I started this blog exactly eight years ago, today.
Who I was then, and who I am now, has changed drastically, and often. I wrote as I stumbled my way through new clinical and life experiences. I wrote as my mental health peaked and plummeted. I wrote as my love for medicine died, and was reborn. The first community I found was that of book bloggers, but gradually, I found the medical bloggers, too.
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My friend was complaining that I hadn’t shared any real descriptive photos of #mountkenya (@nolithaluzuka!), so here’s one taken by @teodor__iliev on 35mm film. 📷 Filter his, I haven’t altered anything. I remember this day and it was very hard. We were sucking air, walking slowly, and my mood was plummeting. Lucky we had an amazing team (@rosshofmeyr also pictured here).
I have written guides to rotations and provided tricks of the trade. I’ve interviewed students from various backgrounds, and I’ve had guest posts about various elective pursuits. These have all served a purpose, in their time. My posts about getting into medicine in South Africa, remain popular; although they might need an update.
I have never succeeded in making this a truly niche blog. I have jumped from medical posts, to political, to book reviews, travel blogging, and even the odd recipe. I am not defined by my career, so why should my blog be?
My medical community is mostly on Twitter, these days. I haven’t posted on this blog very often, partially because I don’t always have the time or the subject matter; and partially because my nihilism is at an all-time high.
So I ask myself: are blogs dead? Is my blog dying, and should I relieve it of its misery? I will never delete my content here, but should I simply say: nothing further?
What is the point? In the past, the point has been debriefing myself. Nowadays I go for weekly therapy, and I rant and rave on Twitter, so I don’t have to debrief on a lonely anonymous blog anymore.
The point has been to spread awareness: about medical school in South Africa, about electives, about mental health. But this may not be the best platform for awareness any longer. I prefer to get my material from Twitter/Instagram, and I suspect many others do, too.
Perhaps, in the past, the point has also been to not be alone. To feel “part” of something. Going through the feeds of my favourite blogs, commenting, and getting comments, was very important to me once upon a time. But in part due to my nihilism, and perhaps in part due to growing up, those don’t mean so much to me anymore. I still deeply desire to feel part of something, I just don’t fool myself that a blog could do that for me.
I spent many hours in the past crafting blog posts. And to what end? Should I have spent more time getting research experience? Getting better grades in university? Experiencing life? If there ever really was a point to blogging, is there still? Is it not just another way of getting noticed, another way of getting a conflated view of oneself?
I am still delighted when a medical student comes up to me at volunteer clinics and asks, “Are you Barefootmeds?” The students tell me they benefited from this blog. But perhaps they simply benefited from hearing they are not alone. And perhaps they can get that from Twitter, too.
The one thing I have considered, is that this may be a good place to interview interns and cosMOs about their placements. Every year, our various online groups are overrun by students looking for advice on placements. A few times, people have tried to start a database where interns and cosMOs could write reviews of their placements, but it has always died a rather quick and quiet death.
But perhaps that is not my place either.
I’m not really sure what my place is, these days. And whether it still is with this blog. I will forever be Barefootmeds, but will I continue to tread my footprints here?
So if you’ve read this far, Dear Reader, perhaps you can do me a favour and let me know what you think. Do you still read blogs at all, or are blogs dead?