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Changing direction

Hey friends, A few months into my 4th year of medical school (ie: the first clinical year), I remembe
Changing direction
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #21 • View online
Hey friends,
A few months into my 4th year of medical school (ie: the first clinical year), I remember talking to one of the consultants on the ward. He asked our group what we wanted to specialise in and at the time, we were just a few months into clinical school so we had no idea. He said that was fine, but he told us to remember the following:
It’s easier to change direction if we’re moving forward than if we’re static.
Now, when it comes to specialising in medicine, I’ve found this to be true. After that conversation, I started moving in the direction of Plastic Surgery, doing my student-selected component in it and ultimately getting several publications and presentations as a result. Even though I’ve now changed direction towards Obstetrics & Gynaecology, the fact that I was moving towards Plastics has had so many positive effects in terms of CV building, networking etc which has directly helped get projects and publications in Obs&Gynae as well.
But as tends to be the case with these emails, I think there’s a more general lesson here.
It’s easier to change direction if we’re moving forward than if we’re static.
This is what I tell myself whenever I’m on the verge of overthinking anything. Let’s take YouTube for example - I’ve had a few messages from people thinking of starting their own channels, but unsure as to whether they’d be able to do it alongside their university studies. My answer has always been to just start, see what happens, and adjust course later if necessary. The same applies to revision methods - we spend ages searching for the perfect flashcard software or the perfect textbook, but we’d probably get better results if we just started with what’s easily available and adjusted our course as we went along. 
I find that generally, whenever planning is stopping us from doing, this is a lesson worth keeping in mind.
Have a great week!
Ali

PS: My new podcast
You might have seen the video about my new podcast - “Intercourse - Conversations about everyday life”. The naming was matter of debate between me and my friends, with some absolutely loving how clever it was, and others thinking it was going way too far. In the absence of clear consensus, I decided to just go for it based on the above advice - that it’s easier to change direction when we’re already moving. 
Now that the podcast has officially launched (which is the biggest barrier with these things), I’m considering alternative names and brands for it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Firstly, what do you think of the name “intercourse”? Is it clever and tongue-in-cheek, or just crude and inappropriate? And secondly, do you have any thoughts on what it might be named instead? I’ve got some ideas floating around in my head but it would be great to hear yours :) Just hit <reply> to this email with your thoughts.
Thanks 😁
Intercourse
The confidence to speak up in class - A podcast experiment - YouTube
The confidence to speak up in class - A podcast experiment - YouTube
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Ali Abdaal

Hey friends, I'm Ali, a Cambridge medicine graduate now working as an FY1 junior doctor. I spend most of my spare time making YouTube videos, but every Sunday I send out an email 'newsletter' with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discover on the internet.

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Ali Abdaal, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, CB2 8RP