Being Selfish in Order to be Selfless

If you asked anyone to list out some characteristics that they thought would make an excellent physician, compassion and selflessness would undoubtedly be somewhere at the top. No surprise there - a doctor who’s a complete ass and makes their hospital look bad would get fired pretty quickly in the “real world.” 

However, the path towards becoming a physician inherently fosters the exact opposite of both traits - to have the GPA/MCAT, complete resume, clinical, and research hours, Pre-Meds are expected to regularly place their career ambitions above friends, relationships, family, and outside interests; it’s the norm to expect “true Pre-Meds” to be selfish by prioritizing their future above others. 

To an extent, it’s possible to maintain some sense of balance, but very few are able to effectively have it all. There are only so many hours in the day, so every decision impacts the amount of time leftover for sleeping, studying, socializing, hobbies, etc. You have three options to invest time in: a social life, your academics, or your personal health (sleep). Now choose two.

In undergrad, I consistently chose my academics and a regular sleep schedule over my social life. It didn’t take very long before my friends started calling me “4.0 Jenny,” but once everyone started to expect my excuses for not coming out to parties and dinners, I stopped receiving invitations altogether. 

On top of having no close friends, I rarely called or visited my family at home. I only visited my boyfriend on weekends, even though we lived (literally) less than a mile from each other. To put it simply, people would be shocked (and somewhat horrified) if they ever saw me in public.

As someone who used to harbor serious trust issues, I didn’t see anything wrong with this at the time. I had no interest in making new friends because most of my previous friends never stuck around when I needed them anyway. Ultimately, all I cared about was making sure I would become a doctor, especially since I had already worked so hard to get here in the first place.

So let’s pause and reflect for a second. Does anything that I just wrote sound at all like someone who demonstrates selflessness or compassion for others? Absolutely not - I was literally the very definition of a narcissistic, unattached Pre-Med, yet I was on track to attend medical school.

At some point, my determination to achieve my goals got to the point that my choices became more and more selfishly fucked up.

When my grandpa passed away, the very first emotion that I felt wasn’t regret or sadness. It was anger. I was actually angry at my grandpa for passing away on a weekday, two days before my OChem midterm, because it meant I had to drive home to attend a funeral and not study. I was angry when I received the text from my sister that read, “Grandpa just died” because I got it while in class and I couldn’t figure out whether I should leave and make up the lecture notes later or focus on the material and process what I just read after class.

Words cannot describe the amount of conflict and guilt I felt when I stood in front of his casket at the funeral. If my family ever finds this post, this is why I couldn’t, in good conscience, look at him and tell him how much I missed him in Vietnamese. And as messed up as I know this is, this is why I wasn’t crying at the funeral - I couldn’t silence my resentment and allow myself to fully process that my grandpa was actually gone.

In high school, I had a classmate who was a year older than me. From my Sophomore year, we were relatively chummy and always butted heads on the most random topics. Although I never said much, she always praised me for my maturity and passion for science/medicine. Before I believed in myself, she had already believed that I was going to “make it” as a doctor and that I would be great at it if I stuck with it. However, once we went our separate ways for college, I stopped trying to keep in touch, and we never followed up on our coffee date reunion. Three years later, she unexpectedly passed away from medical complications. I couldn’t bring myself to attend her funeral out of equal parts regret/shame and the fact that I couldn’t justify pulling myself away from school to figure out how to make the commute.

To this day, I still have not forgiven myself for how I handled their deaths, and it is something that I continue to remember everyday. However, the regret and sorrow I still feel in passing made me realize that success is meaningless if you have nobody to celebrate it with. I mean, what’s the point of working hard to get what you want when you have to make others (or yourself) miserable in the process? 

Even though my epiphany happened only two quarters before I graduated from undergrad, it has changed my perspective and approach towards medicine and my future. After reflecting (consistently) on the friends, family, and opportunities I’ve lost to maintain my grades, I’ve made progress in balancing my personal and academic life more effectively. Now, If settling for an A-/B+ means I have more time to see my boyfriend, dog, and parents, it’s something I’m more wiling to do now. Similarly, if my friends need me at 4am in the morning, losing a little bit of sleep to make sure they are safe and comforted is more important. These small, but symbolic steps are the small victories that will come to define the physician, friend, sibling, significant other, and family member that I strive to become.

The selfishness that once helped me thrive academically now pushes me to continue pursuing a medical career. I have lost so much in order to get to where I am today, and a large part of me feels like it would be such a waste to back out now. I can’t undo the fact that I neglected my friends and family, nor can I ever apologize to my grandpa and friend who passed away. However, I can continue to work hard, spend the time that I do have with the ones I love, and ensure that these sacrifices were not in vain. Whenever I help a patient, mentor a child, or positively impact a community, I will always make sure that I remember those I have lost in order to get to where I am today. 

Anonymous said: What books are on your summer reading list? What books are your long-time faves? What books have been on your gotta-read-it list for a long time and you still haven't gotten around to reading them?

Woo, it’s hard to put together a comprehensive list, especially since I don’t actually own a lot of the books I intend to read (and probably won’t purchase until after I move to save $$)

I have a lot of medically related books that I’ve read…haha


Among my favorites:

Medically/Health related (In no particular order)

  1. Mountains Beyond Mountains - Tracy Kidder (it’s hard to get into at first)
  2. House of God - Samuel Shem
  3. Hot Lights, Cold Steel - Dr. Michael J. Collins, MD
  4. Gifted Hands (mixed reviews on some parts, but very informative overall) - Dr. Ben Carson, MD
  5. How Doctors Think - Dr. Jerome Groopman, MD
  6. Birth Day - Dr. Mark Sloan, MD (My mentor’s autobiography, so I’m biased lol)

Randoms/Things I’ve read but enjoyed

  1. La Casa en Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros (I read it in Spanish but I’m pretty sure there’s an English version)
  2. Quiet Odyssey - Mary Paik Lee
  3. America is in the Heart - Carlos Bulosan
  4. Bone - Faye Myenne Ng
  5. There are a lot more on this list, especially ones from high school, but I unfortunately cannot recall them at this time

Currently Reading: East Eats West - Andrew Lam (about 2/3rds done)

My “To do” books (in no particular order, mostly medically related)

  1. Books by Atul Gawande (Better, Complications, Checklist Manifesto, etc)
  2. Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France Paperback - Miriam I. Ticktin
  3. The Emperor of all Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee
  4. This Won’t Hurt a Bit - Michelle Au
  5. Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis - Dr. Lisa Sanders, MD
  6. Moloka’i - Alan Brennert
  7. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  8. There are a lot of others on this list but I know I will never get to them (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Harry Potter books, Hunger Games series, etc)

Recommended to me:

  1. White Coat Wrinkle: The Patient Power Guide to Getting the Best Care from Every Doctor, Every Visit - Dr. James DeVore, MD and Debra A. Skinner
  2. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  3. Song of Ice and Fire Compilations - George R.R. Martin (GoT books)
  4. The Fault in our Stars - John Green
  5. Books by Oliver Sacks
  6. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  7. Bossypants - Tina Fey

Other “To Dos” in terms of health policy + getting up to date on da politics of the health care field

  1. Understanding Health Policy: A Clinical Approach
  2. The Health Care Handbook: A Clear and Concise Guide to the United States Health Care System
  3. Actually everything on this list (in terms of getting up to speed with Medicine) - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/how-to-spend-your-m0-summer-or-at-least-an-afternoon-of-it.1068352/

A post about nothing

My tumblr has been barren, even though I regularly think of posts and write them in my head. So what has happened in the past few weeks…

The short and simple version:

1) I have moved out of my old apartment into a different area of Sacramento

2) I have managed to condense most of my life down to 5 boxes that I will be shipping to Wisconsin with me.

3) I had to turn down the $2500 scholarship to study Vietnamese in Madison for the summer out of the realization that no matter how I budget, my credit cards already carry most of my debt and I couldn’t front the remaining $1200 after buying my plane ticket (q_q, maybe next summer)

4) My cousin (My mom’s aunt’s son?) is getting married on Friday! 

5) I have been reading a few books on my summer list, and am almost done with one! After that, I’ll (hopefully) get back into piano, and review all of my Spanish + Vietnamese notes to get a little studying in before school starts.

6) Upcoming posts will probably have something to do with some kind of social issue, relationships, my thoughts (or denial) about moving, and maybe brainstorming for future book ideas (if I choose to continue writing throughout my medical career).

dopeybeauty:

you fucking salmon

(via samapitongzabala)

Care package arrived from my super awesome, super sweet, super generous, super adorable friend who moved to Korea! I’m going to have a field day trying each and every one of these snacks, especially the discontinued Oreo Os cereal! I mean, I knew a care package was coming, but I was nowhere near expecting THIS MANY goodies!

I will be working on a detailed food review shortly…HAHAHA

Care package arrived from my super awesome, super sweet, super generous, super adorable friend who moved to Korea! I’m going to have a field day trying each and every one of these snacks, especially the discontinued Oreo Os cereal! I mean, I knew a care package was coming, but I was nowhere near expecting THIS MANY goodies!

I will be working on a detailed food review shortly…HAHAHA

FOMO or JOMO?

It’s kind of funny how life situations work out. Just yesterday, I had convinced myself that it wasn’t meant to be and that I would not be studying Vietnamese this summer at U Wisconsin because of financial situations. Then, this morning, a day before the deadline to make a decision, they increased my scholarship offer from $1700/3700 to $2300/3700. I know, it’s not a huge difference, but I’m surprised that it’s forcing me to reconsider whether or not I still want to withdraw from the program.

If I choose to accept, I will be moving to Wisconsin a month early (at the end of June instead of the end of July), and cutting short a lot of my last minute travel plans with friends, family, and loved ones. If I choose to decline, I am missing out on one of the few opportunities I have left to study one of my “native tongues” and I’m not sure when else I would be able to. I would go for taking it my first year in the summer, but then I would miss out on research, which could potentially close some doors for competitive specialties if I end up going that route.

People are always saying that we shouldn’t be afraid of the consequences of turning down opportunities, as we will still find a way to make things work if it’s important enough. But I’m just not sure what to do, and I only have until tomorrow/Thursday to make a final decision. AHH!

Omg, surprise late night visit from @jamiexeatxworld and Justice. Thought they were solicitors or drunk people but they came dropped off this bag of birthday goodies + banana bread! Legit permanently having something in my eye flipping through the photo album :’)

Normally, I don’t like to put my birthday on blast, but this is sweeter than any cake I could ever have. So, obviously I have to tell the world about my best frand 😍😍😍😁

Omg, surprise late night visit from @jamiexeatxworld and Justice. Thought they were solicitors or drunk people but they came dropped off this bag of birthday goodies + banana bread! Legit permanently having something in my eye flipping through the photo album :’)

Normally, I don’t like to put my birthday on blast, but this is sweeter than any cake I could ever have. So, obviously I have to tell the world about my best frand 😍😍😍😁

otlbrandonle:

yep-that-tasted-purple:

It’s time for another giveaway!

These giveaway prizes have been donated by poroadoptioncenter! Please go check out their blog and their Etsy store which can be found here!

Thank you everyone for following and showing us love!
Rules: 
You must be following us! (It is a giveaway to thank our followers after all.) 
You must have an active blog. 
Please no giveaway / side blogs. 
Only reblog once.
You can get another entry by liking but you must reblog first!
FOR YOUR ENTRY TO BE VALID YOU MUST ADD WHICH SERVER YOU PLAY ON WHEN YOU REBLOG! (If not your entry won’t count, you will not be reminded!)
Information:
There will be two winners! One person will win Arcade Hecarim and the other will win Riot Blitzcrank. 
This giveaway is open to every server! 
Please don’t be rude if you don’t win. 
The giveaway will end on the 20th May at around 6-7pm GMT.
Good luck and have fun! 

NA   :3

NAWhy not? LolzAdd me! Jennyfish

otlbrandonle:

yep-that-tasted-purple:

It’s time for another giveaway!

These giveaway prizes have been donated by poroadoptioncenter! Please go check out their blog and their Etsy store which can be found here!

Thank you everyone for following and showing us love!

Rules: 

  • You must be following us! (It is a giveaway to thank our followers after all.) 
  • You must have an active blog. 
  • Please no giveaway / side blogs. 
  • Only reblog once.
  • You can get another entry by liking but you must reblog first!
  • FOR YOUR ENTRY TO BE VALID YOU MUST ADD WHICH SERVER YOU PLAY ON WHEN YOU REBLOG! (If not your entry won’t count, you will not be reminded!)

Information:

  • There will be two winners! One person will win Arcade Hecarim and the other will win Riot Blitzcrank. 
  • This giveaway is open to every server! 
  • Please don’t be rude if you don’t win. 
  • The giveaway will end on the 20th May at around 6-7pm GMT.

Good luck and have fun! 

NA   :3

NA

Why not? Lolz


Add me! Jennyfish

poyeev:

verbalessence:

jazzy-w:

Pick up lines by me

Reblogging because Jazzy

I’m still stuck that her shirt says Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Retreat!! APILR FAM!! :)

LOL I HOPE YOU BECOME TUMBLR FAMOUS JASMINE

Anonymous said: what did that one post say that was in Spanish with the two girls

cyberho:

son chorizos 

LOL

PSA

justplainsomething:

wordsthatididntsay:

Fellow students, grab some textbooks/ebooks from here, here, here, and here.

image

We’re trying to get an education. Not go for broke. Hope this helps everyone out a little. I have so many issues with publishers and the daylight robbery that is textbooks. 

Because I remember how shitty textbook prices were in college, here are some other options for my followers.

might be useful for some people

(via justanotherqueerfeminist)

Money and Envy

Ever since my ‘99 (totaled) Audi crapped out, I’ve been driving my dad’s BMW until I get a replacement car (or temporary swap out). Its mileage is just as horrendous than the Audi, averaging a meager 21 miles per gallon, but I’ve grown to really like the car. It’s pretty old, since it’s a 2002 530 model, but I feel funny kind of saying that I feel somewhat empowered when I drive it around. 

Subconsciously, I think I’ve bought into the “luxury cars” equating to wealth, status, and power, and it’s gone to my head. While I drove my Audi, I often noticed that people would keep their distance from my car (in terms of not tailgating), and on several occasions, when I parked my car and got out, I would hear snide comments from people walking past the dent in my car and saying, “Well that’s not surprising at all.” In comparison, when I drive my dad’s car around, I’ve noticed a handful of older people quickly glance at me, then make a double take after they look at the car. Whether they’re thinking, “how does this kid who looks like a high schooler afford such a car” or “why is that person so short?” I will admit it feels kind of…good? I guess this is why our parents are all about the saving face and one-upping one another.

When I went to Hawai’i for the summer 2 years ago with Julian, we were able to save a lot of money using his parents’ timeshare, which landed us a 4 star hotel in Waikiki for 6 days for free. Normally, the rooms cost around $350 per night, so we saved ourselves nearly $2000 with discounted tickets + not paying for anything but food. Whenever we took a shared taxi back from touristy events, the driver would drop us off in front of our hotel, and several of the other passengers would let out a quiet, “wow” or “this is a nice place!” just before they saw the two of us, a 20 year old who still had braces and a young bearded guy, hop out to tip the driver. I have never felt more like a bougie-ass, rich spoiled kid than during those moments. 


Maybe I have some kind of underlying desire to constantly be validated or reaffirmed in regards to things I indirectly equate to my own sense of self-worth. It’s so superficial to get wrapped up in these things, and I can’t always check myself before it happens! Anyway, I hate how much money I waste driving this monster around, but it feels nice.

What a long-winded way to show my material obsessions in my life. Awkward!

Anonymous said: Thanks for "Princeton Privileged" and the links and comments it led to. The author said she'd been "unfriending those who have approvingly posted" his op-ed on their Facebooks. Her shunning of heretics is the mechanism that confers, or denies, Privilege. Societies that value (e.g.) a linguistic standard "unfriend" people who disdain it. White- and Male Privilege exists, but is dwarfed by Conformers' Privilege. Aggressive, politicized behavioral "diversity" loses more Privilege than sex/race do.

I’ve unfriended my fair share of people who, after giving them multiple chances to clarify their extremely ignorant or racist comment, only proved to be as ignorant and racist as I thought they were. Their toxic opinions didn’t need to interrupt my daily routine, so I chose not to dwell on it and cut them out of my life. But anyway, I sort of skimmed over that part just because I assumed the author did not mean they just deleted everyone who disagreed with their perspective (literary dramatization lol). It’s not exactly the focus of the commentary and it doesn’t detract from their intended message enough to completely discredit their piece :P

Anonymous said: I'm an introverted introvert, with a side order of introversion topped with introvert-berries. I'm so introverted that extroverts withdraw into their shells whenever I get near them, which is as seldom as possible. But I promise to like you when you become 2.3 centimillennia old, even if I don't understand why 2.3 centimillenia even counts as a birthday... ☺

Hahaha, if you eat up too much introversion, I heard it gives you bad gas! :P

Jeez this post made me feel really old. I’m going to be entering my 30s when I finish residency.

I’ll be 40% into my maximum lifespan when I finally have my first real full time salary’d job.. !!!!

Anonymous said: ¡Felicidades, Yenny! I'm SO glad you got such a nice scholarship! A long time ago I stalked an MD/PhD student who wrote up fun physiology/pharmacology concepts; explaining them to the world helped him get them more firmly planted in his own head. Maybe that can be an excuse for you to keep blogging w/out feeling like it's taking away your study time...? Cuz you are gonne be one busy bee! Congratulations again!

This question looks like it’s pretty old, since that post was from a couple weeks ago. I write whenever I feel the need to, even if I have no time to/should really be doing other things. You can probably anticipate some updates and blogging about my life and other public health related issues in the coming future, unless I say otherwise :D