Balancing Exploration and Medical School

If you love the outdoors, you'll always find time to adventure.

Picture yourself as a child. You have no care in the world. Your life revolves around eating candy and playing in the sand. You can sleep as much as you can without consequences. You're free!

Now picture yourself as an intelligent medical student. You wake up watch lectures and study those lectures the entire day. Whenever you aren't studying you're exhausted and yearn for sleep. But you can't sleep because you have to dissect a cadaver, perform a cardiac exam, or write a report on a patient. Those days of freedom appear to be nonexistent.

Before medical school, I had my fair share of adventures as a Boy Scout in California. I went backpacking through Yosemite, snow camping in the mountains, and swimming in freezing waters at Camp Oljato. I earned cool looking patches called merit badges and became an Eagle Scout. After scouting, however, I realized I didn't really explore as much as I used to.

During my undergraduate education I went on a few low key hikes in Southern California, but it wasn't until I climbed Cerro Chirripó (the highest mountain in Costa Rica) and Mt. Whitney (the highest mountain in contiguous United States) did my passion for the outdoors truly become ignited. I saw the beautiful outdoors in an entirely new light. By climbing those peaks, I realized I wasn't hiking to earn any badges or because my father dragged me on an outing. It was my passion for nature! Just picture the snow covered mountain tops, the enchanted forests, the frosty rivers. Words can't adequately describe the outdoors. It's something you have to experience! Despite all the pain and altitude sickness it took to get there, trust me it's worth it!

In order to fuel my adventure seeking, I decided to come to Ross University School of Medicine. This medical school is located in the middle of the Caribbean on the island of Dominica, which is also called the Nature Island. Extremely fitting for me! 

Medical school is tough and you barely have time for anything. Consequently, all my time is carefully planned around my next adventure. After weeks of studying I take an exam then immediately go explore! Although I'm often drowning in schoolwork, I find it very beneficial to come up for a breath of fresh air. Not only does exploration prevent me from burning out as a medical student, but it allows me to relax and find peace.

If you truly love the outdoors, you'll make time to adventure. And wherever your adventure leads you, remind yourself that it's nice to feel like a kid again. Free!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Stuart Yee

Medical Student from California and always on an adventure!