July 2010 Archives

Notebooks, Scissors, and Scalpels

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"Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere."
-Chinese Proverb

On a recent trip to Target, I saw the infamous "Back to School" display. Seeing the bins upon bins of erasers, glue, crayons, and backpacks lining the back of the store reminded me that it was time for me to get my school supplies too. I felt that same rush of excitement I got when I was in elementary school, carefully selecting which folders and colored pencils to get. However, this year, I wasn't going to be loading my shopping basket with Justin Bieber folders and markers.

The medical school supply list is a far cry from what I was accustomed to in primary school and even as an undergraduate. Of course there are the usual textbooks and course packets that I have gotten from the bookstore, but some of the more "unusual" items include dissecting tools, tuning fork, and reflex hammer. As I was perusing through the U of M bookstore for these items, I felt even more excited because I realized how hands-on medical school will be. We will be using the dissecting tools as we study cadavers and utilize the reflex hammers as we practice conducting physical examinations. Approaching things in a hands-on fashion is such a wonderful way to learn and I can't wait to start.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

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"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
-Victor Borge

This past week I have never laughed so hard in my life. Why? I was a camp counselor last week at the annual Catalyst Foundation Vietnam Culture Camp (www.catalystfoundation.org) in which families with children adopted from Vietnam can get together and learn about Vietnamese culture. While one would think spending the day with energetic pre-schoolers would be tiring, I had never felt more energized in my life because I had so much fun and could not stop smiling and laughing. Whether it was doing a riveting air guitar rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" or getting taught how to hula hoop, there was never a dull moment.

Scientifically, that actually makes sense. Different studies have suggested that positive emotions, such as happiness can have physical, social, and intellectual benefits. In one study, humor increased the subjects' tolerance for pain. Other studies have found that laugher can reduce blood sugar levels, can help stimulate our immune systems, and can help release tension. While laughter can't cure everything, it certainly doesn't hurt to laugh once in awhile. So tell a joke. Watch a funny movie. Go to an open mic night. Don't be afraid to act silly. After all, no one ever died of laughter.


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I'll Just MacGyver It

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"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable."
-Angus MacGyver

"I think if you try hard enough and make the best of a situation, the situation won't get the best of you."
-Angus MacGyver

Once in an interview I was asked if I was intimidated by public speaking and without thinking my knee-jerk response was "Not really. I figure that if I make a mistake, I could always MacGyver my way out of the situation."

For those of you not familiar with MacGyver, he was the protagonist of the self-titled late 1980's action-adventure television series about a resourceful secret agent who used a combination of scientific knowledge and everyday items to engineer ingenious solutions to solve tricky problems, such as using chocolate bars to plug a sulfuric acid leak.

This past week I faced a mini MacGyver-esque situation in which I had to craft several bouquets, boutineers, and corsages for an event. With just a supply of tape, ribbon, and wires on hand, I was able to make half-decent floral accessories despite having no experience whatsoever. Even though I wasn't doing anything epic, I felt a rush of excitement as I was making them. It was exciting doing something I had never done before. It was exciting when the flowers hung just right as I was twisting wire around them. It was exciting seeing the finished product. It was exciting to be presented with a task, be able to troubleshoot, and be able to complete it. However, I think it was especially exciting because it was a situation in which I had to be creative and resourcefully use what I had on hand to accomplish something.

That sense of excitement has happened many times before in my life and undoubtedly will keep occurring, especially as I pursue a career in medicine. As a physician, you will be presented with a patient who has a "problem" and it is up to you to "solve" it using the knowledge in your mind and the tools you have on hand. Just like MacGyver, physicians must be able to assess the situation, weigh the different options, make a decision, and take action based on the resources and information they have. One needs to be a creative and open-minded thinker who is prepared to handle any curveballs or unexpected obstacles thrown at them. Fortunately, these skills can be developed through experience and training so I am looking forward to school starting so I can tap into my inner "Dr. MacGyver."

Party in the USA: Richfield Edition

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It takes a village to raise a child.
-African Proverb

There is no doubt about it; I love my hometown of Richfield, Minnesota. This was especially true during this past weekend when Richfield held its 31st annual Hometown 4th of July Celebration. This five day event included a carnival, parade, family fun night, battle of the bands, street dance, car show, ambassador coronations, and of course fireworks. However, the best part of these festivities is the sense of community pride expressed by Richfield residents. During these five days, people came out to celebrate not only the founding of our nation, but also the strong community spirit that exists. This celebration is a reminder of the supportive network of neighbors, friends, and family my hometown provides.

This support network has been integral as I grew up and I know will continue to be important as I start medical school. Everyone faces bumps in the road and moments of self-doubt or worry, but by having a community that supports you in your endeavors is an incredible motivator. When I was accepted into medical school, I only told a few people, but word spread quickly. Even though it is has been nearly 7 months since I received the news, people from my town still congratulate me and having someone tell you that they believe in you, even when you sometimes don't believe in yourself, makes a world of a difference.

I am also very excited to start medical school in less than a month because I know there will be at least two fellow Richfield High School graduates who will be in the U of M Medical School Class of 2014 with me. I don't know about you, but I think having at least 3 Richfield alumni start medical school this fall when there are only 35,000 people in the town is a neat achievement and a testament to the supportive nature Richfield has provided in helping its residents achieve their goals. Some other notable Richfield residents include arctic explorer Will Steger, NHL player Darby Hendrickson, and most recently The Biggest Losers contestants O'Neal and Sunshine Hampton (who were the grand marshals for our 4th of July parade!). With all of the community support, who knows what else Richfield residents will accomplish in years to come!

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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