Off the Shelf

Off the Shelf is our section for creative works by medical students.

Frances Tao (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of California, Riverside School of Medicine


Frances Tao is a second year medical student at UC Riverside School of Medicine. She graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S. in Biochemistry & Cell Biology from UC San Diego in 2014. Her professional interests include lifestyle medicine and global health. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, sketching, and traveling.




Reflection Through Mask-Making

On a December night in a northern suburb of Chicago, the weather outside dipped into single digits with a sub-zero wind-chill. Safely situated indoors, a group of medical students wandered into a classroom where five tables were covered by plastic tarps with another laden with pipe cleaners, acrylic paint and brushes, and a stack of blank masks. Licking the emotional wounds left by a sleep-deprived exam week that ended only three days prior, the students eyed the art supplies. They were hopeful for a means for reconcile their psyche tattered by cold and a semester of school.

Please Not Me

“Please not me,” I pray earnestly. Not me. Not me. I don’t want to become the medical student-turned-resident-turned-physician who loses empathy. The one who loses compassion. The one who takes lives and near death experiences for granted, who quickly learns, as an ER attending once bluntly stated, that “everyone’s a liar.” Not me.

Anatomy as Art: Installation #20

At Albany Medical College, upon our orientation to gross anatomy, we are asked to draw our feelings on blank index cards prior to entering the cadaver laboratory. As we progress through the year, our sentiments regarding anatomy may remain the same, or may change, and these drawings allow us to look back at this milestone we crossed as budding medical students.

Pooja Jagadish Pooja Jagadish (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University


Pooja Jagadish is a fourth-year medical student at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a double-major in Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies and co-founded a student organization to raise awareness about abuse on college campuses. During medical school, she created the Quillen High School Outreach Program to inspire regional high school students to pursue health careers in medically-underserved Southern Appalachia. In her free time, Pooja enjoys writing short stories and poetry and playing the piano.