Priscilla Mainardi ~
Your skin pale with worry,
your mouth a straight line,
the fear in your eyes--
all this told me,
more than the nausea,
more than the fact that I couldn’t move my head,
that something was really wrong.
You thought I wouldn’t see.
I looked up at the ceiling,
at its pattern of dots,
white, and brighter white,
that could mean anything, or nothing,
Jamie Sweigart ~
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon on my urban college campus. I'd been sitting on the grass outside a lecture hall where my premed classmates and I would study together on weekends. This particular weekend, I was alone. Campus was empty, except for a man with a backpack who occasionally passed by.
Finished with studying, I started walking down a deserted sidewalk back to my apartment, a few blocks away. On the way, I dialed my best friend from home, Laura, and we began chatting.
"Hang up the phone," said a man's voice behind me. I felt the cold blade of a knife against the side of my neck.
Shadi Ahmadmehrabi ~
It was my first day of orientation at medical school. In a hallway stood a coat rack overflowing with white garments. I set down my accumulated papers, reached for a hanger and, for the first time ever, shrugged first one arm and then the other into a white coat.
It was too large, but I had no other options. The unisex coats ran from XXS to XXL, but the smallest had all been claimed.
As I clumsily buttoned my coat on the right (women's coats button on the left), I couldn't help seeing this as a physical reminder that, as my mentors had warned, medicine continues to be male-dominated, and that I'd need to pick my battles.