MD Program


“I’ll do it during winter break.” My wife heard this phrase a lot between August and December. It was used for everything from getting the baby’s room done to washing the car. Really it was an attempt by me to prioritize things without ignoring them completely. . . So naturally, come winter break, my honey-do list was enormous. I managed to get 80% of the projects done: baby room mostly set up, laundry room ceiling … Read More

The first days are the hardest days?

This article is about growing older. Today is my birthday, so this feels like an appropriate topic. With each year that passes, the tasks we are responsible for are altered. This is especially true in medical education, which is filled with a number of landmark exams, clinical experiences, a residency match, and a few graduations. Eventually (hopefully) you get to the top of the totem pole and are a real life, do-it-yourself-without-supervision attending physician, but … Read More


This much is certain: Medical school is changing my brain. I see this manifested daily in the way my language and understanding of language is changing. A few examples: a couple weeks ago, holding a human brain in my hands in anatomy lab, absolutely dumbfounded and awestruck, I could barely form a sentence. This, as a lifetime talker, a worshipper of language, was a shock. In the same week, while taking a history in a … Read More

Over and over again

Learning is repetition. At least that is what seems to be true for us from an early age. As babies trying to stand up on our own, as toddlers testing the boundaries of parental restraint, as teenagers making mistakes that hopefully weren’t too serious: We don’t usually get it right the first time, and that seems to be true in medical school as well. The start of the second year has proven to be repetitive.  … Read More

Searching for calm ambition

I completed my first career medical school exam this past Monday afternoon. When I returned home that evening, I had yet to recover from the adrenaline, and the rest of my life had collapsed into shambles. I had only small parcels of food in the refrigerator and a few clean clothes in my closet; I hadn’t spoken to either of my parents in over a week, and I felt mentally and physically exhausted. The following … Read More

A Poem: “Needles and Pins”

My feet are numb from studying for hours endlessly. The pins and needles down there make it difficult to see exactly WHY I study into perpetuity. What makes me stay day after day? Preceptorship, for me. For four hours a week, somehow a brave doctor concedes to watching me attempt to tend his patients’ every need. Some patients are quite skeptical, I can’t help but agree- Thank goodness for this practice, or I’d never earn … Read More

Back to school: pencils, snacks, awesomeness

Portland’s school buses were out en masse this morning as I waited for my own bus up to the hill. It’s happening! School has started, fall is here, everything smells like #2 pencils and pink gum erasers. We’re fully ensconced, already 11 days in to our first block of medical school, and I still find myself checking to make sure I’ve packed all my necessary supplies for the day. Snacks, colored pencils (embryology coloring book, … Read More

So long, frying pan

Barely three months have passed since I rounded out the first half of medical school. Those long hours of lecture, which tested my concentration and comprehension as a first-year medical student, last year grew into a comfortable routine. I was familiar with the rhythms of school, friendly with my classmates, starting to formulate more complex questions about biology and insights into medicine. I was not yet a resident (in any sense) in the medical world, … Read More

Surprise! You’re a Med Student

For myself and I think many other incoming med students, the process of gaining acceptance into medical school was quite consuming. So much so, in fact, that once I was accepted, I focused all of my efforts on traveling (I spent parts of the summer in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Los Angeles and Napa Valley) and hanging out with friends and family.  My aspiration to live this adventurous and carefree pre-medical school lifestyle was partly due … Read More

From Columbia 3: MetroSalud

Danielle is spending five weeks in Medellin, Colombia working on a research project involving tobacco exposure in pregnancy. The project involves two surveys: one targeted to prenatal care providers and one for pregnant patients in four different medical institutions throughout the city. She will blog about her experience here at OHSU StudentSpeak.  Learn more.  Wednesday afternoon took me to work at El Salvador, one of several clinics run by MetroSalud. The organization comprises a network … Read More



Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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