Third-Year Student Highlights First Half of Medical School Experience One Second At A Time

After being introduced by a friend to 1 Second Everyday, an app that allows users to create video diaries and visual stories by stitching together daily second-long snippets, third-year College of Human Medicine (CHM) student, Abhay Dhaliwal, was intrigued by the concept.

He was an undergrad at the University of Michigan when Dhaliwal decided to download the app and recorded seconds of his life through moments like graduation and, ultimately, the medical school admissions process.

It was then, as he was snapping videos in the months leading up to medical school, that he had an idea.

No one, to Dhaliwal's knowledge, had created a video journal solely of single second-long videos to share their medical school experience. After being accepted to CHM, Dhaliwal decided he would document his days as a med second at a time.

What started out as a simple way to journal this important time ended up becoming "way more than that," according to Dhaliwal.

Now two years later, Dhaliwal recently uploaded a video containing snippets from every day of his first half of medical school, entitled, "Hey, How's Med School?' Let Me Show You."

The video starts off from the beginning of his med school journey at the College of Human Medicine White Coat Ceremony and, within seconds, takes off in a variety of directions.

We talked to Dhaliwal to learn more about the project and his motivations. Watch the awesome video below, followed by our Q&A.

Where did the idea for the project come from? 

The idea came from a friend while at the University of Michigan. He had been using the application for the entire year of 2014 and posted his video on Facebook. I thought it was really cool and interesting.

In fact, I wished I had come across it before I started undergrad. There were so many great memories that I wish I could have captured. I knew I couldn't go back in time, so I figured I'd document everything going forward and wound up posting a video of the months leading up to medical school.

The idea to document medical school was partly just a continuation of what I had been doing before. Additionally, I hadn’t come across anyone who had done or was doing what I was planning to do as a student at CHM. I was aware of the many journals and blogs about what medical school is like, but I didn't think anyone had created what is essentially a video journal of single seconds to document their medical school experience.

It mainly started as a way for me to see my progression through medical school and look back at all the things I have done, but it became way more than that. It transformed into a way for my friends and I to be able to reflect back on great memories. In 20-30 years, my friends and I will be able to tell you exactly what we did each day of medical school. Who else can say that?

How do you remember to record moments from EVERY, SINGLE day?
So the app gives a few notifications and reminders, but it still was initially hard to remember to take a video. There were days in the beginning when I would do cool things and forget to record it.

Now, it has become a part of my daily life. It’s a habit. I naturally record things and usually shoot multiple videos throughout the day. When it's time to import the videos into the app, I simply pick the one I like the most.

How has the experience of documenting the first two years of medical school been for you? 

The experience has been great! I am so happy that I decided to do this and I hope everyone enjoys watching the video.

My favorite part of doing this is being able to show everyone what I did every day in a much more in-depth way than what pictures can portray. It’s quick, fun, and keeps your attention because if you look away for a moment, you’ve already started to miss days.

Is there anything that you’ve noticed through the lens of your phone about medical school that you don’t think you would have noticed had you not done this project?
I think the biggest thing this project has taught me is that life flies by so fast. I clearly remember white coat day. To think that it has been almost two years since then is crazy.

Something I noticed is that the months and years go by even quicker the older I get. No one is going to be around forever, so it’s up to us to make the most of our time. I just wanted to make and document the best memories possible. This project challenges me to do that. I easily could have made each video of every day just me studying or sitting at a desk, but that would be boring.  That's not how I want to remember my medical school experience.

Everyone knows medical school is a lot of work and a lot of studying. But those outside of medical school don’t exactly know what we do on a day-to-day basis. We can tell them what we do, but it’s different than actually seeing it first-hand. I wanted to show people, and myself, that medical school is more than just studying. It can be fun, but it’s up to you. Doing this project forced me to try new activities and do things differently. It has positively impacted me in that way.

We see a lot of friends and fellow CHM students in the video. What’s their take on the project?

My friends love the project! Everyone who I have spoken with about what I'm doing has thought it was really interesting. I'm sure I annoyed some people by constantly taking videos, but I have no shame!

I get funny looks all the time when I am recording things or people will ask me why am I recording. But those people that know what I'm doing were very interested in being part of the project.

Lastly, is this something you will continue your final two years as a student at our Southeast Community Campus?

Yes, I fully intend on continuing this project over the next two years. I have already talked with the social media person at the hospital and I know what I can/cannot record or include in my videos.

These next several years will be very different from the first two years and I am looking forward to being able to watch the final video in 2019. I think the best part of this project will be watching this after graduation and reminiscing about all the memories we made during medical school.

It will be a great way to look back on how far we have come and how much we have grown as individuals.


We can't wait to see it, Abhay. Best of luck!


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