A face feels nothing like a frozen pig’s foot, I thought, as I guided a curved needle into the woman’s cheek, drawing the absorbable thread across her still-bleeding wound. Two wraps around the needle driver and I pulled the nearly invisible thread through, bringing the edges of her skin back together, securing my first knot. “Hey, have you ever sutured?” the ER doctor had asked, just minutes before. “Only in class,” I replied, ...

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“Check it out,” my boyfriend said, angling his rash-covered arms in front of the camera. Despite his best precautions, after a day of yard work, he was covered in poison ivy. Over video chat, he showed off the pustules that had erupted on his feet; I cringed. “It’s fine,” he said, wincing while putting his socks back on. “I’m glad to know how awful it feels. I’ve seen a bunch of ...

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I left the library at 10 p.m. the night before the last exam of my first year of med school. As I hopped on my bike, I took comfort in my typical pre-test refrain: I’m done studying. I did everything I could. Of course, I’m not really done studying: I still have three years of school left packed with end-of-block finals, end-of-rotation exams, and the behemoths of the medical testing world, ...

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I’m a default crier. I happy-cry, stress-cry, romantic-comedy-cry, regular-comedy-cry and, apparently, I even doctor-in-training-cry. Crying is a tough response, especially for someone who wants to take care of sick patients. My default reaction poses challenges for my future career. I had my first taste of this when a patient actor brought me to tears. An actor? That's ridiculous, you might think. It was all pretend and yet, I broke down. I’m ...

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Greetings from the library. I’m writing to you through caffeine jitters, wrapped in a scarf that doubles as a blanket. I’ve marked my territory with my things: several Apple products, remnants of oatmeal in a mason jar, a sketchbook exhibiting my best attempt drawing the inside of a skull, and the most-essential item: my planner, detailing all the tasks I now avoid. I’m in the midst of my first round of ...

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Breathing is different when you know what your lungs look like.  I first realized this during a meditation session at Stanford’s Windhover building. The space -- a large, subdivided room -- is a self-described sanctuary in the heart of campus. The walls are mostly glass, broken up by long, clay-colored steel beams. Natural light, filtered through the surrounding trees, streams in to illuminate five larger-than-life paintings -- a series called “The ...

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