Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

How in the hell am I already starting my fourth week of the Motivation Program???

smiling kanye west nope just kidding

I honestly feel like I haven’t been here that long yet.I feel like I just left VA a few days ago…But in reality I’ve been down here for almost a month already. This means that in a little over five weeks, I’ll be starting my second year of school. I bet you think that I’m dreading that. Nah. Not at all. Lol, I’m actually ready to take it on. But I would much rather continue enjoying my summer break, no need to rush life. 😎

You know how they say that you know you love your job when you don’t feel like you’re working a job? Or better yet, as the saying goes, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?” That perfectly describes my summer so far. What I’m doing in the program feels so natural to me that I always forget that I’m working a summer job. It’s to the point where I don’t even have to look forward to the weekends for relaxation. I truly enjoy each and every day that I wake up to. It doesn’t matter if I’m giving the students advice in class, running errands for my boss, working out at the gym, or kicking my feet up and watching a video. It’s all invigorating to me. And I love it. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m down in South Florida…except when I get caught in torrential downpours…or when the overbearing humidity damn near suffocates me…or when the sun tries everyday to give me my first sunburn…or when the crazy drivers down here try to take over the roads for themselves…or when- okay it hurts a little. But I’m still having a great time!

Speaking of giving the students advice, it amazes me how much some of the students love reading this blog! Not only do they read it, but they are actually inspired in one way or another by it. I had one student come up to me last week who told me that he didn’t know what Juneteenth was and only learned of it because of my previous post. I had another student tell me a while back that he’s been reading a lot of my older posts about my first-year experience and felt inspired by them. I also had yet another student stop to tell me that she really liked how authentic I was in my posts and that she was appreciative of the different resources that I provide on here. Lol, talk about heart-warming. Hearing feedback like that keeps me motivated to continue posting frequently and inspires me to continue to inspire people that are striving to do great things in their life. While I’m still on the subject of helping the students, I must admit that they’ve been good at making me realize how much material I’ve forgotten when it comes to anatomy & biochemistry. Like, I can’t confidently answer about half the questions they ask me without double-checking Google. It’s sad yo. It’s insane how much you can forget as time goes on, especially when you know that you had mastered those forgotten things at one point in time. Welp, such is life. I can thank them for giving me a review of basic concepts that I SHOULD know, considering that I’m going to be a doctor in less than three years.

EditingAndLayout will smith damn men in black

Lastly, we had a catered dinner (Lime Mexican Grill) last Thursday for the Dinner & Discussion series that we’re participating in throughout the length of the program. For the discussion portion, we had both a current D.O. medical student and a D.O. practicing physician come in to talk to all of us about their experiences and to answer any questions that we had. I was happy that the students were exposed to people traveling the D.O. path of medicine because a lot of them were pretty unfamiliar with what osteopathic medicine was in the first place. I myself didn’t even know what a D.O. was until I was well into my application cycle for medical school. It’s definitely nice to be able to know all the options you have available to you before beginning to apply to schools. The physician’s story was very inspiring, for he went through numerous hardships and life experiences in order to get to where he is today as an internal medicine physician with interests in HIV/AIDS and Nephrology. He stayed dedicated to his dream of becoming a great physician, even after dealing with challenges such as starting a family while in college, obtaining his MBA along the way, dealing with tragedy in his family in his first days of medical school, and so on. I should also note that he is a black man sporting some pretty neat locs. Way to shatter stereotypes!

And with that, I’m ending this post. Be sure to put a smile on someone else’s face this week!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Cruisin’

First off, I have to wish a Happy Fathers’ Day to all the incredible fathers out there that have dedicated their lives to providing for their families! Each of you are deeply appreciated and serve as outstanding role models to not only your children, but to the greater society as a whole. I know that for me, my own father played (and continues to play) a HUGE factor in making me the man I am today…and I don’t think I can ever thank him enough for that. He continues to inspire me and to push me to become greater than I could ever imagine myself to be. I hope that some of his great qualities have trickled on down to me and that I can be at least half the man he is for my future kid(s). However, I definitely don’t plan on having any little Christels running circles around me anytime soon, so I still have a good amount of time to get up to his level.

And whaddya know, it also happens to be Juneteenth! For those of you unfamiliar with Juneteenth, lemme break it down for you real quick. It’s the day that commemorates the actual end of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas and informed the locals there that: 1) the Civil War had officially ended and 2) all enslaved peoples were now free. The Emancipation Proclamation had legally freed all slaves in the country a couple of years prior, but Texas didn’t really give a Massachusetts (sound it out a couple of times, it’ll come to ya 😏). So they continued to enforce slavery until this day came about in 1865. So to put it simply, Juneteenth is a day of freedom and celebration in the African-American community. If you’re just dying to learn more about it, click here! (If you couldn’t tell, I’ve recently learned how to hyperlink and I’m lowkey addicted now 😅)

How nice it is to have Fathers’ Day and Juneteenth fall on the same day. Special shoutout to all the Black fathers out there! Pour two up for fatherhood and freedom!

As for me, I’m currently cruising comfortably thru Summer ’16. It’s already been two weeks since the Motivation program started, and I’m all ready to continue striding into the third week. The students have been very receptive to the program so far and are a pretty tight-knit group of people. They’re definitely starting to feel the pressures of the classes they’re taking, but it seems like they’ve been taking it well overall. They also had their first round of clinical rotations last Friday and just about everyone I’ve talked to said that it was a fantastic experience. Hopefully they can carry their happy spirits into the weeks ahead! Aside from working in the program, I’ve been relaxing for the most part and spending quality time with friends down here. I’ve also been dabbling a bit into next year’s subject material, because why not? I’m not hardcore studying or anything, because I’ll have time to do that in less than a couple of months…plus ain’t no one got time for all that. But I’ve been peeking into what I’ll be facing in my second year in order to get a feel of what to expect and just simply out of curiosity. It’s funny because whenever someone sees me looking at med school stuff, they always exclaim, “WOW! You’re studying?? During your summer break?!?” Lol, as if I can’t open a review book and enjoy my summer at the same time. Plus, I need something to do while I’m in class with the students, so why not preview the organ systems? It’s actually some interesting stuff. In addition, if I hated learning about how the body worked, I wouldn’t be in the medical field. So, yeah. Apart from all that, it’s been great to finally catch up on movies that I’ve been meaning to watch. There’s so many out there man. Watching old episodes of the Bernie Mac show has been fun too. And you can’t really beat kicking back to do some summer reading while watching the palm trees sway. (Yeah, yeah, I read for fun. You gonna try and stop me?) 

So that’s that. I’m going to continue enjoying my summer, and you should do the same! Make your week a spectacular one!

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

– Nelson Mandela

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I really hate the rainy season down here.

Motivation Program Kickoff!

This South Florida rain gotta stop.

I know it’s rainy/hurricane season and all…but that doesn’t mean it has to randomly rain EVERY freakin’ day. Like, the forecast for this week is straight thunderstorms every day in 90-degree weather. There’s a day where it’s “supposed” to be partly cloudy, but chances are that the floodgates up in the clouds will open up anyway. I’ve taken my umbrella everywhere with me, but I haven’t really had to use it yet because I refuse to go outside whenever a torrential  downpour decides to show up. But OF COURSE, the ONE time I don’t have my umbrella with me, I get trapped in a downpour. I had to run almost blind from the gym back to my dorm soaking wet. I’m currently rolling my eyes as I think about it. *Sigh* Well hopefully it starts becoming sunny and beautiful again, although the humidity always ruins the fun. Can’t do anything about that though.

In other news, the first week of the Motivation program is already over! And it was a very successful week! I’ve (hopefully) already got the names of all the students down too! This group of students have been pretty interactive & inquisitive and all seem to be enjoying the program so far. They’ve also already been quickly put to work. With classes in Reading & Study Skills, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy Lecture & Lab (I can’t get away from these cadavers man), Histology & Health Equity Research, they really are getting a feel of the demands of med school. Before being put to work though, they had to go through Orientation where they were given the rules & regulations of the program, listened to a seminar on diversity and sat through HIPAA/Privacy training. The HIPAA training was, of course, full of important information that detailed how crucial it is to maintain digital security and different ways in which the secure nature of the medical center could potentially be breached. It’s kinda scary to think about how a simple mistake like leaving your laptop open and unattended for a few minutes could endanger the lives of so many people. Also did y’all know that there is a black market for stolen usernames & passwords? Someone can steal thousands of them and sell them to a bidder for a TON of money. Jerks. As important as the talk was, it wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever sat through. If there was a way to make this training engaging and interesting across the board, I’m sure that people across the nation would greatly appreciate it. Hell, that’s a million-dollar idea right there for anyone willing to take that challenge on. Don’t let me beat you to making it happen 😉. The seminar on diversity was pretty interesting though. One thing that stuck with me from it was when the doctor presenting talked about having to learn from the diverse nature of all areas of life, no matter how ignorant the beliefs of some people may be. Just because you don’t agree with the beliefs or attitudes of a patient doesn’t mean that you can’t learn something from them. Besides, it’s mandatory that you care for each and every patient entrusted to you, so coming into contact with people that you may not agree with is very likely to happen…so might as well learn something from them, such as why these certain patients believe what they believe and what in society made them come to that viewpoint.

The students have learned quite a bit in each of their classes so far, but what I find really cool is the fact that they have been given an opportunity to be published via their Health Equity Research class. In this class, they’ll be able to choose a topic within health disparities that resonates with them, perform some literature research on this topic throughout the program and present it to the class at the end of the program along with submitting their manuscript to a journal for potential publishing. During the course of the class, they’ll learn how to use medical research sources such as PubMed, efficient strategies in regards to publishing research material, and how to read & write a literature review. I really believe that it’s a fantastic opportunity…so fantastic that I’ve even slightly considered doing it along with them 😅. We’ll see tho, we’ll see.

Finally, both the members of the MCAT prep and Motivation programs along with the TAs attended a day-long clinical rotation seminar last Friday. They were exposed to a clinical case and had to think through it while offering suggestions as to why the person in the case was sick. They were also told what to expect when they participate in their clinical rotations for the next five weeks. Along with that, they were given talks on what it means to be Hispanic and/or Latino as well as how to engage with these patients and on cultural identity and awareness in general. The day wasn’t all full of talks though. We all participated in a fun activity that involved the PACE Palette, which is a type of “personality test” that assigns a dominant color to your overall personality. (My dominant color was blue, which symbolizes Harmony. Lol.) I also received the honor to join a panel with five other medical students that worked to answer the many questions that were bouncing around in the students’ heads. That was a cool experience. Believe it or not, it still baffles me sometimes to think that I’m on the other side of the application process and that I’m exactly where most of these students desire to be. I was in their same shoes not so long ago, so I know exactly what they’re thinking and how they feel. I guess that’s one of the reasons as to why I’m really big on helping students that are trying to cross the barriers that stand between themselves and their goals.

2016 MCAT & Motivation Summer Programs

 

That’s all I have to say for today, thanks for reading!

Okay I lied, I have one more thing to say. You may have noticed that I’ve been rolling out new additions to this blog. If not, be sure to check these pages out by clicking on the left upper icon on the page! The sections that I’ve added include Useful Blogs, Good Vibes and Med School 101. Now that I have more free time on my hands, I’m able to do some of the things that I wasn’t really able to focus on during the school year. It’s all about growth man! I hope that they prove to be of some worth to you!

Have a delightful week!

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian Larson

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Please pray for the families and the victims of the Orlando shooting. We’re living in some insane times.

Family Time

Well…

Week 2 of summer vacation has been just as relaxing as Week 1 was.

I could get used to this. 😎

My week back home in VA was comforting, to say the least. I spent a good amount of time with my siblings, who were all ready to play some Monopoly as soon as I got back home. (I started running the game after a slow start and knocked out a few people….but then the dice turned on me and I literally landed either in jail or on one of my brother’s overpriced-ass hotels every time I rolled. I turned into a broke boy with mortgaged properties before my brother ruthlessly slayed me. 😐) I also played a ton of FIFA with my youngest brother and beat him a few times. Unfortunately for my pride, he beat me more than a few times….and he talked hella trash throughout each game. Lol, I wanted to slap him with the back of my hand man. He really has finally hit my level in the one game that I used to consistently crush him in when he was younger. I played a couple of one-on-one basketball games with this same boy and with another crushing blow to my pride, he beat me both times. (We did have a one-point difference with our second game tho…) In my defense, this boy is about 6’1 and balls routinely. I also do admit I’m trash at hooping. 😅 It’s just wild to see my little brothers not only grow into young adults, but to also beat me in things that I used to destroy them in. SMH.

Most of my siblings and I also went laser tagging with some cousins and friends, mostly because I’m a big kid at heart and really wanted to go. That was a ton of fun! And I can’t forget about being able to go to my baby sister’s Student of the Month ice cream celebration that she was so excited for me to come to; she really was happy that I came to her school for that. 😊 I got to spend some quality time with my parents as well. I found it pretty freakin’ cool that I could talk with both of my parents about medical things now that I’ve finished my first year. My dad and I were talking about a number of different drugs on various occasions throughout my stay at home while I was able to assist my mom with a case in some of her doctorate level work. Oh, and the free homemade dinners made by my mom and one of my sisters were soooo clutch. Can never take free food for granted these days man.

Good times, good times.

You really can’t replace family man.

One more thing, I was asked by one of my former optometrists (who actually also keeps up with this blog, shoutout to her!) to visit her and her family when I got in town. So I did along with my brother (not the youngest one) and she introduced me to her stepdaughter who is currently in college and is deciding on what health track she wants to pursue. We all ended up talking for a couple of hours about the possibilities she could pursue, about what medical school was like, how her classes are treating her, and much more. It eventually became clear that she likes dentistry more than any of the other options she has, so she may be checking your teeth out at some point in the future! You better be flossing up! I was real happy to be able to talk with her and to help her in some way with her decision. I was even more touched that my optometrist reached out to me to do so. She even provided Wingstop for lunch! What a kind, kind woman. 😄

So now I’m back in Miami, geared up and ready to start this Motivation summer program. We’re checking in the students today and will officially start the program with Orientation tomorrow. I’ve been looking forward to meeting these twenty-three students and I’m sure that they’ve been looking forward to starting this program for a while now. Time to see what these students are made of! 😈

Hope that you have a brilliant week! Positive vibes over negative vibes!

“The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for.”

– Black Man, M.D.