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Daily Question: Should a Med Student Have a Blog?

Dear Nicki, I'm a first-year med student and fan of your blog. Thinking about emergency med. How do you find the time? Do you recommend that I start a blog too? Will it help me match? -MedStudent
Dear MedStudent, I write on a blog because I love to do it. Period. I honestly do not know if it is advisable or not to do what I have done. Probably not. I have talked to advisors who have told me it is ludicrous to publish my name on a beauty blog, as some traditionalists in medicine look upon endorsing products and such disfavorably, even after completing a dermatology residency. Conversely, I have mentors and colleagues who have said I am building credibility with well-researched articles and fans while still in medical school. I am interested in three things in my career:
  • 1.) Advocating the public on their available choices in skin, hair, and beauty products;
  • 2.) Innovating the skin care and beauty industry with novel technologies and breakthroughs. Not just putting my name on any old product, but inventing revolutionary therapeutic creams and devices proven to work;
  • 3.) Working hard and with integrity. Becoming one of the best in the world at what I do.
That is it. Note that these are lifetime goals to work towards.
Sometimes other medical students approach or e-mail me and ask, What are you going to do if you don't match? One time it was even questioned whether or not I would jump off a bridge. (!)
No matter what, dermatology residency or not, after medical school I will continue to work towards my aforementioned goals.
Now, as for your question, I will give you the honest answer: It is best to concentrate on your schoolwork during medical school. Medicine is a lot about sacrifice. It's tough. I can't recommend to any medical student to have a blog. Perhaps the only reason I have mine, other than pure passion for it, is that a lot happened in my life during medical school. Without getting into it too much, I went through my mother's diagnosis with cancer (she finished her biological chemo treatments earlier this year and feels fine now), an illness/surgery of my own, mono, a car accident, and other personal trauma - all in two years. Writing in my blog was sometimes the only thing I had to get me through. It made me feel like I was still on track, even when I was very sad.  Now it has become more successful and continues to make me happy, so I continue to do it.
Still, I can't recommend that any medical student have a blog. Maybe I will match and maybe I will not, but the bottom line is I call myself "futurederm" not out of some type of feigned arrogance but because I genuinely love dermatology and will always do work in the future related to dermatology, whether as a dermatologist, product inventor, and/or writer.
With that said, on September 15, I'm changing my byline on the site to "The Science of Beauty," so as to not give the wrong impression to you or anyone else.
Hope that this helps.  Good luck to you and congrats on starting medical school!
Sincerely,
Nicki
Date: August 20 2011 at 11:31 AM
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