Scope is our annual creative journal. Inside, you'll find short stories, photography, poetry, paintings, and more from current medical students at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. 

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When the idea for Scope was still in its infancy sometime last spring, I don’t think any of us had a fully formed idea about what it would be, what it could maybe become, or that we’d be cooped up in a library the week after finals, still working on it. In a way, it speaks to a certain element of unpredictability innate in the paths we’ve chosen by pursuing medicine.

What follows in these pages is far more than just a representation of our initial hopes and expectations for this publication; it is a subversion in the most pleasing sense. What we mean to say is: none of us expected to receive 50 plus submissions, representing photography, poetry, and various forms of illustration from our equally overworked and sleep-deprived classmates when we first sat down to iron out a general vision. The overwhelming response from our classmates got us thinking about medicine, and about why, based on the pieces you’re about to see and read, they seem to merge so naturally.

Before lab results are interpreted, before X-rays and CT scans are ordered, and before diagnoses are finalized, physicians trade primarily in stories. We are told repeatedly throughout our medical education about the importance of getting a good history from our patients, and what is a patient history if not a condensed, formalized, snapshot expression of that patient’s personal narrative? The physician-patient relationship is typically one forged between complete strangers who need to quickly find common ground in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient. Conceptualizing medicine in such terms may not seem the most practical or even useful, but we believe it speaks to a shared desire in both the arts and in medicine; that is, the desire to establish human understanding and connection. Amidst the long hours and energy spent, we as students and future doctors are fulfilled by the opportunity to understand another human being and the privilege of the physician-patient bond. Thus, an appreciation or execution of art is not simply a hobby or an escape from our daily studies, but an opportunity to exercise the same personal expression, passion, and recognition of another individual.

The accessibility of one’s experiences, thoughts, and sentiments establishes human connectivity between artist and reader or viewer. Art offers an opportunity for personal validation as well as the realization of shared experience. When faced with a work of art, the viewer not only seeks to gain an understanding of the artist's original intent, but he or she also relates to the work from a subjective standpoint, one molded from a unique life experience. Sometimes a work of art can tell us as much about ourselves as it can about its creator. This is the power that is conferred on art; the power to express the individual as the creator, while simultaneously resonating with not just one audience member, but with an astonishingly large pool of individuals.

This volume of Scope contains the artistic manifestations of Georgetown medical students. Submissions range from visual art to poetry to short stories, which have been contemplatively paired by the editors. Consider the theme of this first volume to be a visual incarnation of the mission of Arts and Medicine. Arts and Medicine celebrates the creative talents of our students and champions the Jesuit concept of the magis or “do more.”

We hope that Scope serves as reminder to our community here at Georgetown of the many diverse ways artistic expression can be fostered, even in such a clinical and scientific profession as medicine. We hope that future classes of multitalented and creative medical students maintain this as a representation of the many facets that comprise a true physician outside of the basic science knowledge we wrestle with on a nearly daily basis. And most of all, we hope you learn something you didn’t know about a classmate, a friend, a mentor, or a student.

- The Editors, Scope Volume 1

Johan Clarke, Dylan Conroy, Joe Cramer, John Guzzi, Marielle Mahan, Christine Papastamelos, Zach Winchester