About Me

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I am a doctor currently seeking a residency. I tutor MCAT students for a living. I tutor with Varsity Tutors online and can also individually contract with Philadelphia-area students for in-person sessions. I write for the Medical School Admissions Blog on the U.S. News website.

Philosophical Underpinnings and Exhortation to Students

Gary Zukav, a quantum physicist, authored a book called the "Dancing Wu Li" Masters. In the beginning of the book, he relates that while there a many homonymous words for the Romanization "Li" in Chinese, "Wu Li" refers to the Natural or Physical Force. He considers himself and his colleagues to be dancing Wu Li masters. He describes the grand dance of matter that constitutes our universe, including our bodies, and how he appreciates that experience through the lens of his learning, enjoying the whirling ballet from the subatomic to the cosmic. Though doctors focus on what Richard Dawkins calls "middle-sized" objects in human experience, the benefits of such a perspective are many.

The Latin word "doctor" translates to "learner" in English. Learner, not learned. As Merlin tells a young King Arthur in T.H. White's "The Sword in the Stone,"

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

Medical science is ever-evolving. To that end, a fundamental grounding in the basic sciences, including an understanding of experimental design, will serve a student of the art of medicine well. We don't know everything by a far sight, but every upcoming rank of students who maintain their youthful curiosity will ensure that we keep advancing forward as a profession. It may be many years yet until users of this site lead that charge, but the pinnacle of a career is only part of the life-long Learner's journey.

The Dancing Wu Li master who is also a healer does not spring fully-formed like Athena. Rather, a million thoughts, distributed over a decade or longer, create him or her. He will constantly apply the concepts learned in the classroom to his experience of the external world and to that of inhabiting the most marvelous machine in the universe: a human body. Such knowledge will allow him to communicate well with patients at an appropriate yet informative level. I urge you, use the universe as your cheat sheet. Marvel at the exact color of sunlight seen through a leaf on clear summer day, and tell yourself the story of that single light wave from birth in our sun to its final resting place in your retina, and know that the story is never-ending, because it is at that point that it chemically changes the wonder that is you and a new chapter begins. When you get to your preclinical years in medical school, learn everything on yourself, and apply the basic sciences with whom you became such close friends in your undergraduate studies. Treat your studies like a joy instead of a labor, and they will be. As my mentor told me, "never forget that it is a great privilege to be allowed to care for other human beings." Be excited, and be sure to remember the light and wonder of knowledge when the hour grows late and your body grows tired. The journey of learning is well worth it.

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