Ria Pal, MD (11 Posts)
Former Editor-in-Chief (2017-2018) and Former Medical Student Editor (2016)
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Ria is a Class of 2018 medical student. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in neuroscience. Her interests include human behavior, social justice work, art, public health, and mnemonics.
About three months into our roles as editors-in-chief of in-Training, we had created a system. Mondays, I’d come home from the hospital — usually with some ineffective Anki studying, or commiseration with my roommates, or hastily composing a Chopped-style dinner with leftovers — log into our WordPress backend, and start making my way through the latest batch of submissions.
My mother likes to tell the story of how, as a small child, I referred to the superficial wounds sustained in my first head-over-handlebars accident as an “abrasion.” I remember staring at my knee, fascinated by my body’s ability to heal itself. The sacred anatomy of wounds, atoms as spacious as galaxies, coalescing and woven with no instruction of my own to renew what had been lost.
Every day, twenty times a day, I listen to breaths. “Take a deep breath in and out… good… and another…” Mostly clear breaths, sometimes crackly, sometimes wheezy. I place a hand on the person’s shoulder, subtly offering kindness and connection. I enjoy this time to take deep breaths myself.
Simply put, the humanities seek to capture the mosaic of human existence across the chasms of jubilation and despair, life and death, love and fear. The humanities are both disciplines of academic study and modes of expression.
In my high school years, I had an English teacher, Mr. Moon, who once remarked that his dream would be to “write a paper” about a certain book we were reading, and publish it somewhere. “Write a paper”? Was he kidding? In his free time, he was going to write?
Ten years ago, I stepped onto the grounds of my medical school for the first time. I remember there was so much anxiety — I was anxious to become a student doctor, anxious to choose a specialty, anxious about my own insecurities around my impressive and brilliant classmates. I wish I could go back in time and sit down with my younger self at my favorite coffee shop. I’d treat her to a hot matcha latte with honey and vanilla (it’s going to change her life) and tell her everything is going to be okay.
Dr. Kevin Dueck, MD is an adjunct professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University and practices rural family medicine and addiction medicine, and he contributes this video presentation as a former in-Training writer.
The Match process is an emotional roller coaster ride that feels like it lasts forever but also flies by. Being on the other side and looking back, I wanted to do my part and share my thoughts about how to stay grounded and sane during this time.
After four years of intensive studying, two years with long hours in the hospital and three years of dating, we made the decision to apply to dermatology and plastic surgery. Recognizing the competitive nature of both of these fields, we quickly realized that matching together may not be feasible. We wanted to take each other into account in the process without either one of us making a large sacrifice in the quality of our training program to be together. Open communication and transparency were critical for us throughout the process.
Last week, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) announced that Step 1, the first of three required licensing examinations for medical trainees, will stop reporting three-digit scores and instead report only a pass/fail designation as early as January 2022.
After submitting the ERAS application, you might let out a deep breath and feel a transient sense of relief. But submitting also means that interviews are around the corner — a reality that can quickly bring about excitement, worry, and anticipation.
It was exactly what I wanted — a stable salary, not having to be on-call and the ability to focus on the tasks that had made me passionate for medicine in the first place. More medical students should consider pursuing obstetrics hospitalist careers directly after residency, yet many are unaware that it’s even an option.