Lauren Welch (’16)
Name: Lauren Welch
Hometown: Dennison, Ohio
B.A., English Literature
Running, traveling, thrifting, classic literature and collecting old maps
I ran my first marathon last May!!
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lauren Welch and I am a first-year medical student at BSOM. Six months ago, I set foot in White Hall for the first time as a bona fide medical student. I was overwhelmed with the excitement of starting my professional journey and meeting over 100 people who would experience it with me. Prior to beginning medical school, I graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in English Literature and spent a year traveling, working, and reflecting upon the utterly confusing and awkward period of life that is our 20s. I am currently 23 and therefore have not made much progress in overcoming this treacherous decade; however, I have since learned to accept and even enjoy its unpredictable disposition.
I remember the first time I put on my short white coat at our White Coat Ceremony. For one, I was ecstatic at how well I managed myself in heels, a dress, and a stage. I was also very proud of my family members for their cooperation in the whole procedure of sitting down and listening to all of the speakers. They were not asked to leave, nor did they say anything that offended anyone else (to my knowledge). Kidding aside, the moment I slipped on my coat was one of the most proud moments of my life. I had envisioned myself on this stage for so many years and was now fully able to pursue my dream of becoming a physician. The quest was here. I looked out across all of the unfamiliar faces around me and thought to myself, Heres to four years and beyond. Every man dies, but not every man really lives." Ok, so I probably wasn’t quoting Braveheart at that exact moment. You catch my drift.
But, even amidst all the cheering and hugging and shaking of sweaty palms near the podium, I could not help but feel overwhelmed by the new medical world in which I was entering. All of the horror stories I had heard from doctors and medical students of the challenges that awaited me in medical school began to take over. In my mind was a picture of myself isolated from all I had ever known of the free world, a girl suffocating silently beneath stacks upon stacks of medical literature only to gasp out occasional medical jargon and sink back silently into the corner of the library. I worried I would be forced to part with many of the hobbies and relationships I hold dear to me.
My experience has undoubtedly proven otherwise. I have kept in close relations with family and friends. I made a resolution to write hand-written letters and have found that by doing so, I have not only managed to keep in touch, but have even rekindled old friendships that have unfortunately slipped by the wayside over the past several years. I have continued to run and also to procrastinate (I probably should be learning about the nervous system right now); yet, I would be lying if I said that medical school hasn’t been a challenge. There are periods of time when I wonder if I am smart enough or have the courage to take on such a large responsibility in our society. I worry still that I may have to sacrifice not simply time, but part of who I am, in order to become an honorable physician. I worry that I may not be able to retain the dense material for the next exam, let alone when I take boards and start medical rotations for the first time. Still, I have been blessed by classmates who stand beside me and remind me every day that I deserve to be here. They laugh when I spill coffee on myself or leave my keys in the freezer (again). They ask me questions to which they already know the answer just to make me feel smart (just kidding, but really). They are a source of strength for me every day and a reminder that medical school is not a time of my life that I must get through in order to become something else. It is a period of growth and self-discovery, a chance to enlighten myself and to be a part of a movement to shape the world in a positive way, not sometime down-the-road, but now. And hey, I have even managed to keep my white coat stain-free. I look forward to what the next half of this school year will bring, and to sharing it all with you.
Boonshoft in New Orleans & Beyond
As our first year of medical school is winding to a close, I think it’s about time I update you on my life as a proud Boonshoft MS1!
Who knows where the time goes? I don’t. It may be hidden in my CaTOS course pack, or perhaps buried in the back of the student lounge refrigerator (just kidding, I always throw away all of my leftovers in a timely manner, obviously). Regardless, the light at the end of the very dim and dark igloo tunnel that was another winter in Ohio has finally come. AT. LAST. The sun is shining, I’m procrastinating from the distraction of the sun shining, and all of the undergrads are finishing up finals so the medical students can take over the parking lot and library for one last push to summer break.
Despite the brutal winter weather (honestly it wasn’t THAT bad), I made it through and was lucky enough to participate in a Boonshoft Alternative Break trip to New Orleans in March. Once there, I had the privilege of volunteering at Project Lazarus, a temporary home for persons living with HIV/AIDS. To be honest, it was my favorite experience of medical school thus far. I had the privilege of meeting a number of brilliant human beings whose daily battle with life-threatening illness has hindered neither their pride nor their positivity. Not only did they sing, dance, and even compete against some of our students in Chess and volleyball (and won!), but they opened up and told us very personal stories about their lives that I know I will cherish always. In addition to my experience at Project Lazarus, I was able to spend some much-needed quality time with my classmates while listening to blues and jazz on Frenchman street. If I could, I would do it all again.
Boonshoft Alternative Break in New Orleans
I have also finalized plans for the summer. I have selected to travel to Peru with a couple of my classmates to work with Project Amazonas, a health care organization operating from a hospital boat on the Amazon River. We will be offering health services to remote villages that do not have access to health care. I cannot wait for this opportunity to serve and to learn about the traditions and medical practices of the Peruvian people and to assist this mission in any way possible. You can learn more about Project Amazonas by clicking here. I will also be doing some traveling throughout Ecuador as well as completing my summer trip with a 4-day hike up to Machu Picchu via the Salkantay Trail. I cannot wait.
Through the Global Health Initiative at Boonshoft, students are given numerous resources to prepare them for service abroad. The International Health Program is a specific track in which students interested in furthering their pursuit of global medical education can complete by taking two Global Health elective courses and traveling abroad during the summer between first & second year & again as a fourth year elective rotation. Last week, I was able to attend the Global Health Initiative Annual Symposium held at Miami Valley Hospital. Dr. Chuck Dietzen, founder and CEO of Timmy Global Health, spoke at the event about the role of the physician as a compassionate healer, one who “remains ordinary yet maintains an extraordinary mission.” He said that with the privilege of serving others comes the responsibility of striving to provide health care for all, even those who cannot afford it, and that we must believe it can be done. To learn more about Timmy Global Health and its mission, check out: http://timmyglobalhealth.org
Other activities I have enjoyed in 2013:
- Attending the Annual Boonshoft Talent Show!!!
- Participating in and losing the Digs for Dreams Volleyball Tournament put on by the Pediatrics Club and sponsored by Boonshoft Physician Leadership Development Program Executive Council to benefit A Special Wish Foundation
- Morning smoothies/coffee/breakfast quiches provided by our wonderful student class representatives
- Chatting with future first year medical students as they made their way through White Hall during Second Look Weekend
- Participating in the Phi Rho Sigma Canned Food Drive to benefit the local food bank!
- Competing in the Healthy Habits Pedometer challenge during Nutrition Week and helping put on the Annual AMSA AIDS Walk/Run Benefit 2013 to benefit the AIDS Resource Center of Ohio (l
- Being a part of the new Pre-Med Mentorship Program organized by our service chairs, Sarah & Courtney!
- Taking part in a co-ed Intramural softball and volleyball league! Made it to the championship in softball (then lost…maybe next year will prove more successful?)
I have had an incredible first year. I am so lucky to have such wonderful peers, faculty, and staff surrounding me here at Boonshoft. They inspire me every day. Now, off to the final stretch! Almost summer!
Your Most Pressing Questions Answered!
Ah! It’s that time of year again my friends! Time to decide what medical school you will call your own (or if you’re an undergrad, to which schools you will be applying). Before you start tirelessly mapping out your pros & cons lists, I will considerably ease your decision-making process by answering a few of the most common questions asked to current medical students about Wright State. So here you go, your most pressing questions answered! WARNING: You will decide Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine is the greatest school of all time after reading my answers. Proceed with caution.
What is there to do for fun around Wright State BSoM?
Something I have always loved about moving to a new place is the opportunity to explore my surroundings. Though medical school certainly soaks up a lot of my time, I find that staying balanced is my greatest key to success. Here are some of favorite activities.
For the outdoorsy:
1) Yellow Springs: If you love hiking or simply have a taste for the unique, this is one little oasis you should definitely explore. In October, I attended the Yellow Springs biannual street fair (also held in June) where I was able to shop for eclectic handmade jewelry among street vendors, eat some delicious “Ha Ha Pizza” and listen to live music in the beer garden. I topped off the day with a beautiful fall hike through John Bryan State Park. If you enjoy biking, hop on the Little Miami Scenic Trail for a trip into Xenia Station Hub where you can link up with the Creekside Trail (see below) & make your way back to the campus area or take any number of trails that also connect at this location. To learn more about Yellow Springs, visit: http://www.exploreyellowsprings.com/
2) Creekside Trail: After nearly every exam, I take my legs down N. Fairfield Rd. to the Creekside Trail, a paved bike trail that stretches 17 miles from Xenia to Eastwood Metro Park in Dayton at the Montgomery/Green County Line. It is always a peaceful retreat from the main streets and is only about five miles (about a 10 minute drive) from Boonshoft, even less if you live in any one of the apartment complexes along Fairfield Rd.
3) Rock Walls: If you’re looking to stay sharp on your climbing skills or are just simply looking to pursue a new hobby, check out the rock walls at the Student Union. It’s harder than you think. Try the free climb wall (I did and I couldn’t move my arms for a week). In addition, Clifton Gorge near Yellow Springs has a rock climbing and rappelling area outdoors!
4) Canoeing/Kayaking: At the beginning of the year, a group of first years took to nearby Mad River for a short 2 hour canoeing excursion. I recommend this as a great bonding experience for incoming students and hope to do it again soon as the weather warms up. Also check out http://littlemiamicanoe.com for information about canoeing the Little Miami River! (Above is a picture of our group before hitting the water.)
5) Wright State Intramurals: Leaving perhaps the best for last! By far some of my favorite times away from the books have been playing intramurals with my fellow Boonshoft MS1’s against the other med school teams and undergraduate teams. BSOM usually has several teams participating during each season. Our soccer teams always dominate but we also have a strong presence with our volleyball, basketball, softball & intertube water polo teams (yes, you heard me right, intertube water polo).
To the right is a picture from fall with “Notorious D.I.G!”
And below is a picture from my Spring Softball League with “The Boonshoft Saints.”
For a night off from the books:
1) Oregon Historic District in Downtown Dayton:
Surround yourself with the charm of Dayton’s Oregon District. The lovely brick streets and old architecture from as early as 1820 will get your mind off the worries of simple squamous epithelium and the Kreb Cycle. In addition to cool nightlife, check out “Urban Nights,” an art gallery hop held the first Friday of every month from 5 to 10PM. Enjoy art displays and live music showcases by local artists as you peruse the streets.
2) Kings Table:
My personal favorite because of its huge selection of craft beverages. It will no doubt remind you of being in someone’s basement…like your coolest friend in high school whose parents were always so much cooler than yours? Their basement. Just go. You’ll see what I mean. To boot, on Wednesdays you can get Tater Tots and grilled cheese for just $1 a piece!
Other local bars to check out:
3) One-Eyed jacks
4) W.O. Wright’s
4) Fox & Hounds
5) The Pub at the Greene
(Definitely check out the Greene for good shopping as well!)
What one piece of advice would you give to an incoming first-year student?
When I started the school year, I was one year out of classwork but several years out of science (life of an English major, sigh). It took me a couple months not only to adjust to the pace but to realize my own abilities as a medical student. I was overwhelmed with stress and tired all the time from charts upon charts of muscle attachments in Anatomy that I thought I would never memorize no matter how long I stared at them. I soon realized that I just needed to change my perspective and approach to studies. So here is my greatest advice to any incoming student:
Sleep! Exercise! Eat well! Take a night off every now and then! Don’t sacrifice the things that keep you sane! Burn out is a buzzword for medical students these days because of their unwillingness to “schedule in” those things that are truly the keys to success. Finishing exams with enough gas in your tank to enjoy the evening after and begin focusing again for the next exam is the name of the game! Make “living” a priority and you will find that each day becomes less of a chore and you will be able to focus your study time the right way! This is why I encourage spending time outdoors (running outside in the winter kept me from getting the dreaded “Cabin Fever”) and also with your classmates. You’ll find that though the classes may get progressively more challenging and note-heavy, you WILL get better at tackling them.
In addition to this, be open to new methods of studying! You will find that each class will require different techniques for learning but that if you are open to this, your willingness to adjust will keep you from getting exhausted from worn out old methods that may or may not even be benefitting you.
Finally, do what works for you!
What has been your favorite part of first year?
Though it is hard to pick just one event, I must say that my trip to New Orleans over Spring Break takes the cake (see my last post for a detailed description of what I did there).
However, some of my favorite moments been the social gatherings held throughout the year, including the Halloween party and Holiday party hosted by our social chairs. These events are a great way to bring not only the first years together, but the second, third, and fourth years as well.
*In case you were wondering, I was the yellow power ranger for Halloween! I encourage you to attend these events as a Boonshoft student because they are always a great time!