The Marvels of Leadership

I’m just going to go ahead and warn you now, this post might end up being one of my long ones. I already know that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to get long-winded as I type about my experiences at the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference, where I spent most of this past week at. I’ll try not to write a novel about it all, but if you’ve been following this blog for some time now, you know that I’m more than capable of doing so without even realizing it lol.

So now that I’ve prefaced this post by saying that, let’s get started. 😊

Like I said, I spent the vast majority of last week at AMEC, which took place in Philadelphia this year. It was such a great time, although I was much busier at this conference than I had been in the other AMECs I attended these past couple of years. It also happened to be the 55th Anniversary of the Student National Medical Association, which only added to all the hype and fanfare surrounding this sold-out conference. Before I get into all of that though, I first want to talk about an unexpected experience that took place the day before I traveled to Philly, that of which has nothing to do with the conference. I literally just thought about it right now and figured I would share it with you since it was cool and all and it happened before I went to AMEC.

I had been in Chapel Hill the weekend prior to the conference and I had planned to stay there with my girlfriend until Tuesday morning, which was the day I left to go to Philly. On Sunday, she told me about an unanticipated rally that Beto O’Rourke was hosting at UNC the very next day and asked if I wanted to go while she was in class. I figured that I wouldn’t have anything to lose by going, but I also didn’t want to have to deal with the parking situation on campus…..plus I was busy getting ready for the conference and I didn’t really want to interrupt my day by going to a rally for a few hours. In addition, there are so many candidates in the Democratic primary race and I think that it’s far too early for me to throw my support behind someone, especially since I haven’t done a ton of research into each of their respective platforms. So with all that said, I decided that it would be a gametime decision.

Monday afternoon eventually came around and I finally made the decision to go and listen to what this presidential candidate had to say. I liked watching him speak on TV and I figured that it would be cool to hear him speak in person now that I was given the chance to do so. Plus like I said, I had nothing to lose. So off I went.

I got to campus, found a visitor garage to park in, walked across campus to the student union, and dropped my jaw when I saw the line to get into the building.

Bruh, it was so long.

It wrapped around the building and stretched deep into the courtyard. As I walked alongside all of these people in line, I started to become concerned that it was never going to end. When I FINALLY reached the end of the line, I just stood there in disbelief and was about two seconds from saying “screw this” and walking back to my car when the people in front of me started to engage in conversation with me. I then convinced myself that I would wait about ten minutes to see how fast the line moved before deciding if I was going to leave or not. Thankfully (and surprisingly) the line began moving rather quickly and before I knew it (actually took a little over twenty minutes), I was very close to the entrance. 😁

Then they halted the line.

Sad Michael J Fox GIF

They informed us that there probably wouldn’t be space for the rest of us and offered that we could see him speak outside for a few minutes before he walked into the building. At this point, I didn’t care either way. I just wanted to see this man speak so that I wouldn’t be mad at myself for having made this trip to campus. So I stepped to the side along with a few other people and patiently waited for his arrival. Because I was one of the first people to decide to step out of line, I ended up being front and center of the small platform he was given to speak on. When he finally did arrive, I found myself literally a few feet in front of him. It was pretty cool, to say the least.

He spoke to the small group of us for a few minutes and then shook hands and took pictures and whatnot. I got the chance to shake his hand, look him in the eye and express my thanks to him for coming to speak to us. I wish I had been able to get a legit picture with him, but he was obviously being pulled in every direction and I only was able to get pictures of him with other people. I took a few selfies as he was speaking but I looked like a straight-up dweeb in them, so I’m not sharing them with y’all πŸ˜‚.

All in all, it was a pretty cool experience and definitely not how I expected my day to go when I woke up that morning lol. I’m glad I took the time to go see him; I got to shake his hand, listen to him speak and I didn’t even have to spend that much time there because after he went inside, I just left. Now if I could have similar experiences with some of the other candidates and/or the Obamas, that would be spectacular. This is me speaking it into existence! πŸ˜‰

What the hell, I’m at 1000 words and I haven’t even started talking about AMEC. See, this is what I was talking about at the beginning of the post; y’all should have just told me to shut up. Welp, I guess I don’t have any choice but to continue. πŸ€·πŸΏβ€β™‚οΈπŸ™ƒ

I left for Philly on Tuesday afternoon and after hopping off my quick flight, I arrived at the hotel that I would be spending the next five days in. I already knew that it was going to be LIT the moment I walked up to my room and noticed that I had two doors as opposed to one.

Once I got settled into my suite, I grabbed dinner with a couple of friends and prepared myself for the events that would be taking place at the conference, starting with the community service event that was scheduled to take place the very next morning.

This event, the Healthy Attitude Summit, was co-sponsored by the SNMA and the Student Health Impact Project and its purpose was to engage with local high school students in order to help inspire them to pursue careers in the STEM fields. We engaged with them via interactive sessions where we taught them basic medical skills (CPR, blood pressure measurements, heart sounds, bag-valve-mask ventilation, splinting, etc.), introduced them to osteopathic manipulative techniques, taught them about vision & dental care and emphasized the importance of exercise and physical fitness. They also were able to listen to a few people speak, including a public health professional who talked about the power and inherent dangers of addiction. My main role throughout my time at the event was to float around, which pretty much meant to “get in where I fit in”. I found myself helping out at the CPR station, where I met some interesting high school students who impressed me with their high level of interest in the field of healthcare. I also got the chance to catch up with old friends as well as establish new connections with pre-meds and medical students while I volunteered alongside them. It was a great time!

I spent that afternoon at a Board of Directors meeting, where we talked about the business of the SNMA and kept everyone informed of what to expect in the next few days. There was going to be a huge influx of conference attendees the very next day, so it was important that we were all on the same page. After the meeting, I made my final preparations for the conference before going to sleep. I knew that I was going to be very busy this conference due to the fact that I was holding the position of Region IV Director, which meant that I was literally being held responsible for the MAPS and SNMA chapters in my entire region (chapters in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida & the Caribbean) when it came to business matters during the conference. So I had to make sure that I was at the top of my game by the time the attendees arrived. I had already made agendas for the regional meetings that I would be running, sent out all the documents that I deemed to be helpful for AMEC to the chapters in the region, and even created a GroupMe for all the conference attendees from my region (this eventually grew to include 250+ people) so that people could stay in communication with one another.

With all of this complete, I felt as prepared as I was ever going to be. However, I still didn’t sleep that well that night because I honestly was a bit nervous about how I was about to represent a whole region at the House of Delegates meetings and run two separate regional meetings as well as host regional elections, considering the fact that I had just unexpectedly taken over as regional director just two short months ago. I also knew that I wouldn’t be anywhere near as free as I was in prior AMECs to do whatever I wanted to do or to go to whatever sessions I wanted to go to because of my responsibilities as regional director, which bummed me out a bit. And lastly, I definitely planned on having fun at the nightlife events, so I already knew that I would find myself running on less sleep than usual throughout the conference, which would leave me feeling drained every day of the conference. With all of this in mind, you could probably imagine how much my mind was racing as I tried to fall asleep.

Turns out that I was pretty much spot-on with my predictions.

I was TIYYYAADDD, especially from Friday-Sunday. I ended up rallying throughout each of those days and making it to all of the nightlife functions, where I would spend a few hours at before crashing on my bed for another few hours only to get up and do it all over again. The vast majority of my time at the conference was spent at either the House of Delegates meetings, where the official business of the SNMA took place over the span of three days (including the elections of national officers), the Board of Directors meetings that took place both on Wednesday night and throughout the day on Sunday, my two regional meetings where I held regional elections as well as updated the regional members on the status of the region and touched on a variety of topics pertaining to our region, some other random meetings that I was pulled into, the AMEC Opening Ceremony, the President’s Luncheon, the Exhibitor’s Hall, and the Closing Banquet, where SNMA graduation took place as well as the delivery of regional speeches and chants (I gave one of those speeches πŸ˜„), the distribution of awards, the delivery of a keynote speech, and a variety of other things. Oh and I put together a compilation video of the ten regions, that of which was shown at the banquet! The video ended up coming together quite nicely, but maaannn getting that video to the tech team was a hell of a stressful ordeal that I don’t even feel like talking about right now….let’s just say that the people at the banquet were able to enjoy the video mere minutes after the tech team received it. Lol. I’m just glad that it all worked out. πŸ™πŸΏΒ I did end up missing the graduation picture of all the fourth year medical students because of the ordeal though, but it’s all good. I probably wouldn’t have even been able to spot my face in the picture anyway. I did get my stole and walk across the stage thooo!!! πŸ™ŒπŸΏ

Man, there’s so much that I could talk about regarding my experiences at AMEC but then I would be sitting here all day, fervently typing away. I gave about as decent of a summary as I could, and I still ended up typing up a novel that’s now well over 2000 words and counting. There were such dope vibes all throughout the conference, and I got to listen to some AMAZING, INSPIRING & INFLUENTIAL physicians speak while I was there. I also got the chance to catch up with a lot of old friends as well as make brand new ones, especially within the region I was leading these past couple of months. And lastly, I was able to successfully transition both of my leadership roles (External Affairs National Committee Co-Chair & Region IV Director) to my successors, so I’m officially off of the SNMA Board of Directors! Definitely a bittersweet feeling, but I know that the people I’ve transitioned power to will be phenomenal in their respective positions! Plus, I’ll still be in the background helping with transition stuff, so I won’t be completely ghost or anything. Oh and speaking of the External Affairs Committee, HUGE shoutout to my co-chair, Osose Oboh, for being elected as President-Elect of the Student National Medical Association!! That’s my co-chair, THAT’S MY CO-CHAIR!!! πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏ

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Now that the conference is officially over (I was EXHAUSTED yesterday and ended up getting a smooth nine hours of great sleep after collapsing on my bed), I’m back in Winston kicking off my Intern Boot Camp experience. We were given a TON of great information today that I’ll share with you on my next post because I’m tired of typing. And you’re probably tired of reading. But you a real one, which is why I appreciate you! πŸ˜πŸ€—πŸ˜„

I look forward to seeing what this week has to bring and to sharing my experiences with you next week! I hope that your week is a marvelous one!! To those of you who celebrate it, I hope that your Easter holiday was a gratifying one!

Also, please keep the families of the many people who were targeted by the horrific acts of terrorism in Sri Lanka in your thoughts and prayers. Words cannot even begin to express the sadness, anger, despair and anguish I felt when I first learned about that catastrophe. Like, what can you even do or say in the face of something like that? Smh. The world can be a scary place man. I’ll definitely be praying for them.

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas Edison

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I hope you all are ready for AVENGERS: ENDGAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Preparations.

Umm, okay……well……not much has changed in my life since my last post.

Your boy is still here making the most of the free time that has been afforded to him during this flex block. 😜

I flew back from Boston last Tuesday and have been hanging around both Chapel Hill and Winston since then. I’ve also been continuing to prepare myself as well as my region for the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference, which is taking place this week in Philly! Definitely excited about that, especially since it will be my last AMEC as a medical student. πŸ˜₯Β I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about my experience at the conference next week, so stay tuned for that post!

Although I don’t have much to update you with today, I do have a couple of things that are worth mentioning in this post. First off, my girlfriend and I did some apartment shopping yesterday in the Chapel Hill/Durham area and ended up being impressed by a couple of great places on our short list of complexes to visit. It was invigorating to explore new locations and to imagine what it would be like living in a brand-new community after having spent several years in Winston. It was also just as thrilling to consider the fact that I will now be in close proximity to my significant other after having spent the past four years in separate cities! πŸ˜„

What I’ll NOT be looking forward to is the actual process of moving all our stuff into a new apartment. God, I HATE moving. This is probably part of the reason as to why I don’t own a lot of things lol. I guess I just figured that the less I own, the less I’ll have to move. You may think that sounds stupid, but I don’t really care. I stand by my logic! 😀

The other thing I would like to mention is that I got the opportunity to be featured on a podcast a couple days ago! The podcast, Melan-In-White Coats, is one that was started by three medical students who wanted to use their unique platform to share their experiences as minority medical students with their audience while also discussing a variety of topics with invited guests on the podcast. On the episode that I was featured on, the host and I talked about numerous things, those of which included: sustaining a relationship while in medical school, the importance of giving back to the community, the growth of my blog, the scholarship that I just recently launched, my ambitions and expectations in the field of Pediatrics, and more! We had a great time chatting with one another as the time flew by, and we ended up inspiring one another to further expand our own respective platforms! Speaking on a podcast for the first time was a humbling experience, and I’m looking forward to sharing the episode with you all once it is officially up and running! πŸ™ŒπŸΏ

That’s all I really have to say today. Short and sweet.

I hope that you have a delightful week! And to those of you who celebrate it, have an amazing Palm Sunday!

“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.” – Dr. Robert Anthony

– Black Man, M.D.

Excursions, Freedom, & Inspiration

Man, I can’t believe that I’m already at the halfway point of my flex block. I only have another two weeks of living in absolute freedom until I go back to school to start Intern Boot Camp, a two-week pre-orientation program that the school organizes for the graduating fourth-years that is full of various sessions designed to help prepare us for the first few days of residency. (If you’ve been keeping up with my posts as of late, you may have just had some serious dΓ©jΓ  vuΒ πŸ˜‚)

I’ve really been able to appreciate all the freedom I’ve had these past couple of weeks, even with all the work that I have been doing in my extra-curricular leadership positions. I even went ahead and made a trip to Boston this past weekend to visit some people, as well as to really take in and appreciate the city that I was born in. Boston has so much history man, it’s incredible. I didn’t know there was an African-American museum up here, so of course I had to go and check that out. I also had a pleasant walk in the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden, although it was a bit chillier than I would have liked. (It has warmed up quite a bit since I first got here though 😊) And you already know that I had to go and check out what the nightlife in Boston had to offer lol. Overall,Β I’ve had a great time so far here (even with the one night it unexpectedly sleeted πŸ™„) and I plan to continue enjoying my trip up until I leave from here on Tuesday morning!

After I return from Boston, it’ll only be about a week before I find myself in a plane again headed to Philly for the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference. Yup, the conference is FINALLY about to happen! I already knew it was going to be an amazing experience simply based off of my past experiences at AMEC…but now that we’ve officially reached capacity for the conference as of last week, I am absolutely certain that it is about to be LIT LIT!! I’ll definitely be crazy busy during the conference, but that won’t stop me from having a great time! I’m very excited about being able to enjoy this experience for the third time in a row, especially since I’ll be actively participating in a leadership role this time around. There was so much work and time that was put into making this conference a reality, so it will be awesome to see what the final product ends up looking like! πŸ™ŒπŸΏ

Outside of hanging out with my girlfriend and watching the insanity of March Madness (I unfortunately ended up not winning any of the bracket competitions I was in, thanks to UVA’s lucky run), not much else has happened this past week.

Actually, scratch that.

I did do something that was quite exciting.

I FINALLY launchedΒ The Desire To Inspire Scholarship!!Β 

happy george lopez GIF by Nick At Nite

I had been waiting soooo long to officially launch this scholarship….like, it was something that I couldn’t stop thinking about ever since the idea was first conceived at some point during my first year of medical school. Even before then, I had developed a burning desire to create and fund scholarships for students, especially after I received the scholarship that ultimately allowed me to attend the University of Miami. (Shoutout to the Hammond Scholarship! ✊🏿) I sincerely believe that everyone should have access to obtaining a quality education and that the lack of finances should NOT serve as a barrier to securing an education. There are just so many intelligent people out there with such amazing potential who simply deserve to be educated in a way that gives them the best chance of turning their dreams into reality.

I’m really hyped that, after a ton of preparation and fundraising, this scholarship idea that I’ve been mulling over for years has finally been transformed into a reality! I’ve already done this many times, but I want to send a HUGE THANKS again to all of you who have played a part in making this scholarship a reality! This definitely could not have happened without your support!!! πŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏ

And with that, I’ll end here. Thanks for reading!

I hope that you have a remarkable week!

“Successful people have fear, successful people have doubts, and successful people have worries. They just don’t let these feelings stop them.” – T. Harv Eker

– Black Man, M.D.

Marching Into Opportunity

I don’t know about you, but I was a bit shocked when I woke up this morning and realized that today was the last day in March. Like, WHAT?!?

Los Angeles Rams Wow GIF by Gatorade

It feels like JUST yesterday that I woke up and blasted Future’s “March Madness” on my speakers on the morning of March 1st! (Yeah I’m lame, so what? Fight me 😀)

While the month has flown by quite fast, I have been intentional in taking the time to appreciate the easygoing and exciting vibes all around me throughout the month. From rotating through my informative, yet chill Radiology clerkship to experiencing Match Week and transitioning into my second flex block, I haven’t really had much reason to stress about academics as of late. Also with March Madness going on, I’ve had such a great time watching the games and either celebrating the survival of some of my brackets or bemoaning one of my bad picks. (UNC’s recent loss definitely screwed up a few of my brackets πŸ˜…)

Honestly, I would be chillin’ even more if I wasn’t working in the position of Interim Regional Director for my region of the SNMA. I’m not going to lie, the constant work that I’ve had to perform in this position has taken up quite a chunk of my free time and has kept me busier than I had envisioned being during this time in my fourth year, especially since the Annual Medical Education Conference is coming up in a few weeks. And let’s not forget that I still have to fulfill my duties as one of the External Affairs National Committee Co-Chairs, so that has been keeping me busy too. πŸ˜…Β Even though I’ve only served as Regional Director for a little over a month now and didn’t really have much onboarding at all when I took on the position, I think that my team and I have done some good work so far in pulling the chapters in the region together, effectively communicating with them so that everyone was on the same page, and getting them prepared for the conference. I really have to emphasize how crucial the people helping me have been in making my life easier as Regional Director. Shoutout to all of them, because your boy would currently be incredibly lost in this role without each of them! Can’t wait to see them all at the conference so I can thank them in person!

This past week, I spent a good amount of time taking advantage of some opportunities that had been afforded to me. I attended a community town hall meeting hosted by the Office of Cancer Health Equity, where we had a discussion about the findings of a community assessment that was done in East Winston concerning cancer care for African-Americans. While I was there, I got the chance to listen to what the East Winston community thought about the healthcare systems present in the city and to help brainstorm solutions to the issues that people in that community are facing. It was enlightening to be able to communicate directly with the community and it reminded me of all the community work I participated in during my Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation. Engaging in these community experiences has provided me a framework that I can use in the future as I attempt to impact my future community as a physician in effective and meaningful ways.

In addition to attending the East Winston community town hall meeting, I got the chance to listen to Dr. Bonnie Mason, the founder of Nth Dimensions, speak at a noon conference that revolved around mentorship for underrepresented minority residents at Wake Forest. She gave an engaging and memorable talk on mentorship and shared with us some very practical advice that we can use during our residency years and throughout life in general. I then got the chance to talk with her as well as with some other minority physicians in the community at a dinner later on that evening, where two prominent physicians in the city (Dr. Lawrence Hopkins & Dr. Charlie Kennedy) were honored. The URM resident mentorship program at Wake Forest was offically named after them at the dinner, and they also had the day of March 27th named in their honor by the mayor of the city of Winston-Salem! It was a wonderful dinner that showed me the incredible impact that physicians can have in their respective communities. I hope to have a similar level of impact in the communities that I serve in the future!

On that positive note, I’ll go ahead and wrap up this post!

I hope that your week is an excellent one! 😁

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I watched “Us” last Sunday and it was such a great movie! Had my mind all messed up for the next day or two though…I definitely recommend watching it if you haven’t already!!

Life After Match Day

I find it so funny how much everything changes after Match Day is over. As you know, my whole fourth year literally revolved around one thing and one thing only:

Where was I going to match?

With the help and guidance of others, I spent the vast majority of the year working tirelessly to figure out the answer to that question. I powered through both parts of Step 2, met with multiple advisors and mentors to talk about my future, knocked out my rotations one-by-one, carefully selected which residency programs I wanted to apply to, completed and submitted my ERAS application, went on eleven interviews, created and submitted my rank list, learned that I matched into a program on the Monday of Match Week and FINALLY received the answer to that burning question on Match Day!Β πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™πŸΏ

Now that I know where I’m going to be spending my first few years as an M.D., there’s not really much more for me to do as a fourth-year medical student. This is further solidified by the fact that I just completed the last day of my final clinical rotation this past Friday! (TURN UHHHH!!!) My time is now being primarily spent on getting through the necessary paperwork for residency (You should have seen all the paperwork I was sent just this past week; UNC ain’t messing around πŸ˜…), looking for a place to live within the Research Triangle, getting my finances together, preparing for graduation, getting ready for the trips that I’ll be taking in the next few weeks, taking care of SNMA business, doing some blogwork, and making sure that I take the time to chill out, relax and enjoy this low-stress period of time that I had been looking forward to for a very long time. As you can see, life after Match Day so far has been busy, yet splendid. πŸ˜„

Some of y’all may be thinking, “Wait what? Last day of his final clinical rotation? It’s only March! What the heck is he going to be doing until graduation??” Well, like I’ve said in previous posts, I set my schedule up in a way that would allow me to have a month of free time at the end of the year. In other words, I strategically put my second flex block at the end of the year lol. Sooooo yeaaahhh, I’m going to be coastin’ for the next few weeks up until Intern Boot Camp, a two-week pre-orientation program that the school organizes for the graduating fourth-years that has a variety of sessions designed to help prepare us for the first few days of residency. Life is going to be great during this free block, you’ll see πŸ˜‰.

One more thing before I end this relatively short post. I spent yesterday morning competing in the 6th Annual MACHE Bowl, where my interdisciplinary team and I competed against two other interdisciplinary teams in working to solve a case that was tied into the opioid epidemic and health disparities. We competed in two separate rounds in front of a live audience and judges. While my team didn’t get first place, we were able to appreciate the unique experience that was afforded to us by this competition and we learned a lot from one another in the weeks leading up to the event. Plus, we still got paid and were given some extra goodies just for participating. 😏

Alright that’s it for today! Now go on and make this week an exceptional one!

And keep having fun watching the insanity of March Madness!! πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€

“When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.” – Jim Rohn

– Black Man, M.D.

MATCH MADNESS: The Outcome

WOW.

WHAT. A. WEEK.

I don’t even really know where to start. This whirlwind of a week has been such a memorable one. Well, really Monday and this past weekend to be specific. The time between when I officially matched on Monday (PRAISE THE LORD πŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏ) and where I found out where exactly I matched at on Friday was spent doing various things like watching Captain Marvel, watching Netflix, attending a financial aid talk about investing in residency, doing SNMA work and spending quality time with my girlfriend and friends so that I could keep my mind off of Match Day. Nevertheless, I would find my mind drifting off and fixating on what Match Day would be like. I even dreamed about it once or twice during the week!Β πŸ˜‚Β (My girlfriend told me she had a Match Day dream too lol. God bless her, she has been going through the struggle right by my sideΒ day in and day out.) I knew that Match Day was going to be a day full of emotion, excitement, support and love, especially since I had witnessed all of that when I went to the past few Match Days at my school. And just as I expected, the day was full of all of that plus more!

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I woke up on Friday morning with an energized spirit and an aura of tranquility. As I said in my last post, I had full faith that I would end up matching at the place I was destined to train at, even if I had no idea where that location would be. It also helped that I had purposefully designed my rank list so that my top five picks (with heavy emphasis on my top three) were places that I could envision myself beingΒ particularlyΒ happy training at, although I would have honestly even been okay with my last choice on the list. Pediatrics is just that great of a specialty. 😊 So with all of that said, I didn’t share the same gut-wrenching anxiety that a lot of my classmates may have experienced in the days leading up to Match Day. Hell, even my girlfriend was much more anxious about it than I was. I feel that my firm belief in the fact that I would make the most out of any residency program I ended up training at also helped keep me calm. Regardless of where I trained, I knew that any one of the programs I interviewed at would transform me into a strong and capable Pediatrician. 😁

Okay, back to Friday.

I spent most of the morning getting ready for all the festivities of the day. I was really excited that I was about to finally find out where I would be spending the next three years of my life. After my mother and my two younger sisters arrived to Winston, we all headed over to the school to meet up with the rest of my classmates. As soon as we arrived at the school, I was instantly struck with an intense energy that had already enveloped the atrium full of future doctors and their respective friends and family. The energy was mainly a medley of excitement, nervousness, awe, pride and love. It was wonderful to see this outpouring of happiness, love and support all across the atrium. We all took a ton of pictures, talked with one another in pure excitement, met each other’s loved ones, and waited in anticipation as noon drew closer and closer. We all eventually made our way up to the fifth floor of the school, to the room where we would all be learning what our respective fates for the immediate future were.

awkward nervous GIF by DeRay Davis

Once we all made it to the room, the already intense energy I had felt in the atrium grew even stronger. Because the room we were now in was smaller than the spacious atrium we had just left, it now felt like this place that was packed with people was about to explode with this buzzing energy. By this point, I had been entirely consumed by this same energy, was bristling with it, and I was more than ready to snatch my envelope off the table at the front of the room, tear it off my match letter and read where my next destination in life would be.

happy kid GIF by AT&T

Forty seconds after hitting 11:59 AM, we began to countdown to noon. As we approached the last second before noon, our voices all got louder and louder. All my classmates and I braced ourselves more and more.

The energy in the room was incredible.

Man I’m telling you, WE WERE SOOO READY.

FIVE!

FOUR!!

THREE!!!

TWO!!!!

ONE!!!!!

black friday thanksgiving GIF by NBC

I wish I could have seen what the scene looked like from a bird’s-eye view of the room as we all madly dashed to the tables to retrieve our stylish envelopes, all of which had our names elegantly enscribed on them in cursive. Luckily, I had gotten myself to the front of the crowd before the countdown, so all I had to do was take a few quick strides to get to my envelope. I snatched it from the table, snaked my way back through the crowd to get to my loved ones, gathered them all together once I finally reached them, and:

 

WOW!!

I was taking my talents to the North Carolina Children’s Hospital at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill!!

jumping college basketball GIF by UNC Tar Heels

I felt a wave of relief, surprise, and excitement all at the same time after reading aloud the location that would be responsible for molding me into an independent, inspiring, and extremely effective Pediatrician. It was both humbling and lifting to have been granted the opportunity to train at one of my top choices for residency! Not only will I recieve superb training at that institution with some awesome people, but I will also be working on the same campus as my girlfriend for the first time in four years!! Getting the chance to be in such close proximity to her for the next three years of my life is simply incredible and honestly almost feels unreal. It feels so right, almost like this was what was always meant to happen. πŸ˜‰

 

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Everything that happened next is such a blur to me now. I remember high-fiving multiple people, giving and getting a ton of hugs, well wishes and congratulations, taking MANY pictures and a few videos, learning where other people ended up matching at, witnessing a spectrum of emotions as I periodically scanned the room, going downstairs to take a class photo of all of us in our white coats, and traveling a few blocks downtown in the rain to get to the location where our Match Day luncheon would be taking place. The luncheon was wonderful, elegant and emotional as most of my classmates walked up to the stage one-by-one (two-by-two for all the couples who matched together) to announce to everyone where they matched. My experience at the luncheon got even better when I received a congratulatory call from my soon-to-be Chief Resident. It made the whole experience feel that much more concrete.

I’ve really matched.

I was really going to be a resident.

WOW. I WAS REALLY GOING TO BE SOMEONE’S DOCTOR.

The rest of the luncheon went very well, after which my girlfriend, my mom and my two sisters went back to my apartment to chill for a bit. That’s when I finally had some time to reflect on everything that had just happened. Shortly after my reflection time, posting the incredible moment on my social media, and talking with my mom, her and my two sisters got ready to hit the road to drive back home. I saw them off, and then proceeded to get dinner with my girl before heading off to the evening festivities planned for my class to celebrate our collective achievements.

dance GIF

All in all, Match Day was an awesome day. The excitement of the day spilled over into the weekend as I celebrated on Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday in Charlotte in conjunction with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl that takes place in the city each year. (Perfect timing, if I do say so myself.) I also spent all of yesterday in the same city with friends, where we hopped around various areas of the city to entertain ourselves. Now that the weekend is over, I can really begin to think about my immediate future and make concrete plans as I begin to transition into the next phase of my life. I can also start working on some of the things that I had pushed to the side all weekend as I was celebrating. πŸ˜…

Man, that was a whirlwind of a post! I’m glad I finally had some time to sit and share all of this with you. I’ve been getting so much love from so many people this past week, all of which I very much appreciate!! I’m still working on answering everyone on my social media, which is a task that will take quite some time lol.

Congratulations to all the fourth-year medical students across the nation!! Whether you matched or not, we all have hit a very important milestone in our medical careers and have reached a point that very few people (relatively speaking) ever reach! We all have great things destined for us; all we have to do is believe it, have full faith in that truth, and work to achieve what lays in store for us in the future!!! πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ’ͺ🏿✊🏿

I hope that you all have a phenomenal week!!!

“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than your comfort zone.” – Billy Cox

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Y’all better get your brackets reaaadddyyyy!!! It’s that time of the year again!!! 😈#MARCHMADNESS

MATCH MADNESS: The Anticipation

IT’S HERE.

The week that I’ve been waiting almost four years for has FINALLY arrived.

Yes, I’m talking about MATCH WEEK!!!

lebron james yes GIF by NBA

Three years ago, as a first-year student, I experienced the magic of Match Day for the first time in my life. (You can read the post I wrote about the experience by clicking this link!) I remember being blown away by the incredible array of emotions that were being displayed by all the people in the room at the same time. I remember feeling so proud of my friends who had just matched into the specialties that they had worked so hard to earn the opportunity to train in, and also a bit sad that I wouldn’t be seeing some of them again for a while since they would be leaving to train at residency programs at other institutions in the country.

I remember feeling inspired about the fact that I would one day be a fourth-year medical student who would be actively participating in the Match Day festivities by geting the golden chance to open my envelope, read where I would be spending my residency years at, and hopefully be celebrating my accomplishment with my friends and family. I also remember feeling like I had such a long way to go before I even reached that point in my life; I was deep into my first-year curriculum, was primarily looking forward to my summer vacation, and my biggest concern at the time was facing the Step 1 exam. At the time, I sincerely believed that I would be going into Ophthalmology….so I would have been absolutely astounded if you had told me that I would actually be in the position that I’m currently in; an excited and motivated fourth-year student hoping to match into a Pediatrics residency in order to take the vision I have of my career and transform it into reality.

Three years later, here I am, about to begin the monumental week that will culminate on Friday with an event that will provide me the clarity that I’ve been searching all year for. It is going to be exhilarating to finally find out where my journey in medicine will lead me to next, not only because I will finally learn where I’ll spend the next few years of my life as a newly-minted physician, but also because I will FINALLY be able to start actively preparing for the immediate future. Right now, I feel like a sitting duck who can’t make really make any necessary preparations because I have no certainties of where I’m going to end up training at. But all of that will change on Friday when I, at long last, will be granted the answer that I’ve spent SO MUCH TIME searching for.

its about time drama GIF by BBC

While playing this whole waiting game can get quite nervewracking and anxiety producing, I’ve been relatively calmed by the fact that I will end up matching at the place that I was meant to train at. I strategically picked my top five places (top three especially) to be programs where I absolutely wouldn’t mind training at, so chances are that I’ll end up at one of those five places, which I would be totally fine with. Plus, the decision is all out of my control now since I already submitted my rank list a couple weeks ago and can no longer make any changes to the list I sent out. The residency programs across the nation have already submitted their lists as well, so it’s really up to the match process to determine who will be going where……maaannn let’s just pray for the best! πŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏ

prayer GIF

I’ll be sure to let you know where I ended up matching at in my next post! However, I’ve talked about the anticipation of Match Day long enough, so allow me to switch gears and give you some updates about my life that doesn’t concern the one day that I can’t stop thinking about. πŸ˜…

I spent the past week engaging in a variety of activities, mainly outside of my Radiology elective (which has been just as chill as it was my first week of the rotation). I got the chance to have dinner with the majority of the Clinical Skills group that I spent the first two years of medical school learning applicable clinical skills with and our two Clinical Skills coaches. It was nice to be able to catch up with all of them and to talk about how far we’ve come from being wide-eyed first-year students who were all too eager to put on a white coat and talk to patients on the wards, only to realize that we were quite awkward with our initial patient encounters. Okay I won’t speak for them, I certainly was one of those students who awkwardly fumbled through the first few patient encounters at the beginning of the year. Boooooyyy have I come such a long way since then…I sometimes cringe at how pitiful I once was at gathering an HPI. πŸ˜‚

On the annual Global Health night (a dinner session designed for rising fourth-year students interested in rotating through a global health elective), some of my classmates and I were given the opportunity to share our experiences from our respective global health rotations with the soon-to-be fourth-years. No, I didn’t travel anywhere for my global health rotation, in case you were starting to get confused. My most recent rotation (Immigrant Health/Public Health) qualifies as a global health elective even though it was stationed in Winston-Salem, so my friend and I shared the wonderful experiences we had during that rotation. You can read more about those experiences by visiting some of my prior posts! 😊

Later on in the week, I met up with my MACHE Bowl teammates to discuss how we were going to go about answering the questions that were assigned to us by the MACHE Bowl Committee. Lol, I can almost hear you asking yourself what the heck the MACHE Bowl is and why I mentioned it like I’ve already talked about it before or something. Well to put it simply, the MACHE Bowl is a competition designed to bring students from various disciplines together to work on solving a complex health disparity case in front of a live audience. It is meant to be a unique, interdisclipinary experience where we are supposed to experience the strengths of working in a collaborative team. The event is taking place on Saturday, March 23rd, which gives us a little under two weeks to finalize the presentation of our answers to the first round of questions provided to us. We’ll get a second round of questions on the day of the event, which will be interesting, to say the least. After meeting up with my team and having some great conversations about how we can go about tackling this case, I have faith that we will end up performing pretty well on the day of the event!

I spent the end of the week attending the #WakeUpWinston2019 Open Mic and Poetry Slam event, where I watched numerous performers from the community express their experiences and feelings through a variety of artistic expressions such as spoken word, various forms of music and storytelling. The event was designed to serve as a safe space for a celebration of diversity, inclusion and equity in the community, while at the same time empowering and uniting advocates and allies to engage in constructive dialogue and in providing awareness to others of the injustices and inequities present both in medicine and in the world around us so that we could all rise above those painful experiences together. I had missed it last year, so I was really happy to be able to experience it this time around.

And lastly, I spent part of the weekend at Chapel Hill to watch the UNC-Duke basketball game at an exciting watch party. As we all know, UNC ended up winning, which meant that my friends and I ended up rushing Franklin Street for the first (and potentially only) time in my life lol. It was a pretty wild experience, but not as insane as I had pictured it being. However, the whole experience got me even more hyped up for March Madness, which is going to be officially starting next week!!! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

excited college basketball GIF by UNC Tar Heels

Sheeeeeesh, that was a lot I just unloaded on you. Once I started typing, I simply couldn’t stop πŸ˜…. My head is a bit clearer now that I typed this whole post up, so thanks for bearing with me! I’m excited about this upcoming week, especially since my class is hosting events every night in anticipation of Match Day! Also, my mom and my two little sisters are coming into town to celebrate the day with my girlfriend and I, which I’m also looking forward to! And then after Match Day, I’ll be in Charlotte for an extended Match Day/St. Patrick’s Day celebration, so I also have that to look forward to as well! It’s going to be a dope week, I can already feel it!! πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏ

sweating cam newton GIF by Gatorade

I hope that you all have a sensational week! And shoutout to all the fourth-years across the country hoping to match into your desired specialties!! BEST OF LUCK TO US!!!

– Black Man, M.D.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Les Brown

P.S. – I knew that today was going to be Daylight Savings, but I still wasn’t totally prepared to lose an hour of sleep last night lol. That being said, I’m loving the fact that the days are about to last longer, which means that the weather is about to get warmer, which means that SPRING IS COMING!!! πŸ˜πŸ˜„πŸ˜πŸ˜œπŸ™ƒ

Scanning The Future

I’m one week into my Radiology elective and I must say, I’m certainly glad that I not only decided to select this rotation, but also that I ended up placing it at the tailend of my fourth year. 😊

It has been a real chill week, yet I’ve learned a lot of useful information about chest x-rays, CT scans, joint x-rays and MRI scans of the musculoskeletal system while working with the radiology residents and fellows. It’s amazing to watch how they are able to describe their findings in such detail as well as how they navigate through the various imaging modalities in order to accurately interpret an image. I was also able to appreciate what actually happens when an image study is sent to the Radiology department for interpretation and I ended up receiving helpful tips from the residents, fellows and attendings regarding the appropriate indications of sending in image studies for interpretation. Getting the opportunity to learn more about their perspective of healthcare delivery will definitely encourage me to think more about what imaging studies I order for my patients in the future and also think critically about why I decide to order them.

Although I was blindsided by the fact that there would be more work on this rotation than I expected (we have to write about an interesting case every day, deliver two separate five-minute presentations about interesting patients at some point during the rotation and take a final exam at the end of the rotation that’s based on the lectures that residents give us daily πŸ™„), I’ve still been having a great time so far and I’ve had more than enough time to get work done not only for this rotation, but for my other responsibilities as well (I have no idea why my list of responsibilities continues to grow when I’m just tryna chill 😩). However, I’ve been also taking some time to relax and thoroughly enjoy the free time I have; I’m definitely not about to take this hard-earned free time for granted.

Outside of reading diagnostic images and attending lectures, I spent some time last week providing input at a focus group dedicated to boosting the recruitment side of future admissions efforts at my school. I also spent some time interviewing prospective medical students for the fourth (and final) time this school year, getting my SNMA Region organized so that we are fully prepared for the Annual Medical Education Conference in April, and making preparations for both Match Day and Graduation Weekend. The more I think about this transition to the next phase of my life, the more unreal it seems. Like, I’ll have confirmation of my next destination in less than two weeks and I’ll be a full-fledged physician in less than three months! And from there, I have the potential to do whatever I want with my budding career!

excited dave chappelle GIF

It’s both thrilling and nervewracking at the same time, but I’m honestly much more excited about it all than I am nervous. So much work, time and sacrifice has been put into this mission, so I deserve to be excited about this next phase in my journey! I’ve come a long way from fighting vigorously for my hard-earned spot in medical school a few years ago and an even longer way from my teenage years, where the concept of becoming a physician was an idea that I believed in and was starting to work towards, but at the same time was one that almost felt unreal to me simply because it had seemed like it would take FOREVER to achieve the goal of becoming a doctor. All these years later, it’s incredible that I’m going to be obtaining my medical degree and am going to FINALLY turn this long-standing idea into a reality! πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏ

Figured I would go ahead and end the post here on a high note! I hope that your week ends up being a marvelous one! πŸ˜„

β€œI had to make my own living and my ownΒ opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker

– Black Man, M.D.

Final Rotation

Tomorrow will mark the first day of my final clinical rotation of medical school.

shocked donald glover GIF

As I’m sitting here typing this, I can’t help but feel a strong sense of awe and wonder about how far I’ve come in my medical education. After spending so much time regarding the end of my fourth-year as a time that I’ll eventually come across in the distant future, it’s simply incredible that I’ve finally made it to this point. It’s hard to believe that I’ve gone through seventeen rotation blocks since starting my third-year clinical rotations back in May 2017.

SEVENTEEN.

I had to say it again because I almost didn’t believe it the first time I said it. I actually just counted them to make sure I wasn’t lying to you. Lol but yeah, my clinical experiences in all of those rotations have allowed me to not only increase my knowledge base in clinical medicine, but to also increase my confidence level in adequately caring for patients as a healthcare provider. I’m extremely grateful for this boost in confidence, because I’m going to need every ounce of it when I start my residency training this summer. πŸ˜…

The rotation that I’m starting tomorrow is Diagnostic Radiology, a specialty that hones in on the skillset required to accurately read X-Ray films, CT scans, MRI scans, etc. While it is known to be more of a chill rotation for medical students because there’s only so much you can do with scans and films at my level of training, I’m expecting to learn some of the tips & tricks that Radiologists use to read these kinds of images so that I can feel more comfortable doing so in the future. As a resident, it will be necessary for me to interpret radiologic images in order to provide effective care for my patients. Yeah yeah I know, all the images I come across will be read by Radiology residents and attendings and I’ll have the luxury of reading their official interpretation in their notes. However, I still want to acquire the ability of reading them on my own so that I don’t always have to rely on the interpretation of others to make my own clinical judgments. As y’all already know, I’m trying to be the best doctor that I can be!

I get my rotation schedule tomorrow at orientation, which I hope is as great as people have hyped it up to be. I don’t have to be there till 8:30 AM, which means that the rotation is already off to a great start! πŸ˜„

While I’m happy that I’m finally getting the opportunity to rotate through my Radiology elective, it comes with the unfortunate fact that my amazing Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation has come to an end. 😭 As you may already know from my previous posts, I’ve had some awesome experiences during my time on this rotation. This past week, I was afforded the opportunity to shadow a PA and a Nurse Practitioner in a Family Planning Clinic (literally felt like I was on my Ob/Gyn rotation again), I joined a few other families in attending a Brenner FIT class where I learned about the techniques that the program utilizes in order to change the relationship that kids have with the food they eat, I learned more about the roles that the Public Health Department play regarding case management in the lives of patients, I visited an STD testing site in the community that was being hosted by POSSE, I tagged along with a school nurse at a high school specifically designed for kids with special needs, and I ended the rotation on Friday afternoon with a debriefing session with one of the course coordinators and my friend who was completing the rotation with me. Just like in the weeks prior, this past week provided me with some eye-opening experiences that I otherwise would have probably never had if I hadn’t done this rotation. The debriefing session also gave us the opportunity to not only share with the coordinator feedback of our experiences, but to also give her some recommendations that could benefit the future students that will be completing this rotation next year.

Outside of participating in my rotation last week, I spent two of my mornings last week volunteering as a facilitator of one of the orientation activities for the rising third-year students. My station, which was shared with a faculty member and another classmate, mainly focused on the process of choosing a medical specialty to base one’s medical career on. This was pretty fitting for me for as you may already know, I went through a major switch in specialty interests during my third year (Ophthalmology –> Pediatrics) and at this station I was able to talk more in detail about this switch. There were a few other scenarios that we talked through as a group, and it was cool to be able to talk with these students as they begin to embark on the adventure of their clinical rotations. What a time, what a time.

Here is where I will end my post for today. I wish you great fortune and prosperity in the week ahead!

β€œWe all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” –Β Jesse Owens

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Can you believe that we’re already heading into March?? Man I love March…it means that Spring is around the corner, the days will be longer because of Daylight Savings, the temperature starts warming up for real, Match Day is coming up fast, and MARCH MADNESS SEASON BEGINS!! IT’S LIT!!! πŸ˜„πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ”₯

 

The Waiting Game Begins…

Welp, there goes another week.

It pretty much flew by just as fast as the previous week did, and I don’t know how to feel about that. I’m loving my time in fourth-year right now and as they always say, times flies when you’re having fun. I don’t really want the rest of this year to flash before my eyes, so I’m trying my best to appreciate and live up each and every day from now until I start my residency training. However at the same time, I’m looking forward to beginning my residency training as an M.D. and to finally be someone’s physician. That’s an honor that I’ve been working towards tirelessly for a good chunk of my life now. As tough as the experience will be, I’m sure that I’ll work to appreciate each and every day of residency. Nevertheless, I’m a fourth-year now and as such, I need to be enjoying my hard-earned chill time!

hbo soothing GIF by High Maintenance

In other news, I stuck to my word and officially certified my rank list last week!

happy joy GIF

Now that I’ve certified and submitted it, there’s no turning back. Wherever I end up matching is where I’m obligated to spend the next three years of my life training to become a fantastic Pediatrician. Up until this point, I’ve been busy securing good grades, gathering letters of recommendations, completing and submitting my residency application, traveling for interviews, and sorting out my rank list. I’ve just been straight-up busy working to secure my future all throughout my fourth-year. However, from now until March 15th, 2019, there’s nothing else for me to do but simply wait to see where all this labor and prayer will take me. It’s pretty wild, to say the least. In the meantime though, I’ll be finishing up my experience in my Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation and begin rotating through my last rotation of fourth-year, my Diagnostic Radiology elective. In addition, I’ll continue to update the blog, fulfill both my responsibilities for school and my ever-growing SNMA duties, and most importantly, continue to live out my best fourth-year life!

president obama potus GIF by Obama

I continued to benefit from some dope experiences during my third week in this rotation, some of which included attending a community meeting about taking action to promote the education and well-being of young children in the community, shadowing a community-based dentist, rotating through an STD clinic, a child abuse clinic (incredibly sad and gut-wrenching) and a travel clinic (I didn’t even know travel clinics existed…apparently you can go to a special clinic to get the information and immunizations you need before you travel abroad. The job also looked verrry chill…πŸ€”), attending an advisory board meeting where the topics of Medicaid transformation and safety net coordination in the community were discussed, and learning more about the control of communicable diseases (influenza, measles, zika, E. coli, norovirus, etc.) in the county by talking with people in the health department who worked specifically in the communicable diseases section of the department.

Like I said last week, I could go into detail about each of these interesting experiences, but then I would be here for a while writing an unnecessarily lengthy essay about each of them. Y’all know how long-winded I can get lol. This upcoming week is my last week in the rotation, which is a bummer because I’ve genuinely been having a wonderful time these past few weeks. But alas, all good things must come to an end. πŸ˜”

With that, I’ll go ahead and end this post here.

I hope that your week is a stupendous one!

β€œWhatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.”-Β Susan L. Taylor

– Black Man, M.D.