Tag Archives: Friends and Family

So You Still Have a Blog?

Do you have a Facebook? Of course you do. How about a blog? Even if you don’t have a blog, you are reading one right now, so I guess you’re familiar with the concept. How often do you see people post links to other blogs on your Facebook? I’m guessing it happens quite often. Here’s an example of the type of post I see often:

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That’s from a blog written by James Michael Sama. I don’t know all that much about him, except that his posts appear on my Facebook about twice a week. Even a quick look at his blog shows that he has slightly less than ten million hits on his blog. I can also tell by his archives that he started blogging in June 2013. Take a look at my archives over to the right. When did I start blogging? June 2013. How many views do I have on my blog? Not ten million. Not even close!

I suppose I need to give him the credit for that. He has been in feature films and mainstream media far more than I have (which is never, by the way). He also posts far more frequently than I do, and often on topics that are easily readable. Let’s face it, more people want to read about dating, relationships, and current events than they want to read about science, medicine, religion, or whatever else I’m thinking about. His posts are also well written and creative. So I’m not trying to compare authors or blogs here, I’m just telling you about this guy to set up a point I want to make about blogging.

The strangest thing about blogging is how lopsided our interactions are. I get to write things, post them on the internet, and let them stand for all time and eternity. I covered that briefly here. To write a blog, one must believe at a certain level that “I can write something that others will want to read”. This is the opposite of Twitter, where people just assume that everyone wants to hear about what they had for lunch. To write a blog, you have to be able to string together a line of reasoning, assembling your thoughts and shaping it into a post that is interesting enough that people want to click on it and read it. The best (and worst) part of blogging is that anyone can do it.

I have this theory that 42% of all blogs have one post called “I have a blog”. Because starting a blog requires an internet connection and two thumbs, nearly anyone can jump online and make a blog. Historically, this is unprecedented. I can sit in my office and write a post in about an hour. Let’s say a few people put it on their Facebook pages, and it goes viral. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of people have read my post and I get tons of traffic. 100 years ago, there was no way to reach hundreds of thousands of people that easily. Radio, perhaps, but that was harder to access. Newspapers, maybe, but only certain groups of people could actually write in a paper. Anyone can write a blog, and who knows if that post is the next one to go viral?

The downside to the accessibility of blogging, of course, is that anyone can do it. I’ve read some blogs and wondered whether they had ever graduated high school, or even attended one. I followed a blogger for a while who posted once every three weeks, and his/her only content was “I’m sorry I haven’t been posting lately….I’ve been like super busy”.

Blogging is great, especially when authors like Sama go out and reach a huge audience, but I don’t see it lasting. I understand that my little post here is just one tab on your browser, and I have to compete with everything on the internet for your attention. Blog posts take time to read, and require much more effort from you than, say, a YouTube video. It can be difficult to find your way to a blog you really enjoy consistently, while YouTube gives you a recommended playlist based off your preferences, so after you watch a cat video there are 12 more cat videos to watch. My favorite blogs have been those that people referred to me. When I search for blogs, on Google I have much worse success.

I’m not upset that I don’t have ten million views on this blog, since that was never my goal. My goal is to write, and enjoy writing, and talk about what I learn and see during medical school and life. That’s not a good recipe for generating ten million views in six months (unless somehow I was already famous). At the same time, I like it when people enjoy what I write. That’s the whole point of blogging, right? If no one reads your blog, that’s just a diary. While I enjoy Sama, Matt Walsh, and Fat Cyclist, I know that I will never be that kind of blogger. Why? Probably due to my sporadic writing schedule and “no proofreading ever” policy, among other things (like medical school, for instance). If I wanted a million views in the next six months, I am confident I could get them. I just know I wouldn’t have as much fun as I am now, and I’m having lots of fun 🙂

Thanks for reading!

sortadrgmail@wordpress.com

Wrapping It Up

This week concludes Cell Biology, Metabolism, and Genetics. We will take the last exam on Friday. Despite my abysmal performance on the last quiz (and passing Epidemiology and Research by the skin of my teeth), I need to score just a 36% on this final test in order to pass the block and never see any of these subjects again (until Step 1). Tomorrow is given entirely for self study in preparation for the exam, which will be followed by a glorious weekend with NOTHING to study before anatomy begins next Monday.

I’m actually a little bit worried about that. I am comfortable with brute memorization and have fairly good visual skills, so the material isn’t too unsettling. What worries me is this new format. A 10 week course in the past has been re-packaged into 7 weeks. Apparently the amount of dissection has remained unchanged, which is potentially bad news. They reduced the amount of histology and cross section lab work, while adding more clinical applications and emphasizing radiology reading (something we will have to actually use). A few second years told me that it will be much better than their schedule. We start dissection on the back, then switch to the front and work from the head down. Some second years told me that they had passed the course by acing exams until they hit the waist, at which point they slacked off. One girl mentioned she knew almost nothing about the lower legs and feet, since she didn’t really go to class for that part. That’s hilarious, if true, and reminds me of this.

I may fall into that same trap, because Week 5 or 6 of anatomy coincides with the release of about 3 of my favorite video games, as well as my birthday. I plan to do well and study hard, but my scores may decrease slightly after November begins 🙂

Ready for a big reason why I may fail this next exam? Here it is.

This is little Zoe, the newest addition to our family. I had a post in draft describing all of the reasons I wanted a dog, and finally convinced my wife to go to an adoption event last weekend because we saw that cute little pup on Craigslist. Now she is ours. She is part Rottweiler/Doberman, but is pretty small. Her mom is only 35 pounds, and she shouldn’t get bigger than that. She is recovering from pneumonia right now, so her endurance for romping in the yard is about 10 minutes. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING in the world sadder than a 4.5lb puppy with pneumonia. NOTHING.

She’s doing pretty good on housetraining and basic stuff, and is pretty chill for a puppy. In high school and college our family dog was a big yellow lab, 90lbs of love and spastic crazy tail. Our house and yard aren’t great for a dog of that…..girth. I like big dogs, and Zoe is a good compromise.

Despite my prolonged periods of non-posting, I have noticed continued views on posts in my absence. How cool is that? And if you are reading my blog from Australia please email me and tell me how you found it. If you Google “basically useless”, am I on the front page? Should I be excited about that?

In all seriousness, I have a theory I call the Blogger’s Paradox: those with the least time to write blogs often have incredible material to work with, should they decide to write. I have read blogs in the past where posts were frequent and the authors time was obviously plentiful, but the quality just wasn’t there. People who have different experiences on a daily basis can pull from that and write strong blogs, if they have the time. One benefit of medical is taking a daily swim in the pool of weird stuff, whether it’s diseases, classmates, or the strange things professors do and say. I try to make writing a daily habit, and I largely succeed, but the result is not always ready to be published, so I often have drafts and scraps floating around for days on end. Any time a big test looms in the future, however, you can count on posts while I do my best to not study 🙂

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment below or send an email directly to my face at sortadrwordpress@gmail.com

So You Have A Blog

Note: I am actually writing this from a “microscopy lab”. Don’t let the name fool you. I haven’t looked through a single microscope since undergrad (thank God). I believe the actual lab room is being used by “other people” (according to our rulers), so we all sit in the lecture hall and watch a recording of our professor looking through a teaching microscope while teaching last years class. This process is as hilariously ineffective as you imagine it to be. In addition, the video isn’t buffering today, so we get to watch it in 30 second intervals and then wait a few minutes for it to load. Awesome. And I almost studied from home today!

So some of you reading this have your own blog. Others don’t, at least yet, but every single person that reads this has a Facebook, I bet. We all maintain this “online presence” that is a bit like our public personality. When applying for jobs, scholarships, or residencies, you can bet that people will be looking you up on Facebook, Twitter, and simply Googling your name to see if anything nefarious comes up. When I was applying to medical school I was urged to “clean up” my Facebook page (which is private), getting rid of bad pictures, deleting posts, and making myself look better in case anyone came snooping. I didn’t have to clean anything up (because I am generally not a prolific Facebooker), but I know some friends that needed to do some “editing”.

Fact is, anything posted on the internet will be there forever, and may someday come back to haunt you. The most obvious way to avoid this is to carefully filter what you put on the internet, and to avoid doing something dumb and unintentionally starring in a YouTube video.

But what if you have a blog? Blog posts are inherently one dimensional. After I post this it will exist forever, exactly as I left it, and people will run across this post as time goes by (hello future readers!). Any opinions I express are recorded for all time, and are made readily available for anyone curious enough to do some reading.

If you have a blog it may be personal. You have friends and family that follow it, and you post pictures of your friends, family, pets, and life events. That’s probably fine, but that’s not what this blog is. I prefer to hide behind a small veil of anonymity. I enjoy the freedom to mock my school, classmates, and otherwise write whatever I want. In order to maintain that I try to be generally vague about myself. If someone REALLY wanted to find me, they probably could. One could pick pieces of information and put together a fairly accurate picture about myself. And that’s okay. I’m cool with the fact that no one is truly anonymous on the internet. That’s it for this mini-post (short and no pictures. oops)

Thanks for reading!

Life is Weird – Updates

I have lived in the Midwest for around 7 years now, so I am somewhat familiar with the weather patterns (or lack thereof) that we experience. Example: typically in July we experience week after week of blazing heat (100+) with high humidity, just to add more misery icing onto the melting, sad cake that is late July. Today, however, it is 65 degrees and pouring rain. Even weirder, the highs for the last few days have been low 70s, with even more rain. Last summer I only mowed my lawn once, because it never rained and all vegetation turned into crispy brown kindling. Anyways, life is weird.

Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep. This is weird because I usually don’t spend more than two minutes in bed before falling into a deep sleep, which lasts until my iPhone jars me from my slumber in the morning. I sleep through earthquakes, fire alarms, thunderstorms, and long plane rides with screaming kids. Most times I am in such deep sleep that I don’t even realize I need to pee, until I finally get up in the morning and dash to the bathroom (urinating for four straight minutes, oddly enough, is not something my wife finds attractive). So Tuesday night I found myself laying in bed from 12-330, shifting around, rolling over, staring at the ceiling, and NOT SLEEPING. I didn’t like it at all. Life is weird. 

 My younger brother is 17 and in the hospital since yesterday. A normally healthy young man, he cut his leg with a chainsaw last week and now has a bizarre infection. Local doctors are conferring with Infectious Disease specialists in large cities to try to figure out what he has, and blood cultures aren’t showing anything. As I repeatedly tell my friends and family, and despite the title of this blog, I didn’t magically become a doctor when I was accepted into medical school. I still have the same amount of medical knowledge (nothing) that I graduated college with. So when my brother has all these weird symptoms and lab results, I feel like I’m trying to stare at one of these crazy boats.

This is really a thing. It’s called “dazzle” camouflage, and it’s used by only the most fabulous ships in the navy.

A week from today I will move and start orientation things with my medical school class. My beautiful (talented, lovely, wife who is way too good for me) has been interviewing with design firms in this new city, and has received no less than five job offers from various companies, some of whom are not even openly hiring. As a recent college graduate, I know so many people looking and applying for jobs across the nation and getting nothing. My wife, on the other hand, pulls in five incredible offers in one target city (at double her current salary….suga’ mama!!)

Finally, I have carried a composition notebook constantly this week, jotting down ideas and actually working on my book, which I have no chance of ever finishing in this decade. I’ve done that and played an unusually large amount of Minecraft, and it’s been a great week off of work. Oh right, I didn’t mention that. As of last Sunday, I am officially unemployed for the first time in about 5 years 🙂 I have worked through most of high school and all of college, and I feel myself beginning to go a little bit insane after one week of packing and “vacation” at home. I know I’m going insane because I can read, on other blogs, how terrible medical school supposedly is and I still get excited about starting it, just to be doing something.

Life is weird.

Thanks for reading