Andy Dworkin

Playing doctor

In a few months of medical school I have made more tiny graphite circles than I did in 12 combined years of standardized school testing. Most of our exams (we’ve had at least eight; I’m losing count) use Scantron forms. But we have been tested, once, on our actual ability to treat patients. Sort of. They were actors, pretending to be patients. But that’s only fair, since we are students pretending to be doctors. The … Read More

Top 5 questions people ask new medical students

1) “I’ve been noticing [bizarre growth or random symptom]. What do you think this is?” I have no idea. I’m not a doctor. I’ve only had a couple months of medical education, almost all related to anatomy, not disease or diagnosis. So if you want to know what side your spleen is on, or which muscles wag a dog’s tail, I can help. (The left side, and the coccygeus muscles, which people have, too.) If … Read More


Where I came from, “high yield” was something corn and soy farmers aimed for. I’d never heard the term applied to academics until August, when I heard some medical students discussing “high yield” ways to study. Once I figured out that they weren’t talking bean fields, I wondered why they didn’t say “efficient” ways to study, or maybe “good” ones. Turns out, “high yield” is a bit of medical student jargon, borrowed perhaps from a … Read More

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Our teachers have a favorite sports analogy about medical school: It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I’ve heard this at least four times since we started school in mid-August, most recently  last week. It’s a decent analogy. Certainly medical school is a long haul, and you need to pace yourself. But there’s another sports analogy that seems more apt to me. Med school is like an auto race. One minute I was sitting still, … Read More



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