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.

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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

Blazing The Trail

First things first. I got my car back! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

If you happened to check out my last post, you probably remember me talking about how I had to leave my car back in Virginia to get some issues fixed while I drove around in a rental car. To be honest, my rental car was cool and all…..but its MPG was TRASH. Had me spending so much bread last week as I drove all across Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Smh. On the bright side though, I’ve been racking up a good amount of credit card points due to all the gas I had to buy throughout the week! Okay not a whole lot, but it’s better than not getting anything at all by using a debit card. I went back home yesterday, finally returned the rental car, picked up my car (whose MPG I’ve missed sooo much) and drove back to NC today where I’ll be prepping for my UNC and Duke interviews taking place this week. It’ll be nice to sit still in one place for a while after all of the ridiculous amount of driving I’ve been doing for the past two weeks.

toni braxton sigh GIF

As I just said, I spent the week traveling across four different states in order to complete my interviews at Emory (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) and Atrium Health (Levine Children’s Hospital) in Charlotte. I had a great time learning about each of those residency programs while also getting to know some of the residents and faculty members at both of those institutions. And of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the free meals that were graciously given to us lol. As I was completing these past couple of interviews, I came to realize that I have gotten pretty comfortable with the overall flow of the interview process. From my interactions with other applicants, residents and faculty to the answers that I gave during the actual interviews themselves, it felt almost as if things were coming second-nature to me. I guess that’s bound to happen after being on the interview trail for almost two months.Β πŸ™ƒ

Also, having two interviews in the same week wasn’t really as exhausting as I had initially thought it was going to be. Sure the drives were annoying (Shoutout to Michelle Obama’s audiobook for making the time fly by), but the actual interview days themselves haven’t really been draining at all. That’s a huge plus in interviewing at Peds programs; people are amazingly kind and, for the most part, the interviews are very conversational. Only thing that’s really been draining as of late is the money from my bank account…but let’s not talk about that because I’m in a good mood right now. With seven interviews now complete, I’m fully prepared to take on the next two I have scheduled this week and to finish off my interview season by knocking out my last two interviews next week! πŸ˜„ (I previously had two more scheduled in January, but I’m canceling them because I feel comfortable with the number of interviews I currently have and I really like the places I’ve interviewed at so far. Plus, traveling to those institutions wouldn’t be friendly to my bank account πŸ˜…)

One other thing I did in between my two interviews this past week was to actually serve as an interviewer for Wake medical school applicants. Yeah, pretty crazy ain’t it? I literally went from interviewee to interviewer back to interviewee in the span of four days.

not bad GIF by Zara Larsson

As I sat in the room waiting for my first interviewee to enter on Wednesday morning, I couldn’t help but feel amazed at the fact that things had really come full circle for me. I recalled the pleasant interview experience I had with a fourth-year medical student back when I was interviewing for a spot at Wake’s medical school and remember feeling like it would take forever to get to where he was at in his medical journey. I also remember thinking how awesome it was that a medical student was getting the opportunity to participate in the admissions process and how cool it would be if I was given the opportunity to do the same for applicants in the future. Sitting alone in that room, I quickly came to the realization that now was that “future” I had been thinking about. I was getting the golden opportunity to interview pre-medical students who were hoping to gain access to the medical education that they had been working so tirelessly for. Granted, this MMI format that I was participating in was very different fromΒ the traditional 20-minute interviews I was engaged in when I interviewed at Wake, but the overall premise was the same: I get to have one-on-one conversations with medical school applicants and my evaluations of those conversations have a direct influence on whether the applicants receive an acceptance or not. It sure is an empowering feeling, to say the least. It is an absolute honor and privilege to be able to participate in the admissions process this year and I’m looking forward to interviewing more prospective medical students next semester, a.k.a my final semester of medical school!!

That’s all I have for you today! I hope that you have a blessed week!

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” – Dalai Lama

– Black Man, M.D.

Life Can Be So Unfair

Do you know someone who was diagnosed with cancer? Chances are that you do. Or at the very least, you may know someone who knows someone who was diagnosed. If you answered yes to the previous question, were you in the same room with them when they first found out?

There have been various people in my life who have had to struggle with this evil disease, but never did I once stop and think about the emotions they must have felt when they were first diagnosed. As they actively fought their diagnosis, each of these courageous people seemed to always keep a positive demeanor about them whenever I interacted with them. However, behind this positive spirit lies the pain and despair that consumed them in the moment they first learned about their diagnosis; a pain that was palpable in the rooms of the two patients that my team ended up diagnosing with cancer last week.

Before last week, I had only witnessed one person being diagnosed with cancer. This event had occurred last year during my Pediatrics rotation, and the sorrow that filled the atmosphere in the room was very similar to the sorrow I had felt last week as I watched the family members process the tough news that cancer had unfairly waged a war against their loved one. It was as if time had stood still. Although I could feel their sorrow and despair as they took in the information, there’s no way for me to even begin to describe what it must feel like to hear that your child has cancer. The fact that nobody knows what causes it in otherwise healthy children makes the news that much harder to process.

The good news is that the types of cancer that these patients have are very treatable and are associated with high remission rates. With that being said, the journey towards recovery will not be an easy one. The main treatment has to be given in a hospital setting, so they’ll be in and out of the hospital for a while. This, in turn, will have a direct impact on their everyday lives. They’ll have to complete schoolwork in the hospital, be very cognizant of avoiding infections, and learn how to deal with the many side-effects that the medications come with. It’s so sad and unfair for a child to have to go through something like this. Attempting to live as normal of a life as possible while having to actively battle for it at the same time is such a monumental task. However, the positive attitudes of the patients, coupled with the amazing amount of love and support that has been pouring out from the families and my team, gives me tremendous hope that they will both be able to battle this disease and effectively conquer it, regardless of the hardships that will come along the way.

While on service last week, I got the opportunity to not only watch a lumbar puncture, but to also watch my attending perform two bone marrow biopsies and bone marrow aspirations. It was the first time I had ever seen someone access bone marrow. It looked as painful as I had imagined it would be, but thankfully the patients who underwent these procedures were anesthetized the whole time. In addition, I took the initiative to learn more about neutropenic fever and ended up giving a short and informal lecture about it to my team. I’m glad I decided to do that because: 1) I could never seem to get this concept to stick in my head and 2) we actually ended up getting a real-life example of a patient with neutropenic fever later on in the week.

In the midst of the busy whirlwind of activity and events last week, I just so happened to age yet another year. Although I pretty much worked throughout my birthday, I did get the chance to have a delicious dinner at the home of one of my scholarship donors. He and his wife had graciously invited both my girlfriend and I to their home in order to get to know us better and to celebrate my birthday with dinner and dessert. We ultimately had a wonderful evening with them and I got to learn a lot about the interesting lives they lived. I further celebrated my birthday this past weekend in Charlotte, where I played various games at a bar, had a pleasant dinner at a fancy restaurant, had a night out at the Epicenter, enjoyed brunch, appreciated the Levine Museum of the New South, played some FIFA, rode on the Funny Bus in Charlotte (it was funny how unfunny the bus was) and watched UMiami’s first football game of the season in horror as we proceeded to get obliterated by LSU. Jesus Christ. It was bad. Not the best way to start off a season…but hopefully this loss sets the team straight and motivates them to do better from here on out. But on another note, I got the chance to go to Carowinds for the first time! It had been a long time since I had rode a roller coaster, but it was just as thrilling as I had remembered it being. And shoutout to the fast lane pass for allowing us to fly past the long lines and getting us to the rides in less than five minutes! 😎😜

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With my birthday behind me and Labor Day weekend now coming to an end, I’m ready to refocus my attention on both my rotation and on finally finishing up my ERAS application once and for all. I’m also ready for all of the events, activities and responsibilities that will be facing me this fall as I continue to trek through my final year of school. I hope that your weekend was a fun one, and that it adequately energized you for this upcoming week!

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein

– Black Man, M.D.