Being Just a Medical Student

“I’m just a medical student.” I say it often, especially in front of patients, and pretty much every time I do, some bystander or the patient corrects me, “Not just a medical student.” And I guess the phrasing is a little needlessly self-deprecating, but I say it mostly to announce my lack of expertise, of which I am acutely aware. Continue Reading →


President of the Class of 2020

Brechtel, Leanne (7-25-16) M1The first blog contributor from the Class of 2020 was recently voted as the class president (the first female class president at USCSOMG!). Congratulations, Leanne Brechtel! Don’t miss her first post to Transforming Medical School.


Truth in Medicine

In medicine, the truth hurts. Sometimes. It is complex, multifaceted and murky. Often. It is ugly. Occasionally. It must guide you as you relate to patients, announce good or bad news, and come up with a differential and a diagnosis. Always. Continue Reading →

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My First Rotation: Family Medicine

Shortly after finishing Step 1, I found myself mentally and physically drained. I had spent the past five weeks sitting in a chair the majority of each day trying to put two year’s worth of information into my head. Having finally taken “the biggest test of my life,” all I wanted to do was sleep and never open a book again. However, I was required to begin my first rotation the following Monday in Family Medicine. I had the preconceived notion that my clinical hours would not be too difficult, as I envisioned family practitioners almost as “mediators,” who treated general problems and sent the majority of complicated conditions elsewhere to specialists. I quickly found out that what I had heard and thought was wrong.

Continue Reading →


All the lights will start to shine

There is a pile of lightbulbs next to the lamp by my desk.
It’s a rescue, pulled from the clutches of a thrift store shelf.
Due to the curious shape of the shade,
I’ve yet to find a bulb willing to
Shake hands with its rusty edges
Incandescent, energy efficient, and candle flame shaped
Somehow nothing fits.

Continue Reading →


The Things I Carry

Medical students wear short white coats, and during our clinical years we quickly discover that the pockets of our white coats can be truly lifesaving. Maybe white coat pockets could be best compared to a purse, because we tend to carry lots and lots of helpful things, sometimes to the point of excess. Residents and attending physicians chuckle at the pure volume of stuff that a medical student can cram into their white coat pockets. We move throughout the hospital so often that if we don’t carry something with us, we may not have the opportunity to get it again until the very end of the work day. From quick clinical references to granola bars for the times when we miss lunch, here is a peek into the many things that I carried over the course of my 3rd year: Continue Reading →


Patience for Patients

Everyone in the world has heard the cliché statement that patience is a virtue. It is the bread and butter of all desirable traits, of all admired characteristics, of all necessary and pertinent qualities that are essential for us as aspiring physicians. It is, simply, an essential attribute that rewards us with persistence. This persistence is vital in helping us continue on the journey toward becoming a medical doctor- life-saver and friend.

Patience. Continue Reading →


Our New Editor: M2 Caitlin Li

We’re happy to announce our new editor for the 2016-2017 academic year: M2 Caitlin Li. She was a regular contributor last year (read a couple of her posts here and here) and will now be at the helm. Read a little bit about her:

Name, age, hometown

My name’s Caitlin Linglong Li. I’m 21 years old, and I was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

College attended, major, minor (if applicable)

I am a proud graduate of Vanderbilt University. I majored in biomedical engineering, and did my senior project on a video game-like simulation training program for NICU residents. Continue Reading →

USCSOMG M1 Ice Bucket Challenge  YouTube

A Different Kind of Ice Bucket Challenge

We’re nearing the two-year anniversary of that time when countless videos flooded your social media feed of people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves—the Ice Bucket Challenge, it was called—all to raise awareness for a disease called ALS, otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. You may have even participated in the challenge, as my medical school did. I remember the afternoon prepping for it. My inner junior-high boy came out in full force, trying to scavenge around the house for the biggest “bucket” I could find. Because, of course, if I was going to do this, I needed to do it right: with as much freezing-cold water as I could somewhat reasonably dump over my head. I searched the house high and low. I needed something big. “We’ve got a large mixing bowl in the kitchen,” I thought. Bigger. “I could use that cleaning bucket under the sink.” BIG. GER. “The trash can. Perfect.” Yes, I emptied (and cleaned) my trash can and filled it all the way with ice and water. Even threw a little salt in there to make it super cold. I lined up with my colleagues, and one-by-one in wave-like fashion we proceeded to pour the contents of our buckets over ourselves. Continue Reading →


A Reflection from a Brand New Medical Student

On Monday, 104 excited, albeit anxious, students woke up, got dressed, and headed out their doors, off to medical school orientation. As one of those lucky students, thinking about starting medical school brings a range of emotions: from ecstatic, to overwhelmed, to nervous and many more in-between. Continue Reading →