Future Proof Docs - #LIFEOFAMEDSTUDENT

Welcome to another installment of Future Proof Docs - a series to profile physicians who excel at something outside of medicine and care enough to share their passions with us.  Today I want to introduce a friend and fellow resident blogger.  Unlike most of us who started blogs, by the time he started his site he already had over 50,000 followers on Twitter.  He was also kind enough to let me guest post on his site.  I hope you will enjoy this Q&A with #LIFEOFAMEDSTUDENT.

Introduction:

Charlie is a PGY-4 resident in his last year of Anesthesia training in the Midwest.  During his time as a medical student, he started the popular Twitter account for pre-meds through attendings called #LifeofaMedStudent. Recently, this movement has expanded into a blog and website at Lifeofamedstudent.com. The goals of the new blog are simple: provide an avenue to give true-life advice and guidance through the many uncertainties of the medical education journey.  One of his favorite topics is improving the financial knowledge of his followers, an area he feels is under-taught in medical education.

[FPMD: Can't agree more on the last point - that's the same reason I started FPMD.]

When and why did you decide to become a physician?

My father was a small town Chiropractor and through his office I became very interested in medicine and primary care, especially in smaller communities. He pushed me to go into medicine over chiropractic care given the larger scope of license and I never really looked back. Multiple shadowing experiences through high school and then undergrad, and I knew a medical future was for me. I guess I’m in the camp that “always wanted to be a doctor” but in so many ways that’s something I’m proud of. It’s been a life goal and one I’m happy has worked out very well.

[FPMD: I was also in the "always wanted to be a doctor" camp, even shared the same aspiration to practice primary care in a rural setting.  But we all know how that worked out.]

Why your specialty? 

As I alluded to above, I was SUPPOSED to be a rural medicine doctor in primary care. I even went through a great pre-med program highlighting rural medicine. A funny thing happened though; I accidently fell in love with anesthesia. The procedural hands-on medicine gave me a rush. The fast pace and critical care aspects of anesthesia suddenly felt like an Indy 500 race where primary care was a Sunday ride in a golf cart. I had just a few minutes to make an impression on a patient instead of years. Everything was just faster, more high pressure, and I loved it. I just couldn’t go back to clinic life - it wasn’t even a difficult choice. Of course, the longer you are in anesthesia the more routine all that becomes, but I still love every bit of it.

[FPMD:  Anesthesia seems to be a popular specialty for physician bloggers.  At least a couple more names come to mind - Physician on Fire and Passive Income MD are two of my favorites.  Maybe I should have done an anesthesia rotation before I committed to rads...]

When and why did you start your blog?

#LifeofaMedStudent started back in 2011 as a small humor Twitter account. I found there were thousands of medical students out there with great experiences, funny stories, and advice to give. At the time, there were a few other medical student humor sites for twitter, but I wanted something that would transcend more than just the one account. Thus, the hashtag #LifeofaMedStudent was developed as the unifying cry for medical students everywhere. Over the next few years, I graduated medical school and completed most of my residency. As many of those other original twitter sites died out, I kept the twitter account active and my followers continued to grow. But instead of just humor, I found that I started answering a lot of questions on advice for those undergoing the same medical journey I was finishing up. Thus, the #LifeofaMedStudent blog was formed to be able to extend the ability of the twitter account, give detailed advice and share my own medical experiences. Full disclosure though, as my twitter followers began creep toward the nearly 50,000 mark – I knew I’d developed a potentially profitable brand that deserved expansion.  Suddenly, I woke up post call one day this past July to the realization I was now a professional blogger!

[FPMD: 50,000 twitter followers!!!  For comparison, @FutureProofMD has a puny 863 followers.  I can't help but wonder where #LifeofaMedStudent will become a million dollar brand one day?]

What is the biggest challenge running your blog while being a doc at the same time?  How do you deal with it? 

The biggest challenge is definitely the time factor. I’m an anesthesiologist by day. I moonlight several times a month overnight as an emergency response/cross cover physician at a long-term acute care hospital. Now I’m the CEO/CFO/advertising/salesman/editor/writer of a fairly successful twitter and blog. Oh and in my free time I’m a husband and father to my wife and a beautiful new daughter. I keep it all running using every technological advantage I can – I have apps that automate a lot of the twitter account and I focus on the blog more during it’s early growing time. Even if it’s just a 5 min break between cases, I’m working on the next post or blog idea using whatever Internet access I have. 

[FPMD: I can sympathize on the time factor.  As far as side-hustles go, we've chosen quite a time-intensive one.  I would love to hear more about the tech tools you use to automate your business.  I definitely can use some help there.]

What are the top 3 life lessons you have for FPMD readers? 

  1. My ability to interact with and relate to people of many different backgrounds has gotten me further in life than my intelligence ever has.
  2. It’s better to be lucky, than good. But it’s best to be overly prepared for either.
  3. Happiness in medicine isn’t about how much you love your specialty. It’s about how much you love your life – IN that specialty.

[FPMD: Solid tips.  I also prefer to be lucky than good.  Unfortunately the God of fortune has not yet smiled on me.  Doesn't hurt to try though - can't win the lottery if you don't buy a lottery ticket.]

Give me 3 blog posts that FPMD readers can visit to get the “core” of what you stand for.

  1.  How I became an Anesthesiologist
  2. Buy vs. Rent: Why I bought a house during Residency
  3. Top 5 Financial Mistakes I’ve made during Residency

[FPMD: That's a wrap everyone! Big thanks to Charlie for letting us in on some personal details.  If you don't already follow #LifeofaMedStudent, you should.  Also check out The Best #LifeofaMedStudent Tweets of all Time.  It's well worth a click.]


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Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.