A Day in the Life: Harvard Medical School Student

A Day in the Life: Harvard Medical School Student

August 26, 2019 11 By Stanley Isaacs


(soft upbeat music) – My name is Julia Pian. I’m originally from San Diego, California. I went to Harvard College for undergrad and I’m now a third year medical student at Harvard Medical School. Typically I start a day
anywhere from six to 7:30. I’ll wake up and basically head
straight into the hospital. I’ll often check on the patients that I’m working with and
see how their night went. And then I join Rounds
which is where we go with the whole team of the
attendings, resident physicians, as well as medical students
sometimes nurses as well. We go and we see every patient. Kind of tell their story and figure out what the plan is for the rest of the day. The rest of the day kind
of varies, honestly. Sometimes I’ll go with
the attendings to clinic where I’ll see patients in
the out-patient setting. Sometimes, like right now,
I’m on my surgery rotation. I’ll go to the operating room and see some really interesting cases. And then sometimes I’ll stay
on the floor with the residents and take care of the
patients in the hospital. Maybe do a little
procedures there as well. It really varies what time
you get home depending on how busy it is but once I’m home I try to do a mix of studying and relaxing and preparing
for the next day. So maybe I’ll start by watching an episode of my favorite TV show and then do a little bit of reading and practice questions for upcoming tests. (soft music) ♪ Groove it, everywhere ♪ – You’re a third year medical student? – Yeah. – Why did you go to medical school? – You know, medicine has always kind of been on my radar as
someone who loves science. But I think I realized medical school would be a really good fit because it’s kind of
the perfect combination between the science and humanities. Obviously as a doctor
every day you’re thinking about science to help patients but you’re also learning
about peoples’ stories and learning how to tell peoples’ stories and advocate for them. So, I really like kind of
that combination of the two. – Can be.
– And so I think I want to go into pediatrics, which
is taking care of little kids. I’ve always just loved
interaction with kids and I think it’ll be really interesting to also learn how to interact with both the parents and the
kids at the same time. And honestly pediatric diseases are really, really interesting. Working with kids every
day is just so delightful. I mean they bring this kind of new and fresh perspective and
they do hilarious things. – Right, and you’ve worked
with kids outside of medical, the medical profession as well right? – I have, yeah. I worked with kids in the
martial arts perspective. I started a company with you actually. – [Man] We did start that together. That’s right.
– Yes, we did. – We did, we did, yeah.
– I forgot about that. We co-founded this company
called Crimson Kicks where we taught three to
six year olds martial arts. – [Man] Mm-hmm. – And, that was just a blast. Absolutely a highlight of my week. – Right Yeah. Yeah. So, where are we right now? – So, we are, yeah. We are in one of the
society learning studios where first year medical
students, basically, spend the whole year
learning about medicine, anatomy, pathophysiology
from our professors. Harvard Medical School recently
moved to a new curriculum. So our curriculum happens
to be called Pathways and they called it that because you get to forge your own pathway,
as they like to say. So you get to entirely
choose what electives you’ll take to kind of
build up either your resume or to explore random fields
that you’re interested in. So you get to choose, basically, whatever you want to
do in those last years and really take advantage
of the opportunities of the hospitals around here. – And, do you think that
sort of Pathways route is unique to Harvard Medical School or is that replicated in
some other medical schools? – Yeah I think a lot medical schools are kind of starting to
go towards this model. It’s becoming more and more common. So I think it’ll be a trend for other medical schools as well. So we spend our first year, as I said, here in these classrooms learning from professors, from
books, from lectures, videos, those kind of things. And then our second year we move to the clinics and
actually get to interact with patients and kind of
learn on the job as we go. We do a core, I’d say,
of all the different specialties throughout the year, so we get to try all the
different types of medicine. And then our third and fourth years are a little more flexible. We take some classes back
here in the classrooms, we go and try different electives in the clinics for whatever interests us and we can work on research projects or other cool initiatives
that are on campus. (upbeat music) – So did you discover that you wanted to do pediatrics through those rounds or did you know beforehand that
you wanted to do pediatrics or some sort of combination of the two. – I think it was a kind
of combination of the two. I actually think I’m pretty unique in that I came in thinking that I wanted to do pediatrics and after this year I’m still saying the same thing. It’s really, really common
for people to come in thinking they want to do
a specialty like surgery or medicine and then come
out the other side realizing that’s just not for them and
they have a whole new love. So, it’s great. – The admissions process
from undergrad to med school. What did that look like for you? – Well the admissions process is kind of broken into
three different stages. There’s the primary application that you send to all the schools. Secondary application’s more
essays but school specific. And then my favorite part, the interviews where
you actually get to go to each school and learn
a little bit about them and have them learn a
little bit about you. It’s definitely a long-haul process but I think it’s really
worth it in the end and it culminates in, as I
said, you go around and meet a lot of cool different students, peers and faculty at
all different schools. – When you were applying to schools and then deciding where you wanted to go, what made Harvard Medical
School stand out for you? – I know it’s very cliche but honestly the people made Harvard
Medical School stand out. My classmates are incredibly diverse. I think the age range in
just my class is 20 years. So there are people who come
straight through from college and there are people who come from entirely different careers. We have students who have degrees in conducting orchestras
and composing orchestras. Someone, I think, used to be a priest. And then someone helped start
the Rwandan healthcare system. So there’s just, honestly,
this wide variety of backgrounds and you
get to work side by side with these people in the
trenches of the hospital. And every day you learn
more about their story and what they’ve become
through their background. In addition just the hospitals
and the environment here in Boston specifically in health
care is incredibly unique. I mean we have some of the world-class research institutions
all throughout Boston. And then we also have
world-class hospitals. So you could be on one side of the street in a lab working on a
molecule or a new drug and a couple years later on
the other side of the street in a clinic some patient
will be getting that drug. So it’s really amazing
to kind of see medicine evolve real time here in Boston. – Amazing. I want to go to Harvard now. I will never, but I do more now.
(Julia laughing) – So, the heart has
four different chambers. So two atria and two ventricles. So yeah you can flip it
open nice and wide here. So this is the right side of the heart and this is the right atrium and then the blood flows
through the right ventricle. After that it goes out through
the pulmonary artery here and goes through the lungs
and then it comes back into the heart and goes
through the left atrium, the left ventricle out to the aorta and then to the rest of your body. If you heart this video
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