A bit about me
Hi, I’m Alex. I’m an MD-PhD student at Duke University School of Medicine. This blog is my attempt to keep a record of my learning and experiences during this part of my life. You can find out more about my academic work here.
My day job puts me at the interface of medicine and science, and so those topics dominate my thoughts. But the world is full of fun stuff and I’m kind of a glutton, so I often find myself dabbling in a lot of other areas. The things that interest me most these days are entrepreneurship, technology, computing, education, leadership and personal productivity, but no doubt this list will change with time. As a reflection of my eclectic and various interests, I thought it appropriate to call this blog “A Curious Mix”. (Plus, all the really good names for blogs were taken)
What am I writing for?
My purposes are several. First, I want a record for myself of the things I learn and the experiences I have. Memory is fleeting, and unless I capture and write down what’s on my mind, it won’t stick around for long. I’ve kept notes and such for myself over the years, but it’s always been private. That’s fine, but then that means that nobody else benefits from what I’ve learned, which is a shame. I think there is something different and better about letting other people engage with your thoughts. Knowing that someone might read what I have to say motivates me to refine my thinking and polish my ideas more than I would otherwise. Moreover, conversations are two-way streets. I want to learn from you and improve how I do things through your comments and feedback.
But beyond that, my major purpose for writing is that I really enjoying sharing what I know with others so that they might improve in whatever they’re doing. Few things bring me as much satisfaction as sharing a useful tip or tool. In medical school, I kept a blog called DrWillBe, where I chronicled my time in med school and I wrote about useful tools and tricks I used to learn medicine. As you can see, DrWillBe is a modest blog indeed; not much flash here. I really had no clue what I was doing when I started. But I did have some things to say about useful methods I developed to learn massive amounts of information in medical school. I put those tips on the blog, and since that time, hundreds of thousands of people have visited and have benefitted (I hope).
The response to DrWillBe showed me how blogs can impact a lot of people, and that excites me. I hope to do much of the same here, but on a broader array of topics. As I journey through med school and grad school, no doubt the obstacles I encounter are ones that others will also face, and so if you’re in that demographic, I hope the ideas I share will make life a little easier for you, and reduce your having to re-invent the wheel.
With that said, a disclaimer: I make no claim to having all the answers. On the contrary, the more I learn, the more I think I have fewer answers. It’s counter-intuitive actually. As I grow in knowledge, I also grow in humility.
I find myself often poking in the dark, bumping into the wall most of the time, but once in a while, finding the light. Those bits of light are what will comprise the majority of the content on A Curious Mix, but no doubt many unvarnished thoughts will come up too. So just keep that in mind. We’re all learning together.
Who am I writing for?
Anyone really. But med students and grad students will likely find the most to relate to.
They say a new blog is created every half second. Every one of those blogs serves a different purpose. Some blogs are about opinions or reactions to current events.Others are like diaries or journals, where the focus is more on the author than the audience. Yet others serve as tutorials or how-to guides, where the focus is on performing some task. And then there are blogs that are hybrids of these styles, combining opinion, how-to and reflection all in one.
I find that I most enjoy reading blogs of the how-to variety, since the outcome is that I discover a new method, or improve on my existing ones. Opinions and reflections can be valuable too, since these can change the way I think about a topic, but these posts are harder to get right. You know what they say about opinions, after all.
I endeavor to make A Curious Mix the kind of blog I’d want to read. The majority of posts will be about how I do things and what resources I’ve found useful. But from time to time, I’ll venture into other kinds of posts too, including:
- How-to’s and Tutorials
- Reflections and Opinions
- Idea development
- Calls for help/action
For those who are interested in this sort of thing…
- 13″ Macbook (2010) This is soon to change I hope. It’s getting a little slow
- Dell U2412M 24″ Monitor
Software and the rest
- SublimeText 2: A powerful text editor for writing posts in plain text and Markdown.
- Marked: A great app from the guru Brett Terpstra. For viewing how my posts will look when rendered from Markdown to HTML.
- Omnioutliner 4: Best in class as far as outliners go. I use this to draft the structure of a post before I get into writing.
- nvALT: A super useful text editor for very quick jotting. Another Brett Terpstra creation.