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Piano Concerts

Med students and residents with Dr. Howell at the concert.

Med students and residents with Dr. Howell at the concert.

This story starts back in February, in Rackham Auditorium at a piano concert. UM’s University Musical Society was presenting Sir Andras Schiff, with his program, “The Last Sonatas,” in which he played the last three sonatas written by Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and Shubert over a series of three concerts. Waiting for the performance to begin, a few classmates and I were chatting about our interest in music, and one announced that he was planning a small concert of performances by medical students, and we should all consider taking part. Music! A night full of music, for an audience of friends! I’ve long been involved in music, first with private lessons and then through school-based ensembles, but after graduating college it had been harder to find chances to play and sing. How could I resist? I agreed to perform. Voice has been my instrument of choice in recent years, but I decided on the spot I would play the piano. The unassuming Sir Schiff walked across the stage, sat down at the piano, and began to play Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No.30 in E major, op.109.” A smile grew on my face as the notes danced around us. I tapped my fingers on the arms of my chair; soon they would be playing on keys.  (more…)

The Peds Curse(s) Strikes Again…

As you might have gathered from the title, I’m currently in my Pediatrics rotation. Less than one week into the six-week rotation, I fell victim to the notorious Peds curse – catching a cold from one of the adorable kiddos that we take care of in the hospital. I suspected that I would fall victim to this curse at some point during the rotation, but I thought it might take a bit longer. Clearly, my immune system and I need to have a talk.


Chelsea and Real Madrid in a Champions League soccer match.

Thankfully, the cold was of short duration, and I’m back to my usual self. Just in time for the (unofficial) second Peds curse – falling in love with Peds. To be fair, I was already thinking Family Medicine, so enjoying Peds was not that much of a stretch. But I was not anticipating enjoying it this much. The hours are a bit longer than they were on Neuro, but it doesn’t bother me. For once, I can actually picture myself as a peds resident. It’s an amazing realization.

I’m still thinking Family Medicine, but Peds is becoming a close second. Only time will tell my eventual decision. Either way, I suspect that I will be spending a significant portion of time on service in a children’s hospital. (more…)

Don’t ask me where babies come from. You will receive TMI.

I’ve now officially completed TWO clerkships! I finished clinical duties Sunday evening and took my ob/gyn shelf exam this morning.  I still consider myself to be quite the novice when it comes to babies, but I’m a good deal more knowledgeable about pregnant ladies. I’ve also learned that crying new daddies are officially the cutest. I had the opportunity to do my rotation at an outside hospital which definitely had both pros (awesome health-conscious cafeteria, far superior parking situation) and cons (oh good a new and entirely unfamiliar building in which I can get lost forever, stranger danger). Truthfully, it was an easier adjustment than I expected and I’m going to miss seeing many of the delightful people I met and worked with in the past few weeks. I will also be forever grateful for how kind and accommodating everyone was in light of my… “special” condition. (more…)

HOSA International (High School) Leadership Conference in Nashville, TN

In June, I travelled to Nashville, TN with a group of high school students for the HOSA International Leadership Conference. I loved interacting with students who are interested in medical fields, including public health, physical therapy, nursing, clinical medicine, and more!

Me and my high school genetics teacher, who is the fearless leader of the 300+ Novi High School HOSA students

On the General Jackson cruise with my high school genetics teacher, who is the fearless leader of the 300+ Novi High School HOSA students

The students who attended the conference had already qualified from through multiple rounds of competition at their local and state levels.  I had the opportunity to attend as a chaperone after learning about the conference from my sister who attended as a competitor. The events that students competed in varied, and included topics that are applied, such as sports medicine. (Side note: I was amazed that one of the other chaperones injured her ankle, one of the high school students knew exactly how to tape it!) Other students also competed in events where they had to create a public service announcement or public health outreach program in their community.

While I was there chaperoning kids from my old high school (Novi), I also had the opportunity to judge the Biomedical Debate event. The debate topic was whether the benefits of genetically modified foods outweigh the harms. This is very relevant topic given the recent legislation proposed (at the time of this event) and passed by the House (now) that requires the labeling of some GMO foods. It was also the perfect event for me to judge given my concentration in Genome Sciences & Policy as an undergrad at Duke. I was very impressed by students’ quality of preparation and research! I knew that they were doing an excellent job because I found myself being swayed to the affirmative or negative side depending on the quality of their arguments in each round.

Finally, I wouldn’t be the proud older sister that I am if I didn’t mention that my sister’s team placed fourth in the category of Community Awareness! So exciting! As a whole, Novi High School had 27 top 10 finalists, one 3rd place finish, and three 2nd place finishes. What an amazing crew.

In addition to all the conference programming, we also had the chance to go line dancing. Now, back in Ann Arbor I am excitedly awaiting the arrival of the new M1s!

In addition to all the medical fun, we also had the chance to go line dancing!

Line Dancing in Nashville



Yesterday was the annual Dean’s Cup golf outing generously sponsored by the medical school, and it was so much fun! The weather was beautiful, and the company even better! The scramble format and foursomes consisting of a faculty member and three students make the tournament accessible to golfers of all abilities, but the best part is definitely spending several hours in the company of your fellow students and faculty outside of the sometimes-hierarchical hospital setting.

Plus, it’s a time to break out these snazzy pants 🙂 When the faculty member I played with asked why I chose to wear them, I asked if I should instead wear them as an M3 on the wards. His response: laughter. I agreed completely…


After yesterday’s interlude away, I was back to the hospital today starting on the Neurology clerkship. Since all M3 clerkship lengths have been cut by 25% starting this year, Neuro lasts three weeks, and I rotate to a different service at the end of each week. For now, I’m on Inpatient Team B and, along with my two med student compatriots, will be working for the most part directly with an attending physician. Although it’s early, I suspect this week will be enjoyable and informative – the attending clearly enjoys teaching us and I now understand the myriad MRI scan types better than ever before. I am absolutely looking forward to what lies in store for me!

Welcome to the Wards

Hello again! It’s been a while since I last posted, so it seems like it’s about time for an update. We’re now 8 weeks into rotations, and life couldn’t be busier or better.

About two weeks ago, I finished pediatrics, which was my first rotation. I was definitely nervous to start seeing patients at the start of the rotation, but the interns, residents, and faculty I worked with quickly put me at ease. Kids are sometimes a difficult population to work with because they can’t always tell you what’s wrong, and it can take a fair amount of detective work to determine what is making them sick. However, peds can also be quite fun. I actually really liked the rotation. It made the public health part of me happy because there is such a huge focus on prevention and building healthy habits, and kiddos are just really fun to work with. I was able to be silly and playful, and there were a lot of stickers involved. One of the best moments of peds was when a kiddo told me that I was his favorite “doctor” ever (cue my heart absolutely melting). While the sad cases are incredibly heartbreaking, the majority of issues that bring kiddos to the hospital or clinic are fixable, and that means that peds is a happy rotation for the most part. The interns, residents, and faculty were also fantastic and made the rotation fun for everyone involved.

Truer words were never spoken.  From:

Truer words were never spoken.

Two weeks ago, I shifted gears and started surgery. Surgery is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from peds, and the transition was a bit startling. However, once I got over that, I realized that surgery is also really interesting. The OR feels like an incredibly well-choreographed dance in which everyone involved moves around each other like a well-oiled machine. I can now say that I’ve seen the inside of a living person, and that is a pretty amazing thing. I often stand in awe as the surgeons and residents maneuver laparoscopic tools with ease or suture and throw knots faster than I could imagine. It’s clear that they have had years of practice, and that’s not at all difficult to respect. There is a certain rush to being in the OR, and I love that I am able to experience it.

How I felt the first day of surgery... From:

How I felt the first day of surgery… From:

The start of rotations has been amazing, and I’m excited for what is to come. Each rotation brings new lessons, and every rotation teaches me something that I will one day incorporate into my practice regardless of what specialty I choose in the future. Most of all, I am enjoying my time with patients, and I would take a day on the wards over the first two years of med school any day. I realize that there is so much that I don’t know, and I look forward to learning something new every day. I found this hilarious video that explains M3 year in a nutshell. Enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading! Until the next time, happy summer!

Ice cream after a long day on the wards

Ice cream after a long day on the wards