With autumn in full swing and the temperature dropping (except for this past week), it’s the perfect time to make what I consider a staple for a chilly fall day – a hearty bowl of stew.
- How would you describe your style? – I would describe my style as very authentically “me”. I wouldn’t say I fit into one category. I love dressing up and I love having fun picking out my outfits and trying new things. Really, I just go with what I like and feel comfortable in, I don’t pay much attention to other’s opinions when it comes to my clothes. Clothes bring me a lot of happiness, and really my style goal is just to wear things that make me feel the most like my best self.
- What are your favorite brands? – My favorite brands currently are Abercrombie, J. Crew, and Express though I get most of my professional clothes from Calvin Klein. As far as shoes go, I love Steve Madden. Also, I’m kind of obsessed with Old Navy for basic things like t-shirts and tanks; they always have really good sales!
- Do you have any style tips you want to share? -Fashion and style are so subjective, but be yourself, love what you’re wearing, and do so with confidence. Also, details matter, little accessories can really make all the difference. Oh! And LIPSTICK!
- What has been your biggest style mistake? – The biggest style mistake I’ve made (and still currently make) is wearing ridiculously uncomfortable shoes because I really like the way they look. I’m obsessed with shoes and have more pairs than I’d like to admit, but my feet are not super thrilled with most of my choices. With all the blisters I constantly have, it’s safe to say a career as a foot model is definitely not in the cards for me.
Shirt & Skirt: Abercrombie
Shoes: Steve Madden
Tie: YSL vintage/thrifted
Tiebar: vintage/flea market
Pants and loafers: Banana Republic
With my classmates being the oh-so-fashionable bunch, I decided to highlight the outfits they chose for clinic / OSCEs / days when they were just feeling on point. I hope this serves as some OOTD inspiration to other med students out there when you just don’t know what to wear!
Blouse: Calvin Klein
Shoes: Tory Burch
“All is flux and nothing stays still.” – Heraclitus, 500BC
This blog post has been waiting a long time to be written. Since my last post in November, this idea existed only as a text document silently blinking in the corner of my laptop, a mess of jumbled ideas and half-thoughts impeded by my Block 4 burnout. Little by little, I’ve been adding to it, hoping for the day that I could finally muster up the inspiration to add form and substance to my ideas. Well, today is that day. And like all good ideas, it comes right before a busy week of a TBL, administrative meetings, presentations, and the start of the Infectious Diseases block.
The theme of this entry is transformation. Quite paradoxically, transformation has been the one constant that I’ve noticed over the past few weeks (my existential rambling will be explained shortly). To put everything into context, our past month was spent on a course called LifeStages, which explores the transformation one goes through from birth through death, and emphasizes the psychological, economic, and sociocultural determinants of health along the way. Although it was explained to many of us as “Winter Break Part 2,” I appreciate that it distilled much of what clinicians amass over years of experience. Thus, it was an opportunity to reflect on the journeys that we all go through, and the transformation that occurs along the way.
It’s funny how different I feel, even within the span of a few months. While I obviously have much, much, MUCH longer to go, I made sure I spent this winter looking back on the things I was able to accomplish. My first post on this blog was an early, but very real concern that I would not hit my stride. At that point, I had my doubts about making friends or succeeding in a new environment. Now, I’m finding my place in school leadership, forging new partnerships between my school and community organizations, and inching closer toward the doctor I’ve always dreamed of becoming. This month my clinic team and I were able to graduate our patient to a different program. From the first day I met her as a med student who knew absolutely nothing about patient care, we have gone on a journey together. The last time I saw her, she looked different. She smiled in a way that I can tell she hadn’t in a long time. As a team, we helped her get health insurance after she left her job due to chronic disability and anxiety, as well as tackle her newly diagnosed depression and loss of autonomy. Eventually, she came to realize that it was ok to ask for help, and that we were there so she didn’t have to go through something like this alone.
Although I thoroughly enjoy my time in clinic as a grounding experience that anchors me in the present, my other favorite aspect about being at a new school is our ability to mold our environment as we move forward; I describe it to students visiting on interview days as a “medical school startup.” We broke ground in this city for a reason; there is a purpose to everything that we do. We are constantly reminded that our mission is to transform and empower a community, and if we don’t do that, we have failed. I realize now that we are not only being groomed to effect positive change in this city, but to transform the dialogue of medicine and society at large. This past Wednesday, an ad-hoc panel comprised of myself and a few of my classmates had our second meeting with senior leadership staff regarding bias in medicine and medical education. I don’t know how often this occurs at other schools, but I am still taken aback by how our dean, vice dean, and other leaders actively engaged with us about how to best address issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, and overall respect within our institution. Our requests included additions to educational material to reflect our community and the challenges our patients must overcome, as well as standards that ensured mutual respect between both faculty and fellow students. While we are nowhere near resolving the issues that this community and our nation at large still struggle with, I honestly believe that I am at the right place. I am meant to be at this school surrounded by people I have the privilege of calling my classmates and friends.
Without divulging too much personal information, all I can say is that my classmates are amazing. To end LifeStages, we had a final “Meet the Students” segment. Throughout the course, we had various “Meet the Professors/Patients” workshops integrated into our curriculum, mostly there to shed light on how patients and their families deal with medical disabilities. However, this session was an opportunity for some students to speak in front of the class and faculty to share their life experiences. Mental illness, poverty, domestic violence and child abuse, drug addiction, you name it. And still, the theme was transformation: fighters became artists, users became creators, lambs became lions. There was a sanctity that came over the room when people spoke. At times it felt so raw and uncomfortable, invasive even, that sitting just three feet away from the podium made me feel like I was intruding on a private moment. In an hour and a half, the mood went back and forth between the austerity of a funeral and the ebullience of a wedding, yet somehow it all made sense with the rhythm of the event. What I took away from that afternoon was more important that anything I could learn from a book. In a way, listening to someone tell you a story like that can change you too. I don’t think that I can look at a friend, a patient, or any other person for that matter without thinking about the transformations they’ve gone through. Or perhaps, the transformation they are undergoing right now. You just never know who’s gone through hell and back.
To those who wish to pursue medicine: I don’t have much experience yet, but I can honestly say that I’m living my dream. What I do know is that you should stay focused, be compassionate, have empathy, advocate for your patients, and embrace transformation. In the end, those qualities are all that you really have to offer and the only ones that actually matter. And that is something that will never change.
Thanks for stopping by.
I spent this past Saturday at my alma mater for my fraternity’s Initiation Banquet. Not only was it relieving to take a break from memorizing some neuroanatomy and pharmacology, it was also a nice reminder of my first foray into menswear. Before pledging, I really had no business wearing a suit, but alas, the tenets of being a gentleman demanded otherwise. I learned a few things over the years, including what tweed was, how to tie a bow tie, and that pastel doesn’t have to be incorporated into every aspect of your wardrobe.
College style is interesting. For a lot of us, it’s the first time we really get to dress ourselves without our parents having to approve what we wear. That’s awesome for a night out or days when you just want to wear sweats to class, which are most days honestly. But what about those moments when you have to actually look decent? There are meetings with professors, career fairs with prospective employers, dates with people (real dates, dining halls don’t count), or just wanting to transition to a more mature style. How do you make yourself stand out?
As mentioned in my previous post, there are several key items that you’ll want to have in your closet, one of which is the khaki sport coat. It’s an awesome alternative to the classic navy blue blazer, which can get a little too boring and prep school. With a piece like this, you’ve got an excellent base on which to build a solid wardrobe. It’s figuratively and literally a blank canvas, so don’t be afraid to play around with color and pattern here.
- These are fun, and probably afford you the most freedom regarding how you want to wear your blazer. If you’re going somewhere casual, this look goes great with a pair boots, jeans (dark or distressed work fine), and even a vintage-style graphic tee. If you’re headed somewhere a little more formal, try upgrading your shoe to a nice loafer and your pants to slacks or dark jeans with a gingham shirt for added color and pattern. You might also want to try pair of colored chinos (wine/merlot colors play off the khaki very well here, just don’t spill actual wine on the jacket). Make sure to keep your shirt solid and accessories relatively sedated, let your go-to-hell pants do the talking.
Meeting with a professor
- Whether you’re looking to go to med school, grad school, or planning on directly entering into the workforce, letters of recommendation are vital. Start building relationships with your professors early and get noticed (a topic I’ll discuss in future advice posts). One way to do so is to dress like you mean it when you show up to class or office hours. While I’m not saying you need to go full suit-and-tie, this occasion might require an intermediate level of formality (let’s say you were interviewing for a research position or asking for a letter of recommendation), so the outfit should reflect that. Try my look above, dark pants with an oxford (repp tie optional, but awesome). The look is classically collegiate and put-together without being too stuffy. If you want to try something a little more bold, a turtleneck would be an unexpected yet welcome addition here. Try to keep the fabric thin so it doesn’t interfere with the silhouette or add unnecessary bulkiness.
Career fairs/research symposia/formal events
- These situations are the most formal of the three; you’ll be meeting potential employers or presenting in front of department heads, so you should take these the most seriously. Normally I’d recommend dressing more conservatively and wearing a navy suit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Depending on your industry, the nature of the event, or the pieces you pair with your blazer, you’ll stand out against a sea of blue and black if you can score a khaki suit. You can always wear the jacket as a separate! As always, fit is important; you don’t want to look like a boring beige blob. Additionally, use classic colors like blues and neutrals to help to ground your outfit and to provide contrast to the khaki. Feel free to try an accessory like a pocket square or a larger faced watch to keep your look interesting.
Bonus look (previously posted outfit for a dinner at school)
- Don’t be afraid to play around with your look, I’m wearing a blue shirt with white polka dots, a pocket square, and an air tie, you can too.
Until your next visit,