CHRISTEL WEKON-KEMENI, M.D.
DR. CHRISTEL WEKON-KEMENI.
Man, it feels SOOO good to be able to FINALLY say that!!! All the work that I've put in over the years coupled with the countless sacrifices I've made to achieve this goal have all culminated into me being able to call myself a medical doctor!! Of course, this wouldn't have been possible with the love and support I've enjoyed from all of my friends and family over the years, as well as from my significant other, who is now MY FIANCÉE!!! 😄😍😏
As you can imagine, I have SO MUCH to say in this post! A LOT has happened within these past few days, and I'm honestly still trying to process it all. I literally went from being a medical student with a girlfriend to a medical doctor with a fiancée within a 24-hour time frame! Like, how crazy is that?? Between the engagement, my graduation, coordinating my huge family, moving out of Winston-Salem, transitioning into residency, and preparing for my week-long vacation in Mexico, I was feeling quite overwhelmed this past weekend. But now that I've had a couple of days to settle my mind and to think through things a bit, that overwhelming feeling has subsided and has been replaced by a feeling of eagerness and anticipation for the future. Also, I can now adequately respond to the outpouring of love that my fiancée and I have been receiving as well as finally take the time to sit here and type out this post that I've had to push aside for the past few days. 😊
Man, where do I even begin?
I guess I could start at the beginning of last week, where I was continuing to prepare for my graduation weekend, working on the required documentation for my transition into residency, and starting the process of packing up my apartment. Nothing much happened throughout the week outside of that, though I did make some time to read for pleasure, take some 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 graduation pictures, watch some playoff games and hang out with some friends and my significant other. I also got the unique opportunity to host an Instagram takeover day this past Friday with the MiMentor organization, where I spent the day sharing my personal story with their followers and answering any questions that they had for me!
In addition, all of the underrepresented minorities in my class got the chance to meet with the executive leadership of the medical school on Friday afternoon in order to share our experiences at Wake with them as well as to offer feedback and advice to them on ways to continue improving the URM experience here. It was a productive meeting and it's great to see how willing the leadership is in taking our feedback and using it to make the experiences of other students at the school even better than it already is. I have faith that they will act upon our advice, because a good amount of my own positive experiences here were shaped by the feedback provided by graduating students who were in these same meetings with the Deans in the past.
Saturday is when graduation festivities started to occur. I attended this school function called GradFest, a fun and casual event where all the graduating students and their friends and family come together to celebrate our achievements. There was food, ice cream and various games that could be played. We all also recieved some high-quality picnic blankets, which was nice. I then spent the afternoon packing and spending time with my fiancée (I really gotta get used to saying this lol) and my soon-to-be mother-in-law.
Then Sunday (a.k.a. THE BIG DAY) came along. 🙃
The day started off pretty casual with brunch (it took forever thanks to all the people in town for graduation weekend) and some more cleaning of my apartment. Then I got ready for the hooding ceremony taking place in the afternoon, prepared myself for the flurry of activity that would be taking place within the next 24 hours, and proceeded to head over to the undergrad campus.
On campus, I met up with family and friends who arrived in town and after standing in the blazing sun for a longer time than I would have liked, we all made our way into Wait Chapel. During the ceremony, we listened to some of the medical school faculty speak and also listened to the keynote speaker, a prestigious Pediatrician, deliver his speech. We all were then officially hooded one by one and the medical school faculty awarded our late classmate, Tori McLean, a posthumous medical degree. 🙏🏿 Overall, the ceremony was wonderful and only lasted about an hour and a half. Although I was really excited to be hooded, my mind also kept wandering off to what was about to happen soon after the ceremony ended….😉
After the ceremony, everyone headed outside to take pictures with loved ones and to congratulate one another. Not long after I made my way outside, my family spotted me and I found myself instantly being yanked to take an endless flurry of pictures with various family members and friends. After a short while, I somehow managed to mobilize all of my peeps to a separate area across from the chapel so that we could take some better pictures and I could begin to bring my proposal to life.
Once we got there, we began to take more pictures and we would have probably never stopped if I hadn't put my foot down and pretty much yelled that I wanted to say something before we continued taking pictures. 😂 I then started thanking everyone for being there and expressed my appreciation to all the major players who supported me throughout my time in medical school. Then I – you know what? I think that watching a video of the proposal would do it more justice than me typing out what happened. You can view part of my speech and the proposal below!
BAM!! I'M NOW ENGAGED!!! 😎🤩😍🤯
As you can see, it was a very joyous moment for everyone involved! I'm really glad that it all worked out smoothly, even though it seemed like just about everyone around me knew about the proposal due to the fact that word of it occurring had spread across my class like wildfire. Later on, my fiancée admitted that she had a hunch it was going to happen as I was giving my speech but was still pretty surprised when I popped the question. Also, she's incredibly impressed with the ring I picked out; she absolutely LOVES it! Shoutout to my close friends for going ring shopping with me months ago, y'all know who you are! 😉
Shortly after the proposal, my parents, an aunt and I headed to the annual SNMA Excellence Banquet for graduating seniors, where the URM seniors affiliated with the SNMA were celebrated and gifted customized frames for our medical degrees! We also listened as Dr. Jasmine Johnson, creator of The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D. blog, gifted us with inspiring words to take with us as we proceed to start our medical careers. It was a fantastic banquet that I had been looking forward to ever since I helped plan the SNMA Excellence Banquet for the 2016 graduates as a first-year medical student. After that was over, I hung out with my family for a little while before returning home to spend time with my significant other and to rest for the university-wide graduation exercises taking place the next morning.
The graduation ceremony took place outside under the glaring sun on the expansive lawn in front of Wait Chapel. This ceremony wasn't as personal for the graduate schools since we all had had our separate ceremonies the day before, but we were nonetheless recognized and our degrees were officially conferred to us. We did get the chance to listen to both the President of Wake Forest and the CEO of The Washington Post deliver their commencement speeches to us, and witnessed the bestowing of various honorary degrees to deserving individuals. After that ceremony, more pictures were taken (I swear I took well over a thousand pictures this past weekend) and we headed to a reception for the medical school graduates. Then after that, we traveled across town to a graduation/engagement party that two of my bestest friends threw for my fiancée and I! While at the celebration, we all were able to eat good and share all of our excitement and appreciation with each other. After a few hours, my family had to start hitting the road so that they could return to their respective homes at a decent time. We all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, though I'll be seeing them all again shortly; my parents are throwing a big graduation party for me in a couple weeks and a lot of people are expected to show up. So that's going to be fun! 😁
Ever since Monday afternoon, I've been trying to wrap my mind around the huge transformation my life just underwent while also responding to the love I've been receiving via texts, calls, and social media. I've already been getting asked when the wedding is, where we want to have it, and for wedding invitations. 😅😅😅 People have also been joking that they'll be calling me for medical advice now. I have the feeling that they're only half-joking though lol. All in all, these past few days have encompassed some of the most exciting and memorable moments of my life and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the future holds! 😄😎
I'm going to be spending the rest of this week packing up my apartment and moving over to Chapel Hill, as well as getting ready for my trip to Playa del Carmen in Mexico (I'm flying out on Monday morning!). It's so wild that I've actually arrived at this point in my life.
I'm no longer a medical student.
I'm really a medical doctor.
I'm really moving out of Winston-Salem after having spent almost four whole years here.
I'm no longer a boyfriend; I'm actually engaged.
Oh and I still don't really know what the future of this blog will look like. I know I said that in my last post, but the thought just crossed my mind again and I felt compelled to state it again. I don't know when my next post will be, though I can definitely tell you that it won't be this Sunday lol. Maybe I'll post again after my Mexico trip and continue to go weekly from there. Maybe I'll start creating topic posts. Maybe I'll explore other avenues of sharing information on the blog. I have some ideas that I may begin experimenting with…or I may just scrap them all. Who knows, we'll see. 🤷🏿♂️
If you made it all the way to the end of this post, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for bearing with me as I shared some of my most precious moments with you! ❤️❤️❤️
And to everyone who has been following me on this medical school journey for some time now, whether it has been from day one or from a month ago, I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate each of you as well! I hope that my blog posts have left some sort of positive impact on your life and that you've enjoyed reading what I've had to share with you! 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿
Cheers to the future and all of the wonderful things it has in store for us!!!
“Success is assured when a person fears the pain of regret more than the pain of the process.” – Orrin Woodward
– Yours Truly, A 👏🏿 Real 👏🏿 Black 👏🏿 Man 👏🏿 M. 👏🏿D. 👏🏿