A requirement for my medical school was to participate in health teaching. I chose to provide an informal session on alcohol, sex and drugs for a small group of freshman girls, the next generation of diverse women. I find this subject so important, because the issues confronting teenagers are numerous and can create a significant generational gap between them and their parents. It’s not as simple as just staying clean and not having sex to avoid pregnancy. The reality is that most teenagers at some point will drink alcohol and take drugs and/or become sexually active.
A fellow student recently equated being a medical school student with bumpy downhill skiing. You rocket down a hill and you jump, making some of the jumps, and missing many others. However, you can’t look back because you’ll fly into a tree. Of all the descriptions of being a first-year medical student, this is my favorite. Unfortunately, at the time all I could think about is how I hate downhill skiing. It terrifies me. Is hurtling down a hill on thin strips of metal to be considered fun? So, how do I, and all of us, get through this experience, and do it together, without flying into a tree?