The Spirit of Ambition

Throughout my third-year, my classmates and friends had been telling me how great and wonderful the Family Medicine rotation was. After having heard all of these glorious praises on a continuous basis, I found myself itching to begin this rotation to see why everyone had loved it so much. Now that I’ve been in Family Medicine for a week, I can absolutely confirm how awesome this rotation is! The residents and attendings are incredibly kind, they get along extraordinarily well with the other members of the healthcare team (who have also been very friendly towards me), the work hours are very med student-friendly (thanks to the outpatient nature of the specialty), there is built-in study time in our schedule (LOOK AT GOD), all of the noon conferences have quality lunches, the student lectures have been interesting & informative, we’ve been able to receive faculty feedback from non-graded patient encounters, and there is unlimited free coffee in the lounge for us to drink! And those are just the things that I could think of off the top of my head!

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In addition, I’ve been able to take advantage of the opportunities I have to further improve my focused history-taking and physical exam skills as well as my assessment and plan-making abilities. I’ve received great feedback so far that has allowed me to understand what I’ve been doing really well and what I could continue to improve upon. (I apparently have the habit of filling mid-conversational silence with random words like “Great, great….awesome…” or “Okay, okay…nice…” while I’m talking to patients. Lol, I’ve never thought about that…) I welcome all the high-quality feedback that I can get because as you know, I’m actively working to become the best physician that I can be. I want to be beyond good at what I do; I want to be excellent at my craft. Far-reaching goals such as this have forced me to push myself harder than I would necessarily need to otherwise, and I’m, in most ways, proud of that.

However, I’ve also come to realize that because of my ambitious nature, I can be overly (and probably unnecessarily) critical of myself at times. Even though I know that I’m doing alright in the whole process of gathering data from a patient, coming up with an assessment, differential diagnosis and plan, and presenting the information to someone else in oral and written format, I just feel like I could be doing so much better. I know my skills will continue to improve with practice and time and all, but I guess I just want to already have the skillset and knowledge that the attendings around me have. I have to keep reminding myself that they were once in my shoes and that it took them a long time to get to where they’re at currently. Hell, they probably had the same thoughts that I’m having about badly wanting to better themselves and wanting to be as knowledgeable as their own attendings and upper-levels. With that said, I’m just gonna have to keep grinding and improving while making sure that I don’t criticize myself to the point where I become demoralized. I didn’t make it all the way to this point just to kick myself down…the fact that I’m a medical student continues to be an achievement in itself, and I must never forget that.

Kid President Encouragement GIF by SoulPancake

Overall, it’s been a real chill week in the clinic and I love the positive vibes that I’ve been feeling in the air! Like, I was assigned an evening clinic shift and a Saturday morning clinic shift this past week and not only did I enjoy the time I spent with the residents, attending and patients there, but I actually found that I had stayed a little later than I needed to both times! I swear man, the people you work with can seriously make or break your experiences in any given rotation.

I have a few more things to say before I end this post but I also don’t want to spend the next hour typing when I could be studying for this notoriously difficult shelf exam (I feel like I’ve been saying that about every shelf exam I’ve ever taken) that’s coming up in less than three weeks. So in order to compromise both of my desires, I’m just going to quickly word vomit what I wanna say.

I attended a global health session where current fourth-year students talked about their experiences in various global health electives. I had gone to the session because I’m interested in taking a newly-formed immigrant health elective next year and the student who was in the trial run of the elective this year was going to speak about her experience in it. However, after listening to the experiences of the other students who went to countries such as Japan, Costa Rica, South Africa and Spain in order to complete a rotation in a specialty of their choice, I’m now more amenable to pursuing an elective in another country at some point next year! But then again, I may not. Who knows?

There was another session where the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine came to talk to us medical students on this rotation about health policy and advocacy. In our discussion, he talked about the incredible importance of being involved in legislature as healthcare providers due to the fact that there is very little representation of us in the government. He also touched on being an advocate for primary care and we discussed reasons as to why medical students may or may not choose to go into primary care. It was a thought-provoking conversation and made me more aware of the influence that we as medical students and future physicians can potentially have on decisions made in the government.

Okay, I’m pretty much done now. I’m excited to start another week of Family Medicine and to FINALLY fly over to California on Wednesday to attend AMEC!! I’ll be finishing up my remaining responsibilities as one of the National Future Leadership Project Fellows and will be assuming my position as a Co-Chair of the External Affairs Committee of the SNMA, a position that I was appointed to just last Monday! It’s LIT!! 😄😎🔥

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what (s)he has already achieved, but at what (s)he aspires to do.” – Kahlil Gibran

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I got my Surgery shelf exam score back and although it wasn’t a bad score, it wasn’t as great of a performance as I would have liked, considering the fact that I poured a TON of energy into preparing for it. Sigh. C’est la vie.

So Far, So Good…

Well it’s been about a week into Anatomy and I’m not wailing to God for mercy or anything…so I guess I’m doing alright so far. Don’t get me wrong though, the amount of info that we’ve been force-fed has been pretty intense. Just this past week alone, I’ve had nine lectures, two 4-hour learning sessions, a learning lab where we learned to read cell cultures and two 3-hour anatomy labs where we actually started dissecting cadavers. Like, bishhh what? Not to mention that for every lecture we have, it takes me AT LEAST an hour and a half to get through it. So I’ve been pretty much studying all day everyday. I can literally name almost all of the muscles we all have in our backs, tell you where they are, and how they work. I can also tell you what our spinal cord is made up of, how our nerves generally work, and the steps that an embryo takes to develop. Shit’s crazy. I just took a couple study breaks for my birthday yesterday (Yay me.), and one today to check out the VMAs. I ended up watching Miley host the show pretty much naked, Nicki Minaj cuss out Miley Cyrus on national TV, and Kanye give a TED Talk only to end it with his 2020 presidential bid. This is why I don’t watch TV. I will admit that I had a blast watching Kanye go on one of his thoughtful, unorganized rants. (HAHAHAHA.)

But yeah, it has been an intense week. But I’m feeling alright, and not too stressed out at all. I wish I could say the same for some of my classmates, but we all have our own ways with dealing with challenges, right? I just pray to God I stay this calm about the rest of this Anatomy block and these next four years…I just don’t see the point of panicking and worrying that you won’t be prepared for the tests you’re gonna have to take whether you’re ready or not. If you make it to medical school, then you’re more than capable of doing just fine there. We were all picked for a reason, so why not show the admissions team that you deserve to be there? Its all about your mentality and your perspective…if you truly want to excel, you’ll excel. You’ll do whatever you feel is necessary to attain your goals and you’ll make it. I can’t tell you how or when, but if your desire is strong enough, you’ll make it, TRUST ME. That goes for anything you want to achieve in life, not just passing a medical school test or even just getting into medical school. On the other hand, if all you can think about is how unprepared you’ll be for the test or how much you don’t deserve to get into a medical school of your choice or how much your day is going to suck, you’ll have a pretty shitty time. You are what you think, your thoughts are your energy, whether they be positive or negative. Your thoughts determine your attitudes, which in turn catalyze your actions.

It’s really that simple.

Or maybe I’m delusional.

Whatever.

That’s just how I think and what I believe. It’s been working for me, and I hope someone out there can take this and find peace with themselves and their environment around them. And after finding that harmonizing peace, I hope that person finds a way to fulfill his or her desires. The universe has a way of making things for work for those who really desire to have something happen. Call me crazy, but I’m going to be busy fulfilling my desires and I REFUSE to let any damn tests stand in my way. ( That was also a diss to that hellhole that was the MCAT t(-_-t)    )

–  Black Man, M.D.