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
With my first year under my belt, I’ve found myself in a weird situation: people are actually asking me for advice about med school (I can’t believe I started a year ago). I decided to start this series based on my own journey, since I was always fortunate enough to have mentors tell me about how best to prepare for an exam, or what to watch out for in a class with a reputation for being difficult. It’s only fair that I share some of the things that I believe led to my success this year.
As the year progresses, I’ll be posting guides specifically for each block and how to go from White Coat Woes to White Coat Wows (ba-dum-tch). The posts will be based on my school’s block schedule, so it will most likely vary for your school. Disclaimer: most of the study tips and tricks are applicable to different blocks and I will try to be as specific as possible regarding study strategies, but you should to find your own style and figure out what works for you. Additionally, I’m planning to post some guides for pre-med students as well. Many of my friends from high school and college are in various stages of their medical careers (from premed to med school to residency), so I’ll try to include their perspective whenever possible. The first post, however, is for those who are starting right now.
I don’t know if this is sending mixed messages, but don’t stress too much. You made it this far and you should celebrate your accomplishments. Just be sure to self-monitor and ask for help when you need it. Best of luck to the incoming class, welcome to med school!
“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.
Meeting with a professor
Career fairs/research symposia/formal events
Bonus look (previously posted outfit for a dinner at school)
Until your next visit,
Now onto the other aspect of my blog that isn’t worrying about school: menswear and personal style. While I’m perfectly content in a pair of sweatpants (slim-fit joggers, mind you), there is something special about buttoning up a suit jacket or lacing up a pair of boots . As I mentioned previously, the white coat still needs some getting used to, but even that makes you feel different, more composed. You stand a little straighter, you hold your head up a little higher, you walk with a purpose (at least until a resident calls you a “shortcoat” which isn’t exactly a good thing). While I might feel uncomfortable in it now, I’m sure I’ll wear it like a second skin soon enough.
As for my layperson clothes, I’m on a strict grad student budget, so I try to get the most bang for my buck. On this site I hope to share my tips on dressing for certain occasions, secrets to snagging the best deals, and how to cultivate your overall personal style. I like to use style instead of fashion because I think it connotes a sense of personality and individuality that fashion does not. I admit, finding your own sense of style can be difficult. Barriers can come in the form of price, access, or general apprehension of trying something new. But if you follow a few simple rules, you too can put together a killer look that’s more than just the matching shirt/tie combo that comes from the same box. Here we go:
Rule 1 – Comfort
Rule 2 – Fit
Rule 3 – Keep it simple
And those are your three simple rules for being pretty. Now go ahead and show the world who’s boss, (student) doctor’s orders.