I slide through the door swung open by the janitor. It closes with a metallic shudder.
And what does it mean now? To be accepted? To be initiated, congratulated and nudged toward a curriculum made jokingly infamous by well-meaning administrators and by a culture which treats such consuming endeavors as medical school like abstract forms of busyness?
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.
On the first day of my neonatology elective I met Aaron, a one-day-old infant born to a mother with a history of intravenous drug abuse. The mother was reportedly attending a methadone clinic during her pregnancy to address her opioid addiction, but her urine drug screen was positive for fentanyl.
A sketch from fourth-year medical student Leor Arbel of the University of Central Florida.
Through the automated doors of the psych hospital, / the man walked / until he reached the front desk.
In the middle, he stood / Between darkness and good / Both selves beckoning him to a side / And in the fight, a small piece of him died
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.
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.