Med School Memoirs: Smell the Roses

Another entry into the Med School Memoirs series. Wrote this yesterday. Haven’t edited it and don’t know if it’ll make the book I’m feeling good right now so I’m posting it. Enjoy.


Smell the Roses.

I skimmed my book with a blue sharpie pen in hand while he muttered notes from the morning’s final operation into the Dragon speech recognition microphone. Occasionally he’d pause and say something and I’d perk up and look at him as if he were speaking to me only to realize he’d just resumed dictating his post-op notes. After multiple rounds of this “is he speaking to me or the computer” game, his head turned towards me. I closed my book and looked up at him. This was the real deal. He asked, haven’t you finished that book yet?

Yes, I said. I’m just going through it again. I want to make sure I learn as much as possible before my audition rotations.

Put it away, he said. Let’s get some lunch. He stood up from his computer and I followed him down the hospital corridor. He pulled his surgical mask from his neck and threw it in the trash. I did the same. You’re smart and you work hard, he continued. You’re going to make it.

Thanks doc, I replied. I just… it’s stressful, you know? I feel like time’s flying.

He nodded and continued walking without a reply. His lack of response made me wonder if what I said had sounded stupid to him. I cared what he thought about me, which led me to overthink many of the things I said to him. He was an intelligent and accomplished surgeon, which is what I hope to be. Some day.

We walked side by side; I was on the left and he was on the right. He turned left into me towards the stairwell door and we did that awkward thing where you’re in someone’s way and you have a western gun draw about which way you should move to actually get out of the way. That’s the thing about being a med student; you’re either in the way or invisible. Today I was in the way.


Announcement: Med School Memoirs.

Welcome. Let’s get to it.

I have been trying to write this post for months but I never seem to find the right words.  Several times per week, I’ll write this post and delete it.  I can’t write anything on this site anymore.  But I need to just finish this and post it so that I can jump over that mental hurdle.  So, I’ll skip the flowery introduction and get the purpose of this post immediately.

While I haven’t been posting much on Soze Media lately, I have been writing. In fact, have been writing more than ever. But I’m not writing end of rotation reviews, or how-to lists, or anything of that nature. Rather, I’m writing a book.  For now, the working title is “Med School Memoirs”.

It is a collection of short stories. Many are real, others are fiction, and some blur the line between the two. I was going to try to explain the stories but I can’t seem to do it. Some stories are directly about being a medical student, while others simply take place in the setting of medical school.

When I started writing them, I had no intention to share them, meaning I could write without worrying what readers may think – which is the best way to write and stay true to your voice. My site grows in popularity and page views every month, but I haven’t posted any of these stories due to the fear that no one will care. The whole “putting yourself out there” thing, you know? It gives me anxiety.

But since I’m finally posting this announcement, I know that it must come with a teaser. I’ve written over 50 stories, and I’ll write 50 more, but the book will be a selection for 30 or so of the best stories. Therefore, once in a while until I release the book (likely early 2020), I’ll post a story that won’t make the final product and will be left on the cutting room floor. Here’s one such story, a tale of loneliness, isolation, and love.  It’s the story of my old friend and neighbor, Raj.

Med School Memoirs: Str8 Outta Mumbai


Twitter: @JordanSoze

More to come.

The 2018 Soze Media Music Awards (Part I)

Yeah, I know most of these lists are released before 2018 actually ends, but cut me some slack, I’m a busy med student.

All the major music journalism publications have released their lists of the best songs and albums of the year. But mainstream music journalism is pretentious garbage and in my opinion, my thoughts on music are all that matter and everyone else is wrong (I’m JOKING).

I’m going to go on the record and say that 2018 was a down year for music. While the year did deliver on some unforgettable hits, I felt that there was a major lack of top-to-bottom impressive albums. Even worse, the best albums of the year were largely ignored. All the big dogs in music journalism were trying so hard to be cool and hip by anointing average records as classics.  In fact, you won’t find the best album of the year (which I’ll get to) topping any of big name lists.

While the media latched on to lame corporate pop hits and the flannel-clad hipsters tried to act like every run of the mill indie artist was the next big thing, some truly incredible music was released this year if you knew where to look.

(Disclaimer: Please don’t take me too seriously)

Without further adieu, let’s say peace to 2018 and review the year’s music.


Miscellaneous Step 1 Tips

I’m halfway through my third year of med school. I’ve already completed family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics and internal medicine rotations (along with the shelf exams for each). Somehow, I’ve reached a realization that I never saw coming: I miss studying for Step 1. Yep, I said it.

While I have enjoyed third year (for the most part), I really dislike studying for shelf exams. Aside from UWorld, everyone recommends different resources. Online Med Ed is nice, but it makes me miss Boards and Beyond. You have to muster the energy to study after coming home from a long day at the hospital or clinic. And suddenly, residency applications and the match, which once seemed so distant, are now closing in faster than Troy Polamalu chasing down a ball carrier in his prime. The beast of Step 1 has been conquered, but a million other anxieties rear their ugly heads: away rotations, evaluations, letters of recommendation, and so on. In short, you no longer have one “big thing” to focus on, but rather a myriad of small things that you need to attend to.

I miss having that one big thing to focus on. I miss the process. I miss having complete control over my day-to-day routine. So, since I’ve been reminiscing on that journey, I’ve decided to finally publish this post (which I wrote like 5 months ago). Here you’ll find a collection of Step 1 advice that didn’t seem important enough for an entire post. I’ve sorted the advice through the following phases: first year, second year (pre-dedicated), dedicated, test day, and post-test.


Overheard: Memorable Quotes from My Surgery Rotation

In the third and final installment in my three part series on my general surgery rotation, we’ll close out with the fun stuff – my favorite quotes and conversations from my surgery rotation. Some were funny, some were insightful, while others simply made me smile.

For reference, GS = General surgeon, PS = Plastic Surgeon, PGY = resident

To check out my favorite quotes from family medicine, check out End of Rotation Review: Family Medicine


  • [Closing for the first time after a lap chole on my first day]
  • [Surgeon]: Did you actually try to suture or, uh, did you just watch those wounds heal naturally? I mean, I could’ve eaten lunch and run three miles in that time. And look at me – I don’t run fast.
  • [Anesthesiologist]: So do you know what you want to do yet?
  • [JS]: Not entirely sure, but I know it has the be in the OR.
  • [Anesthesiologist]: Well, would you rather sit or stand?
  • [Surgeon talking to new intern]
  • [GS]: Look at this young man. Nice beard. Polite. Smart. Worked his ass off to get where he’s at. And now he has to listen to me bust his balls and there ain’t a thing he can do about it.


How to Honor Your Surgery Rotation: 9 Rules

If you read my End Of Rotation Review of General Surgery (aka a synopsis of my experience), you know that I not only had an excellent educational experience, but I also made some friends along the way. Know that hospitals and institutions vary widely in culture – use any advice I give with extreme discretion. Have situational awareness. Stay out of the way. Don’t do anything stupid. Try to be helpful where you can. And have some fun.

Here are my 9 rules to honoring your general surgery rotation.


1. Be Kind and Respectful to Everyone

The most basic advice on this list, yet often overlooked. On your rotations, you’re not going to be remembered by the number of pimping questions you got right; you’ll be remembered by how you treated others and how you assimilated with the team. No one is below you. Not the nurses. Not the scrub techs. Not the orderlies. They’re all people the same as you.

So use those manners momma taught you. Smile and say good morning, even if you’re tired and don’t want to be there. Show up on Mondays and ask, “how was your weekend?” Simple stuff like that. When they realize you’re a genuine and kind person, they’ll look out for you. The scrub techs will make sure you get a good spot at the table. The nurses will help you in any way they can. The CRNAs/Anesthesiologists might even let you intubate. As a rule going forward, the better you treat others, the better your experience will be.



End of Rotation Review: General Surgery

So as I wrote in my previous, and first, entry to my “End of Rotation Review” series, family medicine was super chill (click here to read it). My attending was very empathetic to the med student experience and ensured that I had a good time during my month with him.

During my last week, he said to me, “are you ready to get your ass kicked by surgery next?” Most med students dread surgery as it’s notoriously known as an arduous, soul-crushing experience. Despite being pretty sure I wanted to go into a surgical field, I was a little bit intimidated. It’s natural. I had shadowed a handful of surgeons in the past few years but only scrubbed once before. As a first year med student fumbling my way through the foreign land of the operating room, I was kicked out of the procedure for breaking sterile field twice. Not my finest hour.

After showing up on my first day dark and early, I waited to meet the educational coordinator person (idk what her title is) who didn’t arrive until forty-five minutes after we had planned. After a brief tour of the O.R.’s, pre-op, PACU, endoscopy suites and all that jazz, I eventually arrived at my attending’s office, sat down and discussed the expectations for the rotation. “Do you know what you want to do yet?”, he asked.

As always, I like to keep my answer to this question relatively vague (i.e. if you’re on pediatrics, hate pediatrics, and would rather quit med school than pursue it as a career, you keep that to yourself and say you’re undecided but interested in what every specialty has to offer). However, it was surgery, and I want to do a surgical subspecialty. I am still remotely considering anesthesia as well. So I conveyed this to him.

He outlined the plan:

“So recently we’ve decided to start doing something different. You’re going to do whatever you want. You are not going to be tied to me or any other attending. You have the freedom to make this rotation yours. If you see something on the schedule that interests you, ask if you can scrub in. You pay so much money for every day you’re here and you have so little time to explore and figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.”

These were his terms. My grade would be determined by comments from surgeons, residents and other staff. As long as I logged enough bread & butter general surgery cases (lap choles, appy, hernias, etc) and worked hard, I was given full freedom to spend my time with whatever specialty, surgeon, and procedures caught my interest.

Again, I struck gold.


10 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Medical Student in Your Life

Do you have a friend, significant other, or family member in medical school? The holidays are right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to spoil the medical student in your life with some thoughtful gifts for all of their hard work. Tis the season.

I’m just like you. The holidays creep up on me faster than a final exam, and I’m consequently sent scurrying to find thoughtful & useful gifts at the last minute. Luckily, whether you’re an outsider looking for the perfect gift for someone traversing the gauntlet of medical school or another med student who wants to reward a friend for helping you out this semester, I’ve got you covered.

Forget medically-related gifts. Gift cards are useful, but lazy. Cash, love & affection are always nice, but if you want to surprise your medical student compadre with a thoughtful present, check out my picks:


Soze’s Fall Playlist (2018)

The two months (or whatever) of the autumn season is probably the only time in the calendar year I can say I’m actually not jealous of those who live in more stable climates.   I mean, just look at those colors – pumpkin orange, marigolds and bright red. It’s beautiful, man. Spooky season. Football and chili. Cozying up with a scary movie. Crisp weather and cool fashion. Ghastly decor and candy that we don’t need. Memories and music. Something about the fall is so introspective, nostalgia-inducing, and eerily atmospheric.

This aint your typica fall playlist full yawn-inducing acoustic indie songs tailored to the Pumpkin Spiced Latte crowd.   Certain songs, albums, and even particular sounds are associated with the crisp cool air of the autumn season.

Here’s a collection of my favorite songs that perfectly capture the fall atmosphere. (click the song titles for a link to each song)