Living here at Cornell’s medical campus offers an interesting perspective into the lives of med students. Our kitchen functions as the main social hub in the dorm and bears witness to a host of communal and culinary activities. Study sessions one night are followed by celebrations the next — the intensity of both activities being directly proportional to the difficulty of the intervening exam.
I glanced at notes on the table and remembered how much I dislike molecular science. Chemical structures never seemed quite as interesting to me as inhabitable ones. Studying architecture, however, doesn’t prevent me from flirting with the idea of becoming a doctor. I live in a med-school dormitory and have a bona fide identification card — I just need to start attending classes and I will be on the fast track to success.
With this in mind, I have been keeping my eye out for information regarding my future, hypothetical career. Medical flyers litter the bulletin boards on each floor. One poster encouraged students to attend a lecture concerning H1N1, another invited us to a special conference about healthcare. But one flyer, in particular, caught my attention:
“Interested in surgery? Love beer? You just hit the jackpot!” At the bottom of the page, after some further details, they offer a convincing — if not simplistic – reason to attend the event: “Surgery is awesome (and there will be a keg. Seriously.)”
I’ve always been intrigued by surgery and I do like beer. Joining the the Stimson Surgical Society suddenly seemed like a good idea. Then I remembered my best friend talking about anatomy class and the gruesome dissection videos that he sent me. Cutting up bodies for a living is a gory business. Maybe that’s where the beer comes into play — it calms the nerves.
But consider the implications of this poster. Do all beer-lovers become surgeons? If so, it’s likely that other medical specialties have their own drink-of-choice. Wine for cardiologists, jungle juice for pediatricians, gin and tonic for dermatologists, daiquiris for family practitioners — the list could go on and on. An entire healthcare system consuming and consumed by alcohol.