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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Compared to this time last year, this month has been a breeze.

I have one exam, an important one because its a final exam and its a graded class, so not pass fail (cytophysiology).

But I've had a decent amount of time to study. Its the first time I've had the kind of time to study the way I'd always wanted to. Slowly, bit at a time. Of course, now I'm three days out and a bit behind of where I'd hoped to be at this time but thats ok. A friend of mine made some excellent flash cards for Anki (best thing ever for any student - check it out) and I'm going to focus on them when I get to the point of, ok now "its time" to review what I've learned.


A friend of mine from high school who is also a graduate of my medical school (however from the Polish division) is now a successful OB-GYN and Instagram celebrity (and an amazing business woman - she has developed a whole brand around pregnancy, postpartum and infant care products). She has over 400K followers on Instagram and recently made news headlines because she raised over 1.2 million zloty for this amazing charity that raises funds for equipment for children's hospitals. If you speak Polish, check out her instagram @mamaginekolog.

Anyway, she recently ran a contest to promote awareness for cervical cancer, in honour of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week here in Europe. It was the "pink lips challenge" and she challenged us to post a selfie with pink lips and spread the word. I love this kind of stuff - I'll even admit that its social media posts that reminded me to get my most recent Pap smear, so I wanted to pay it forward. She also said she'd choose her favourites and showcase them, and she chose mine! I was flattered and she also posted about how I'm her friend from HS and that I'm doing med school after having 3 kids.

Doing so suddenly brought a flood of people liking my Instagram profile and women contacting me about pursuing medicine later in life and after having kids. Its been so nice to tell people, YES, DO IT! So many of them are even way younger than I am and thought they were too old.

I hope I've inspired at least one to go for it.

But it has also made me wonder if I should maybe tailor my Instagram a bit more to show the life of being a mom and med student? And should I focus on just my life or should I add an educational component to it?

My sister really wants me to make an Instagram account or use my current one to dispel all "Wellness" myths out there. We talked about how one of the biggest problems with the medical and science communities is that they are so uncool and often, cold (ironically, ha!). She said she's not surprised that people are leaning towards woo and pseudoscience because it sounds so much more interesting than the boring stuff that doctors and scientists say.

I personally love the science and find it fascinating but I see what she means. People want to hear that celery juice has magical properties, that eating organic will prevent cancer, that taking turmeric supplements will cure arthritis AND depression. Even if there isn't a shred of evidence to support this or the "evidence" is based on incredibly weak studies or just based on personal anecdotes, people love it. She says that there is this element of hope in it that people are drawn to and many turn to it when medical doctors don't offer solutions and don't even seem to care.


Which sadly brings me to my next thought. And that is how many people there are out there that just shouldn't be doctors. Unfortunately, being in medical school, it's made this realization bigger. A HUGE chunk of the people in my program shouldn't be there. Some are smart but doing medicine for the wrong reasons, but most who shouldn't be there (and are doing it for the wrong reasons or don't even know why they are doing it) are just plain stupid and it's terrifying to me that they will one day be responsible for people's lives.

I'd also love to think that it's just this program, as the relatively easier admissions process attracts many who just couldn't get in anywhere else. I mean, I'm one of them! Hopefully though I'm not one of those people who are totally in denial about their abilities as a future physician. The frustrating thing is that I really believe its a great program if people follow it properly and didn't try to cheat so much or just learn to the test - but actually learn so they can use this information to treat their future patients. But many don't see beyond scraping by and passing. However from what I read in other blogs and on med school forums all over the world, it's not that dissimilar here. There are just too many people who become doctors who shouldn't be doctors and they are hurting the profession and are part of this distrust of medicine and science that has been trending lately. I hope to be part of the change.

All that said, though, there are some amazing students in my program that will be wonderful doctors and will do great things. They are the shining light of my program and what makes me love it and makes me completely NOT regret taking this path.

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