Summer Vibes

I gotta say, I’m absolutely loving my time off from school so far.

It feels good to be back home in the 757 with friends and family after having to make a pit stop (more like a week-long stop) in Miami to attend two orientations for the program I’m working with this summer. I also randomly ended up at a concluding breakfast for an annual conference for the Association of Black Psychologists soon after arriving in Florida…but that’s besides the point 😅. The orientations I had to attend were spaced out three days apart with the first one being on Monday and the second one being on Friday. How convenient. The one on Friday was very useful and it directly related to the summer program. It got me even more excited to work with the students in the program. Free Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera didn’t hurt either. 😏 I only went to the one on Monday because the university made me. The info given to us in that SIX-HOUR long new-hire orientation session did not relate to me in terms of my summer employment. Being a current medical student and an alumni of the university, I was already familiar with the information that they presented, which ranged from university history to HIPAA, safety procedures and everything in between. Simply put, I really did not need to be there. But alas, I am a mere speck of paint in the spectacular mural that is the University of Miami. I also needed my name to be on summer payroll. So I silently suffered through it with my co-workers.

I guess I should elaborate a bit more on this program I’m working with huh? I’ve name-dropped it a few times but there are a few of you out there that probably aren’t too familiar with it…my bad! As I mentioned in a previous post (Testing My Brain on a Test on the Brain), the program is called the Minority Students In Health Careers Motivation Program, which is run by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This seven-week, tuition-free program is one of the three summer programs run by the office with the other two being the High School Careers in Medicine Program and the MCAT Preparation Program. The Motivation program is designed to resemble a “mini” medical school experience where the selected students (ranging from college sophomores to recent college graduates) take a sample of classes such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, & Histology. There is also an opportunity every week to participate in a discussion on a selected topic with a featured speaker while enjoying a free, catered dinner. Not only that, but the students are exposed to Health Equity Research, have the chance to attend supplemental workshops and have the opportunity to shadow physicians every week on clinical rotations. As if all that wasn’t good enough, housing & meals as well as metro transportation between campuses are all free for the selected students! What a program! The overall goal of this program is to promote diversity in the health field by providing students from underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to develop skills that will increase their competitiveness when it comes time to apply to medical school. As a Teaching Assistant of the program, I’ll work with my co-Teaching Assistant and the Executive Director in facilitating the overall experience of the students in the program. I’ll be in the classroom each day with them and will assist the faculty in executing lectures and activities. I’ll also serve as a useful resource for the students by answering the various questions they will have and I’ll be able to share my experiences in medical school with them. Needless to say, I’m hyped about being able to work with the program!

In between going to the orientations, I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t enjoying my free time. From taking time to continue reading Black Man in a White Coat (I KNOW I’M TAKING FOREVER TO FINISH IT, DON’T JUDGE ME) to chillin’ at the beautiful Venetian pool with some great friends, I’ve been doing a lot of not-studying. It’s been glorious. I’m only gonna continue this period of relaxation, at least until I start the program next week.

I freakin’ love Summer!!!

I definitely can’t close out this post without shouting out the big homie and Doctorate of Education student, Mr. Donovan Livingston, for his incredible graduation speech (#LiftOff) at Harvard last week! You’re a clear example of a positive force and are an inspiration to many bro! I also appreciate you for being a supporter of this blog from the very beginning and keeping up with it weekly! Thanks for being an awesome friend and a great human being in general!!

As you may or may have not noticed, I don’t usually name-drop people in my blog for various reasons…but since he already done broke the internet and all, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal this time around. If you haven’t heard his speech by now, you can click on the link below to check it out. I know you have five minutes to spare…so go ahead and click on it. You won’t regret it.

 

Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend! My appreciation runs deep for all those men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect this country! Remember that this country stands because of the bravery and courage they exuded!!

Don’t chase people. Be you. Do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come find you and stay. – Will Smith

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (1/4) M.D.

*sniff*  *sniff*

Aye, you smell that?

*sniff*

What does it smell like? You can’t tell?

*sniff*  *sniff*

I’ll tell you what it smells like.

It’s the sweet, sweet, sweeeeeeet smell of THE END OF MY FIRST YEAR OF MED SCHOOL!!!

You know what that means? If you couldn’t tell from this post’s title, it means that I’m 25% of the way towards obtaining my medical degree! (Let’s not think about the other 75% in the way right now) 25%! That’s half of a half! That’s equivalent to a huge piece of some warm apple pie! That’s a quarter of a dollar bruh!

I’m getting the feeling that you get the idea 😅.

It’s pretty cool saying that I’m a second-year student now, mostly because I’m now one step above being on the bottom of the totem pole lol. The personal growth that I’ve gone thru this past year has been quite an experience. It’s also been interesting watching all of my classmates expand their knowledge base throughout the year. It’s hard to believe (and quite hilarious) that there was a time when most of us couldn’t clearly tell the difference between sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation 😂. What I’m really looking forward to this upcoming fall is helping out the incoming first-years and being able to provide them calming & positive vibes whenever the stress of school begins to try and creep up on them. But like I said in my last post, I’m very ecstatic about this much-needed break from lectures and exams this summer. Having the time to do things that don’t require me preparing for a looming exam is becoming more and more of a foreign concept to me…truthfully, it’ll feel a little weird not having to study for an exam for a while. I ain’t complaining though. I’ll be happy to find things to do that doesn’t involve studying. Plus, it’s not like I won’t be keeping myself busy with the Motivation pre-med summer program that I’m helping out with. By the way, I almost forgot just how HOT & HUMID it gets down here in Miami during the summer…

Soooo remember that third Neuroscience test I told you about on my last post? The one that I had a good feeling about before I took it? Yeah, the one that had questions about Xanax and whatnot on it. Turns out that my performance on that test was the best performance I’ve had on any subject test thus far! Not only did I hit my personal goal for the year, I also actually beat the average score in my class for once! I think the last time that happened was at some point in Anatomy or something. If you didn’t already know, I’m in a class full of geniuses. So yeah, although it’s not one of my main goals, it’s nice to see that I’m able to beat the average every once in a (long) while. As for the ethics test (more like quiz) I took last Monday, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was 20 questions and most of the questions had multiple answers that we could pick. Most of it was pretty much common sense and a couple questions were based specifically on some of the readings assigned to us. *sigh* It pains me because this class has so much potential to be better…and I’m not a fan of these quizzes. But that’s neither here nor there. Moving right along. I finished my year up with the cumulative 160-question Neuroscience exam on Friday. That was A LOT of questions to click thru. However, the vast majority of the questions were much clearer than the questions we’ve been getting on the previous three Neuroscience exams. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that these questions weren’t written by our professors…anyways, the exam wasn’t too bad. But like I said, it took forever to get through. After submitting my exam, the first thing I wanted to do was jump in the air and click my heels. Knowing myself tho, I would 1) look like a damn fool and 2) pull a muscle in my leg and/or trip and bust my lip open. Ain’t no one got time for that. So I proceeded to be normal by saying bye to a few people in the school and taking my happy tail on home. Overall, I feel like I finished the year off with a BANG, which is all I could have asked for.

Ahhh Summer ’16, Summer ’16.

You’re finally here.

So much to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. You surely will NOT be wasted. Gotta enjoy your presence to the fullest since it’s my last summer break and all…

Go on and start your week on a prosperous note! ✌🏾

If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you’ll see obstacles.

– Wayne Dyer

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Home Stretch!

So the time has finally come.

It’s the LAST week of my first year as a medical student.

Wow. Just wow.

It’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure. Summer break is literally less than a week away and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good time this school year and have had fun learning everything I’ve learned. Spending countless hours studying the dense school material that I’ve been fortunate enough to study while getting comfortable with the city of Winston-Salem and the people that make it up has really helped me evolve from a fresh college graduate to a young and budding professional. It’s amazing what can happen in just a year. However, everyone needs a break once in a while. This summer is going to provide me that much-needed break and will also allow me to get all charged up for next year’s experiences. Plus, I’ll be afforded a change in scenery and will get the chance to meet and interact with young pre-meds that are aspiring to enter the medical field someday. What more can I ask for? It’s sad that this summer will be the last full summer break I’ll ever have…but then again, I learned last summer that I don’t really need ten full weeks of doing nothing. I honestly get very restless after sitting around for a week or two. So although it’ll feel strange knowing that I’ll never have a typical summer vacation again, I feel that I’m ready to accept this change in my life. Yeah yeah I know, I’m crazy. But do I actually have a choice as whether to accept it or not? I’m gonna have to accept it eventually…so I choose to accept the reality of the situation now rather than later. I actually will have “summer breaks” in the future, but they’ll be substantially shorter. They’ll be like a week or two long. So, yeah.

But before this summer starts, I need to power through these last two exams first. 😐

The first one is our short ethics exam tomorrow (that no one really cares about because it doesn’t make much sense to have a multiple-choice exam on a topic as broad as this…and if they’re insistent on an exam then they should just prepare us for the ethics portion of Step 1, not question us on the 100-or-so readings that were assigned to us over the past few months…this class could be designed so much better but that just my humble opinion 😊) and the second one is our cumulative Neuroscience final exam on Friday that’s sure to have almost 200 questions on it. They’re hell-bent on making us earn our summer break, I swear lol. On a brighter note, I did just take my third Neuroscience exam a couple of days ago and I think it went well overall. At the very least, I felt that I got many more questions right than wrong. There were 108 questions and they dealt mainly with psychiatric conditions as well as with the drugs used to treat them. Relatively speaking, I felt more comfortable going into this exam than I did for the first two Neuroscience exams because the material was easier to digest and it felt much more practical to everyday life. I could also relate some of the drugs we learned about in this section to pop culture. For example, “Poppin’ a Xan” = Taking a Xanax, which is the brand name for Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine used for anxiety reduction and relaxation. So next time you listen to “Xanny Family” or just about any other Future song out there, you can smirk to yourself and feel good about knowing that a Xanax is a benzodiazepine. Future probably can’t even spell benzodiazepine. (By the way, mixing Xanax and alcohol is NOT A GOOD IDEA. Don’t let these rappers outchea fool you.) Another fun fact: Purple drank/Dirty Sprite is a mix of promethazine & codeine, which is an antihistamine and a weak opiate, respectively. You probably already knew that this concoction is cough syrup and that people that drink this for fun end up ingesting much higher amounts than what’s recommended. Drinking this chronically (like Lil’ Wayne does) can lead to a physical dependence on it and can cause withdrawal effects when you try to quit. Also, mixing alcohol and dirty sprite is NEVER A GOOD IDEA either. Moral of the story: Just say no to drugs kiddos.

Being able to relate the drugs that I was learning about this section to everyday life has definitely made learning them more bearable. Also, SketchyMedical is the truth. That program really helped me in organizing all the drugs and in remembering their names. Thank God for SketchyMedical. All in all, I’m ready to wrap up the Neuroscience block and to start playing around with all the free time that’s waiting for me after Friday’s test. Speaking of, I actually have to start packing for the summer…*siiiigh*. I really hate packing.

Before I wrap this up and go about my day, let me just tell you about this SNMA banquet that’s about to happen later on tonight. It was designed to celebrate the achievements of the 4th years that were involved in the Student National Medical Association during their time here at Wake. I’m especially excited about it because I was one of the banquet chairs that was responsible in making this event happen 😁. Both me and my partner-in-crime (the other banquet chair) have been working with Student Affairs in getting the banquet organized by helping with the program booklets, serving as liaisons between the Student Affairs office & the students, helping with food choices, acquiring the gifts for the graduating 4th years, etc. I can’t wait to see the end result of all our work tonight! Hopefully the 4th years love their gifts! Plus we’ve invited Dr. William T. Grimes, M.D. to serve as the banquet speaker. He was the first African-American graduate of this medical school, graduating back in 1972. I’ll personally be looking forward to hearing what he has to say. Can’t believe the banquet is actually happening tonight…it has always felt like one of those things that was in the distant future. But here we are!

Okay I’m done. Hope your week is an impressive one!

Being positive doesn’t mean you don’t ever have negative thoughts. It just means you don’t let those thoughts control your life.

– Black Man, M.D.

I See Freedom Around The Corner

I want to start off my post by wishing all the amazing mothers out there a

Happy Mothers’ Day!!!

You Africans out there know what’s good! Sweeet Mooothaaaa!!!

Being a mother is a very difficult 24/7 job that hands out no paychecks, but it’s one of the most precious jobs that we have in our society. I know firsthand how hard my own mother has worked all these years in raising me & my clan of siblings…it wasn’t easy. At all. So I appreciate her strength and sacrifices each and every day. I once told her that I would never know how to pay her back to show how much I appreciated her…she told me to finish school, become a doctor, look after my siblings and to buy her a Mercedes-Benz for her and my dad so that they can ride all around Cameroon when they retire. Guess I gotta follow through now huh? 😂 If you’re fortunate enough to have someone you can call your mother, please value her and try not to take everything she does for granted. More likely than not, she has made tremendous sacrifices for you that you may or may not know about.

As for me, I feel like I just wrote my previous post a couple of days ago. This past week really flew on by. Now I just have a couple more days of lecture and three tests standing in my way between now and the end of my first year! Gotta power on through to the finish line! I knocked out my last Clinical Skills exam of the year last week and I gotta say, I’ve come a hell of a long way from my very first one back in October. I couldn’t even take a proper HPI (History of Present Illness) back then…now I can breeze through the entire interview (HPI, Review of Systems, Past Medical History, Family History, Social History, Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual History) with relative comfort. 😁 I handled my interview during my exam pretty well and managed to remember most of the components of the Neurological physical exam too. It was a lot to remember man. I actually almost ran out of time (45 minutes) for once lol. I did forget to do a few minor things, and had a hiccup when I forgot how to turn on the fundoscope 😂😂😂. A fundoscope is a handheld instrument that you can use to look into the back of a person’s eye (the retina). I stood there in the dimly lit room for almost 30 seconds trying to turn on the light on that freakin’ thing while trying to dissolve any awkwardness by maintaining a conversation with my standardized patient. I never did figure out how to turn it on on my own. My grader, who was on the other side of the one-sided glass/mirror, had to speak through the microphone to tell me to hit the switch on the wall the fundoscope was connected to in order to turn it on….😅. Boy did I feel stupid. Overall, I felt pretty comfortable with the patient encounter and my grader told me that I did a very good job! So that means that I can basically be your doctor…..just don’t come to me when you actually get sick or hurt. All I’m gonna do is take a history and maybe a physical exam then look at you like:

Lol, but seriously, don’t call me for any medical questions or advice. I’m not the one 😂. I’m just a med student tryna make it, go and get your actual doctor on the phone.

Remember that one ophthalmologist I talked about back in January in my Knowledge is Power post? The one who I went to have a meeting with in his office and ended up having me ask my questions to him in the operating room where he was operating on the retina of a newborn baby? Well I ended up shadowing him again a couple of days ago, and all I can say is that this man is a BOSS. I spent all morning with him power walking (And I thought that I walked fast…) around the clinic to see patients and to watch him give eye injections to certain patients. We must have seen about 25-30 patients in that short time period…it felt like we saw 60.While he was attending to each patient, he was doing like 10 other things, not to mention informing me of what he was doing and answering my questions as the morning went on. He was extremely busy, but what really struck me was how calm and collected he was throughout the whole morning. It was obvious to each patient that he was very busy, but they were all pleased with the time he spent with them because he never rushed the patient and he made sure to answer any questions the patient may have had. We even spent about 25 minutes with one elderly patient who was worried about getting an eye injection that she needed. She was actually 98 years old, but she looked like she was just hitting 70! She was walking on her own and everything too! Black don’t crack y’all lol. It took her niece, her son on the phone and the doctor to finally convince her to go through with the treatment. Throughout it all, the doctor never rushed anyone although he was starting to really fall behind schedule. So that just meant more power walking for us after he finished with that patient. All in all, it was a fabulous experience and I can really see myself doing what he was doing in the future.

That’s all I gotta say today. Make sure to have a wonderful Mother’s Day and a sensational week!

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.” – Amy Rees Anderson

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. Congratulations to all of you that are graduating from college this month! A special congrats to the Class of 2016 from the University of Miami!!! I wish I could have been there to watch you all walk the stage! It’s wild to think that I graduated from there on this date a year ago…

Beginning Of The End

Dude…

I only have three weeks left until I finish my first year of med school.

This is crazy yo. I’ll literally be a second-year student by the end of this month! It’s exciting and a bit spooky at the same time. Time is only moving forward. I’m getting older. More responsibility will be placed on me. I’ll be taking Step 1 soon. There will be new first-years in a few months.

Wow.

It’s just weird because it’s one of those things that you always know it’s coming but you always tell yourself it’s in the far future, you know? Like, I knew first-year would eventually end, but I always thought about it as ending “sometime later in the future”. Well that “later” is three short weeks away. At the end of the day though, I feel ready to move on up in the medical school totem pole. I’ve been at the bottom long enough. I won’t lie tho, I’ll miss both the naiveness as well as the relative comfortability of first-year. I’ll also miss having minimal responsibilities outside of studying and volunteering. Ah well, c’est la vie.

Now about my second Neuroscience test I took last week…that ish was looong! We had 3 hours and 40 minutes to answer 129 questions. I haven’t taken a test that long in quite a while. Now some of those questions were simple and straightforward (bless those professors that picked those questions) but others were unnecessarily difficult. But I expected that…some professors never fail to pick ridiculous questions. Turns out that six questions on the test happened to be bonus questions and several others were dropped. Thing that gets me is, why do ridiculous questions continue to be picked on these exams? Some of these questions don’t have to be that hard man…but then again, I’m not about to complain that we got free points lol. Shiiii, if you wanna keep picking bad questions and dropping them/making them bonus points, be my guest. I left the test overall feeling better about it then I felt about my first test, but you never know with these kind of exams. I got my grade back a couple of days later and I can happily say that it was one of my better performances of the year. 😊 Guess I was doing something right in the four weeks leading up to the exam! I also believe that my confidence was well-placed. I wasn’t cocky or anything, but I was comfortable enough to control my performance on the test and not let anxiety take over me. Gotta believe in yourself to achieve success!

Speaking of anxiety, this section of material we’re currently in is mainly based in psychology. So far, we’ve talked about personality disorders, anxiety + drugs to deal with anxiety, learning theory, mood disorders, psychotherapy and somatoform disorders. We have several other interesting topics to touch on in the near future, including but not limited to, childhood development, antidepressants, eating disorders, alcohol and marijuana usage. Turns out my psychology minor is being put to good use after all 😎. This section has been so straightforward so far and easy to digest. Plus, it’s very interesting. Too bad our next block test is next Friday. And that we have a medical ethics final the Monday after that. And that I have a clinical skills test (my fourth CPX) this Wednesday. And that we have a cumulative Neuroscience test the Friday after next.

In other news, I had my last CCL (Case-Centered Learning) class last Tuesday! 😭😭😭 That was one of my favorite classes this year because it was such a cool concept and my facilitators & group members were sooo chill. I was here thinking that we would have the same CCL facilitators and groups next year but it turns out that they’re changing up the course in ways I have no knowledge of yet. One of the doctors even brought us bananas and some good-ass homemade peanut-butter/chocolate brownies for our last day! Mannn ima miss them. Also, I learned what a Seder dinner was last week and even participated in one with a bunch of my classmates for the first time. For those of you not familiar, Seder is an annual Jewish ritual feast that celebrates the beginning of Passover. It was filled with songs, stories, food, some really good (& a little too sweet) red wine, and fellowship. It was cool that the school funded something like this; it definitely helped me further appreciate a culture that was outside of my own, which I believe was the overall reason that the school helped fund it. Understanding where different people come from and what rituals they practice in their culture or religion is not only instrumental in being an effective physician, but is also a cornerstone in destroying ignorance in the world while promoting unity in humankind. Plus, it’s fun to expose yourself to things that you aren’t familiar with! I guarantee that you’ll learn many new things that you were unaware of before.

Well that’s all folks! Be sure to have a dazzling week!

No matter where you are in life, celebrate it. It’s either a product of your growth or a place that will help you grow. – Unknown

– Black Man, M.D.