Summer Reading Assignment

Each year, the incoming class at WVSOM reads a book together over the summer. The book always covers a medically-related topic but written for a popular audience. In previous years, we’ve read Being Mortal (Class of 2022), When Breath Becomes Air (Class of 2023) and My Own Country (Class of 2024).

This year’s book is In Shock by Rana Awdish. You have until June 28 to read and respond to the questions listed below that are raised by the book – questions that were developed by WVSOM faculty members. Those same faculty members will be reading the essays for your class and giving you feedback.


Drawing upon what you’ve learned from Dr. Awdish’s book and incorporating your own personal experiences and reflections, please complete an essay response, 2-3 pages in length, double-spaced, that addresses all parts of the following three questions:

  1. The title of the book, In Shock, has multiple meanings. As you read Dr. Awdish’s story, did you find anything shocking (in the sense of surprising) that gave you a new perspective on what it is like to be a patient and what that means for the doctor’s responsibilities? Reflect upon your experiences as a patient. How have these experiences added to your decision to attend medical school? 


  1. How did Dr. Awdish’s perspective on how she had previously treated patients change when she became a patient herself? What is your perspective on her observations concerning patients? How will your perspective inform your work with your future patients?  


  1. Dr. Awdish describes how she learned to peacefully coexist with the pain she was experiencing as she was recovering from her illness. Are there specific strategies for self-care that are discussed in the book that you imagine will become personal practices for you when you begin to care for patients? How can these perspectives and practices translate into effectively handling other forms of chronic discomfort, such as anxiety, fearfulness, and depression?  


This assignment is due June 28, and you will upload your essay on that date, directly into our learning management system, eMedley. Instructions for uploading will be sent via email on June 28. PLEASE NOTE: This is the first assignment in the portfolio in which you will be tracking your work during your four years at WVSOM.

Once you arrive on campus, you will have the opportunity to discuss the book on the Wednesday of Orientation.

On behalf of the Book Reading Project Committee, we hope that you find Dr. Awdish’s memoir to be both thought-provoking and inspiring. Best wishes for your summer!