Tag: MS1

Emily DiLillo Emily DiLillo (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine

Emily is a medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Class of 2019. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, she eventually went on to become a Hawkeye, and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2014 with a degree in Human Physiology. In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming, doing puzzles, and most of all, sleeping.

The Greatest Gift

After passing out, I began to have doubts about my true level of squeamishness. So when it came time to go into the anatomy lab for the first time as a first-year medical student, I was nervous that I would be “that person” — the person who passes out the first time she walks into lab.

The Hardest Part of Medical School, and How to Overcome It

During my first year of medical school, I had the privilege of speaking at several high schools and colleges. The purpose of these interactions was to shed light on what I did to matriculate into medical school, my experiences as a medical student, and to answer any questions. No matter where I went though, one question always followed: “What is the hardest part of medical school?”

Learning to Listen

About eight months into my first year of medical school, an incoming student asked me how to prepare for the upcoming journey. I could relate to the panicked, excited feeling of the duty to prepare for medical school after an intense visit day. Yet, instead of defaulting to my ingrained answer of, “Nothing can prepare you for medical school,” which I believe was not in the student’s interest to hear, I carefully considered her question and answered, “It’s very important to be a good listener.”

What’s the First Thing You Do When You Walk Into a Patient’s Room?

I was constantly sick as a child with ear infections, meaning I was in the doctor’s office all of the time. However, about the time I turned 3 years old, I got Bell’s palsy. My mom is a nurse and did not often overreact to medical issues, but she was obviously terrified of my drooping face and rushed me into the doctor’s office. Given my previous history of visits for my ear infections, the doctor was somewhat impatient. Assuming I was there for another ear infection, he walked into the room while looking at my chart, never looking up. As he was prattling on about how we were in the office far too often my mom looked at him and yelled, “Just look at her!” The moment he did, his jaw dropped and he rushed into action.


Dead in Traffic: Reflections on Gross Anatomy

Cadaver. The word itself seems devoid of life. And, so too does the white plastic bag lying unceremoniously before me. It’s the first day of anatomy, and I unzip the tarp and stare down at a wet, grey lump of clay. There it is. There is what, exactly? What was I expecting? Some warm human soul, freshly sprung from the loins of life? No. That’s not this. The essence of life is gone — absolutely, irrevocably, unquestionably, gone.


I had just finished my second test in medical school. I flopped down next to a fellow student I met barely a month ago, exasperated and on the verge of tears. I was exhausted and quickly becoming emotional, realizing I was too uncertain about a (large) handful of those musculoskeletal questions.

Answering a Tough Question

“Why did you want to become a doctor?” I hate that question. It makes me cringe every time I hear it. Honestly, I went into medicine because my parents wanted me to. But that answer sounds mildly insufficient, so I feel obliged to give my customary “I love science and I want to help people” reply.

Yes, Dear

Now six months away from graduating from medical school, I’ve started to reflect on the patients who hold a special place in my heart and memories, who taught me invaluable life lessons. We were in the assisted-living home of an elderly couple who had agreed to meet with us so we could practice our interviewing skills as first-year medical students. The old woman was sitting in a reclining armchair, leaning back. She had multiple medical problems, …


Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

how quickly one turns on oneself  inner demons circling overhead like opportunistic infections ready to invade predator and prey so vulnerable unprotected and unarmed.  survival of the fittest  I wrote this poem just a few weeks ago during a moment of overwhelming emotions that felt all too familiar. I’ve been writing poetry since middle school; it has always been a source of refuge for me, an outlet for my deepest fears and anxieties. Letting my …

It’s Hard Keeping a White Coat Clean

As I was standing in my apartment building’s laundry room scrubbing away at a stubborn coffee stain, I kept up a steady stream of curses at my white coat. In the seven weeks since I’d first donned it, my coat had apparently decided that it preferred to be any color but white. A Tide-to-Go pen is now a permanent fixture in my pocket, and it’s used almost as often as the actual pens. It’s odd …


Reflections on the First Year of Medical School

It’s almost been a full (calendar) year since medical school began. I’m officially a second-year medical student — and this year’s been a momentous one. As I look back on it, here’s some of the things that I learnt along the way. Fire hose: Med school really is like a firehose you’re supposed to drink from. It’s high pressure, it’s intense, it’s humanly impossible to get it all down your throat. The idea is that you …

My Center in Medical School

Jack Frost, what is your center? It seems a little simple – even childish – coming from a character-driven, family-friendly animation, but this line struck a reflective chord within me. Much like the Guardians in the children’s movie “Jack Frost” who protect the innocence and happiness of children, physicians protect and heal people who are helpless and in need. While the end purpose of a good physician – to effectively and compassionately care for their …

Nita Chen Nita Chen (32 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and in-Training Staff Member

Albany Medical College

Nita Chen is a Class of 2017 medical student at Albany Medical College. To become cultural, she spent her early educational years in Taiwan and thoroughly enjoyed wonderful Taiwanese food and milk tea, thus ruining her appetite for the rest of her life in the United States. Aside from her neuroscience and cognitive science majors during her undergraduate career, she holed herself up in her room writing silly fictional stories, doodling, and playing the piano. Or she could be found spazzing out like a gigantic science nerd in various laboratories. Now she just holes up in her room to study most of the time.