Skyline of Hope

And here we are again, one week later. With each week passing by, 12.5% of this program flies by. Now we’ve racked up 37.5% completion through this program. This past week has been less exciting and more monotonous than the others. You can’t expect every week to be exhilarating and full of different opportunities. However, we can try to fill each week with new experiences we haven’t had before, like some I’ll be explaining.

Most excitedly, I finally got to meet the PI, the person the lab’s name is under, and it was a great experience. After talking virtually for this long, it was a great experience to meet her in person and see that she was just as excited as I was and laid down some concrete ideas. First, she’s allowing me to write a case report and abstract that I’ll submit to the AHA, which will “probably” get published. The caveat being I don’t know what it takes to get published, but that is what my PI told me. Next, I’m working with another medical student to read and analyze TTEs. I’m excited to become competent in reading and exploring this technique, as it will come in handy later. Due to confidentiality, I can’t elaborate much on these projects, but this is the most promising research I’ve ever worked on! I feel I can make a difference in this field and not just have my work thrown into the pessimistic void of “failure.” In a world where the research metric is publication amount, it’s calming knowing I have a real opportunity to get published before medical school.

Outside of academics, there were a few places that I got to see that were beautiful and culture informing. First, Mr. Bullett and I got to travel to the Brandenburg Gate. At night it was beautiful, almost Champs-Élysées like, with a long arrow-straight road decorated with high-end stores and brushed with the illuminating street lights. It was truly baffling to think about how much history was under our feet and where we stood, with some of the most note worth characters in history being at that location: Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and more. A symbol of conquest, hate, freedom, and unification. And to think how much more history will happen at that same place.

Mr. Bullett and I at the Brandenburg Gate at night

Furthermore, besides the visit to the gate Mr. Bullett and I had the opportunity to travel to the flea markets on Sunday, and simply: wow. Flee markets is not a good translation for what we went to. The first flea market we went to was in East Berlin. It stretched over a kilometer of cobblestone street packed with carts of clothes, jewelry, food, and people flooding in both directions. When I think of flea markets in the US, I think of small garage sales. No. That was not this. I could’ve spent a whole day there. It was so much culture packed into such a small location. We bought some bucket hats throughout our two-hour navigation and enjoyed the scenic rush.

Next, we took a tram from Eastern to Central Berlin to a more prominent market: a massive park strewn with a maze of tents and music. A crowd filling the hillside focused on a karaoke machine on one side, having one lucky person sing at a time. On the other, three other masses, maybe 50 feet from each other, each having different types of concerts. On top of the mind-numbing music, smoke from the park grills billowed over the top. It was nothing like I’d ever seen before. It took me around two hours to walk through all the tents. Regardless, we ended up getting some food and leaving after that. It was just stimulus overload.

The crowd gathering around the Karaoke machine

Pivoting from my experiences to the prompt, ambiguity is a very challenging conflict within my internship. Due to being at the beginning of my training, most of my time is spent reading articles and writing. I’ve been given a primary objective, like writing an abstract and case report, but I’m not micro-managed. So I have to be the one to take the initiative to keep reading and perfecting my writing. My superior only checks up on me weekly to see my progress. But due to ambiguity, I’ve allowed myself to participate in other projects and keep contributing to the team. So, in short, ambiguity displays initiative.

Last, to another update on my spiritual journey, there haven’t been many add-ons or tweaks. This week being more monotonous and having less time to explore has created an interesting dynamic. I have fewer spiritual moments but feel more fulfilled due to greater efficiency. Just another stark reminder that I live to work.