Corinne Boudreau is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Toronto
In 2015, I moved from the tiny New Brunswick town of Sackville to the sprawling city of Toronto, Ontario.
That was also when I started medical school. Immersed in basements with sallow cadavers and impossibly-long PDFs on physiology, I soon realized I was in for an experience which could not be further removed from my undergraduate years spent in the art studio. So, what does a (former) visual artist do when completely out of her depth? Naturally, she doodles!
What started out as a simple means to keep up my drawing soon turned into quirky recounts of our experiences in first year, and before I knew it, it was born: a comic strip about a girl in medicine and — of course — her best moose friend.
Maud & Mulligan: A Med School Chronicle of Sorts follows the titular characters as they leave their small home town to study medicine at the renowned U of P – where insulin was invented from scratch by Sir Panting and Pest, didn’t you know?
Maud is an artsy soul and a bit of a dreamer who finds herself in unanticipated culture shock. Is it not strange that the first dead person she meets is also the first person she must dissect into thinly-sliced aponeuroses? Will she forever be triggered by overhead whistles that flash her back to bell-ringer exams of doom? How can she begin to perform a mock-precordial exam on an attractive classmate’s pecs without a syncopal episode of her own?
While Maud’s stories explore the elations and laughter of medical training, she and her friends encounter challenges, too. Along the way, they deal with feelings of stress and fatigue as well as loneliness, loss of identity, struggles with finding balance in their lives outside of medicine, and uncertainty about what their futures have in store for them.
My hope in sharing it with other students is that we may learn to laugh at ourselves a bit, because our lives can be undeniably funny… but also to take our own needs seriously and realize that so many of our feelings are shared. I hope it encourages us to open-up real conversations and build connections; to care for one another as we travel this amazing and deeply challenging road. And I hope it encourages us to continue telling our own stories, as doing so is an amazing means of understanding ourselves and our journeys.
Maud and Mulligan’s second-year adventures were released this past March. Clerkship stories are in the works and will be out sometime in the next year, if all goes well!
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