Most medical students are defined and characterized by type A personalities – the people who sat in the front of the classroom in college and pestered the teacher with useless questions (and God knows how many annoying emails).
They, and I suppose by association, we, continuously strive for perfection. The application had to be perfect. Medical students went through college with relatively pristine GPAs, took a Kaplan course to get a high MCAT score, participated in various research projects on shit they weren’t interested in, volunteered handing out water bottles, saving kittens from trees, and other shit like that. All so that they could one day adopt the idealized prestige of the title, doctor. Perfection is the goal of all medical students.
I am no such person. Calling me imperfect would be an understatement – while I display academic success, I am prone to doing some incredibly stupid things. You win some, you lose some.
Recovering from a respiratory infection and three days before an exam, shadowing a doctor for one of my required clinical experiences was the last thing I wanted to do.
Per protocol, I called the doctor a day in advance to confirm our plans. Usually I was calling a receptionist at the office who would instruct me to report to the facility at a certain time and hang up the phone. When I dialed the contact number of this physician, I was greeted with, “Hello, Dr. S”. A little taken aback to be reaching the doctor’s personal number, I said, “Hello, Dr. S. I’m student doctor Soze. I’m calling to confirm my scheduled Clinical Experience with you tomorrow afternoon”. Expecting a quick “okay, great, 1pm 555 State Street”, Dr. S engaged me in conversation, asked me how my day was, and ended the talk by giving me his cell phone number, instructing me to text him my name and email. I texted him and later that night he replied, “Hey Soze, busy night here at the office. We’re running late. I’m going to send you an email as soon as I’m home! Email me outlining your personal goals, what you hope to learn from our experience, and tell me a little bit about yourself”.
I found this a bit strange and over-the-top, but I emailed him. Later that night, he replied with several paragraphs, detailing his numerous awards, his life story, with his CV attached as well as documentation of “best physician instructor of the year award”. Fucking great. I’m sick, I have to study for an exam, I just want to go in, do my time and go home, but I’ve got to work with Dr. Enthusiasm for a day, who would undoubtedly be expecting a lot from me.
As a disclaimer, before I delve into my seemingly pretentious stream of conscious about music tastes, know that I would never judge someone for what they enjoy. I am friends with liberals and conservatives, heavy metal headbangers and classical music aficionados, straight edge people and hippies alike. While it is somewhat immature to ostracize and judge folks with different opinions, every human being likes people who agree with them. We surround ourselves with people who have similar mindsets, interests and values. A dedicated bodybuilder will seek out gym partners to discuss training techniques and diet. A stoner will hang with others who smoke. A medieval historian will have long discussions with colleagues who share knowledge and interest in that era. An animal lover will be drawn to others who have a similar passion for animal protection and rights. It’s human nature. Our passions define us, they give us life, and often, they even give us purpose.
You can strike up conversation with random passerby’s on the street about the weather. You can go to work and talk about Tom Brady’s legendary comeback in the Super Bowl. These are examples of topics that just about everyone can relate to and share their thoughts on. But what happens when you have a burning passion, or an interest that you’re dying to discuss, but no one shares your interest? It is frustrating, and at times isolating.
While I briefly addressed the topic with short anecdotes, I’ve been messaged with several questions regarding social life, improving your bench press, partying, hanging with friends, and anything else that constitutes non-medical related activities during the years of medical school. Therefore, it is appropriate to elaborate on the topic in full.
If you have a pulse and a social media account, you already know that music festivals are widely gaining more and more popularity around the country.
Coachella is the first name mentioned – That girl you know from college will see that Beyonce is headlining and heard that Radiohead is good so she’ll tweet a picture of the lineup captioned, “OMG dying. Going to Coachella this year” (spoiler alert: she doesn’t end up going). For most, Coachella isn’t feasible logistically unless you have a few G’s to blow.
On the east coast, we’ve seen the emergence of many new festivals in an already oversaturated festival market. Governor’s Ball seems chill and usually puts out a solid lineup. While the brand new Goldenvoice New York City product, Panorama, has put together some smaller outstanding lineups over the past two years, they don’t really tap into the “Mumford & Sons was the best concert I’ve ever been to” crowd. Firefly does an excellent job at that – like a PG-13 rated Bonnaroo. Or an edited rap album.
If you are interested in attending medical school, or for some stupid reason you’ve ever wondered or cared how your future physicians’ lives are during the four years they spend learning how to treat you, then you’ll find an honest report on the medical school experience below.
Now, I only started school last summer, but I’ve been in it long enough to know how things work in the preclinical years. Medical school is at times exactly what I feared, and at other times, the complete opposite of what I expected. There are many medical school misconceptions, and the reality of the experience is often different than you’d imagine.
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “The public health authorities never mention the main reason many Americans have for smoking heavily, which is that smoking is a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide”.
While the year was filled with social media hype-driven bullshit, there was undoubtedly classic material released throughout. And in the face of such a music culture that embraces cheesiness, cliches, derivative trends, and minimal original ideas, the artists who are making authentic, genuine art shine even brighter.
Instead of ranking all of my favorite songs of the year numerically, which I think is kind of stupid, I have compiled a list of my favorite songs of the year, with only one song per artist. Following the best songs of the year, I have ranked the best albums of 2016.
Yeah, I know most of these lists are released before 2016 actually ends, but cut me some slack, I’m a busy med student. I had a three week winter break, but those days were reserved strictly for drinking, sleeping, and doing the least productive activity I could come up with at the moment. Without further adieu, let’s say peace to 2016 and review the year’s music.
Typically, the first two years of medical school are comprised of learning the science of medicine in a classroom setting. You have lectures, books, and exams. Just like college. Except every week is like finals week for the hardest classes you ever took. Years three and four, they ship you off to a hospital where you learn how to actually practice the medicine you’ve been learning and deal with those bewildering creatures called “patients”.