Knowledge is Power.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting medical school back in July, it’s that it really has a way of humbling you. I knew when I started med school that I didn’t know much about medicine and that I would have a lot to learn…but looking back now, it’s scary to see how very little I knew about the field I was trying to start a career in. Aside from Immunology, Biochemistry and the basics of Biology, I really didn’t know a damn thing about the medical field the day I graduated from the University of Miami. The limited scientific knowledge I had did not make Anatomy any easier and the whole Biochemistry course only lasted a couple of weeks here. I’m happy to say my major in Microbiology & Immunology is making my life a bit easier during this Microbiology/Immunology block, but I’m well aware that my safety net will not last long. Even to this day, it’s incredible how much I still do not know about medicine and what it means to become an overall effective physician. It’s like the more I learn, the more I realize how much I haven’t learned. I’m also finding that with an increasing knowledge base, I have so many more questions to ask and answers to find. Every time I begin to understand a concept, there’s suddenly 100 new questions that I need answered in order to feel like I legitimately understand it. I’m literally on a never-ending quest to catch smoke with my bare hands. It’s like an undying thirst for knowledge; an insatiable appetite.

But it’s eerily entertaining.

I actually enjoy being able to ask questions about new concepts, because it only increases my knowledge base on the subject. Figuring out how certain mechanisms work and why they work the way they do is so cool to me and allows me to appreciate the human body that much more. It’s a wonderful feeling when you can finally connect something you learned about a system in the body to a disease process such as diabetes. It’s an even better feeling when you begin to understand the mechanism of the disease process and how it shows the symptoms that everyone is familiar with, like why people with sickle-cell anemia are more likely to suffer from frequent bacterial infections and sepsis, or why people with untreated diabetes can go blind via diabetic retinopathy.

I know, I know…..I’m a nerd. I’ve always been this way…I can’t help it. 😅

I guess the medical field just tends to attract people that find pleasure in figuring puzzles out. Guess I’m in the right place.

On another note, I have a question I want you to answer. Can you tell me how in the hell a 20-minute meeting about my summer research plans ended up turning into an almost-3-hour long shadowing experience? Not that I’m complaining…I was actually very excited! It was just crazy though…I had walked into the ophthalmology department expecting to meet an ophthalmologist in his office so that he could help direct me in what I should be doing this summer. 30 minutes later, I was scrubbed up and having casual conversation with the doctor in the (really hot) Operating Room while he was performing retinal-laser surgery on a premature baby in order to save her vision.

The retina is in the back of the eye, by the way.

I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. This doctor was literally having a full-blown conversation with me while LITERALLY saving a kid’s vision with a laser machine attached to his head, a magnifying glass, a few metal tools and some eye drops. The fact that this guy really made the time to talk with me about my future goals while on the job really struck a chord with me. Hell, I’m still in absolute awe. I didn’t even want to say anything at first in fear that I would distract him from his meticulous task, but he kept telling me to ask him any questions I had on my mind. So I unloaded my barrage of questions ranging from why he decided to become an ophthalmologist to what disease he was working to fix on this baby. I almost forgot to ask him about my research interests, which was why I was there in the first place. Even after all my questions, he let me not only continue to watch him finish the surgery; he invited me to follow him around the ophthalmology floor as he continued about his day, meeting new patients he had to perform surgery on and discussing details with his fellow. (A fellow is a doctor that has finished residency, but is in training to specialize in a specific area of his/her field of medicine.) It was an awesome experience, to say the least. Doctors like him really make me appreciate studying medicine here at Wake Forest.

Overall, my first week back from break has been one of the calmest, if not the calmest, school weeks I’ve had since starting Anatomy back in August. The combo of having very little afternoon classes and actually having a background in what we’re currently studying has been reassuring. I was even able to find time yesterday morning to volunteer at Wake’s annual Share The Health Fair, where I got the opportunity to help screen patients in the community for glaucoma. Granted, I’ve been studying pretty much all weekend because it’s still a ton of material to cover…but I’ve felt a lot better going over this material as opposed to the Biochemistry and Genetics rush I had before winter break. This upcoming week though…it’s looking like there’s about to be a lot more activity going on. I’m ready though, I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’!!

Y’all be blessed!

 

– Black Man, M.D.

 

 

Another Week. 😒

Here goes the start of ANOTHER week of fresh, brand-new material to study.

SMH.

Is it bad that I’m not feeling as pressed about this new section of material as I was about the material before my first exam? Like my next exam is next Friday (Oct. 2) but I’ve been pretty chill about studying and I’m just more lenient with what I’m studying. Maybe it’s because I know how I’ll be tested so some of that beginner’s anxiety is gone? Maybe it’s because I’m finding more efficient ways to study? Or maybe it’s because I’m just starting to slowly burnout already?? Nahhh…It’s only been about a month since anatomy started, I can’t possibly be burning out. I’m actually all caught up in my studies from this week…or at least I think I am. We’ve gone through the whole GI (gastrointestinal) system and pelvic region in a week as well as had four lab dissections of the GI tract in the same amount of time. Try and imagine what that smelled like. 

But even with all that, I feel alright…almost like I’m starting to get used to the flow of medical school. Sure, waking up around 6:45-7:00 AM everyday sucks ass, but I’m also going to bed around 11 PM so that I can still get my 7-8 hours of sleep. I’m also starting to learn how to find what is going to be high-yield for exams in my notes, allowing for me to study more effectively. I’m really trying to learn the material not only to pass these exams, but to be a better future doctor overall…but it’s hard man. There’s just too much material to try and learn every little detail exactly, so I’m learning how to completely understand all the overall concepts while being at ease that I simply won’t ever know everything. Guess that’s just something you eventually learn while in medical school.

Something that’s been kind of bugging me though is the fact that I’m actually becoming an adult…as a matter of fact I technically am an adult. Not only that, but I literally went from college where people all around me were around my age to being the fourth youngest person in my class…damn near everyone around me is grown. I’m still tryna wrap my head around that. I feel like a small part of my mind is still down in Miami in college and is unable to accept the fact that I’m not a kid anymore. I’m in the real freakin’ world.

Ain’t no more dining hall bih.

Ain’t no more stroll-offs bihhh.

Ain’t no more free merchandise bihhh.

Just me, this crazy world and all this damn debt that I’m putting myself in. It’s still crazy to me that I have my bachelor’s from undergrad and even crazier that I made it to medical school on my first try by the skin of my teeth. Sometimes I wonder what I would have actually done if I had decided to take a year off…

I’m also trying to wrap my head around the fact that medicine is literally going to be the rest of my life. Like, I’m actually going to be working in the medical field until the day I die. This is going to be my job, my passion, my desire. This is where my place will be in this world. It’s honestly a surreal feeling. I’ve been working my whole life up to this point to make it into medical school and now that I’m actually here, I’ve really started to understand that this will be a lifelong journey. I just gotta make sure I make it worthwhile and that it doesn’t take away my sanity…

F- it, I’ll be good. I’m just airing out floating thoughts. Y’all didn’t help support me all this time just to see me get anxious about my future!

If there is NO struggle, there is NO progress.

Y’all have a blessed week!

– Black Man, M.D.