Harvard Neurosurgeon

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Faith Robertson

Dr. Faith Robertson is a 4th year neurosurgery resident at Mass General Hospital in Boston, after having obtained her MD from Harvard Medical School. In her resident research time, she's pursuing an MBA from Harvard Business School. She plans to use her unique combination of skills to bring more innovation and value-based healthcare strategies to the medical field. She also holds an MSc in Global Surgery from King's College London and a BS from Duke, and is interested in venture capital. You can find her on Twitter @faithcrobertson and on Instagram @faith.c.robertson.

Faith's Eight Essentials

Harvard Neurosurgeon's Eight Essentials

#1 Ministry of Supply Dress Shirts: I love this brand for professional, and pragmatic purposes! The company was born out of MIT by two engineers who wanted to “hack” dress clothes, making them more comfortable and practical. The Apollo shirt is made with NASA's temperature-regulating Phase Change Materials. Their dress shirts look great, are water and stain resistant, stretchy, wrinkle-resistant, machine washable, and versatile. They pair with jeans or dress pants, and if you need to dress it up more, throw on a blazer. MoS has a full line of clothes, but a couple of the dress shirts themselves are a must.

#2 Speechify: I just started using this app to increase efficiency in business school. I have been a long time Audible user to “read” books for leisure during commuting or working out, so it was not a difficult adaptation to make using this app. Speechify can translate pdfs and other documents into voice-read files and you can pick from tens of different orators with different accents, including Gwyneth Paltrow or a soothing British male voice. I began uploading my business school cases into the app, and you can easily crop within the app to remove border text and avoid reading the footnotes.

#3 AirPods: I never leave home without them; I either have these in the breast pocket of my scrubs or in my backpack at school. As mentioned above, I love Audible and Speechify, so it is key to have comfortable, quality earbuds on hand to take advantage of open time gaps in which you can read cases or NYT best sellers. At the hospital, the handsfree listening is helpful to multitask writing morning notes while Zooming into a webinar. At school, these are useful to hop onto a video call between classes. And outside of those uses, it is great to tune into music during a run, and call my parents while grocery shopping.

#4 Quest Protein Bars: When you need nutrition but only have a few minutes between operative cases or in between classes, and you still want to be healthy, Quest has you covered. Most bars have >20g of protein and <1g of sugar, so they are nearly guilt free. They have a huge variety of flavors, from chocolate chip, birthday cake, and maple waffle, to seasonal like pumpkin pie and peppermint bark.

#5 American Express Platinum Card: This was featured in a prior Eight Essentials post, and I want to double down on it. I used to be scared off by the steep $695 annual fee, but if you are going to be flying, using Uber, staying in hotels and/or using streaming services, it pays for itself rapidly. On sign up (and meeting a spending minimum), the current reward is 150,000 points which is valued at $3000 by the Points Guy, and there are ways to optimize point-to-miles transfers as well. On top of that, each year you get $200 in Uber credit, $200 in airline credit, $155 for Walmart+, $100 in Saks credit, $240 in digital entertainment credit (Audible, Spotify, NYT) + $189 for Clear + Global Entry (TSA pre-check plus faster transit through customs). There are also rotating offers for specific retailers. You get gold status with multiple car rental companies and Hilton, which once allowed me to check in 7 hours early and get upgraded to a penthouse floor room. Booking travel through their website allows for good travel insurance, and reserving through “Fine Hotels & Resorts” offers perks of early check-in, late check-out, sometimes $100 credit to spend at the hotel, and 5x points. Furthermore, you get Priority Pass which allows you to access 100s of airport lounges worldwide, so you can get free food, beverages, wifi, showers, etc on your layovers. Overall, great savings and it makes travel significantly more enjoyable.

#6 Matein Business Backpack: I received this as a gift and use it all the time. Multiple compartments for laptop, folder, phone, etc. to keep your items organized and easy to find. Comfortable and durable.

#7 Specialized Allez Bike: When the weather is reasonable, I cycle to school or the hospital so I wanted a nice, sport, lightweight bike that would not cost as much as a small car, but that would be fun to ride and could be used for mid-distance rides on weekends. This is a premium aluminum frame so it's very light and a smooth ride with many gears. Most recently priced at $1000, so it pays for itself quickly if your alternative is taking ride share car rides.

#8 Garmin Forerunner: I have the 935 but there are multiple options available. I chose Garmin over Applewatch due to its enhanced capabilities in sports tracking. It can easily track cycling speed, running, swimming, altitude changes and many other sports. It also monitors VO2 max, sleep cycles, and your overall training status to indicate if you’re under or overtraining, and offers additional performance monitoring features. The data is useful to maintain personal health amidst work and school demands.