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!!!

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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.

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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

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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˜„

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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

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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

The Little Things In Life

Ayyyeeeee ya boy is turning 25 this week!!

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The big 2-5. Lol, some of you reading this may chuckle at the fact that this is such a big deal to me. You’re probably reading this like:

“Boy, 25 ain’t nothing. You ain’t grown at all, you still a youngin!”Β 

Others of you may gasp after reading this and be like:

“Daaannng, you 25?? Bro, you old as hell!”

Yet, others of you reading this probably don’t really care at all and are like:

“Okkkaayyy? And? The sky is still blue, the grass is still green and Kanye’s still crazy. You got older, whoooop-tee-doo.”

Whatever the case, just know that as I sit here and type this, I’m seriously thinking about just how much life I’ve already lived and how much more (Lord willing) lies ahead of me. I don’t care what you all say, turing 25 is a big deal to me lol. I’m pretty much in my mid-20s. Mid-20s!! I can clearly remember entering my 20s and feeling like I was all grown. And you couldn’t tell me NOTHING when I finally turned 21. But man, I’m about to turn 25 and I’m in awe. This year is going to be life-changing for sure. Like, I’m going to be recieving my medical degree and starting residency at this age! I also get the feeling that within this next year, I’m going to be enjoying some of the greatest life experiences that I’ll ever have.

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Man, I’m ready for 25 and am excited to celebrate my birthday this upcoming Labor Day weekend with my girl! Not only will I be going to Carowinds for the first time and enjoying some of the other things that Charlotte has to offer, but I’ll also be cheering on my ‘Canes when they play their first game of the season against LSU on Sunday! That’s right, COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK BABY!!!

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I’m really hoping that we can capitalize off of our success from last season and really shake things up this year!

Okay, let me actually start talking about stuff that you care about.Β πŸ˜‚

My first week on the Peds Heme/Onc service was a fantastic one! Although there was an abnormally low number of patients on the service this week, I was able to maximize my learning opportunities with the patients I was caring for by studying their charts, ferociously googling and reviewing chemotherapies like a madman, asking endless questions to the members of my team, and engaging in the attending’s educational discussions throughout the week. Because we had such a low number of patients for our abnormally huge team, I had ample time to get adequately acclimated to the service. The fact that the team was so chill and easy to work with made the week that much better. In addition, I had the opportunity to spend extra time with some of the patients on the service in order to form memorable relationships with them that I hope impacted their lives as much as they impacted mine. It was awesome to be able to sit and have a lengthy conversation with one of the teens on the service about regular teenager stuff. He helped me realize just how out-of-touch I was with current trends 😭. I also had a ton of fun getting crushed repeatedly in thumb-wrestling matches and staring contests by one of my younger patients throughout the week. She would make it a point to remind me to come back in the afternoon to play with her and she would ask people where I was if I hadn’t come to visit her yet during the day. She really liked to talk with me and beat me in her lil’ games πŸ˜‚. I loved going to visit her in the afternoons; she was so precious!

I’m definitely looking forward to another week on this service and I’ll be more than ready to carry more patients in the event that things get busier. I’ve already learned a lot about managing patients with various blood disorders and types of cancer, and I’m sure that I’ll have the opportunity to learn much more as I spend more time on this service in the upcoming weeks. Additionally, I’ve already encountered patients with some really tough diagnoses and I anticipate that I’ll be encountering more soon enough. Cancer is such an evil disease man. If there’s anything that I’ve taken away so far though, it’s that these kids and their families have an incredible amount of strength and resilience. I’m absolutely honored to be able to serve as a health provider for them.

I spent the weekend at Chapel Hill in order to attend UNC’s First Look, a free program designed to give medical students the opportunity to check out some of the residency programs that the institution has to offer. There was a fun reception on Friday night, where I got the chance to meet students from various institutions as well as faculty at UNC. I also unexpectedly ran into some old friends and got the chance to catch up with them, which was an awesome surprise. The program continued on Saturday, where we listened to resident and faculty panels who answered the many questions that the audience posed and shared some of the experiences that they’ve had at UNC. We were then split into groups based on our specialty interest and had lunch with residents and faculty members who worked in the specialty we were interested in. After that, we listened to the keynote speaker, who happened to be the Chair of the Family Medicine Department at UNC and then I went on a tour of the facility with the Pediatrics residency program director and some other medical students interested in Pediatrics. After the tour, we came back to the main room and the program officially came to a close. That’s the quick synopsis you’re getting, because I’m getting tired of typing lol. Overall, I’m really glad I decided to attend because I felt like I got an even better idea of what resident life at UNC would be like and I learned some useful information about both the application cycle and residency in general. Plus, it’s always great to meet new people and to catch up with old friends! And I can’t forget about all the free “UNC swag” that I got just by being there 😎. (Shoutout to the new UNC coffee tumbler gifted to me! I was supposed to have bought one a week ago, but I kept putting it off. This is one of those rare times in my life that procrastination actually worked in my favorΒ πŸ˜„)

Okay, I’m all done for today! I hope that you have a spectacular week! I definitely plan on having one! 😜

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James

– Black Man, M.D.

New Kids On The Block

Okay, I’m keeping this one short. Don’t got time to write a whole lot, and I don’t really have a whole lot to say other than the fact that I’m sadly finishing my Pediatrics rotation this week. And oh yeah, I have a notoriously tough shelf exam on Friday that I’m still actively working to prepare for.Β πŸ˜…

I just got back from a fun couple of days in Chapel Hill, where me, my girlfriend and a couple of close friends attended the UNC-Miami football game and watched Miami take down UNC in a game that shouldn’t have been close at all. But it’s whatever, we 7-0 baby!!! Okay I lied, it’s not whatever; we play VA Tech at our homecoming next weekend and they are not going to be an easy team to play. Plus our schedule gets even tougher after that game…so we’ll see how long our undefeated status will last. I got faith though!

Before going to Chapel Hill for the weekend, I had spent my week in the Newborn Nursery where I not only got to play with babies every day, but also learned how to perform routine physicial exams on newborns. Throughout the week, I also interacted with and gave discharge talks to the families of the newborns, witnessed firsthand the complex social situations that these babies were born into, listened to informative presentations on child abuse & child advocacy, and gained a ton of knowledge from the residents and attendings I worked with about the various medical conditions that can affect newborns. I even changed a couple of diapers, something that I hadn’t done in a number of years! (That exclamation mark doesn’t mean that I wasn’t excited about changing diapers…if anything, I was moreso surprised that I was actually doing it once more after all this time lol.) It was a really great experience in a chill environment and unlike in the inpatient setting, the vast majority of these babies were born healthy, meaning that there was more happiness than sadness going around in the nursery. I really enjoyed going to “work” each day, even on my Saturday morning shift. My team played a huge part in my happiness in the nursery; they were such fantastic people to work with! Also, you wouldn’t believe how much manpower it takes to transition a family from birth to discharge from the hospital. There’s SO much work that’s involved in making sure that a newborn is adequately taken care of in its first couple days of life, which is followed by multiple appointments at a Pediatrician’s office after the family is discharged. It’s funny to think that, once upon a time, we were all newborns who went through this whole baby shuffle.

The fact that I’m entering my last week of Pediatrics is so wild to me. It just all flew by so fast! And I’m sure that by now, you’re fully aware of how much I’ve been enjoying my experience in this rotation. I’m finishing up my Peds experience on the Endocrinology service, where I’ll be interacting with patients afflicted with various endocrine disorders in a couple of different clinics. I’m excited to relish in this opportunity and judging by the email I received from the doctor that I’ll be working with, I can already tell that it’s going to be yet another awesome week! Then I gotta take this shelf exam that literally everyone has said was tough as hell. But it’s all good, because I know I’ll be prepared for it by the time I take it! And then I’m going to have a dope weekend that I’m so looking forward to after I finish the test!Β πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

Β I hope you have an incredible week!

β€œAt times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

– Black Man, M.D.

On To The Next One

How wild is it that I’m already 1/4 of the way through with my third-year??

I’ve completed 25% of the year and August has barely begun!

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What’s even crazier is that I’ve completed a grand total of ONE rotation throughout these past 12 weeks lol. I have classmates who’ve already taken three shelf exams so far…meanwhile I’m over here reflecting on the fact that I took my first one this past Friday. That 110-question exam was quite a challenge, if I do say so myself; it honestly felt like a mini-Step 1 exam in my opinion…except we were moreso being asked questions on the management of patient presentations as opposed to what the diagnosis was. The 2-hour and 45-minute time limit didn’t help either. It may sound like a lot of time, but mannn it honestly wasn’t.

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I found myself having to work quicker than I would have liked, especially late into the test when I realized that if I wanted to have even just a few minutes to review the questions that I had marked for review, I could only give myself a maximum of a minute per question. A good amount of those questions weren’t easy either. Me along with about 85% of my classmates taking their respective shelf exams at the same time ended up using every single minute that was allotted to us. I left the test feeling pretty damn unsure about my performance on it overall, but I’m going to go ahead and confidently say that I feel like I at least passed it!Β I’m speaking it into existence! Just like Step, I prepared the best I could and I have no regrets on how I performed on test day. All I can do is press on onto my next rotation, which is Obstetrics & Gynecology!Β πŸ˜…

Now that my Internal Medicine clerkship has come to a close, I’ve been granted with a weeklong break before my next rotation! Thing is, because I had been busy preparing for my exam these past couple of weeks while attending to my hospital duties as a third-year med student, I’ve been pushing other responsibilites aside and have been telling myself that I would take care of them during this break. Welp, now the time has come to take care of those responsibilities/errrands…so I’ll be busy completing them during my break. However, I’ll also be going to Chapel Hill to help my girlfriend move in later on this week!! I’m really looking forward to seeing her again and am thrilled about the fact that we’ll now be a lot closer to each other!Β πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„Β I’m just as thrilled about not having to wake up before the crack of dawn and not having to go to sleep soon after the sun goes down. I’m well aware that I’ll be getting back to that schedule real soon though…

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Y’all make sure to have a both productive and phenomenal week!

β€œThe bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”― Michael Altshuler

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – The biennial National Black Theatre Festival was going on in Winston-Salem this past week and I missed most of it due to me preparing for my exam…but I did get to go to a free outdoor concert last night! Plus, I had NEVER seen so many black people in downtown Winston-Salem at one time…it was spectacular!