“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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