2016: Year of Writing (links)

Here I wrote 52 posts plus a few bonus ones, and here they are all lined up in categories.


My shortlist:

  • #01, On Anaesthetics – here, in the year’s first post, I write about having a colonoscopy. In retrospect, it’s so jovial and naive!
  • #14, One Vote of Confidence – here I mull over my place in medicine. It was strange to admit so much about myself, but I thought it needed to be said.
  • #33, Laparoscopic Magikarp – here I compare growing up with Pokémon to advances in modern surgery and draw parallels between endlessly catching Magikarp and my surgery rotation
  • #34, My Hands Shake – here I turn my life into a story that is revealing, poetic, and a little scary. This topic I knew I was going to write since the beginning of the year and drafted 4 very different versions starting in January, but I waited for 2/3 of the year before attempting it. I wanted to do it right.
  • #46, The Cost of Growing – here I write about a devastating but transformative case, one that showed me how far I’ve come this year but also illustrated the grim reality of learning in medicine.


Edit Sept 2017: reversed the order of this post. This used to be on top.


So one consequence of writing every week is that any standout posts are immediately lost in a mass of lame obligatory posts. Originally, I just had a shortlist of posts that I (as the author) would recommend you read first if you could spare the time. However, can I recruit you — as the reader — for some audience participation? =)

Below, comments are enabled for this post, and I want to turn that into a link gallery to the best posts of the year! If there’s a post (or posts) that you read which stuck with you, can you please write a short comment about why that post? Don’t worry about hyperlinks; I can add them in for you. Thanks!

Of course, these comments will be great feedback for me as well, hehe. Other forms of feedback are always welcome too!


11 thoughts on “2016: Year of Writing (links)”

  1. I love the analogy of running alongside with ghost. Self challenge is always the driving force to a better me, however, does the ghost also provide a chance for reflection? How about inviting the ghost to stop sometimes, enjoy the scene, smell the flowers, chat with people, and listen to birdsong?

    I am happy that you started this project, it not only shares experiences of medical school student’s busy life but also served as a very good memoir for your 2016.

  2. Ignoring snow.

    It’s a selfish choice, really, because reading it was liking looking in a mirror. I had written a journal entry on an almost identical sentiment two years back. I remember that morning clearly – my roommate and her boyfriend pressed their faces against the window screaming “JENNY IT’S SNOWING”, and I launched into an introspective journey.

    To me, this post paints a perfect blend of uncertainty, choices, determination, and hope. It echoed my internal struggle, and brought me comfort.

  3. It’s tempting for bloggers to want to craft each post into a neat package, but your later posts seem to embrace a different approach. I think the motivation to write is different for everyone; on one hand, it’s about crafting a story, on the other, it’s about actually wanting to explore your thoughts and help define who you are.

    I would say that “The Cost of Growing” is one of my favorite posts, because it’s when I felt that you opened up and showed more self-awareness in your writing. You didn’t just say, “I still have a lot to learn,” but delved into your private thoughts and anxieties, hitting different emotional levels, in a way that was both introspective and honest.

  4. I feel “life goes on” closes the blog series quite well. It shows no matter what happens, and what ends or begins, life never stops, a blog post had to be written. With the end of 2016, this series comes to and end, but hopefully a new series will begin in 2017.

    Also, a second place goes to ghosts #2 because of Mario Kart.

  5. My vote is One Vote.
    There are lines that feel completely honest to me, and there are lines that seem to be written to save face (or something not totally forthcoming). The reader gets to decide what might be the real inner dialogue and what was created for paper. This reader (me) does this by comparing with my own inner dialogues. In One Vote, I got the deepest look at you and me.

  6. Although I have not read all of your posts yet, the ones I have read have all been interesting and thought provoking. Since it is very unlikely that I will ever work in the healthcare industry or attend medical school, I appreciate a glimpse into the life of a medical student dealing with everyday struggles. It’s a nice reminder that doctors are humans and that’s a good thing. Coming from a patient’s perspective, I’ve never liked doctors who pretended they knew everything and posted all of their degrees and awards on their cluttered office walls… Instead I’d rather have a doctor that is interested in learning, improving, and growing. I think your ability to juggle the professional and personal expectations of a medical student are remarkable. It seems as if you prevent yourself from being overly confident, overly emotional, or overly attached, which seems to allow you to remain grounded in very scary sitations such as a mother losing her two year old daughter or witnessing the progression of encephalitis. Encephalitis still seems like something from a horrific science fiction story, I don’t like to think that it is a real thing–it’s more like a cruel joke… Anyway, I think it’s refreshing to be reminded that life goes on and sometimes it’s okay to just go for a swim.

  7. Poor, reviled Magikarp. It’s orange, for one thing. All it does is take up space and Splash around. The only way to train it is to give it brief glimpses into battle, then have a much more experienced member of your team take over. This takes forever and increases the burden on your team. You hate it, I hate it. Its fellow pokemon probably hate it too.

    But it’s not its fault, you know. Even though all it can do is Splash, it does gain experience with every battle. And as you say, someday, it will evolve into Gyarados, king of the sea. And then it’ll master tons of useful moves and win epic battles for you.

    From here, becoming Gyarados seems overwhelming and evolution looks a long way away (at least 20 levels), but I think we’ll get there.

  8. I’d like to think I’m special in that I’ve read the vast majority, if not all, of your blog posts. My two favorite blog posts are dichotomous. A relatable “One Vote of Confidence” vs. WTF-this-is-what-life-sounds-like “What’s Perfect Pitch Like.”

    Our medicine director always compared our presentations to a theater performance. It did not matter if we didn’t know our lines, forgot our dance steps, or couldn’t hit that high note during the closing number, we had to fake it until we make it. We had to use our mature defense mechanisms and suppress our insecurities. We had to prove that anyone who had confidence in us was not having an acute ischemic stroke when they decided these recently graduated college kids could be adult enough to become doctors.

    With the latter post, I know I’m cheating a little since it was not within the past year. But as you know, I have the completely opposite of your ability – no pitch. I can’t even be the Rebel Wilson to your Anna Kendrick. My pitch is equivalent to a morbidly obese patient, but through your blog post, I got to feel what it was like to be Usain Bolt, running through the waves of perfect pitch.

  9. going to have to go with #17 man. Most relatable to me. bandwagon or no bandwagon, if you’re a fan, you’re a fan. and smash haha. it’s nice putting the two next to each other in a blog post and it couldn’t be more relevant in today’s age with esports becoming bigger. I wish I watched more esports, but sometimes it is too fast and complicated to follow.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the post a lot and your perspective as a new basketball fan. maybe you should be my co-manager in fantasy next year! =D

  10. Shout-out to Just Keep Running?
    Run, run, run! Or more like – pun, pun, pun!
    This was another fun read among several mentioned above. And I think your most memorable posts capture this imagery of taking a step forward with determination, pride, and uncertainty to better understand ourselves and the world around us.

    I’ll also keep in mind the 3 Essential Health Tips.
    Valuable advice, future Dr. Hung! But really, I also believe quality healthcare begins from providing necessary information to the appropriate populations.

    A bit late to post, but wow, 52+ pieces… that’s dedication! So thank you for sharing and having us respond too!

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