Here I wrote a “52 project,” one blog post each week for the entirety of 2016, and by golly was 2016 a year worth chronicling.
Some background: this yearlong project follows the spiritual footsteps of my photographic 365 project in 2012-2013. Among all potential disciplines to tackle for a yearlong training session, I chose writing for three reasons:
- 2016 coincided with my year of required clerkships, and I wanted to remain grounded and maintain perspective.
- Writing is an essential skill for communication — one I’ve neglected deliberately developing — and I wanted to write more elegantly more efficiently.
- I figured that some of you out there — especially those not running the gauntlet of third year with me — would find some of med school’s adventures intriguing.
What were the results?
- Day by day, week by week, I tried to stay vigilant, scanning for topics worthy of exploring and thinking critically about them.
- Through rote practice, I did start to write faster; an average 800-word post now takes me 2-5 hours instead of 6-8 hours to write. I’m quite fond of some of the later posts.
- I just pushed the posts into the void (i.e. shared on Facebook) and prepared for the next one; I could never tell who was reading besides FB likes. Sometimes, people passing on elevators would tell me they enjoyed a recent post, which was always a pleasant surprise! ^_^ Occasionally, I received private online messages and emails from more distant people, which was always a shock…
Now I can read back in retrospect about the tumultuous journey that 2016 turned out to be. After the board exam incubation period in January when I set the precedent for this project, I kicked it off quite jubilantly with Ob/Gyn, celebrating many firsts of med school. After some springtime digressions in Primary Care, I immersed myself in Psych and its associated fascinations. During my summer of Surgery, I really started feeling the conflicted push and pull of med school, and I wrote about my own background, running, and escaping. Then, with autumn, in Anesthesia/Crit Care and Neuro, things got darker. In the company of sick minds and broken brains, I let my own wander. Finally, winter was coming, and Medicine came. With a tight schedule being choked even tighter, with suffering and death constantly surrounding me, with learning that healthcare was so often helpless or counterproductive, I struggled.
Med school is a four-year transition from neophyte (noob) to doctor. It’s difficult to define a moment when that transformation occurs, but certainly much of the growth happens during clinical year. We witness the confusing, the uplifting, the mortifying. We learn, we celebrate, we suffer, and often we do all of that simultaneously. Here I wrote much of that down. Not all of it though, because this is still a public forum and I’m one person with an additional layer of life to live underneath.
But here I am, 52+ posts later. 1000+ miles run, 7000+ pictures taken, 35+ minutes of Debussy learned, $2,500+ of groceries cooked, and one long 2016 elapsed.
Thank you everyone who read some of my rambling this year. Shoutouts to my friends who encouraged me in person and digitally, my fellow bloggers, and especially those who of you followed along week by week. You gave me the motivation to slog through it all.
“Here I write.” I don’t know why that was the Facebook tagline, but it stuck all year long. Here, at the end, finally I write: Here I have written.