Anonymous said: Hello, inspiring blog! I was just curious about your venture into medical school. What drives you to want to go to medical school? Have you studied at university before applying to medical school? Feel free to redirect me if you've answered this question previously :) I'm thinking about medical school myself. Thanks!
First of all, I’d like to thank you for sending me this question as it made me realize how hard and challenging it actually is to write an accurate answer (and my answer is by no means accurate). Writing the response also made me cry a little bit. Trust me, I haven’t cried in a while, so apparently this is a very emotional topic for me. I didn’t even cry once last weekend when my sisters and I sorted through my mom’s stuff (maybe because my sister cried so that I had to hold back my tears).
Secondly, my mom is the answer to “What drives you to want to go to medical school?”. She was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2010, and that’s also when the world started to turn completely upside down for me. It truly hurts to see someone you love in severe pain, and the fact that you’re unable to help is also extremely frustrating. On her final day, I promised mom that I would become a doctor and help people like her – and I don’t make promises that I’m unable to keep.
A few days before my mom passed away, she had a stroke. I remember the moment when the latter happened, no one in my family could identify that she had a stroke. I called the hospital immediately and explained the doctors her behavior but no one could tell me that she just had a stroke. After that, I called the emergency service. The ambulance took a lifetime before it arrived because her behavior didn’t sound like an emergency to whomever I talked to on the phone. The ambulance didn’t even speed up on its way to the hospital, so in the end the process of transporting my mom to the hospital was too time-consuming that it was already too late for a surgery, unfortunately. The signs were so obvious though, yet I weren’t aware of them. Everybody suspected that the weakness of her face, her sudden unintelligible speech, back and forth eye movements, and finger scratching the right side of her head were merely side effects of morphine or her medications. Apparently, she tried telling us that her brain hurt. I know I shouldn’t blame myself and my ignorance for advancing my mom’s death, but every day I just keep thinking that “what if I were a doctor”, “what if I knew the symptoms”, or “what if I studied medicine” maybe I would have had a mom for a little longer.
Initially, I wanted to become a journalist, nutritionist, or a music supervisor, but my mom’s health made me reassess everything. I genuinely wanted to help people in a similar situation as mom because no one ever deserves to get cancer. After my mom passed away, I didn’t know if I had the strength to become an oncologist as planned – I have observed the oncologists at the cancer clinic and you have to be strong, brave, and tough so as to deal with dying people and crushing their hopes on a daily basis. So the “backup plan” was to perhaps become a gynecologist instead (easier said than done though, as you can’t just choose freely your specialty).
I don’t want to become a doctor because of the money – there are better and easier ways to become filthy rich (not that physicians make that much money here in Norway) that don’t involve 6 years of sleepless nights followed by several years of working as an indentured servant. But I must admit that I also want to become a doctor for selfish reasons – because I can imagine how good it must feel like for you and the patient when you’ve saved the person’s life, or when you’ve done something that YOU consider meaningful and important to you. At the end of the day, I want a selfless job that makes me feel good, if that makes any sense? That said I’m fully aware that it’s also part of the doctor’s job to deliver disappointing news to patients and their families and see people die daily. But I guess that’s part of life and reality as well, which is inevitable. A few weeks ago when my friend and I made pho to raise money for cancer research, the fact that I could participate and contribute to such a good cause and do something completely selfless made me extremely happy. I haven’t been happier in a long time, and it was a great motivation. And what I did is NOTHING compared to what health care practitioners and researchers are doing. Apropos of researchers, I’m also interested in medical research.
To answer your question regarding “Have you studied at university before applying to medical school?”: Yes, I have. A few years ago I took classes in criminology and history of ideas, but dropped out of university after two months. Last year I studied chemistry, biology, and philosophy, and right now I’m about to finish an entrepreneurship class (deadline on Friday, yikes) at the University of Oslo.
Anonymous said: Hello, I do really like your blog and your taste in fashion. When it gets to clothes, I never know what to wear. I don't even know what to buy. It's hard to find pieces I find good, because at the moment there are only a hand full of brands I like and can afford (still student). I do just prefer simple cuts, that's all. What could I do to improve my style (as a boy)? Do you have some general tips for shopping? Greets from Germany of a 16 year old
Errr… tricky question as I don’t know how your style looks like. Do you really need to improve your style? If so, then why? You said that you don’t know what to wear or what to purchase, but you also wrote that you prefer simple cuts – I think you just solved your problem.
Perhaps you should try to look for brands that cater to your taste (simple cuts right?). As the self-proclaimed ambassador of A.P.C – which is hands down the #1 epitome of simplicity, nuff said – my suggestion would be to check out this brand and the stores that carry it. I’ve noticed that shops that sell A.P.C. also carry other brands with a similar aesthetic such as Comme des Garçons, Norse Projects, Maison Kitsune, Filippa K, Saint James, and so on. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, perhaps COS or American Apparel could work for you, albeit the quality is sucky in my opinion. I’d rather save up for durable clothes that I really, really love, even if it means that I only have two sweaters and a pair of jeans to wear for an entire year – my case back in the days when I started redefining my likes and dislikes as to clothes.
Anyway. In terms of improving your style, just think of it as improving your taste buds. In order to do that, you have to try out new flavors, dishes, and overcome food-related peet peeves UNLESS you’re content with whatever you enjoy eating. Just try applying this approach to your sartorial problems.
My only advice when it comes to shopping is: Don’t settle for the second best.
“1. Run away to Brooklyn. Rent an apartment with a claw footed bathtub. Commute to Manhattan during the week and put in hours at a menial publishing job. Drive home to New Jersey on weekends to swim in the pool and cry to your mother. Smoke Gauloises on the fire escape. Let yellowing issues of Rolling Stone and Vogue pile into a protective fortress around your bed. Listen to Cat Power. Fall asleep mostly naked beneath the duvet watching Sportscenter and drinking earl grey. Date a Yankees fan and kiss his hands on the 4 Train into the Bronx.
2. Run away to Barcelona. Eat milk chocolate magnum bars and drink cheap champagne. Burst into charming fits of laughter whenever you get embarrassed about butchering the Catalan language. Wear denim cutoffs, Dr. Pepper chapstick, and very little else. Go dancing at 3 a.m. Whiten your teeth. Tan your shoulders. Braid feathers into your hair. Perpetually wake up with sand caught in the thin cotton sheets of your tiny bed. Listen to the Rolling Stones and kiss all the longhaired boys you can get your hands on without ever having to apologize.
3. Run away to Los Angeles. Sublet a studio in Venice three blocks from the beach. Listen to top 40 radio. Go to Chateau Marmont and charge drinks you can’t afford to a long-dormant credit card. Sleep with a television actor who lives in the valley. Sleep with a musician who lives in Bel Air. Break things off with both of them when gas prices begin to rise. Find Gilda Radner’s star on the Walk Of Fame and swallow a sob when you see the filthy cement around her name is cracked. Walk through the Venice Canals until the sun sets and you forget your own name. Call your mother crying from the parking lot of a 24-hour Ralph’s supermarket. Tell her you want to come home.
4. Run away to Paris. Gaze at the pink and pistachio glow of macarons in the window on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Listen to Joni Mitchell. Meet an Argentinean man in the Latin Quarter for drinks. Melt into his accent and kiss him goodnight, but return to your apartment alone because his face doesn’t look enough like the man’s you are trying to forget. Get lost in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre, admiring Napoleon’s fine red damask. Walk alone along the Seine in an old dress, ten-dollar shoes, and an Hermes scarf. Fumble with the locks on the fence overlooking the river. They all have lovers’ names etched into them and the girl who left the red heart-shaped lock has the same name as you.
5. Run away to Martha’s Vineyard. Write heartbroken stories during the day in front of a large fan that blows curls of humid hair across your tired face. Take a waitress job at The Black Dog at night and try hard not to drop too many trays. Learn to ride a moped. Pretend you’re a Kennedy. Listen to Carly Simon. Eat hand-churned ice cream out of waffle cones. Visit the flying horses and consider how many girls just like you have sat on the same horse clutching for the same brass ring. Get stoned and dance barefoot down the length of the eroded Jaws beach. Date a Red Sox fan. Yell at each other during baseball games, and then kiss and make up between tangled sheets. TC mark”