1 year of medical school completed, 3+ more years to go!

Medical school has been busy. The analogy of medical students as mouths trying to drink water from a fire hydrant hose is certainly true:  the amount of material we need to learn is tremendous. It's not only the sheer amount of material, but also the importance of it. In high school and college, it was okay if we didn't learn certain topics (who cared about derivatives and integrals in calculus, they never saved any babies), but now there's always the thought that if we miss one class it might end up costing someone's life, or maybe a limb.

In 9 months, we've covered the foundations in molecular biology (a cure for cancer does exist! It's called Gleevec, and it works against chronic mylogenous leukemia),  anatomy (there's a hole from the eye to the nose that drains tears), genetics (genetic counseling is a rapidly growing field), developmental biology (sex is more complicated than I thought), neuroscience (acupuncture does work),and begun the clinical blocks called Human Health & Disease (HHD). .

Stanford is probably one of the most relaxing places to attend for medical school, on paper. It's exams are all pass now/pass later, no grades are released, sunshine seven days a week with palm trees sprinkling the campus, an extremely tight-knit supportive class and faculty, and beautiful gym facilities. However, the reality is its also one of the top medical schools in the nation with a very small class, so every student is extremely hard-working and brilliant.

Having such tremendous achievers around, you certainly pushes you harder and inspires you more, but it also makes you feel like a lazy unmotivated kid who only dreams of helping people, not changing the world. Can't wait to get back out into the real world, and hang around normal people.

Being a research-intensive school, Stanford Medical School has a way of luring students into research with promises of lots of money and fame, so I'll be doing research all summer and throughout the next year as well. Fortunately, it's a pretty exciting project with a great group of people.

Looking further ahead, I will probably be at Stanford for 4 more years.

The next year will be more in-class learning, followed by the big national standardized test (USMLE Step 1s) next year at this time. It's like the medical school version of the SATs. Then I'll probably take a year off doing more child psychiatry research, perhaps throw in a couple months doing international health work. The last 2 years will be spent in the hospital, rotating between specialties and getting hands-on learning. After a full 5 years of medical school, I'll apply to residency in a specialty. Right now, I am most interested in child & adolescent pyschiatry, which is a 4 year-training program. I hope to stay in the West Coast or go to Hawaii for residency, as I can gain exposure to more asian patients. Plus, I love the sun.


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