"Death comes for all of us. It is our fate as living, breathing, metabolizing organisms. Dealing with the fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live." - Paul Kalanithi, MD Recently, first-year students of the medical and physician’s assistant classes completed their seventh and final practical exam in clinical anatomy. Through fifteen weeks, 117 students learned the structures of the human body organized by region, working from ...

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A professor recently romanticized my idea of clinical reasoning as he began our session by saying, "When you're a physician, you're a detective." He elaborated: "Every fact you have, every piece of evidence you have, must be consistent with your leading diagnosis." As he said this, my eyes narrowed, and I sat up a little taller. My fellow first-year medical students and I have begun our official training in clinical reasoning, ...

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I recently told a friend that medical school is changing me fundamentally as a person. This sounds dramatic, but there's truth to it. This program and education are successfully training my brain to think in new ways, sloughing off parts of who I was, and adding new parts to who I will become. However, to my surprise, the experience has also resurfaced old parts of me that I had considered ...

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In medical school, I’m having a hard time choosing among extracurricular activities. Some of the difficulty comes from the fact that our mandatory classes are hard enough for me to manage. On top of managing coursework, I feel an enormous pressure to question what I should and shouldn’t do to best plan for my future. A little voice inside my head always asks, “How will this look on my resume?” I ...

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During the recent winter break, I went home and visited my yearly slew of doctors for check-ups: vision, dental, gynecology, etc. In the exam room, my new gynecologist instructed me to put my feet up in the stirrups. I had recently learned in a seminar at school that new guidelines on Pap smears suggest spacing them every three years for women at my age, and I wondered, “Do I even ...

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Before coming to medical school, I made a promise to myself: I will not become a robot doctor. Time and again, I visited what I call robot doctors: those physicians unable to empathize with me and seemingly unable to compute moments when I said something unscripted. For example, I once made an appointment with a doctor to discuss what might have been irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While describing my symptoms ...

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