In just a couple of days, I'll be starting one of the most transformative years of my life. It's a year that I've been treating as the distant future for a long time now, because it just always seemed so far away. It's a year that I had been looking forward to with both pure excitement and guarded apprehension.
“2019 is the year that I will finally graduate from medical school and become an Ophthalmologist!” I would tell myself back in high school, as if I had already mapped out my perfect life plan and knew it inside and out.
“2019 is the year that I will begin my residency program and won't have a life at all, because I'll be busy getting worked to death…and I won't be making much money…but at least I'll be that much closer to becoming an eye surgeon!” I would tell myself back in college as I started to absorb what other people were telling me the medical journey would look like up until I was finally a board-certified physician.
“I really wonder what my life is going to look like after I graduate in 2019…will I really be ready to begin my residency training by then? Will I actually be able to retain all of these crazy amounts of material that I'm being tested on? Will I be confident enough to treat patients on my own? Will my positive and resilient mindset truly get me through both medical school and residency? Will I really have no life when residency begins, or is that just something people say? How will my Step scores influence my residency choices? I know I'm good enough to be a doctor…but what if I find out that I'm actually not? Where will I live in 2019 after I graduate? Will I still be in Winston-Salem? North Carolina? Somewhere completely different? How the hell am I going to even begin paying back these massive loans??? ” I would ask myself over and over again back in the early months of my first-year of medical school.
“Oh wow, 2019 is getting preeee-tty close 😅” is what I've been telling myself these past few months as January 1st, 2019 has crept closer and closer with each passing day.
Looking back on my past 3 1/2 years as a medical student, I can comfortably say that I'm going to be ready to start residency come July 1st, 2019, or whenever my future institution decides to begin our training. I've come to understand that being ready to start residency does not necessarily mean that I'll already know how to be the perfect doctor once I start.
NEWSFLASH!!! I won't.
As much as I've learned these past few years, there will be many things that I won't know once I begin residency. But remember, that's what residency training is for; it is designed to teach us what we need to learn in order to become an effective board-certified physician. All I need to arrive with on my first day is my basic knowledge set of medicine that I've been continously crafting, my personality along with my other character traits that helped me secure a residency spot in the first place, the confidence that I can conquer just about any challenge thrown my way, and the sheer will to work in order to improve the lives of my patients. Just with those alone, I know that I'll be good to go. It'll definitely be a tough transition, but I've been through tough times before and others have gone through this transition and succeeded. Plus, it's not like I'll be going through this alone; I'll have my co-residents, mentors, advisors, faculty, family, friends, my significant other, plus others who will be there for me throughout this time.
As of late, when I've been asked if I'm ready for graduation and residency, I've been telling people that I feel like it's all going to be an exciting and nervewracking experience. I still think so, but I'm now leaning more towards exciting and away from nervewracking. Why, you may ask? Simply because, I'M GOING TO BE A DOCTOR. There are a TON of people who aren't able to say that and countless others who wish and dream of being able to say that. It's an honor to be able to enter such a noble and highly-regarded profession. I've worked so hard to get to this point and so many people have supported me along my journey and prayed for me to get here. So why wouldn't I be thrilled about the fact that I've made it this far? By allowing myself to enjoy the journey towards being a doctor, I have really been able to appreciate so much along the way and because of this, I feel energized as I approach my final semester of medical school and graduation. The journey is so much more important than the destination y'all, because how you develop during your journey directly correlates to how you will function once you reach your destination.
2018 has been an amazing year of growth for me overall. I literally started the year off at the midway point of my third-year Neurology rotation and now eight rotations (including my two away rotations), two Step exams, and ten residency interviews later, I'm ending the year as a much more confident and resilient fourth-year student who is ready to power through three more rotations before enjoying another flex block and graduating with a medical degree. And through all of this, I've been able to expand my blog even further, begin fundraising for The Desire To Inspire Scholarship, become a member of the SNMA Board of Directors, visit San Francisco and other major cities across the East Coast, forge important connections with all kinds of people across the nation, confirm my career choice as a Pediatrician who is on an even bigger mission, get nominated for various scholarships and even awarded some of them, and much more! I'm really looking forward to what 2019 is going to bring and how much growth I will continue to enjoy as a result of the events that will occur throughout the year. With it being a year of major transitions, I'm sure that there will be plenty of personal growth and development to appreciate!
I hope that you had as wonderful of a Christmas and overall holiday season as I had! Being able to spend quality time with family and friends is always a blessing that I try not to take for granted.
I also hope that you're as excited as I am about all of the potential opportunities in store for us as we enter 2019! 😄
Here's to a fantastic and prosperous New Year!
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
– Black Man, M.D.
P.S. – I've been blogging for so long that I recently realized that I was able to read what I typed in my end-of-the-year/New Year posts for 2015, 2016, and 2017. If you're curious like I was, feel free to check them out for a trip down memory lane!