On entering the medical profession, avoiding gunners, and activism

Earlier this month, I stood alongside my peers, all of us clad in our brand new short white coats and clutching our new stethoscopes, and said these words:

I do solemnly swear by that which I hold most sacred

that I will be loyal to the profession of medicine and just and generous to its members. 

that I will lead my life and practice my art in uprighteousness and honor.

that into whatsoever house I enter I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption.

that I will follow that treatment plan which, according to my ability and judgement, I believe to be most helpful to my patients.

that whatsoever I see or hear of the lives of men and women which ought not to be spoken of, I will not divulge.

While I continue to keep this oath inviolate, may I enjoy life and the practice of medicine, and be respected by society; but should I trespass and violate this oath, may the reverse be my lot.

And just like that, I took my first step into the medical profession.

It was surreal. To be honest, it still doesn’t feel real. Like what?? You’re telling me that, In four short years, I’m going to exchange my short white coat for an attending’s long one? That my knowledge of the human body is going to grow exponentially in the next year and a half—and then some, once I’m actually seeing patients? This can’t be real life.

Although there’s a part of me that’s still in “pinch me, I’m dreaming” mode, another part of me is already completely disenchanted with my medical school experience. Does that make absolutely no sense? Alrighty, let me explain.

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27 08/14

Broken Horse (Freelance Whales cover)

I finally got around to covering another song! This one’s for raw-toast <3 More covers for friends to come!

22 08/14

On endings and beginnings

As the shortest summer of my life comes to a close and the last four years of my formal education begins, I feel the need to make sense of the jumbled mess of thoughts that have been crowding my mind for the past couple of weeks. So naturally, I’m word vomiting onto my blog. Bear with me…

tl;dr The future is scary, and I’d much rather cling to the past, but I’ve got to make plans and forge ahead even if I’d rather not.

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09 08/14

How to Save a Life (cover) by Light the Beacons!

My sister and I finally got around to recording a cover for you guys, as promised. But on the day before I leave for vacation, of course, because we put the pro in procrastination.

Anywho. Together, heygraciela and I are Light the Beacons!, and this is probably the first thing we’ve posted to the interwebs. It is by no means a perfect cover, but it was still fun to record. Maybe next time (i.e. next time we’re visiting each other) we’ll make a video of us singing together, but today we were kinda lazy, so audio post only. Enjoy!

(Source: existibility)

22 07/14

existibility vlogs | the sister tag

In which my sister and I talk about… us. And laugh a lot. Sorry my laugh is obnoxious. Also for the loud air con (A/C for all you mainland American folk) in the background.

08 07/14

Blog update: commenting

I’ve enabled Disqus on this blog, so you can now comment on my posts using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts. Of course, replying via tumblr is cool as well.

Cool beans.

06 07/14

On patriotism and American exceptionalism

I really should be in bed, but I’ve been thinking about this all day, so I better get this out before it’s no longer relevant.

So we just celebrated the 4th of July, which means I’ve taken 1776% more “YEAH ‘MURRICA” and “FREEDOM FTW” than the recommended daily dose. But seriously, as I get older, I find celebrating the 4th of July a bit… conflicting for me.

On the one hand, I’m happy to be an American, and I appreciate the fact that I can live and work in this country and can take advantage of whatever opportunities it has to offer—it’s why my parents and grandparents immigrated to this country in the first place. And I appreciate my citizenship even more when I think about some of my other relatives who would give their right arm just to get their green cards but have been unable to do so for years (for over a decade, if I remember correctly).

On the other hand, however, I can’t help but be disappointed in my country for not living up to its shining ideal of “liberty and justice for all,” as we say in our pledge. To think that America provides liberty and justice to all of her citizens is naive at best and willfully blind at worst. It’s late, and I’m exhausted, so I’m not going to pull specific stats off of the internet right now, but you don’t need to look far to discover that straight, white males (especially of the Protestant variety) are the standard and that rich, straight, white men wield the most privilege and power. If you’re not that… well, tough luck. Essentially, American society is not designed to equally consider women (*cough* Hobby Lobby *cough*), people of color, LGBTQ individuals, non-Christians, and low-income individuals.

The internal conflict I feel comes from the fact that, during the 4th of July, we often go on and on about how we’re the greatest nation on the planet and how exceptional we are when, in reality, we’re really, really screwed up. Until women and men, people of color and whites, queer and straight individuals, and poor and rich people alike share the same rights—not simply in law but also in practice, we are not exceptional.

And until we actually mean the all in “liberty and justice for all,” I’m just going to continue feeling only “mildly patriotic” during national holidays.

05 07/14

hestiaschaetzeken replied to your post: On Long Commutes and Bracing for the F…

yay, languages! but ugh… the music on the German lessons. I feel ashamed. lol So Bavarian. Also I agree on the part with actually seeing the words. Otherwise you’ll maybe start making up fantasy spellings in your head…? idk.

(I’m going to have to turn on Disqus or something like that to facilitate better commenting on this blog…)

Lol about the Bavarian bit. The native speaking instructor is from Bavaria, so I suppose it’s appropriate in this case.

05 07/14

On long commutes and bracing for the future

(Some weeks, it’s just going to be easier for me to blog instead of vlog, so here we are.)

Yesterday, I went to a lunch meeting where a couple of MS1s (first year med students for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term) talked a bit about their medical school experience thus far. Based on that conversation, as well as Preview weekend in the spring, it looks like the coming year is going to be a lot of trying not to drown in my own tears in the sea of information that we’re going to be inundated with.

I’m already scared.

And from what I’ve been told, med students spend every spare moment studying. Yeah, people make time to have fun, go out with friends, watch TV, etc., but they also just study like crazy. For example, one of the MS1s takes the bus home every weekend she can, and she pretty much studies the whole way. So I guess I have to kiss long, “let me fall asleep listening to my music” bus rides and flights goodbye, and I guess I need to get 500% better at time management because I’m just really terribad at chipping away at long-term tasks and at making the most of my time.

So last night, I decided that I’m going to use my “dead” time more productively, starting with my walk to work. I live kinda far from campus, so it takes me just under half an hour to walk to work every morning. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to music to ease the misery of walking in 80-90 degree weather (with upwards of 60% humidity—Lord have mercy!). While that’s all well and good, I could definitely be spending that hour of my day doing something marginally more useful than just passively listening to tunes. Sooooo I’ve decided to use my commute as an opportunity to brush up on my French and to (actually! finally!) start learning German. I found these lovely podcasts on iTunes (Coffee Break French and Coffee Break German), so I can download an episode to my phone and listen while I walk. Each episode is approximately 20 minutes long, so it’s just long enough for me to get through once while still having enough time to rewind certain parts if I miss something.

I tested it out for the first time today, and it was actually quite fun. I’m starting with season 4 of CBF because it’s supposed to be for intermediate/advanced learners, and I felt like I knew enough to pick up the majority of what the instructors were saying. I’m a complete beginner to German, though, so I’m starting CBG from the very beginning. (It actually works out really well because CBF is a more established program, whereas CBG is relatively new, so I’ll track with the release of new episodes once I’m caught up.) My main concern is that I retain vocabulary a lot better when I can see the words instead of just hear them, so I’m going to have to look things up in my own time in addition to just listening to the podcast. I also want to be literate (imagine that!), so the whole “looking up words” thing is going to be important for that. But for now, it’s nice to hear the language and to get used to the accent and to making new sounds (my favorite thing is feeling the way my mouth “shifts” when I switch between English, Spanish, and French).

I hope I’ll be able to keep up the languages thing once classes start! I always forget how much I love speaking something other than English until I’m learning another language, and I think that the language practice will, at the very least, provide some sort of a break from whatever normal studying I’ll be doing this year.

So there’s that.

À bientôt! Auf Wiedersehen!

03 07/14

On Hobby Lobby and the failures of American Christianity

I’ve been mulling over what I want to say in this post (that no one is going to read probably) after I heard about the Hobby Lobby ruling, and while a post yesterday would have been more timely, it would have been a knee-jerk, emotional response, and Lord knows that the last thing I should be allowed to do is write a blog post when angry.

So now that a good 24-36 hours have passed, I think I can write more clearly about the issue.

Or, issues, as it may be.

Plenty of other people have written about the problems of applying individual rights to corporations (i.e. “corporations are people too”), how the ruling mostly impacts poor women, and how Hobby Lobby is hypocritical in not wanting to pay for their female employees’ contraception while simultaneously investing in companies that produce birth control, etc., so I’m not going to talk about that stuff. (And don’t get me started on the whole “my paying for someone else’s insurance that they may or may not use to buy contraceptives is against my religion because I [erroneously] believe that contraception is [essentially] equivalent to abortion” argument…)

My main issue is that conservatives (Evangelicals in particular) are rejoicing that this ruling is a victory for religious freedom. Is it really a victory? In whose book, the Religious Right’s? And what did we Christians achieve with this lawsuit?

From where I stand, it seems that conservative Christians are horribly myopic in trading minor “victories” (e.g. the Hobby Lobby ruling) for our actual eternal calling, which is to follow after Christ. And I can only speak for myself here, but the Jesus I follow is one who suffers with those who are suffering, who serves the poor, and who stands for and with the oppressed. But in Christian circles in which we are in a “culture war,” fighting to keep secularism at bay, there is no room for looking outward at the suffering of others when we are the ones being “persecuted” and “oppressed.” That the American Church fails to recognize its position of privilege in our society is frightening because we can easily become the oppressors. (I can go on and on about the Church’s privilege, but I’ll save that for another time maybe.)

On top of all that, what concerns me is that actual, tangible good could have come out of the time, money, and resources spent on this lawsuit. I almost don’t want to imagine how much Hobby Lobby spent on lawyers over the past two years to get the case all the way to SCOTUS. What if, instead, that money was used to support a free health clinic? Or was donated to a homeless shelter/food bank/soup kitchen? Or was otherwise used to benefit those that need it most? Instead, the only “people” who benefit are large "Christian" corporations.

So remind me again who really won yesterday… because I wouldn’t count it a win for Christianity.

01 07/14