A Bright Future

Before I delve into today’s post, I of course have to wish all of you amazing mothers a Happy Mother’s Day!!! I’ve said it in past years, but it will always bear repeating: You are extremely appreciated for all that you do for your families and loved ones! Thank you for everything that you do!! ❤️❤️❤️

Being a mother can be such a thankless job, even though it is absolutely one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Speaking of, that reminds me of a video I watched a few years back describing how hard of a job being a mother is. If you have a few extra minutes, I recommend that you watch it. When I first watched it, it definitely gave me a new perspective on what being a mother meant. Watching it again today, I’m reminded of how hard my own mother works for my family and I’m sure that many of you can think of all the countless times that your own mother has helped to get you where you are today. So be sure to take some time today (or honestly any day of the year) to show your mom some love and appreciation for all that she does!

I’m very thankful that I’ll get to see my mom in person, along with the rest of my family, extended family and family friends, for graduation this upcoming weekend! Yes, this upcoming weekend as in I have only one week left until I’ll be offically hooded and conferred my medical degree! Now that it’s so soon, the excitement is really starting to hit me!

I’M SOOO PUMPED!!!!! 😄😄😄

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My excitement was intensified this past weekend as I watched my significant other graduate with her Master of Science in Public Health! (Congratulations again babe!! 😁😘) Witnessing the ceremony and hanging out with her family was awesome and although she will immediately continue with her doctoral work due to the nature of her combined MSPH/PhD program, I’m glad that she was given the opportunity to walk across the stage to signify the completion of this major acheivement.

We also got the chance to listen to Dr. Richard Besser, the current President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, speak at the graduation ceremony. I was very impressed with all of the incredible things that he has done with his medical degree (medical journalism, acting director of the CDC, author, two-time Emmy Award and Peabody Award winner, awardee of the Surgeon General’s Medallion; the list goes on and on), but when I learned that he was a Pediatrician, I was instantly hooked. He is the embodiment of someone who decided to diversify their career in remarkable ways and is living proof that I can literally do whatever I desire to do in my own career. It was really cool to hear him speak and to absorb the useful advice that he gave to us!

My week leading up to yesterday’s graduation festivities was pretty relaxing overall. Although I spent most of the early part of the week powering through modules and other requirements that needed to be completed prior to starting my residency training, I spent the rest of the week planning out what my graduation weekend was going to look like, reading books and hanging out with my girl. We did chill things like go to trivia night, visit a vineyard, and watch movies & documentaries. It was a nice and calm week, something that I needed before the whirlwind of these next couple of weeks!

Now with most of my gradation festivities happening next Sunday and Monday, I’m going to go ahead and tell you that my next post will most likely be a late one. I probably won’t be able to type up a post until Tuesday or a little later and because it will be the final post of my medical school experience, I want to give it the time and energy that it deserves!

Uhhh hold up, this means that this current post is technically my last post as an active medical student…..

Wow, I just got hit with “the feels” all of a sudden.

This is actually my last post as a medical student! 😭😭😭😭😭

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This is so wild! I’m sitting here thinking back to the beginnings of this blog and how I wanted to encapsulate my medical school experience by posting about it on a weekly basis. I remember thinking to myself how crazy it would be to actually follow through with this mission that I had set for myself and how much content I would end up creating if I was able to consistently post on a weekly basis. I had told myself that the best way to ensure that I followed through with this was to simply take things a week at a time. Eventually, I would look back and see how far my system had taken me.

Well, “eventually” is now.

I’ve actually managed to type up a post every single week for the past 194 weeks!!

194 WEEKS!!! THAT’S OVER THREE AND A HALF YEARS!! 😮😮😮

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It’s incredible to think about. Like, I really had something to say in each of those posts. It’s also incredible (and downright hilarious) to see how much I’ve grown and matured since the beginning my first year of medical school. Even the way I wrote my posts was somewhat different than it is now! I’m REALLY glad that I decided to follow through with documenting my experiences on a consistent basis because not only is it cool to read through my old posts in a chronological order, but they will now forever be there as a reference for those who need it! I sure would have very much appreciated a blog like this during that summer prior to my first year!

As I reflect on the past, I can’t help but wonder what the future of this blog will look like. Many people have asked me what I’ll do with it now that I’m about to graduate. I’ve wondered the same thing for a while now, especially since I’ve pretty much accomplished what I had initially set out to do with it. I’m definitely not planning on stopping cold turkey, especially since it has now morphed into a part of my identity. However, I’ve considered not posting as frequently as I currently do (maybe once every couple weeks or once a month?) since I’ll be much more busy as an intern and won’t really have the time or energy to post weekly. Or maybe I can continue posting weekly and see how far I get in doing so? Idk.

Also, I’ve been itching to expand this blog for a while now and potentially even switch up the look of the website to something fresh and new to signify a new era of my life. Man, so many possibilities! I know deep down that this platform has the potential to be even bigger than it already is, especially now that it has been in existence for almost four years and has amassed a strong following and reputation throughout that period of time. But alas, only time will tell what I ultimately end up deciding to do with it. There’s really no limit to how far I can take this blog, which is both exhilarating and daunting at the same time. Knowing me though, I’ll end up finding a way to take it to the next level! 😉

And with that, I’ll bring this significant post to an end!

THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH to each of you who have followed me along this journey over the years, I really can’t describe in words how appreciative I am for all of your support!! I look forward to graduating next weekend and closing out this saga of my life with you all in my next post!! 🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

– Black Man, M.D.

Ending Medical School

We are now only TWO WEEKS AWAY from graduation!

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The anticipation is really building up now, especially since I’ve officially completed my Intern Boot Camp course as of last Friday. With the completion of this course, I don’t have any other requirements to complete for medical school outside of participating in graduation weekend! So I’m pretty much an M.D. now! I just haven’t officially been conferred my degree yet lol. I’m also starting to see graduation pictures on my social media from some of my friends at other institutions, which is only adding to my overall excitement! 😄

My final week of Intern Boot Camp was packed with some really informative and practical sessions that will help me adjust to my new life in residency as I begin to provide healthcare directly to my patients. These helpful sessions touched on topics like managing patients with metabolic derangements, managing pediatric patients diagnosed with various infectious ailments, prescribing opioids to patients responsibly, mastering the art of administering fluids to pediatric patients, dealing with hypoxic respiratory failure, effectively calling consults, learning how to navigate situations in which the provider and patient are at odds with one another, and learning how to fill out a death certificate correctly.

I was even able to participate in a Pediatrics specialty day, where my Peds group and I were able to engage in discussions about how to thrive on the pediatric wards, what some of the distinct differences between newborns and older kids are, and how to properly care for medically complex children (a patient who receives complex care joined us for this discussion and shared her personal experiences with us, which helped reinforce what we learned in this session. That was pretty brave of her 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿). In addition to all of that, we got a crash course on administering proper nutrition in newborns and we also participated in a pediatric simulation lab experience, where we practiced assessing our ABC’s (Airway, Breathing & Circulation) in acutely decompensating patients, intubating young patients and establishing interosseous access!

Yeah, that was a lot wasn’t it? I wasn’t lying when I told you it was a packed week!

All in all, I learned and re-learned a ton of very useful information that I’ll definitely be referring back to once I start my residency training next month. As I have said before, I’m very grateful that my school designed this this two-week orientation course for us. I can’t even imagine how much more difficult the start of intern year would have been if we hadn’t received this review of key concepts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still going to be difficult starting off…but at least I’ll feel somewhat prepared for the steep learning curve ahead of me!

In addition to finishing up Intern Boot Camp, I also got the chance to attend Wake Forest’s annual Scholar’s Brunch yesterday morning, where I was able to catch up with some of my wonderful scholarship donors. While I was there, I found out that a publication of a couple of my donors and I had gone out to tens of thousands of people in the country in a seasonal newsletter! 😮😅 I was also given a very special gift from one of my donors that I will treasure for a very long time! Catching up with my donors is always a pleasure and they continue to inspire me to touch the lives of others in a variety of positive ways!

Now that I’m pretty much done with all of my medical school requirements, I have two free weeks to continue preparing for both my graduation and the start of my residency experience (Orientation begins early/mid June 😊). Also, my girlfriend is graduating with her MSPH this upcoming weekend! 😄😄😄 

As you can see, there’s going to be a lot going on in these next couple of weeks. However, I’m still going to do my best to relax because I won’t have a lot of times like this in the future to do so!

Alright, that’s all I got for today; thanks for reading! I hope that you have an awesome week!

“The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.” – Michelle Obama

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I FINALLY WATCHED AVENGERS: ENDGAME!! What an ending to an amazing era!!👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿

 

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 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿) 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! 😂 (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 side 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 being particularly 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.

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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.

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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!!!!!

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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!!

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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. 😉

 

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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. 😅

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!!! 🙌🏿💪🏿✊🏿

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