Tag Archives: Introduction

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

Brains, Blogging, and My Favorite Month of the Year

It’s Friday, the sun is shining, the leaves are brilliant shades of red and yellow, and November is just getting started! So many great things happen in November each year that it always makes for a great month. Allow me to walk you through some of these things by first backing up to yesterday.

It was fitting that our dissection of the skull and into the brain would be scheduled for October 31st. I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon carefully sawing, chiseling, and hammering my way through our cadaver’s skull. Eventually we were separated the brain itself from its protective covering (called dura mater) and removed it from the head as well. I think an appropriate amount of Frankenstein/Halloween jokes were made throughout the day. Personally, I thought this dissection was great. Not only did we get to use power tools, we also got to hold and examine the brain, the most intricate and beautiful organ in the body. One partner in my group was a little disturbed by the whole process, and I’m not actually sure where she was most of the time. The skull is quite thick, and the sawing process created lots of dust and a terrible smell (I thought it smelled like burnt hair and cheddar Sun Chips) that grossed many people out. The sawing part was tricky, since we didn’t want to cut too deep and turn our nice brain into a brain smoothie, but we also had to cut far enough to lift off the skull. I didn’t love the smell, but I thought the work was pretty cool. Side note: Chipotle was selling burritos for $3 if you wore a Halloween costume yesterday. I had a pair of scrubs in the car, which I realized doubled as a costume, and since I dissected straight through lunch my burrito for dinner was extra delicious. Yes, I just transitioned from brain smoothie to burritos in two sentences.

Another reason I love November is that my birthday is each year in November. I get less excited about presents every year (yet I also look forward to that….let’s be honest) and more excited about spending time with my family. Since I live farther from home now that I’m in medical school, I’m really looking forward to having my family come stay with me for part of the weekend to celebrate my birthday.

November is a bit of a sad month, because baseball is over, but also a happy month, because a whole new season kicks off. Yup. Gaming season. This pre-Christmas period is launch time for big budget video games that I enjoy playing, like Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, and Call of Duty. Ever wonder why work/school is a little less crowded on the first Tuesday of November? Call of Duty came out, that’s why. Add in some time off for Thanksgiving, a few premature Christmas carols, and you’ve got a great month ahead of you.

There’s some other things going on this month that I would like to mention as well. You may or may not have heard of NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. Each November, several hundred thousand authors attempt to write a full length novel (50,000 words) in one month. They register online and could potentially win prizes when they submit their finished story by midnight on November 30th. All genres are fair game. I don’t think I can honestly commit to writing 1,667 words a day while in medical school (I’m not sure I say that many words a day), but someday I’d like to try. The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that the rush and pace help spark creativity. You essentially forget about editing and revisions and just dive in and write. That sounds like fun to me.

A more realistic goal is NaBloPoMo, AKA National Blog Posting Month. The challenge is to post once a day on your blog. The posts don’t have to be long or complicated. I’m pretty sure anything goes. I’m a firm believer in setting low expectations and then surprising yourself (just kidding) and this challenge is much more manageable than writing a novel this month. It takes just a quick glance to realize that despite blogging for nearly six months, I have only accumulated 29ish posts. Attempting to double that in a month will be challenging, to say the least.

I’ll wrap this up for today. I’m worried about my dog, who has chased her tail consistently for the last five minutes and looks a little bit dizzy. Thanks for reading. As always, feel free to leave a comment below or send it straight to my face at sortadrwordpress@gmail.com

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Coming Soon

As June draws to a close, the start of the academic year is sneaking up on me very quickly. My wife and I have been very busy with some of the following activities.

First off, we purchased our first house! Since medical school is guaranteed to be at least four years long, we decided to stop paying rent and buy our own place. It’s small but cute and just what we need, and the location works perfectly for access to the medical school and her commute to her new job. 

Next up, I just got back from a week in Idaho, where I finished my first Ironman triathlon. It was quite a trip…I should probably just post that summary on this blog as well. My next post will be a long summary of the race and what I learned from it. No worries, it’s already written, I just have to copy it over to this site. 

Thirdly, we’ve had a lot of little transitional things going on. For example, my wife’s old car bit the dust, so a few weeks ago I had to scramble to find another, register it, etc. Then sell the old on Craigslist. Things like that keep it interesting around here, even as we get ready to move. Her new car is a Toyota Yaris, a tiny little 4-door that gets around 44 mpg on the highway. 44!!! Compared to the SUV I drive, that’s like driving for free!

Fourthly, we’ve spent a lot of good times with our friends lately. The weather has been great, so we have done a lot of grilling, sitting outside, playing cornhole, and generally just enjoying the summer. We are certainly going to miss everyone when we move, so it’s been nice to just enjoy the summer  with them.

As medical gets going, I will certainly pick up the posting here. If there is one thing that makes me a better student, it would be running every day. If there were two things that make me a better student, it would be running every day and writing on a consistent basis. As August rolls through this means more of a focus on topics concerning medical school, but don’t be surprised to see other posts going up here and there as well. I usually only hit publish on about 10% of what I write (or at least that held true throughout undergrad). 

Thanks for reading! 

Introduction

Welcome to my first post on this blog. I should probably introduce myself, as well as the blog that you have either just landed on or have been reading. Which one first? How about me?

I am a medical student (or soon to be, at this writing) at a large allopathic medical school. I intend to blog my way through medical school and residency, perhaps, with the end goal being that someone who wants firsthand info on the life of a medical student can search around the blog and find my take on that issue. As a pre-med, I spent a significant amount of time looking for tips and advice on medical school on the internet. Many of the blogs I read were good, but I never found quite what I was hoping to find. Now that I have been accepted, hopefully this becomes that blog.

Speaking of the acceptance, I should probably background that, since that was a common question I had during college. “What were your stats? Where did you go to undergrad?” These are important for people trying to rank themselves compared to other applicants. Since this blog is anonymous I will do my best to summarize.

I am a white male, 22 years old when matriculating to medical school. I attended undergrad in the same state as my medical school, but since I have a private medical school that didn’t matter as much as usual. I majored in Cell and Molecular Biology, with a bonus minor in Chemistry, and had a final GPA of 3.70. My undergrad is a little known state school with a terrific program in CMB, and I was able to attend for free due to academic scholarships. I did most of the usual volunteer activities through college and worked at the local hospital for 2 years as a tech before being accepted. I married my high school sweetheart before my junior year in college. She is a designer, and very talented.

Finally, I scored a 32R on my only take of the MCAT. I applied to eight medical schools during my senior year of college (that’s lower than average, I think). I interviewed at two schools and was only accepted to one. It was almost the last school I expected to accept me, but I am excited to attend regardless.

I am going to medical school with an open mind. I have a broad interest in surgery and sports medicine, but since I have been through zero days of medical school I don’t know much about anything. I did the same thing with my college major, entering with a general idea of what I wanted to do and refining that idea during school. You will likely see me thinking through those ideas on this blog, as I tend to process information and events by writing about them.

Hopefully the quality of the blog improves over time as well 🙂 I blogged for several years on the Blogger platform and recently switched to this WordPress program. I should get better at this as I go. I will start this blog in earnest when August rolls around and classes get going, and I will update this post with more info as needed.