We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are … Or we can decide for ourselves.
Sleep deprivation is a serious safety issue and has been implicated in everything from oil spills to plane crashes to nuclear power plant explosions.
Dating in Med School
The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.
Q:Do you know any MD/MPHs or MDs who did their MPH before/after getting their MD? How has the MPH shaped their experience in medicine? I'm thinking about doing one before going into medicine to understand the larger system I hope to be involved in as a future physician. Thanks!
My roommate actually completed his MPH before he started med school! I just asked him your question and this was his response:
"First of all, there are several kinds of MPHs that are all vastly different. I did Epidemiology & Biostatistics, which is considered the established degree. Learning how to critically assess the scientific basis of medical knowledge makes you a critical consumer of information. That’s huge because you can understand the research that’s becoming increasingly important in evidence-based medicine, which gives you a leg up on peers. With a MPH, you’ll understand the world of research, how to conduct it in the world of academia - a huge part of grants and funding - how data is relevant, how data interplays with issues, and how to answer questions scientifically, which makes your research much more effective, accurate, and useful. My MPH also helps me understand how the system works - hospitals, private insurance, the government, everything. In general, a graduate degree changes what’s expected of you in a doctoral program, but also gives you a useful swath of expertise."
A thought experiment: Imagine how people might react if Taylor Swift released an album made up entirely of songs about wishing she could get back together with one of her exes.
We’d hear things like: “She can’t let go. She’s clingy. She’s irrational. She’s crazy.” Men would have a field day comparing her to their own “crazy” exes.
Yet when Robin Thicke released “Paula” – a plea for reconciliation with his ex-wife Paula Patton disguised as an LP — he was called incoherent, obsessed, heartfelt and, in particular, creepy.
But you didn’t hear men calling him “crazy” — even though he used it as the title of one of tracks.
No, “crazy” is typically held in reserve for women’s behavior. Men might be obsessed, driven, confused or upset. But we don’t get called “crazy” — at least not the way men reflexively label women as such.
“Crazy” is one of the five deadly words guys use to shame women into compliance. The others: Fat. Ugly. Slutty. Bitchy. They sum up the supposedly worst things a woman can be.
WHAT WE REALLY MEAN BY “CRAZY” IS: “SHE WAS UPSET, AND I DIDN’T WANT HER TO BE.”
“Crazy” is such a convenient word for men, perpetuating our sense of superiority. Men are logical; women are emotional. Emotion is the antithesis of logic. When women are too emotional, we say they are being irrational. Crazy. Wrong.
Women hear it all the time from men. “You’re overreacting,” we tell them. “Don’t worry about it so much, you’re over-thinking it.” “Don’t be so sensitive.” “Don’t be crazy.” It’s a form of gaslighting — telling women that their feelings are just wrong, that they don’t have the right to feel the way that they do. Minimizing somebody else’s feelings is a way of controlling them. If they no longer trust their own feelings and instincts, they come to rely on someone else to tell them how they’re supposed to feel.
Small wonder that abusers love to use this c-word. It’s a way of delegitimizing a woman’s authority over her own life.
Most men (#notallmen, #irony) aren’t abusers, but far too many of us reflexively call women crazy without thinking about it. We talk about how “crazy girl sex” is the best sex while we also warn men “don’t stick it in the crazy.” How I Met Your Mother warned us to watch out for “the crazy eyes” and how to process women on the “Crazy/Hot” scale. When we talk about why we broke up with our exes, we say, “She got crazy,” and our guy friends nod sagely, as if that explains everything.
Except what we’re really saying is: “She was upset, and I didn’t want her to be.”
Many men are socialized to be disconnected from our emotions — the only manly feelings we’re supposed to show are stoic silence or anger. We’re taught that to be emotional is to be feminine. As a result, we barely have a handle on our own emotions — meaning that we’re especially ill-equipped at dealing with someone else’s.
That’s where “crazy” comes in. It’s the all-purpose argument ender. Your girlfriend is upset that you didn’t call when you were going to be late? She’s being irrational. She wants you to spend time with her instead of out with the guys again? She’s being clingy. Your wife doesn’t like the long hours you’re spending with your attractive co-worker? She’s being oversensitive.
As soon as the “crazy” card is in play, women are put on the defensive. It derails the discussion from what she’s saying to how she’s saying it. We insist that someone can’t be emotional and rational at the same time, so she has to prove that she’s not being irrational. Anything she says to the contrary can just be used as evidence against her.
More often than not, I suspect, most men don’t realize what we’re saying when we call a woman crazy. Not only does it stigmatize people who have legitimate mental health issues, but it tells women that they don’t understand their own emotions, that their very real concerns and issues are secondary to men’s comfort. And it absolves men from having to take responsibility for how we make others feel.
In the professional world, we’ve had debates over labels like “bossy” and “brusque,” so often used to describe women, not men. In our interpersonal relationships and conversations, “crazy” is the adjective that needs to go.
Surround yourself with people who know your worth. You do not need too many people to make you happy, just a few real ones who appreciate you for exactly who you are.
A Few Observations
-The number of type A personalities in med school is absurd. There’s this neurotic buzz in the air at times, and it makes me want to aerosolize some Xanex or spray them all down with some sort of aroma therapy de-stress mix.
-Most people will seem nice in your class upon meeting them. Only about 80% actually are (observe how they talk about others in your class).
-Med school is like regressing to high school socially. I have heard more gossip in the past week than I have in years. Sheesh people. Live and let live.
-Social skills: you either have them or….
-Med student philosophy: work hard play hard. We’ve already hit several bars this week and it’s only Wednesday. Granted it’s likely just a last ditch effort to have fun before school begins.
Q:I know you're not in med school yet, but you're gonna be a great doctor--keep doing you!
Thank you so much, anon! I sincerely hope that is true. I start med school next week in fact!
Q:You like HIV too?!?!? I thought I was the only one!
Yes! It’s a fascinating little virus and rather brilliant in terms of evolution. It even holds potential for helping to cure certain bone marrow and blood cancers (when the virus is genetically modified of course).
I also enjoyed shadowing an ID doc who cared for HIV/AIDS patients since their care is very holistic and in order to successfully treat them, you usually have to involve social workers, potentially a therapist, their GP, etc. I liked the team aspect and continuity of care that comes with treating those patients (a rarity in ID…usually you consult and leave). Plus if you help the patients manage their health well, they can live a fairly normal and long life. The global health aspect of HIV/AIDS is also very appealing to me since I am an avid public health fan; prevention is the best medicine!
Q:So I just got done with my first year of University as a Bio major. It went well, aside from my health causing a GPA drop that was quite significant. I have various CHDs and myriad arrhythmia. I had an ICD placed by emergency during the year. Will med schools understand my unique circumstances provided I can rise up from it, improve my gpa, continue my extracurriculars and hobbies?
Yes! They absolutely will! I’ve written several posts on this topic before, so rest assured that you’re not the first medical school applicant to have worried about this. I believe most AdComs look favorably upon applicants who have experienced hardship, particularly the medical variety (since you can potentially empathize with patients more easily), and who have shown themselves to be resilient by recovering from their hardships.
Q:Hello there! I really want, no.. I really need some advice. From what I see, you're pretty great at that. I'm going to be a freshman undergraduate this fall, majoring in biology. I need to have at least a 3.5 average to be accepted into the pre-med track and that is certainly doable for me. I want to attend med school and be the doctor I have always dreamt of being. But...I have super low confidence in myself. I keep doubting my ability to make it out alive! Any tips or advice for me?
Hi there anon!
Trust me, you are not the first premed or med student to doubt him or herself. Doubt can even be healthy at times, but the important thing is that we can’t let it paralyze us and keep us from achieving our goals. Here are a few past posts and asks that are specific to this topic:
Good luck and best wishes!
Q:What do you know about MD/JD's, have you ever come across one? Do you think there's a major intersection between the fields of law and medicine? I'm determined to pursue medicine but law has always intrigued me too and I can't help but think there is some kind of relationship between the two. Thoughts? Thanks :)
I have met several MD/JDs (well, they were students) at UMiami, but yes I do think there is an important intersection between the fields of law and medicine. Often in medicine, lawmakers and lawyers are unable to understand the unique challenges of the medical profession, simply because they haven’t walked in a doctor’s or nurse’s shoes. I think a MD would greatly inform any law career related to medical tort, future healthcare policies stemming from the ACA, or private practice as counsel for a hospital or patient advocacy group. Since I’m only an MD student and can provide limited perspective and info on this topic, I would suggest doing some research on these programs and contacting a few of their department heads/chairs—they should be able to advise you about career opportunities for MD/JD and what their role typically is in the medical world. If there’s a program in your local area, I would also suggest shadowing a MD/JD. That’s a lot of schooling to commit to, so you definitely want to make sure it’s a good fit for you!