Categories
Blogging Family Friends Life

What I've Learned from Kicking a Bad Social Media Habit

I’ve been on a social media hiatus, but I never said I would quit the blog until boards. It’s been a gradual weaning process to break the habit of checking my instagram, twitter, and facebook every 5 seconds. I hated that I was so dependent on them. I was on my phone way too much, now I lose my phone a lot more without it by my side every minute. I also have a lot more time to study or better yet- relax- now that I’ve logged out of all of them and deleted the apps. Facebook has been the most difficult to kick though, mostly because a good part of my class uses it to communicate with each other. As a result, I’ve been checking it for school updates occasionally. It has been an overwhelmingly good thing for me, and not just for boards studying. I’ve also realized I don’t miss it. My boyfriend always said I scowl my face every time I scroll through my phone for the past couple months. I did it without thinking about it. Its stupid how much time I wasted on things that don’t matter. The people I really need to know about are people I talk I actually talk to on the phone, text, or in person. Best case scenario on social media is me paying very little attention to what I’m looking at or reading, absent-mindedly scrolling through weird, personal details of peoples lives. Its very strange, our interactions online. Worst case scenario I get told to buy something, or I get jealous, down on myself, panicked, sometimes angry even. On Instagram, I can spend hours looking at pretty pictures of people I don’t know, which is another weird thing we do online. People brag online without thinking about their audience of mostly people in similar walks of life struggling to lose weight or make good grades or get their baby to sleep through the night. Even the simplest #humblebrag can make someone else feel like they are failing, and that’s something nobody really thinks about enough. Women are the worst at it, and I’m guilty of it too. My twitter has a lot of anonymous medical students at great schools with blogs and twitter feeds that often make me feel panic-y about studying or feel like a slacker. I pray that this blog never makes any of my peers feel behind or down on themselves. Trust me, I’m more behind than you! Keep doing your best, medical students; I know how hard it is!
Bottom line- social media has a purpose. I’m thankful for the funny articles and pictures of my friends that I don’t see often. I’m glad it makes people realize how blessed they are and gives a platform where people often publicly compliment their friends and be more grateful for their families. I even like when people post about their successes- most of the time. People butt heads and you’re never going to make everyone happy or avoid offending everyone who reads what you post. For me, it became overwhelmingly negative at a time in my life where I am already at the breaking point. I’m stressed and very often, things on social media affected my mood in a very negative way. Not to mention the time suck it was for me when there already aren’t enough hours in the day. Even after boards, I hope to maintain this habit of rarely checking my accounts. I want to choose to focus on real conversations in real life with my loved ones, and save the successes and failures and announcements and life events for the people who are actually there to celebrate or offer a helping hand right there with me.

Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Life Medical School

2nd Year Rut

I wanted this blog to be real. Honest. No sugar coating it.
Med school sucks sometimes. There I said it.
Its three days into a new semester and I’ve already hit a wall so hard that I can’t even sleep. Usually when I don’t want to study, I can sleep, or at least binge watch something while simultaneously “candy crushing” until sleep finds me. Here I am, though- its 2 AM and I’m Facebook stalking pictures of myself while I was in college, feeling sorry for myself.
Something is off. And it has been for a while.
I feel happy each day. I wake up, I eat, I laugh, I study, I see my friends, I sleep. Even my family is always close by when I need them.
But, after looking at my own pictures on my feed, I see I’m not even the girl I was a year ago. That girl was “pinch me” happy to be in medical school. That girl lived to go into school each day and learn. That girl was running everyday. She loved going out, even on weeknights- regardless of the sleep she’d lose- just to be with her new friends, gain the life experiences.
I loved my first year of medical school. It changed my life in all aspects for the better.
Shortly after first year started, an older gentleman in a restaurant overheard me using “first year” and “second year” terminology and leaned over and said “You must be in law school, using those words.” I smiled and proudly said, “No sir, I’m in medical school.”
“My mistake,” he smiled, “Congratulations then.” My “thank you” to him was heartfelt and beaming with pride. I was passionate that I was finally where I had wanted to get to all these years.
Last year, it was this all-consuming-love-of-my-life and I couldn’t talk about anything else because I was so enthralled.
Now, I’m this 15lb. heavier zombie, dragging my sedentary body around with my arms in front of me growling and yelling “SLEEP!!!! Where is my sleep?” and feeding on any friends and family nearby, sucking them into my darkness whenever possible.
I don’t want anything to do with going to class or shoving any more knowledge into my haggard, feeble, and engorged brain. Hanging out with friends? Forget about it. The first thing I do after class is come home, throw my jeans on the floor and sit in bed. I study when I have to and do anything else besides school that I can find when I don’t have to.
My best friend asks me how school is going “Horrible,” I say. “can we talk about something else?”
 
 
So tell me, which girl do you want to be your doctor in a few years?
 
 
I’m not the type to squander this opportunity. I truly, deeply want you to know that I know I should be more grateful. I know I am extremely privileged to be able to pursue this profession. I just happen to feel like its costing me a lot in this season of my life. I know these feelings are normal too. I know I’m human, but I hate the fact that I am already this burned out and broken down by my medical education. It’s hard, though. Its hard to go back to the honeymoon phase when you’ve seen medical school in the light of day.
When you’ve had to miss birthday parties.
When you’ve had to tell your nieces that you can’t make it to dinner.
When your jaw is throbbing from clenching it when stressed.
When you miss those concerts with your friends.
When you feel 80 years old for wanting to sleep at 7:30 PM and you are only 23.
When you have to start studying for a $600 test 6 months in advance.
When you want to be active and run and play and shop and dance and stay up until 5AM with your girlfriends.
When you want to be sore and tired from all the things you did that day, but instead you are sore from sitting on your leg too long and you have a hand cramp from writing too much and you are tired from straining your eyes.
All for a potential illness you have not yet learned in a future patient you have not met, in a clinic you cannot picture. There’s no such thing as instant gratification in med school. I have only a far off hope that someday, some rewarding case will instantly make it all worth while. Do you see what I mean?
 
 
In undergrad, I was very wary to not use the term burned out whenever I was frustrated because I knew how much longer I had to go.
But this…there is no other word for this than burn-out. I flailed through last semester and faked it til I made it but three days in to my second semester of my second year and I am having some serious trouble.
The worst part is- I don’t have a solution.
I’m struggling. I’m doing my best. I try to find the good. I don’t let comparisons to my awe-inspiring friends and classmates steal my joy. I stay disciplined to my studies. I keep my head down and work. I just keep swimming.
I guess I know I’m doing something right when I wouldn’t trade this crappy 2nd year rut, for any other experience anywhere else.
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Categories
Family Medical School

Medical School Orientation and a Birthday!

EEEKKK! It’s one week until orientation. Everything is coming hard and fast and best of all, I feel ready. My summer checklist is all but crossed off. I got back into decent running shape- I did 25 miles last week! The study room is done. I got new school grown up clothes. I rested,  and enjoyed my family and friends.
It’s weird that this is the last week ever in my life that I will NOT have been to medical school! How many people can say that they’ve been to medical school? Probably millions but it sounds pretty crazy to me!
Still, next week this time will be very busy and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous!
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This weekend though, is this girl’s birthday!
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She’s not this little anymore but it feels like just yesterday I was making her first birthday cake!
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But now she’s this gorgeous, sassy, little sweetheart and I’m making her fifth birthday cake!
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I love you Julie. Happy Birthday!

Categories
Family Health Life Medicine

Empathy vs. Sympathy

I saw this video a long time ago and I remember showing it to my roommate and we just sat silently after watching it. I’m glad I was able to find it again. Its quick and easy to understand but she covers some deep things in it that I mull over in my head quite often.
I always get chills when she says “I know what its like down here and you’re not alone.” If only I was just able to convey that to people that I want to help. Its harder than it sounds.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw&w=560&h=315]
My relevant story for today isn’t really any thing compared to the pain and suffering some people go through, but I’m going to tell it anyway because it is what has got me to some realizations about helping people pain- both physically as a future physician, and emotionally with family and friends.
I had a bad sunburn recently. Mostly on my back. It was about two days old and I went running enough to soak my back and my shirt in sweat. It started itching in spots on my way home. Then it started burning. Then I took a warm shower. Then I got out and put some moisturizer on it. Through each of these steps it started burning worse, getting itchy all over. I’m not sure if I was done for from the moment I sweated salty chemicals onto raw skin or if I just kept making it worse, but by this time I was in a fit of excruciating pain and compulsive itching. Rolling on the floor, crying for my mom, rubbing it with my knuckles so that it wouldn’t sting worse from scratching. The only thing that took a little edge off was running the bathtub on cold over my back constantly. My parents were trying to talk me down gently and had to resort to holding back my arms, yelling “CALM DOWN” and watching me twitch and sob and cry.
It was awful. Truly I didn’t think I wanted to live much longer if I had not known it was just a temporary skin irritation. I thought of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. I thought of how scary it was to not know how much longer I was going to feel like that. To not know when or if I could sleep or eat or enjoy anything. I was begging to go to the ER to get a sedative.
The video popped in my head
“I know what its like down here and you’re not alone.”
I thought of how anyone was ever going to help me get rid of the pain. I was going through everything I knew to make it just a little better or tolerable so that I could sleep or distract myself from the itching til it went away. My mom was just as scared and helpless as I was. My dad was yelling unhelpful things like “SHH” and “Don’t touch it!”
After we thought of cool water and I was sitting with my back under the faucet, my mom just sat there with me as I calmed down and the burning got manageable. I don’t know if the house catching on fire could have gotten me out of the tub. I was scared to move for fear that the flood of relief would leave my body. My mom just sat there.  And for a bit, I was fine. My pain was not gone but I was comforted by the temporary relief I found and the fact that someone else was there, as if saying
“I don’t even know what to say; I can’t do anything to help you, but I’ll stay here with you and just be together.”
That’s what I hope to bring my patients if nothing else: Relief through connection.

Categories
Family Life Medical School

4th of July Weekend

I’m sitting in the bathroom talking to you nice folks, while supervising the bath time of a very sleepy 4-and-a-half year old. I had a very fun and relaxing fourth of July weekend. These little girls often put things in perspective for me. Throughout the week, I chase down a to-do list, that- as soon as I cross off one thing I add another- is often full of not-so-important things. Yet, I treat it like my life’s work. And, while it is important to get my oil changed and renew my passport before school starts, I forget that I’m supposed to be relaxing before medical school and not stressing these mundane things. The little ones that I’m so lucky to call my nieces always call me back to what’s important by forcing me to take a break to cuddle and listen about their lives, play in their imaginary world for a while, and not worry about my list or school just yet. (Right now they pretend to be the princesses left at home by their kings while they go to fight the king’s war)
 
I didn’t take any photos of the gorgeous fireworks or the cookout, but I had a pretty hilarious silly-photo selfie shoot of which I will share gratuitous amounts of grainy iPhone pictures.
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pssst…. doonthego.me (no longer “.wordpress.com”) will launching soon, so be on the lookout!
ppppppsssssttt… the study room I have posted about here and here, is almost done! Just waiting on some final items to be ordered so look out for that too.
 

Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Health Life Medicine

Worry

I worry about big things, like about the future. I worry about small things, like about not finishing all the summer reading I wanted. I worried when I was 9 and had no legitimate concerns. I worry now when every decision feels so pertinent. I worry about serious things like the environment. I worry about stupid things like having white teeth.
I worry about my family. I worry for their health and happiness. I worry about about their worries. I worry about their sadness. I worry about their foot fungus. I worry about their flaky patches of skin. I worry about their backs, their diets, their sore throats. I worry about my sisters. I worry about depression returning, looming in the sky like a big thunderhead that just passed over us. I worry about my nieces. I worry for them because its so hard to be a girl. I worry because its so hard to grow up and grow up right. I worry because things go wrong. I worry for them because there are hurts I can’t hide from them. I worry that they will see my worry because I want them to know how blessed they are and I’m worried my worry will make them think otherwise. I worry about them when I start medical school. I worry that they’ll think I won’t have time for them.
I worry about my friends. I worry that I’ll disappoint them. I worry that they won’t get everything they want for their lives. I worry about the hurt they will have to endure if they don’t. I worry about love. I worry that I don’t have a clue. I worry that I won’t have time to have a family. I worry that I’m not good enough. I worry that I’m screwing up. I worry that things won’t work out even though I know they will.
I worry about medical school. I worry that I’ll flunk out. I worry that I won’t make friends or won’t have time to. I worry that I’m not cut out for it. I worry that I’ll be incompetent or embarrass myself. I worry that I won’t like it. That I won’t want to study. I worry that I’ll worry more than I already do. I worry that it won’t be everything I wanted it to be. I worry that I will have done all this for nothing. I worry that I’ve made my non-existent career more important than people.
I worry about cancer. I worry about diabetes. I worry about heart disease. I worry about death and disease. I worry about pregnant women. I worry about babies. I worry about obesity. I worry about families. I worry about women in more dire circumstances than I can even imagine. I worry about our nation’s healthcare system. I worry about mental illness. I worry about people who don’t know better. I worry about people that do know better. I worry about vaccines. I worry about abortion. I even worry about the overuse of antibacterial hand soap. I worry about the food we put in our mouths. I worry about business, ethics, medicine, politics, immigration, gender roles, and society because all these things play into our health. I worry that we won’t be able to fix it all. I worry that I won’t even be able to do my part.
I worry that the worries I have listed here don’t even scratch the surface of what I worry about. I worry that I won’t ever stop worrying. I worry that someday the burdens I have for people, the stress that I feel will shut me down into a deep dark place, like I’ve seen worry do to people before.
But most of all, I worry that someday I won’t worry about these things anymore.

Categories
Family Life

Something I Call "Family Stealing"

I’ve posted about being an aunt before and you can read about my five nieces on my family page, but this is more of a separate issue that irks me.
Disclaimer: Perhaps there are different community/family/church/whatever dynamics that I have not experienced. I would certainly not want someone to never experience the joy of a family bond even if their mom, dad, aunt, brother, etc. was not blood-related. I have also had friends whose family was like a second home to me and I have had friends that jokingly walked into my house and said “Hi Mom” to my mom, but here’s what I’m thinking.
As an aunt, I would find it offensive for someone else- to call my girls their niece. It would discredit my bond with them, especially as an aunt who lives far away from them. Especially when they are young, its hard enough for them to understand that I am their mommy’s sister and that Gramma and Grandpa are our Mom and Dad, and how important those bonds are. It hasn’t happened to me that I’m aware, I just think it would make me sad.
I would liken it to someone telling a friend that they were their  “sister” in front of their real sister. “Like a sister”, would be more true. I would be fine if the girls said someone “was like an aunt to them.” I would be happy that they had so many people in their life that love them like I do. But there is something about saying someone is blatantly “your brother, your aunt, etc.” People that don’t know any better instantly relate that person to the meaning of a family bond and its not true.
Maybe I’m being petty and jealous, but just from a loving, young, cool aunt’s perspective-
parents- watch who you let your kids call family and
friends of people with kids- watch what you ask those kids to call you
And now I’m interested to see how other aunts out there and my sisters feel about this.

Categories
Family Friends House Life Pictures Recipes

Graduation Party Details

Here it is folks. The last remnants of my senior year of college. Woah.
My sisters, mom, and I did most of the party prep ourselves. We ordered 20 ml Lure-Loc syringes, a set of 3 Ehrlenmeyer flasks, 50 urine sample cups, and a set of 6 plastic beakers all from Amazon and tried to incorporate a science/medical  theme throughout the party.

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My messy pretzel thermometers

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Food Table

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Typical graduate shrine

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Build-your-own-Sundae bar with topping injections!

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Sprinkles!

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“Laboratory”

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“Urine” Punch to put in our urine cups. It was white grape juice and ginger ale.

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Pretty flowers my mom arranged!

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Mom and Dad

 
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The giant stethoscope my dad made for fun

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Dat baby tho

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POPCORN

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My parents with all their grandkids

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Macey found the popcorn like she always does!

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Besties for the resties

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Categories
Family Life

Graduation party

Edited pictures of other things from my “medical theme” will go up tomorrow evening. My stomach is full and my heart is happy from the party and being with family and friends! I have another busy summer week up ahead but the posts should be more regular as I get into a routine after my trips are over.
I hope everyone’s weekend is going well.
And as promised, here is the Pinterest fail version of what I posted about yesterday.

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Nailed it! Not.
Special thanks to my mama and my sisters for helping prep for the party.

Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Life

Back from Vacation, Planning Another One

We got back from our camping trip and had a lot of fun. Two things.
1/Everything takes forever with kids.
2/Kids make it more fun.
The sun was hot, the water felt good, and I’m now more thankful for things like toilets, netflix, and chapstick always being close at hand. Those survival reality shows where you strand yourself out in the heat somewhere? Yeah, I wouldn’t make it a day without shade and chapstick.
I had several halfway done projects at home waiting for an empty house (read: no crazy nieces running rampant around here)- so I was sort of preoccupied with getting back to my regular boring life of failed pinterest projects- when I got the following message and realized that my amazing Chicago road trip with Dani is like 5 days away. Woah. I don’t even know what it is in Chicago that I want to do!
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I did some preliminary research and discovered that I probably should have started doing this months ago. For one thing, our hotel’s parking is $65. Another problem is that pretty quickly I read that driving/parking in downtown is pretty impossible. And…  dun dun dun… everything we are doing is in downtown. Our concert venue and hotel are in walking distance, but there ISN’T ANY WAY IN ANY WORLD THAT I WOULD PAY $65 TO PARK MY CAR. I found some parking apps that give places to park a bit cheaper, but I have no idea how their public transportation works (or if its safe or for poor people like it is here) so I’m sort of freaking. There are a lot of logistics to work out.
It’s weird seeing the difference in family vacations versus now planning my own. When I’m with my family, I do zero planning, zero logistics, I don’t even think I helped cook the food. I’m just this awkward semi-adult floater that doesn’t play like a kid or pitch in like an adult. Oops. Now with my own, I don’t mind getting super prepared, printing all the tickets,  calling ahead for reservations, and figuring out where the heck a girl’s supposed to park. 
You can see it as good or bad. Maybe I’m finding out that I can take care of the details well on my own. Or maybe it means that I’m lazy and only do it when forced and no one else is there to do it for me. Whichever way, I guess we’ll see how this road trip goes and then decide if I’m capable.
Who knows, I may spend all my money on parking and not be able to make it home.
And, speaking of failed pinterest projects… check in tomorrow to see some pics of my graduation party.
Hint… I tried to make thesevbsc
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