, loudness, and confidence so often associated with extroversion. The first instance was after my talk. I was answering questions from a group of people when someone came up, handed me a note, thanked me, then walked ...

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There is no glory in defense. Fans don’t notice it. The most perfectly-executed defensive play results in a non-event; that is, the other team doesn’t score. Then everyone forgets about it, and the game moves on. But there is an art to defense. It is reactionary in nature: You must read the offense and anticipate what’s coming. You have to study the opposing players one-by-one, so you know their strengths and ...

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