Student Life

Last month, I visited Los Pinos del Eden, a tiny, beautiful town in a rural, mountainous region of the Dominican Republic, near the border with Haiti. I was leading a group of eight women on a public health service-learning trip for Una Vida, a local non-profit I’ve spent years collaborating with to cultivate meaningful short-term service work. During our trip, under the supervision of the local Ministry of Public Health, our volunteers were able to shadow a Dominican family physician as she performed screening for cervical cancer. After watching the physician complete a pap smear, the provider offered the volunteer the chance to perform the exam herself on the following patient.

“Having school from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on most days and constantly studying after class, it’s easy to lose yourself and forget what makes you happy.

“I thought being a psychiatry resident meant that I might lose a patient to suicide, but didn’t think I would lose a friend.” As I overlook the Golden Gate Bridge from the Parnassus Library’s theater-style window seating, I mull over these words from Matthew Goldman, MD, MS, a recent UCSF School of Medicine alumnus who moved across the country to the skyscrapers of New York City for residency.

“CDA Cares is a bi-annual event aimed to serve populations that do not have access to dental care. This was my second time volunteering in the prosthodontics department at CDA Cares and it has been a wonderful experience on both occasions.

“Remember,

We are but a heap of stardust

Blessed with the mind

For a brief moment of time.

Burn bright.”

Igor Mitrovic, M.D.

“Following Jesus Christ has been the central theme in my life since college, and doing so has helped me to understand myself and the world, with all its beauty and also brokenness.

“I believe that getting outdoors isn't so much a way to get into nature, as it is a way to remember that I am eternally a part of nature.

Grad school can definitely have its high and low moments, and we can all agree there are some weeks that are a unique kind of hell.

“Yoga is a meditation that has taught me that being tender, open, and present is beautiful. My yoga practice takes me beyond the physical, to a place where I can find awareness in the mind. 

“One of the first things I quickly learned at UCSF was that I am surrounded by brilliant people who carry massive achievements under their belts.