As a budding third year just starting out on my clinical rotations, I’ve recently learned the value of a home-cooked meal — there’s only so much take-out Chinese, microwaveable pizza rolls, and leftovers from last week’s lunch that my tastebuds will tolerate. It was only when one of my friends pointed out that it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve eaten a vegetable that I realized I needed to make changes in my life: specifically, culinary ones.
It’s that dreaded season again: spring. Whether you’re a fourth-year getting ready to cross the country for residency or a first-year readying for exams, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that spring is a stressful time for most of us.
Imagine you are a first-year medical student and just moved across the country to start your training. It is a stressful time, adjusting to a new city, a school, and new people.
Admittedly, the strife experienced by hip-hop artists comes from a different place than that of mine and likely many of our colleagues in the medical profession. Yet, the anxiety and fears of being unable to live up to expectations is something we can all understand.
I can finally say I’m in my last year of medical school. It has been a bumpy ride, but only one clerkship, a research project and an OSCE separate me from graduating. I remember receiving my acceptance letter eight years ago.
Growing up in an Asian American immigrant household, I frequently encountered and grappled with my parents’ reserved manner of expressing themselves. Instead of using words to communicate their sadness or anger, my parents would barricade themselves in their room and refuse to say a word.
During our psychiatry block, I learned how the aching sadness within me curls through my brain. It begins in the thalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus — three points that sit like stars in my body’s sky.
When we enter medical school, we bring with us high hopes, dreams, ambition and a passion to help those in need. We radiate vibrant energy and have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
Despite the fact that it’s fairly warm for this time of year, I was feeling in the spirit to try a winter-themed activity that wouldn’t require travel or cost a significant amount of money. The most obvious activity, given those requirements, was ice-skating.
If you remember, about one year ago I had published a story about coming to terms with my mental illness on in-Training. Soon thereafter, I asked for the publication to be removed. I would like to re-publish my story with a very important addition.
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.
One thing I’ve always associated the holiday season with (besides lots of yummy food) is singing — anything and everything from Christmas caroling to hymns at church. I’ve never had a very good voice, but one thing I always noticed was that I enjoyed myself every time I sang. However, I always chalked it up to the situation rather than the act of singing itself.