How To Achieve Your Goals When People Tell You No-- Kristyn, EM Resident

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

New year, new goals, am I right? I’m always fascinated by career profiles, especially when they’re featuring women of color and the unique challenges that they’ve had to face so here’s a new series doing exactly that-- stories about women of color. Here’s the first in “Tell Me More”.

Kristyn is an Emergency Medicine resident in Philadelphia. While it may seem like her life has been pretty straight forward, she’s had her fair share of challenges from her undergrad advisor telling her that she should find an alternate career, to the struggles of being a black female physician. I spoke to her late last year about what it’s like being a female in medicine as well as the importance of mentorship.

Tell Me More graphic | byjessicayang
Major thanks to my brother for making this graphic for me. 

What are some of the obstacles that you faced and how did you overcome them? Did you think that you’d face some of the obstacles that you did?

I went home from that meeting and just cried. It turned around to be a drive for me because it became “you told me I can’t do it, but I’ll find a way”.
I’ve never been a great standardized test taker but I’ve done pretty well in school so I always knew in the back of my head that I was going to struggle with the MCAT but I didn’t anticipate how much of a struggle it was going to be.

In high school, I was always in the honors classes and had a 4.0 GPA. I never knew what it was like to really struggle with school work. When I got to college, I didn’t do well in my science classes but I did well in the humanities. I knew I wasn’t competitive for medical school with C’s. I didn’t know what to do but I really liked my sociology classes so I switched to being a premed sociology major from biology pre-med. I think I had a 2.9 or a 3.0 in my premed classes and I talked to my advisor who said that I needed to find another career path. Basically, he said that I needed to give up the medicine thing because I wasn’t going to get into medical school. I wasn’t given any alternative careers either. I didn’t know about osteopathic medical schools, where admissions are more holistic, nor was I told to consider nursing or any other career in the medical field.

I went home from that meeting and just cried. It turned around to be a drive for me because it became “you told me I can’t do it, but I’ll find a way”. It was junior year and I tried the MCAT, but it didn’t go well.

Ugly Pretty: Articles to Change Your View on Beauty

Monday, October 22, 2018

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind couple of weeks lately with school and life . I’ve been reading a lot of science texts as of late and long-form thought pieces exploring beauty-- past the glitz and the glamor, excite me.

Louis Vuitton 2017 Volez, Voguez, Voyagez Exhibit in New York 

Along with the rise of Asian representation in media is the rise of Asian culture considered "hip". This Fashionista article explores fashion brands finding inspiration in long standing Chinatown establishments without the Chinatown establishments’ permission or royalties given back to the establishment for use of their name. At what point is it inspiration and when is it appropriation? Why does it take some sort of “mainstream” company to validate our own culture and make it acceptable? 

Recently someone on Reddit identified themselves as a former Sunday Riley employee and wrote that Sunday Riley made their employees write fake reviews. It’s shady especially considering that Sunday Riley products are over $50 but it’s also indicative of how many skin care products are mostly just marketing. I follow Kind of Stephen, a cosmetics formulator, and he talks a lot about how a lot of skin care products hide behind using science terms (“cellular turnover”, “studies show”) that’s misleading (check out this quick scroll about a skincare company making misleading claims). There are a lot of meaningless buzzwords that get thrown around in skin care (as well as health media writing, too) and PR agencies package information well, sometimes, too well. Many just go based off of the press release and if there’s anything I learned from reading science abstracts, the data might not be there to support it. There’s a 2008 New York Times article that talks about how consumers want to know the science behind the skincare products: 

Notes from Taipei, Taiwan

Monday, October 1, 2018 Taipei, Taiwan

Over the summer, I found myself flying to Taipei from China for a short four day trip since one of my closest college friends, Karen, was also visiting to Taiwan around the same time. It was a chance to catch up and explore another city together since a lot of our adventures revolve around food so it was only natural that our Taipei trip centered on food.

Inside of Taipei 101

Get in my belly: 

Xiao Long Bao at Ding Tai Fung
I once walked through a blizzard in the dead of January winter with Karen to get some xiao long bao (soup dumplings) so my dedication to XLB is real. I went to the well-known Ding Tai Fung in Taipei to get some xiao long bao. Although there are Ding Tai Fung branches in the US, I've heard that the Taipei one is still the best.  The folds in Ding Tai Fun xiao long bad are intricate and the soup was so fresh tasting. I miss them. 

Books about Medicine for the Everyday Reader

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Last year, I started to read medical fiction/nonfiction literature novels. My two worlds, literary and medicine, started to collide when I read When Breath Becomes Air and I decided to continue reading more.

It’s still new and strange to me that I’m now a part of the world that I read about months earlier and I still feel that excitement and eagerness I felt when I read these books. The days can seem long from the classes and intense studying so it can be easy to lose sight of the reason why there’s an interest in medicine in the first place but re-reading these books reminds me of why I’m here and centers me. (Physician burnout is real and this STAT article has a lot of good points about physician burnout.)

Life Lately: Transitions

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hey, guys. I’m alive. I feel like I need to say that because I’ve dropped off the face of the internet in the past half year, which usually spells imminent death (of blogs, anyway*).

It was an unintentional dropping off because I had plans to blog more than I had in the previous four years because for once in my life I wasn’t in school (but a year later, here I am again back at school). I sometimes wondered how I managed to blog back in 2012 because I don’t feel like the amount of free time I have is different than I had then yet I blog way less. I have drafts that are currently sitting on Drive waiting to be edited and published.

But of course in times of high stress and expectations, I turn to blogging because I find it stress-relieving. I told someone recently that I’m restless. I like doing things, especially things that require different skills and parts of my brain. It’s the reason why I write and the reason why I continue to write in spite of medical school.
Stethoscopes through the ages at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History in Cleveland, Ohio 

I Dream of New York-New York Trip No. 106 (or so)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I find New York City comforting. It comes with the territory I suppose, as I’ve spent a lot of my formative years making day trips to the city. For a long time, I never wanted to live in the city but recently, I’ve come to appreciate the familiar feelings of recollection and comfort as I venture around New York.

As I get older, I appreciate the spontaneity in the trips that I make, a departure from the checklist trips that I plan obsessively. I’ve started to realize that as time becomes more precious and valuable, there’s something about letting loose and living, getting caught up in the memories that are made from the things that may not happen as planned. I want to feel the city, breath in the smells and live it, instead of seeing it as an obstacle to be conquered.

I was in the city with my newly-minted New Yorker friend, Jenny, who I’ve known for nearly thirteen years, and we explored Brooklyn, Nolita and a bit of East Village.

Here are some snippets of our adventures:

Go to a brewery even though I’m not a beer person.

The Fortunes + American Panda: Stories of Belonging

Monday, March 12, 2018

Recently I read two really great books that explore what belonging as an immigrant in American society. One book deals with belonging as a Chinese-American throughout major points in history and the other deals with belonging as a Taiwanese-American teen. 

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