The artist formerly known as medzealot

Dear followers,

I have changed my blog’s title and url, and have given up a layer of anonymity. It appears your subscription has followed me through the process; you should receive and email when I publish this post.

I was not able to customize my blog and partition my content exactly the way I wanted using the WordPress.com platform, so I bought a domain and began building a more customized site, [after a while I decided to abandon this site and stick to wordpress.com]. The new site contains this entire blog and more. The content for premeds is excluded from the main page, which I can’t do as cleanly on this platform. On the other site I’m also able to use a variety of themes that aren’t available on WordPress.com, and have the option to manually edit the site’s code.

I will continue to post on this blog. As I mentioned in my post Updates and Changes, this blog will serve as a space to tell stories, brain dump, and make a comment or two about things that capture my attention in the day-to-day. Blogging will be just one portion of the new site. Because the new site is built using WordPress.org (as opposed to .com), I don’t believe you will be able to subscribe the same way you did to this blog, following through your WordPress.com account. However, I have placed a widget just to the right of the first post where you can subscribe to the new site by entering your email address, should you be interested in the extra content.

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for riding out the bumpy patches with me. You all are awesome traveling companions.

Advertisements

A great post by Shannon Hadley, reflecting on the young impulse to be successful, and it’s ongoing battle with the malaise that creeps into our lives through our 20’s. I feel like I could have written it myself, except for the Katie Couric part. Man, does the bit about parenthood hit close to home.


Need a laugh?

I don’t know why, but this. is. hilarious.

 


Kreativ Blogger Award

Franny and Zooey

Back on March 22nd, Julia from The Writing Aficionado was nominated, and in turn nominated me, for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Julia is an incredible writer, and I am flattered that she would give my meager blog a read, let alone an award. Thanks Julia! Stop by her blog for great poetry, short stories, writing about writing, and great conversation in the comments. She posts consistently and everything is quality.

The rules to follow when you’ve been nominated for this award appear to be the same as for nearly every other blogging award I’ve seen on WordPress: disclose 7 random or little-known facts about yourself and nominate 7 other bloggers for the award.

  1. My favorite literary character is Zooey from Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. Perhaps my second favorite is Teddy from Nine Stories. Holden Caufield, on the other hand, is a bit of a turd.
  2. As a kid I was a prodigious climber, scaling trees, kitchen cabinets, brick walls–anything vertical. When I was 5 I started purposely jumping down from high places (20′ or higher) just to see if I would get hurt. I’ve never broken a bone but I did get a concussion by the time I was 6. That, however, was due to a football game at recess and had nothing to do with climbing.
  3. Unlike Julia, who nominated me, I’m not afraid of dogs. I have two of them and they are the sweetest animals you’ll ever meet. I adopted Jersey when she was 2.5 years old after her original owner passed away. Before I was married she used to sleep in my bed with me. Brisco came from a humane society in southern Indiana that was going to have to put him to sleep because absolutely no one down there would adopt him. A lady who worked with that humane society and happened to know me emailed and asked me if I was interested in giving him a chance in my home. He was a disaster at first. He was barely a year old when we got him but had obviously been abused; he was terrified of everything. He still acts somewhat brooding, but he’s coming around.
  4. I’ve been on some gruesome surgical cases–amputations, skin grafts, and large-scale bypass procedures–and I’ve never flinched or felt nauseous or anything of the sort. One time when my wife was dicing vegetables, she cut off a chunk of skin from her little finger and I completely lost my composure. It was a small injury but she was bleeding a lot, not to mention she was obviously in pain. I couldn’t act like a human being for the next 2 hours. I gained a much better appreciation for the rules about physicians (not) operating on their relatives.
  5. I have a bizarre sweet tooth. I love chocolate chip cookies and brownies but I don’t like cake, cupcakes, or pie. I loathe hard candy, except for wintergreen Lifesavers. I love the bitter flavors of unnecessarily strong coffee and very dark chocolate.
  6. I love teaching, tutoring, and coaching swimming.
  7. I love working on cars, or more accurately, trucks. Not anything cool like restorations or custom mods…just basic repairs that would otherwise be an opportunity for a dealership or mechanic to ravage you. When I replaced the ball joints in my previous truck it cost me ~$150 and 8ish hours of my time, but I enjoyed doing it. The most reasonable mechanic in my area quoted me ~$500 for the job.

I’m only going to “nominate” 6  different blogs, because I can’t renominate Julia or Robbie Cowell, whom she already nominated, and I just don’t follow that many blogs. I do enjoy and recommend the following. They all inspire me in one way or another, with humor, great content, great design, great conversation with the authors, or some combination of all that.

  1. Inspire; to breathe – a great blog by a girl named Suzanne. Her creativity amazes me and so does her courage.
  2. Mae East by Shannon Hadley – “an aspiring writer, with a passion for history, humor and authenticity.” Some cool photography too.
  3. The chronicles of a skinny jeans wearing Toronto girl – I found Karen’s blog when it was featured on Freshly Pressed. She’s pretty damn funny and has some mad Paint skills that she utilizes in to illustrate some of her chronicles.
  4. Writer on the Prowl – Good writing + humor
  5. Connie’s Blog – Good writing about health and other things.
  6. Two Ells – The personal blog of WordPress employee Daryl L. L. Houston. Every now and then he hits you with some thought-provoking stuff, like this post about the app/game DrawSomething and the not-so-great company that bought the app from the original developer.

That’s it. Happy reading! Thanks again for the nomination.

kreativ blogger award

Kreativ Blogger Award


The artist formerly known as medzealot

Dear followers,

I have changed my blog’s title and url, and have given up a layer of anonymity. It appears your subscription has followed me through the process; you should receive an email when I publish this and future posts; if you don’t just go ahead and follow this blog.

I was not able to customize my blog and partition my content exactly the way I wanted using the WordPress.com platform, so I bought a domain and began building a site that is laid out more the way I want it to be: metamedication.com. The new site contains this entire blog and more. The content for premeds is excluded from the main page, which I can’t do as cleanly on this (worpress.com) platform. On the other site I’m also able to use a variety of themes that aren’t available on WordPress.com, and have the option to manually edit the site’s code.

I will continue to post on this blog. As I mentioned in my post Updates and Changes, this blog will serve as a space to tell stories, brain dump, and make a comment or two about things that capture my attention in the day-to-day. Blogging will be just one portion of the new site. Because the new site is built using WordPress.org (as opposed to .com), I don’t believe you will be able to subscribe the same way you did to this blog, following through your WordPress.com account. However, I have placed a widget just to the right of the first post where you can subscribe to the new site by entering your email address, should you be interested in the extra content.

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for riding out the bumpy patches with me. You all are awesome traveling companions.


Updates and changes

Hello wonderful readers.

I wanted to let you know that I will be revamping this blog a bit in the coming week. My blog has what some would call schizophrenia when they mean to say “multiple personalities” or dissociative identity disorder. To be fair, schizophrenia is a break from reality that makes it difficult to think logically or behave “normally” in social situations, and my blog also has that.

My blog also likes to use “unnecessary” quotation marks. My blog is so clever.

Anyway, there will be some reorganization (or merely a start to any kind of organization at all), perhaps some design changes (that is to say, some initial thought toward using any design at all, rather than haphazard use of whatever available theme), and I will be rolling out one or two new sites in the coming months to parse content into more meaningful/useful/relevant categories. Right now it’s all over the place, which is an accurate reflection of the author, but I think it would be best for everyone if it were more focused and readers could easily find the content that interests them without fishing through the content that interests someone else.

What will be the fate of medzealot? Feel free to comment or email me with your suggestions. So far, the best-liked content on this site has been humor, creative writing, personal details, and my ideas on how to not suck as a person. Aside from the funny med school interview stories, the med/premed content hasn’t garnered a lot of views, and I don’t plan on writing much more of that so it will be sanctioned out of the blog and into a static page where it can build its own readership without getting in the way. I think this blog will chronicle the rest of my education with intermittent reflection on my upbringing, providing a space for me to share stories, brain dump, comment on various phenomenon I encounter along the way, and hopefully host a discussion or two among readers. This may involve a name change or it may not; I will keep you all posted, especially if the URL changes. In fact, I may poll you or email some of you individually for your opinions if you don’t just offer them up freely 😉

I am creating a 2nd blog to focus on education in general: how to teach and learn, how the human mind works and how to leverage it, and updates on relevant research regarding education, learning, improving memory, teaching methodologies, and other more objective topics, sans personal overtone.

Thank you all for reading, and thank you for bearing with me through the changes.


Medicine for Money conclusion: money, happiness, alternatives

As I help my blog through its identity crisis, I’d like to apologize to the followers who couldn’t care less about this physician income series. It is written primarily for premeds, particularly those using and contributing to studentdoctor.net, where the question of physician income, as well as “should I do medicine for the money” comes up all the time. I felt compelled to write this series for two reasons, one being to offer a dose of reality to premeds drooling over some magical $200K pot of gold at the end of the medical education rainbow, because, as you’ll see in this post, money isn’t an efficient currency with which to purchase happiness. The second reason is to show any non-physician readers that not all doctors are “in it for the money.” As someone who started down this track later in life, I was forced to think about income primarily to answer the questions “will I be able to provide for my family as a resident?” and “will I be able to manage the debt that I incur?” Not to mention the opportunity cost of leaving behind a career first to go back to college and take the prerequisites for medical school, then apply to medical school (one year process), and finally move on to medical school itself, effectively turning my back on 7 years of salary. In my circumstances that meant trading about $350,000 worth of income for ~$200,000 worth student debt. For a “nontraditional” (read: “old”) applicant to medical school, “should I do medicine for the money?” is a laughable question; reflecting on physician income is simply pragmatism, a necessary evil.

Anyway, onward to the conclusion of this series. Can money buy happiness?

I just asked google for the third time this week. It took that many running starts to get through the top hits because, well, they sucked. The articles were too long, boringly written, and extrapolated the meager results of a couple of studies into overreaching, overblown conclusions.

I see this abuse of research everywhere (forgive the digression). In education, the idea of “learning styles” (visual learning, auditory learning, kinesthetic learning), is still fairly pervasive, even though there is no significant empirical evidence that catering to one sensory input actually improves learning. I don’t actually care that people, including the majority of educators in American public schools, believe in learning styles without having any tangible evidence for their beliefs. What irks me is how people exaggerate the importance of a lack of evidence. Some psychologists did a review of the existing research on learning styles and found that no experiment in the existing fund of knowledge had been designed in a way that it could actually provide evidence for the popular model of “learning styles.” Based on that literature review, people have started completely rejecting the theory.

I’m not saying I support or reject the notion of learning styles. Maybe I’ll rant about that in a different post. What I’m saying is, this group of psychologists didn’t even conduct an experiment. They didn’t prove or fail to prove anything. They just did a literature review and said, to date, no one had supported “learning styles” with adequate research. And then people latched on to their article, sensationalized it, and started trashing the entire idea of “learning styles” as if there were suddenly a glut of new research that concretely and permanently disproved any “learning styles” theory. People just don’t understand research and it’s limitations. Digression over, perfect segue.

Plenty of different studies have examined people’s responses to money, and the results of these studies are almost always discussed by the media under the theme “can money buy happiness?” One study showed people pictures of money before giving them a piece of chocolate. Compared to the control group, which consisted of people who were not shown pictures of money, the people who did see the images consumed their chocolate more quickly.

The people who conducted the study admitted that this could mean anything. The money-viewers might have thought about all of the germs and nastiness on dollar bills, which could have prompted them to eat more quickly. The germs serve as another possible explanation for the research finding, and if the findings of your research have multiple possible causes like that, your study has “confounding variables.” If you have any confounding variables you cannot make a causal inference. You cannot say one thing causes another; in this case you can’t even say “pictures of money cause people to eat more quickly.” Although that is the phenomenon that was observed, there were confounding variables. “Fear of germs causes people to eat more quickly” is just as plausible an explanation. The experiment would need to be designed in a way that eliminated confounding variables if you wanted to directly link money, and not germs, to the people’s behavior.

In spite of that, the media grabs hold of studies like this and blows them way out of proportion. Not only do they report that money was the cause of the quickened eating, confounding variables be damned, they take it a step further and say that money takes away people’s ability to savor things. Talk about a flying leap. And don’t even get me started on how the media latched onto the studies that purported “anything over $75,000 per year doesn’t increase happiness,” or the dismal lives people have led after winning the lottery.

Can money buy happiness? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on you more than it depends on the results of any study. Chances are, if you’re a happy, well-adjusted person you’ll be happy with or without a lot of money and other factors should dictate your career decisions. Conversely, if you’re generally unhappy, hard to satisfy, and prone to whining, no doctor’s salary is going to make that go away.

Money is rarely a primary motivator anyway. People usually pursue money as a means to some other end. Motivation is a complex psychological phenomenon. Suffice it to say, secondary motivators don’t have much leverage to improve happiness. Life outlook, personality, and attitude are much stronger correlates to happiness. Some people need nothing to be happy. Others aren’t satisfied with anything.

It helps to have your basic needs met, no doubt. It helps to have a little extra. But there are a lot of different ways to get there; medicine is just one option. If you feel like money is one of your primary motives, you’d be a fool not to consider other career options.

That’s it, no more about money for a while.