Monday, January 6, 2020

Setting Intentions 2020

I think setting intentions is such a critical part to the start of each year. This year, it is extra important considering it will be my intentions for the next decade so here are just a few of them. They’re from me for me, shared with you. 💫

  1. Be kind. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Be kind to those you love. Be kind to those you hate. Especially those you hate. 
  2. It’s okay to not be 100% all the time. The anxiety and the sleepless nights are not worth it. You will get where you need to go and an extra day will not even register in the next decade. You are more important than anything else. 
  3. Be happy with what you have. Your life is different from everyone else’s so to compare you to anyone, even a twin, would be like comparing the sun to another star.  We are all centers of our own universes, for better or worse. 
  4. Money is not a big factor. It comes and goes. But the experiences that you make and the memories that you build will last forever. So spend that extra $$ to go on that spontaneous trip with your friends or family because nothing and I do mean NOTHING can be as worth it. 
  5. In the same vein, travel the world. Don’t get complacent because you think you have seen so much of the world. That’s a lie. There is always more to see and to see more is to experience more and learn more. And for me, that’s life. 
  6. Learn from others. When you compare yourself to someone else then you are intimidated and you close yourself off to all the opportunities that other people can give you. They can teach you about life and love and even academics in ways that you will never be able to do on your own.
  7. Negativity kills creativity. It kills us slowly. It is a rotting corpse that hangs in your closet, waiting to be exposed. It tells you that you are not worth it and that you are an imposter. None of that is true. You are worth it. You are where you belong. You have put in the work so be cocky and be proud of yourself because at least then you won’t drag yourself down. 
  8. But it’s okay to be sad and have so called negative emotions sometimes. It’s okay to be angry and to be sad and to be jealous. Let yourself be okay with experiencing these emotions because they will come and go. Just don’t let them take up room in your mind or life. They are visitors not dwellers. 
  9. Know what you want. This list is what I want, yes. But I also what a lot of material things. I want a house that I love. I want to own a car. I want to be able to adopt fur babies. Those are not shallow. As long as what you want harms no one else and you have intentions set for yourself not others then there is nothing wrong with that. 
  10. Let go. Let go of all that was “bad” in the last decade and let us start anew. 
The photo above was a photo I took at the start of 2019 on a plane. It is on fire. Very similar to how Australia, my current home, is on fire. This is a reminder to myself that fire renews us all but is also a devastating natural disaster. Let us learn from the old and appreciate the adversity we are put in but also move on so this never occurs again. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Winter Break - Time to break up with my old self

Last year was one of the most trying years of my life. 2019 did not treat me well. While my undergraduate degree was tough, I felt like I could always see my way out and I continued to excel. Medical school was not the same. It felt like a tsunami hurling towards me while I doggypaddled my way out. In my personal life, my family dynamics changed significantly. With a death in the family, one family tree was cut off at its roots. On top, a divorce occurred in the family that just felt like bird poop landing directly on me as if a bird targeted me and hit bull's eye.

2019 was also a time of immense change for me. I moved halfway across the world to pursue a degree in a different education system. I moved in with my partner and experienced all the growing pains that a relationship goes through during that transition. I made new friends and some not so good friends. I learned to love but also to let go. I learned to be happy but also appreciate my sadness.

Growing up. That's what it felt like. And it was tough.

But, the good news is that we only have a handful of days left before the start of a new decade. It feels like I have been forged in this fire and reached my tipping point before doused into the cooling water of a new year. I am excited for what this could bring for me.

I am grateful for the end of this year where I am surrounded by love and given room and time to recover. I am grateful for all that I have learned and all that I have absorbed in the past 10 years. But now it's time to let go of this old shell of myself and shed this skin. It's time for me to approach 2020 with a new mindset and find my own happiness.

Friday, November 22, 2019

1 Week Out

 One week out...

7 days since my last class.

It has been absolutely wonderful. I have no schedules, no rules. I am free, at least for the time being before I have to start considering USMLE.

Being in such an intensive program can really create and solidify the bonds you create with your classmates but stepping out of the med bubble can also be so important for your own sanity.

While we wait for our results for first year and confirmation that we will continue onto second year, it’s so important to remember that I am more than a number. I contain multitudes that cannot be quantified or qualified.

Anyways, sorry for the incoherent rant but it has been a wonderful albeit weird time for me.

Talk more soon xx

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Last Stretch: 2 Weeks Left

There are two weeks left until the first year of medical school is done. That means two more exams until I am 1/4 an official MD.

Unfortunately, there are two exams left and my motivation has plummeted so much I would be at E on the fuel gauge if I was a car.

This is what I have to look forward to...

The last RSA consists of all 5 blocks we have learned this year (Foundations, Musculoskeletal, Respiratory, Hematology, and Cardiology). It will be approximately 5 hours long and consists of two papers.

The last Anatomy exam will consist of anatomy and histology from the last 3 blocks.

Mostly, my aim is to pass so pray for me. xx

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Pathology Intercept

Breaking news-- I just finished my pathology exam.

Now, I am not a person that loves pathology and am definitely not willing to specialize in it. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the exam as it was easy and straightforward. The exam itself had 6 sections with one macro or micro slide for each station and questions pertaining to the pathology of the disease. It really helped solidify disease states that we have learned from previous blocks and I think was a really good review.

So overall, my quick review of the pathology exam is good good.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Year 1 OSCEs

First month in and not realizing what I was getting myself into...

The Objective Structured Clinical Examinations aka OSCEs is one of the most important exams in medical school.

It consists of 6 stations and a prompt before you enter the room. You have 3 minutes to read the prompt and 8 minutes to finish the station. The stations can range from physical exams (such as a knee exam) to history taking (such as anemia history). It is based on all the theoretical knowledge we have gotten from our lectures and synthesized into all the clinical knowledge we have gotten from our clinical days. More importantly than all of that, it shows the school the we are not awkward af and can actually talk to people normally.

For me, I thought this was one of the best exams I have ever taken in my life. It showed me that being a doctor is much more than just filling out bubbles on a blank exam. Instead the interaction we got, even from just actors and volunteers, were great. Our ability to relate to people is critical in our careers.

And best of all, we are now on a weeklong break before our 5th and final block for year 1 as well as our 3 upcoming exams.

Pray for me.

Edit: Update after OSCEs and Results

So it has been approximately three weeks since I sat the OSCEs. Personally, I loved the OSCEs and it was one of the best exams I have ever taken (and not because I did exceptionally well). Even though everyone says it's a song and dance, I really appreciate how it actually simulated working life for us. The one downside I would say that it is largely very subjective and not at all standardized. On one station I got 100 and comments saying I had great repertoire with the patient whereas on another station I got 36 saying it seemed like I was reading off a checklist. Furthermore, we got a station that hasn't been taught and was used for second years... I guess in the end everything is subjective and testable.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Farewell

Everyone struggles with their identity. Whether it is your sexual identity or your ethnic identity, everyone deals with their own stuff. Yet, these very struggles and our ability to overcome them eventually builds us into the people we are today. As cheesy as it is, I truly believe we are defined by our experiences.

For me, a large portion of my experience has to do with my upbringing as a Taiwanese Canadian.

I was born in Taiwan to a medium-sized but loving family. I left quite soon after because my parents wanted me and my older sister to have a life that expanded beyond the confines of a country with no recognizable sovereignty. We left to Canada where there were long bouts of time in which we did not see our family, or even our dad who was working to provide for us.

One of the most long-standing memory I have is holding my metallic purple binder and crying as my mom forced me to learn the phonetics of the english alphabet. Through those blood, sweat, and tears, I have been able to gain some invaluable experiences. I have been able to ski on Whistler and ice skate on lakes. I was in Shanghai during the World Expo and in Thailand when tragedy struck through the Phi Phi islands.

Throughout these moments, each one defined my existence and my growth as a human. Throughout these hard fought battles, I continued to forge my existence, one that is unique and unlike anyone else's. Through it all, it built me into the doctor I want to be today.

While watching The Farewell, it truly struck a chord with me. It exemplified the struggles of being stuck between two worlds. Whether it is for a wedding or for a medical emergency, there are moments where our culture seeps through and our viewpoints on life clashes with others. It is exactly in this moment that we need to reach into our humanity and recognize our commonality. We need to understand that we can not enforce our beliefs onto others, just as how they cannot do so to us.

I will not be spoiling the movie, but I do want to discuss one scene that really stood out to me. There is this one scene in the movie where Awkwafina, in character, asks her grandmother's doctor if it is the right thing to do to hide her diagnosis from her. The doctor provides an anecdote in which his own grandmother died of a disease she was unaware of due to the family's request.

Not only was the scene hilarious as it showed how the grandma tried to set up Awkwafina with not only a doctor but a doctor who can also speak english (albeit very brokenly), but it also showed how the doctor found it to be absolutely normal to hide the truth because in China, that is the norm. That is the norm. I think we need to remind ourselves that in times when we are questioning our own moral compass because no matter how much we want to be a great person, at the end of the day we are also doctors and we not only answer to our own ethics but more importantly we must answer to our patient's. That is a burden I truly believe every doctor must carry to ensure that we can help our patients not only physically, but emotionally.

This movie is powerful not only in its representation in the Asian American community, but as a commentary on cultural competence in the medical field. It is important to acknowledge the family's wishes, even if they do not align with ours.

I truly believe that any doctor that wants to be a good doctor should watch this movie.