Hometown: Missouri City, TX
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami (2016)
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Major: Psychology; Minor: Chemistry
Name of Medical School: Howard University College of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “I don’t believe in luck. Luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently in my second year at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. From the time I can remember, I have always possessed the intrinsic motivation to become a doctor. I believe this deep-rooted motivation stemmed from an experience I had as a toddler, following my uncle’s passing due to a brain tumor. I only knew him for the first few years of my life but I could tell that he was loved and had a strong presence in the lives of those surrounding him, especially his daughter’s.
I remember riding in the car one day with her and my parents and she had mentioned going to visit her deceased father. Being a toddler at the time, I misunderstood that she meant to visit his grave and in my ignorance I responded, “How are we going to see your dad when he’s dead?” There was a moment of silence in the car and it immediately brought her to tears. I felt truly sorry for her and the fact that she lost her father, and I apologized to her later on. That moment really stuck with me, as I can vividly remember that scene. I would like to one day save someone from feeling that pain that I saw in my cousin’s eyes that day. I want to become a medical doctor because I would like to have that impact on someone’s life, whether that is the patient, or the family and loved ones of that patient. The feeling that I will get from saving a father, or a sister, or a friend, will be indescribable. I just know that it will bring me bliss. My burning desire is to have a positive, lasting impact on this world.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell him?
There are so many things that I have learned since my freshman year that I would consider going back to tell myself. However, I love where I came from and I appreciate everything that has happened to me up until this point. I believe our experiences make us who we are and there’s nothing I would really change about my path because it has shaped the person I’ve become today. If I had to choose one thing though, I would simply tell myself, “have faith and stop worrying about the timing.” It seems so simple but I believe it could be so powerful. Most people get caught up in the timing of things and it could lead to losing hope and eventually quitting.
One thing I’ve learned is that we can’t control the timing in which we receive our blessings. Leave that part up to God. If you know what you want, go for it. Don’t quit and believe with all your might that God will create that path for you. You may not see it today, or tomorrow, or even next week but I can guarantee that if you keep moving forward and focusing on where you want to be rather than where you’re at, you will SUCCEED. You will make it. The only limitations you have are the ones that you place upon yourself. You are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul. You decide what you want out of life and it’s up to you and God to create that together. You have to be in charge of yourself. Nobody else can tell you which way YOU can go. You decide for yourself and go for it!
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
There are a million paths into medicine and everyone’s journey is unique. Stay true to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Trust in the path that God has for you and keep striving until you get there. Where there is a will, there is a way and I truly believe that.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
In graduate school, I had a goal of achieving a 4.0. I was set to graduate in December of 2017 and the summer prior, I was taking a few summer courses, one of which was pharmacology (I do NOT recommend taking this course in the summer because it is so much information in so little time). With this being a summer course, we only had 2 tests and a few other minor grades (presentation, quizzes, etc.) that would determine my final grade. I completely bombed the first test. This put me in a tough position because up until this point, I had achieved a 4.0 and now this elective summer course was going to mess that up. I calculated my grade and I literally needed a 100 on the last test in order to get that A and maintain the 4.0.
At that point, there were two things I could have done: Accepted that my goal wouldn’t be achieved or find a way. I chose the latter. I understood that insanity is doing the same things and expecting a different result, so I decided to reevaluate my study habits and I changed the way I studied for this last test. I am proud to say that I did get that 100! & on a pharmacology test, which is almost unheard of! I can also say that that new study method is now the way I study for all my exams in medical school and I never would have discovered that strategy if it wasn’t for failure. In life, you either win or you learn. We don’t lose. Take each failure as a learning opportunity. You never know how a “failure” will impact your growth so take it with a grain of salt and understand that things happen for a reason. Don’t let that get you off your energy. Only through failure, comes success.
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
I LOVE Howard for the culture. It is a place where they emphasize serving the underserved, and we know who that is in this country. I feel comfortable at this institution and I believe that’s important for my well-being, especially in a highly stressful environment such as med school. Many of us go off to these “fancy”, predominately-white institutions and get a wonderful education and residency training, however we are so separated from our people. Yes! I applaud you for your success and your being able to get this grand education. Now I challenge you to take that knowledge and acquired skill and bring it back to our neighborhoods and make sure that THOSE are the healthiest communities, the best hospitals, the places producing the best quality professionals. I came to Howard to be immersed in the culture I intend to serve. I believe I will do great things and leave a mark in this world and I will be more than proud to serve our people and represent Howard, a prestigious Historically-Black University.
Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?
I went to Barry University in Miami for graduate school and received a Masters in Biomedical Science. I believe that completing a Masters program has had a major impact on my learning experience in medical school. Being exposed to a good portion of the material covered has reduced the learning curve dramatically. I also believe it allowed me to learn more about myself and acquire study methods that work for me. I am forever grateful for the opportunity and education granted to me by Barry University.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
If you are hesitant for some reason (low GPA, low MCAT, etc.), just go ahead and apply. There are so many other factors that go into the decision and I believe people miss opportunities because they feel that they “don’t qualify.” I can tell you from my experience that although your scores and grades are important, they do not define you as a human. Experience is what defines us and your experiences can be more important to admissions committees. Good recommendations, a good personal statement, and unique experiences can go a long way. So yeah, I would say take that leap and see what happens. Even if you do not get in, maybe retake the MCAT or add some experience in that year between and try again. Just don’t give up. As long as you have a will, there will be a way.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
There were 6 months in between graduating from my Master’s program and beginning medical school. In that time, I continued to work as a pharmacy technician at CVS. I also took time off to travel. In that time I have been to Spain, France, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands. I love to travel and I believe it’s a great way to escape temporarily from the constant hard work we put in.
Lastly, one of the major moves I made in that time was starting a business. I am the founder and partial-owner of a collegiate brand based in Miami that strives to offer students, alumni and fans a unique opportunity to express their love for colleges and universities worldwide. We do so by fostering creativity and individuality in every collegiate experience. We are now currently licensed with the University of Miami to design premium apparel and we have plans to expand beyond. We wanted to improve the college experience and we saw a dullness and lack of creativity in the school’s apparel. Being the creatives that we are, me and a frat brother teamed up to fill that void. I believe that with this business, I will encourage ingenuity and provide opportunities for creatives to pursue their artistic passions, especially college students. This will ultimately add more value to the world, which is in conjunction with my principal purpose.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?
The most challenging part is finding what works for you as far as time management and your study habits. Once you figure out that part, I believe that it becomes more fair and easy to handle. For me, I stopped looking at medical school as school but more like an internship. I am here for a purpose and all the learning is simply going to set me up for a career. Yeah, if this were a job the pay would suck and the hours would be demanding but I am ultimately doing what I love, and not many people can say that about their current job. When you come to that understanding, you learn to love the grind and that’s when the work doesn’t seem like work anymore. That’s when it gets “easy” and you learn to develop a hunger for the knowledge.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I am involved in a number of clubs and organizations within the College of Medicine, including student council, the Howard medical reserves corp, SNMA, the student interest group for neurology, the radiology interest group, the emergency medicine interest group, and the international medicine interest group, to name a few. I hold e-board positions within some of the organizations and in others, I am simply an active member. I believe that in medical school, especially within your first 2 years, you should learn about different fields of medicine to really find out what suits you. Besides, that is where you will be spending the rest of your career. It’s important to step out of your comfort zone and experience new things, and that can relate to life really. The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. Get out, expand your horizon and you may be surprised at what you discover.
I would say my most valuable position is within the student council where I serve as a Director of Community Affairs. My role is to organize monthly service events such as health fairs and community outreach programs and to oversee and ensure the execution of these events. Community service and outreach has played a large part in why I decided to pursue a career in medicine, and it has been important to me that I continue to do that work. I believe that we, as health professionals, especially coming from a diverse background, are in a position where we have the power and knowledge to not only help people medically, but to really make a difference and impact our communities. I aspire to use my platform to do just that, and I hope that my work will inspire others to give back as well.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
Favorite Books: The Alchemist, Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Magic of Thinking Big, Ask and It is Given
Podcasts: Oprah’s Master Class, Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, How I Built This with Guy Raz, Daddzombie
Music: Kendrick Lamar, Curren$y, MadeGroceries, Drake, 6lack, Young Dolph, Jill Scott, Buju Banton
Movies: Shottas, Elf, Love Jones
Wow bro, you were spittin' straight facts in this feature! I admire your hustle and your attitude towards life; it's definitely a winning attitude to have! I'm real proud of how far you've come since we first met each other and am truly looking forward to witnessing how far you'll go in your life! Like you said, “the only limitations you have are the ones that you place upon yourself”! The sky is the launchpad fam! Thank you for taking the time to give such thoughtful and inspiring answers!
Posted on February 18th, 2020