March bulletin board is up and running!! Because off-duty Stormtroopers need to find a better way to cope with their overbearing boss.
Okay friends, so I’ve entered this board in a social media contest her at OSU for Alcohol Awareness Month, and the board with the most favorites and retweets on Twitter or like on Instagram will win a prize for their staff. So it would be AMAZING if you guys could head on over to my Twitter (staticsandstuff or slhuckabay) and my Instagram (staticsandstionery or capn_samerica) and help me out.
Just a few years ago I found myself at a major crossroads with regard to my faith as I finished my undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University. I grew up in a hard-working family in rural Idaho, one of seven kids. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, was central to our lives, and I was raised to be a devout believer. The culmination of my Mormon experience came during the two years I spent as a missionary walking the streets of São Paulo, Brazil. Sharing my beliefs in a new language and in a foreign country was terrifying at times, but I quickly grew to love the Brazilian people and culture. I found great satisfaction in teaching and mentoring the new members, and many of them became good friends. I sincerely believed that helping them adopt the Mormon religion was the best way to serve them. Upon returning to my studies I certainly never intended to abandon my religion. Life is unpredictable, though, and over the next few years my faith began to fade. My last year at BYU was quite difficult, spent largely in isolation, since I felt unable to confide in my faithful family and friends. Soon enough I made the long drive to Dallas all alone. I didn’t know it then, but in just a few short months I was about to leave my religion behind for good.
I arrived in Dallas a few months before medical school began to teach an intensive, “boot-camp” MCAT preparatory class. My students were all members of the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP) which meant they came from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and from underrepresented minorities in medicine. For five full weeks we did nothing but MCAT. We taught classes in the morning, held private tutoring sessions in the afternoon and evening, and at night we prepared our lessons for the next day. The work was quite draining, but it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I loved getting to know each of my students. They came from difficult personal situations, but nonetheless demonstrated an impressive determination to succeed. Investing in these students was a cause that I believed in. It had been a long time, not since my mission in fact, that I had been motivated and impassioned in such a way. After the struggles of the preceding years, my JAMP experience was like a breath of fresh air. I realized then that I wanted and needed to be involved with mentoring and teaching throughout my life and medical career.
Working with the JAMP students was a wonderful experience, particularly because it came at an especially vital time for me. Teaching and mentoring gave me a higher cause to invest in which helped to partially fill the void left by my broken beliefs. I made it a priority to embrace this cause while moving forward through medical school. I was an instructor of MCAT, biochemistry, and English (ESL) classes. I mentored another batch of JAMP students as well as a high school junior. When I began my clinical years I learned that each of my patients was also a student. I had some of my most memorable, uplifting experiences as I sat in counseling with them. Teaching is at the heart of effective medical care, and heartfelt concern for the student – or the patient – is at the heart of effective teaching. For me, there is nothing more gratifying than investing in the growth and well-being of another. I am very grateful for my teaching opportunities. I look forward to pursuing my medical career in a medical specialty where patient education is of prime importance, as well as in an academic environment where teaching opportunities and mentoring relationships are encouraged and supported.
Teaching was only part of the answer, however, as I tried to make sense of my life after Mormonism. Losing my religion was the most disorienting experience of my life. The past few years have been quite challenging, but now I can appreciate how the hard times have helped me to grow and mature. As I have struggled to form my own identity, I have learned to not shy away from my past, but rather embrace the strengths of my upbringing even as I forge my own future. I have become much more comfortable with myself and confident in my abilities. I have lost much of my sense of ethnocentricity; I am much more curious about and appreciative of the wide variety of cultures and religions in the world. I have learned that my faith is not really dead; it has simply shifted loyalty to a more universal belief in the value of building up and serving humanity. As I have shared my story with others, I have realized that my silent personal struggle was really not that unique. Understanding this has made me much more sensitive to the suffering of my friends or colleagues. I know how important it is to find kind, nonjudgmental support. That was key for me. I have learned to value emotional and mental health just as much as physical health. All of these lessons have come at a personal price, but I am grateful for them. I am a better person than I was before. These lessons will help me become a more effective and empathetic physician. I feel content for the road I have traveled and am excited to dedicate my career to being an excellent teacher, mentor, and clinician.
Book Recommendation: The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly
I read this yesterday, in…about four hours. Literally, I picked it up and didn’t put it back down until I had finished reading. In some ways, it reminded me of House of God–a young doctor is thrown into into his first year of residency totally unprepared for the rigors or real, clinical medicine. His first resident becomes a mentor and role model, and the memory of certain patients sticks with him long after they leave the walls of the hospital. Unlike House of God, though, the story ends on a pretty hopeful note. The book is at turns funny, sobering, and inspiring. Definitely one I will be reading again!
An excerpt, the author reflecting on participating in a code near the end of his intern year:
“Over the course of the year, I’d developed a belief that if I had touched a patient–if our flesh had made even slight contact–that person was my professional responsibility. This admittedly unusual view of the doctor-patient relationship had started sometime after my interaction with the drug mule, when I reflected on how absent I’d been during my exchange with her. That was me at my worst, a doctor just going through the motions, unmoved by the plight of a frightened young woman. That was not the physician I wanted to be, It wasn’t the person I wanted to be. Once my palms had slammed into Dan Masterson’s chest, I considered him mine. My patient. My responsibility. My problem.”
“So,” Finnick stiffened at the drawling tone that came
too close for comfort. Haymitch ignored the reaction and slumped down in the
chair next to him, swirling a glass of whiskey in his hand. “That was quite a
show back at the parade.”
They were in the lounge where the mentors usually resided
while their tributes practiced in the training room. Nobody was in a ten feet
radius of Finnick though, still pissed over the fact Finnick ultimately took
their chance of small reprieve away. Johanna certainly wasn’t hiding the fact
she wanted to rip out his spine and shove it up his ass.
Haymitch couldn’t help but roll his eyes at everybody’s
childish behavior. Finnick taking the fall was so characteristic of him that
Haymitch honestly was surprised that no one has caught on to his real reasons
for volunteering. Seriously, the kid had a martyr complex the size of his
liquor storage. It was almost heartbreaking to watch, even for an unsentimental
bastard like himself.
Finnick shrugged loftily with a sheepish grin that
Haymitch knew was unapologetic as hell.
“It was the kid’s idea.” Finnick’s tone was full of
shallow amusement, as if he was secretly laughing at the world when really, the
joke was on him instead. “I had nothing to do with it.”
Haymitch believed him. Despite what popular belief says,
Finnick was one of the trickiest, careful liars in the entire business. Even
Haymitch couldn’t tell half the time when the District 4 victor was spouting
bullshit. It was a testament to Finnick’s silvertongue that he managed to hoard
in so many secrets right underneath Snow’s nose without getting caught.
What happened at the parade was so far off Finnick’s
usual style of subtle deception that Haymitch had almost spit-took his drink
when he saw the blatant show of defiance that all but demanded attention from
its audience. He had half expected Snow to shoot the kid down right then and
there from how recklessly bold the act was.
So to say Haymitch was a little concerned was an
understatement. After all, the kid had to be alive in order to be a symbol. If he kept taking these stupid
risks, well, they could forget about the stupid rebellion.
Haymitch made a humming noise.
“Heard from the rumor mill that the kid kicked out the
stylist.” He couldn’t help but give a wicked smirk as he imagined what that must’ve been like. “That it wasn’t
his first time either.”
The news didn’t seem to surprise Finnick in the least,
which said a lot about the kid’s personality.
“Sounds like him.” Finnick commented mildly.
Well, time to step it up a notch.
“Oh really?” Haymitch said dryly. “From what my brats
say, the kid doesn’t even do anything in training. He apparently just sits on
the floor and sleeps. From what impression I’m getting, everyone thinks he’s a fucking
nutcase. Did you know that?”
The looks on his tributes faces when they came back from
training and told him about the strange, orange haired outsider who didn’t move
one inch from where he immovably sat had been at the time amusing. They looked
baffled and insulted at the fact this outsider was treating the games as a joke.
From the stained, tightened expression on the victor’s
face, no. No, he hadn’t known that.
“He’s not.” Finnick said a tad too harshly, eyes flashing.
Haymitch’s eyebrows shot to the hairline at his uncharacteristic tone.
“No need to get all snappy trident head. I’m just the messenger
here.” Haymitch defended with a calculative grin on his face. “Though it sounds
to me you really like this kid.”
And then Finnick did something that revealed all his
Something close to dreaded panic leapt in those sea-green
eyes, an emotion that all victors knew all too well. The fear of losing their
loved ones, the horror of even the thought of Snow knowing and poking at their weak points with a beatific, cruel
smile that mocked their pain. The desperation to do anything to protect what
was theirs even at the cost of their own sanity and happiness.
Haymitch inwardly swore up a storm at the rare
vulnerability that reflected off of Finnick’s eyes.
The whole thing was giving Haymitch a headache. Some part
of him regretted that Finnick had to be the one to face this. It would’ve been
easier for everyone involved if it had been anyone but Finnick who took the kid under his wing. The fourth district
Career was fragile enough already. To elicit this kind of reaction from the usually closed off victor was not a
good sign. Finnick was in too deep and it was already too late to stop it.
Haymitch has the sinking feeling that if the outsider
dies in the arena, it might finally be Finnick’s breaking point.
But Haymitch has never been the type to give platitudes
and be the sympathetic ear. He’s always been the one to tell the situation as
it is, no matter how bad it was. Finnick needed to know what the costs were and
pull himself together.
So Haymitch kept talking, ignoring the fact Finnick hasn’t
answered his question. His hesitation was answer enough.
Haymitch grunted and took a sip of his drink. “You do
realize he’s going to get himself killed if he keeps doing these stunts though,
you don’t want the kid to die, then make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.
Finnick’s grip on the armchair tightened to the point it
made an involuntary creaking noise. It took him a long moment to finally relax
his grip and paste on a twisted smile that looked so bitter it left a bad taste
in Haymitch’s mouth.
“I know.” he said quietly, hidden anguish behind the
layers of masks that Finnick was adept in using.
think I can.
Well, wasn’t that just fan-fucking-tastic.
Haymitch tossed his drink back and grimly thought to
himself they were all doomed.
Notes: Haymitch POV. I have no idea if I did his voice right. And oh my god. I just couldn’t let this go so I had to post. Even though my exam is tomorrow. Fuck. (sigh) Hope you enjoy! Please comment, reblog, or message me after you’re done!