in-Training 10-Year Anniversary, Opinions
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COVID-19: An Opportunity for Self-Introspection, and a New Hobby

This April marks the 10-year anniversary of the founding of in-Training, and we invited all members of the in-Training family to contribute articles and other artistic works to celebrate our first decade as the premier online peer-reviewed publication by and for the medical student community.

Neha Deo, Class of 2023 at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, contributes this article as an in-Training writer, columnist and featured author in our print book in-Training: 2020 In Our Words.

2020 was a tough year for all of us (and 2021, and 2022…), but it brought me closer to the medical humanities.

The pandemic was the reason that I began to write. This was in 2021, where the pandemic was really starting to take off. At that point, society was at a standstill. What would the future look like? Would we be able to leave our homes without fearing for our lives? I really didn’t know what life was going to look like moving forward. At that point, I barely saw my friends because of COVID, and as someone who likes a balance between being introverted and extroverted, I was struggling to find circumstances where I felt connected to my people. This struggle went on for months as the pandemic raged on.

What inspired me to write was a day during my pulmonology block in my second year of medical school. There wasn’t an “aha!” moment of sorts, but I just felt that I had enough. I needed to let out my frustration with the pandemic and my isolation. I was tired of feeling so disconnected from my family, my friends, and my partner. So, I started to write these thoughts onto a Word document.I wrote about the challenges I was experiencing as an international medical student in an unfamiliar place. I felt lonely. I felt scared. And most importantly, I didn’t feel like me. 

As the days went on, I felt comfortable sharing my written work with others. I felt vulnerable with others being able to read my writing, but I wanted to know if they felt the same. And they did! I felt reassured that my feelings weren’t just in my head — this was a difficult time for everyone, not just me. 

With the positive response, I decided I wanted to start a column at in-Training. I wanted to write more about the challenges of being an international student who was far away from her support system in the middle of a pandemic. This quickly became a hobby of mine and I enjoyed sharing my work with others who could relate with my struggles as a medical student. By reading my stories, I hope others can find solace in knowing that they are not alone. Medical school is a challenging period for many, and it isn’t easy having your support system so far away and inaccessible from you. 

in-Training has provided me a platform where I can share my experiences of being an international student, and for that, I am so very grateful. I often find myself identifying myself with other pieces that writer’s share as well. This has been a great forum for students to share their stories, artwork, and poetry, and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring.

Neha N Deo Neha N Deo (6 Posts)


Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine

Neha Deo is a fourth year medical student at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, MN class of 2023. In 2018, she graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with Distinction. She enjoys working out, keeping up to date on high fashion culture, and spending time with friends. After graduating medical school, Neha would like to pursue a career in dermatology and engage in global health education and research to create opportunities for Fijians like herself.

Navigating Different Relationships in Medical School

It can be difficult to balance relationships with medical school -- not just a romantic one, but also those with our family and friends. With this column I hope to show a more vulnerable side of the challenges that come with balancing medical school and maintaining our personal relationships. If you are reading this and are feeling the same, just know you are not alone!