The Start of Something New

In just a couple of days, I’ll be starting one of the most transformative years of my life. It’s a year that I’ve been treating as the distant future for a long time now, because it just always seemed so far away. It’s a year that I had been looking forward to with both pure excitement and guarded apprehension.

2019 is the year that I will finally graduate from medical school and become an Ophthalmologist!” I would tell myself back in high school, as if I had already mapped out my perfect life plan and knew it inside and out.

2019 is the year that I will begin my residency program and won’t have a life at all, because I’ll be busy getting worked to death…and I won’t be making much money…but at least I’ll be that much closer to becoming an eye surgeon!” I would tell myself back in college as I started to absorb what other people were telling me the medical journey would look like up until I was finally a board-certified physician.

I really wonder what my life is going to look like after I graduate in 2019…will I really be ready to begin my residency training by then? Will I actually be able to retain all of these crazy amounts of material that I’m being tested on? Will I be confident enough to treat patients on my own? Will my positive and resilient mindset truly get me through both medical school and residency? Will I really have no life when residency begins, or is that just something people say? How will my Step scores influence my residency choices? I know I’m good enough to be a doctor…but what if I find out that I’m actually not? Where will I live in 2019 after I graduate? Will I still be in Winston-Salem? North Carolina? Somewhere completely different? How the hell am I going to even begin paying back these massive loans??? ” I would ask myself over and over again back in the early months of my first-year of medical school.

Oh wow, 2019 is getting preeee-tty close 😅” is what I’ve been telling myself these past few months as January 1st, 2019 has crept closer and closer with each passing day.

Looking back on my past 3 1/2 years as a medical student, I can comfortably say that I’m going to be ready to start residency come July 1st, 2019, or whenever my future institution decides to begin our training. I’ve come to understand that being ready to start residency does not necessarily mean that I’ll already know how to be the perfect doctor once I start.

NEWSFLASH!!! I won’t.

As much as I’ve learned these past few years, there will be many things that I won’t know once I begin residency. But remember, that’s what residency training is for; it is designed to teach us what we need to learn in order to become an effective board-certified physician. All I need to arrive with on my first day is my basic knowledge set of medicine that I’ve been continously crafting, my personality along with my other character traits that helped me secure a residency spot in the first place, the confidence that I can conquer just about any challenge thrown my way, and the sheer will to work in order to improve the lives of my patients. Just with those alone, I know that I’ll be good to go. It’ll definitely be a tough transition, but I’ve been through tough times before and others have gone through this transition and succeeded. Plus, it’s not like I’ll be going through this alone; I’ll have my co-residents, mentors, advisors, faculty, family, friends, my significant other, plus others who will be there for me throughout this time.

As of late, when I’ve been asked if I’m ready for graduation and residency, I’ve been telling people that I feel like it’s all going to be an exciting and nervewracking experience. I still think so, but I’m now leaning more towards exciting and away from nervewracking. Why, you may ask? Simply because, I’M GOING TO BE A DOCTOR. There are a TON of people who aren’t able to say that and countless others who wish and dream of being able to say that. It’s an honor to be able to enter such a noble and highly-regarded profession. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and so many people have supported me along my journey and prayed for me to get here. So why wouldn’t I be thrilled about the fact that I’ve made it this far? By allowing myself to enjoy the journey towards being a doctor, I have really been able to appreciate so much along the way and because of this, I feel energized as I approach my final semester of medical school and graduation. The journey is so much more important than the destination y’all, because how you develop during your journey directly correlates to how you will function once you reach your destination.

Tonight Show Mic Drop GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

2018 has been an amazing year of growth for me overall. I literally started the year off at the midway point of my third-year Neurology rotation and now eight rotations (including my two away rotations), two Step exams, and ten residency interviews later, I’m ending the year as a much more confident and resilient fourth-year student who is ready to power through three more rotations before enjoying another flex block and graduating with a medical degree. And through all of this, I’ve been able to expand my blog even further, begin fundraising for The Desire To Inspire Scholarship, become a member of the SNMA Board of Directors, visit San Francisco and other major cities across the East Coast, forge important connections with all kinds of people across the nation, confirm my career choice as a Pediatrician who is on an even bigger mission, get nominated for various scholarships and even awarded some of them, and much more! I’m really looking forward to what 2019 is going to bring and how much growth I will continue to enjoy as a result of the events that will occur throughout the year. With it being a year of major transitions, I’m sure that there will be plenty of personal growth and development to appreciate!

I hope that you had as wonderful of a Christmas and overall holiday season as I had! Being able to spend quality time with family and friends is always a blessing that I try not to take for granted.

I also hope that you’re as excited as I am about all of the potential opportunities in store for us as we enter 2019! 😄

Here’s to a fantastic and prosperous New Year!

sexy leonardo dicaprio GIF

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I’ve been blogging for so long that I recently realized that I was able to read what I typed in my end-of-the-year/New Year posts for 2015, 2016, and 2017. If you’re curious like I was, feel free to check them out for a trip down memory lane!

Kickin’ Back

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is really two days away! It’s even harder to believe that I’ve already blown through my first week of my winter break!

Jaw Drop Omg GIF

It feels like I just got to Atlanta a couple of days ago. While I’ve been here, I’ve mainly been relaxing and lounging around while also catching up on some books that I’ve been wanting to read for months (I FINALLY read The Alchemist), watching some movies with my girlfriend and catching up on some of our favorite shows. (We started Grey’s Anatomy this past summer and are only midway through Season 3…I’ve already accepted that this will be a LOOONG-term endeavor 😅) Outside of all that, I’ve been able to catch up with some other college friends over brunch, meet a ton of my girl’s high school friends at her school’s five-year reunion, crack down on some work for the SNMA, begin seriously thinking about and comparing the pediatric residency programs I’ve interviewed at to each other, eat a ton of great food and SLEEP. I haven’t slept in this much in forever…I had forgotten what it was like to sleep in past 9 AM 😂. I also finally got my grade back from my CHOP away rotation and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at how well my evaluation turned out! Long story short, my evaluators thought highly of my performance while I was there, witnessed a tremendous amount of growth in me and feel that I’ll grow into an excellent physician as long as I continue to work on some key things. It’s incredible what getting a grade of Honors can do to your self-confidence, especially when you get them back-to-back in rotations of the specialty you’re going into.

Excited Clapping GIF by VH1

I really don’t have much else to say other than that I got an email with details about my upcoming Anesthesiolgy Acting/Sub-Internship in January. Based off the email, I’m going to be doing quite a bit of studying due to the fact that I have a midterm and a final exam during the rotation. Sheeeeesh. I’m also going to have to be on long call from 6 AM – 10 PM once per week and I’ll be busy doing procedures and simulations for the most part throughout my rotation. I don’t think it’ll be that bad though…as a matter of fact, I’m looking forward to participating in all kinds of procedures and observing various surgeries in the operating room. It’ll also be nice to be back at Wake after living out of my suitcase for the past 3+ months, though I’ll be completing a couple more trips in January (UVA interview and SNMA National Leadership Institute in Nashville, TN). While it has been fun being on the road meeting so many new people and catching up with old friends, I’ll be happy to sleep in my own bed again and to use the space and utilities in my apartment that I’m still paying for.

Keeping it short today because we’re all busy getting ready with the holidays with our families and there’s probably a number of you getting your last minute Christmas shopping in. Plus like I stated earlier, I don’t have much else to say.

So on that note, I hope that those of you who celebrate Christmas have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! 🎄🎅🏿❄️

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his (her) dream.” – Paulo Coelho

– Black Man, M.D.

Holiday Cheer!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

JOYEUX NOËL!!!

FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!

What a wonderful day! And Happy Birthday to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Waking up at almost noon today is in stark contrast to how I used to wake up all giddy and whatnot at 8 AM as a kid on Christmas Day. I was just happy to get some extra sleep after having a late night last night lol. After hearing my little sisters plead to me for a couple of minutes to wake up, I finally got out of my bed to go help pass out the presents under the Christmas tree. After waiting for an additional hour or so for the 10+ people currently residing in my house to gather in the family room, we finally began to pass out gifts to everyone. Of course, I was the designated Santa…so I passed out gifts to everyone that had been nice enough all year to receive one. I ended up getting a hat & scarf from my older sister, a Cameroonian shirt from my little brother, and a full piece suit with some brown dress shoes from my mom. ‘Twas a good Christmas indeed. Sure is an upgrade from the pajamas and wheat bran flakes I got last year 😂😂😂. Everyone else seemed to be very satisfied with what they received as well; gifts ranged from a Barbie dollhouse and Beats headphones to an iPod touch and an iPhone 7, with a bunch of clothes handed out as well. Now as I type this, everyone is playing with their new toys and a delicious Christmas dinner is being conjured up! I love the holidays!

fresh prince of bel air

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day or any other holiday in this season, I hope that you have an amazing time with friends, family and all of the other people in your life whom you hold dear. In this crazy world, times like this have become much more important to me, especially since I only see my family a few times a year. Spending time with them and old friends this past week has allowed me to continue to appreciate both them and the necessary downtime from the rigors of med school. Plus, the spirit of the holidays tend to bring about a special kind of cheer and joy to everyone. Unless you’re a Grinch. So with that said, please have a safe and happy holiday season! Stay warm and be sure to bring in your New Year with positivity and prosperity!

“It’s not possible to experience constant euphoria, but if you’re grateful, you can find happiness in everything.” – Pharrell Williams

– Black Man, M.D.

Breezing Thru Break

I’ve forgotten how easy life could be sometimes. This past week has been the chillest week I’ve had since summer break, and it has felt amazing. Just being able to wake up and not having to plan out where and how I’m going to study has been a blessing in itself. The free and authentic food I’ve had this past week has been a BIG plus too. I’ve been having a pretty great time sharing laughs with my family and friends here in VA and just relaxing in general. From playing video games to sleeping in to reminiscing on childhood with my siblings, there hasn’t been a dull moment being home from school. I gotta say, both my life and the people in it are surely blessings that I’m truly thankful to have. Growing up and understanding the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday season in general has made each subsequent holiday break I’ve experienced that much more meaningful and enjoyable. It’s come to the point where I don’t expect anything for Christmas anymore…I’m just happy to be able to come home to a strong and healthy family that is continuously being blessed by God. Seeing my siblings and parents happy and doing well is a good enough gift for me. The pajamas and wheat bran flakes I got for Christmas are just a bonus. 😂

I still have another good week of relaxation before school starts back up again, but I’m well aware that when school starts, IT’S GONNA START. With that said, I’ve been doing some real planning on what I’m going to be doing this next semester as well as this upcoming summer in order to become a more effective student. Not only that, but I feel that it’s about time that I start seriously considering how I’m going to approach the USMLE Step 1 exam that I’m taking in less than two years, since my score on that exam pretty much seals my fate. People keep telling me it’s never too early to start studying/reviewing for that test, so I’ll take their word for it. Lord knows I can’t screw up on that exam. I think the best thing I can do is get some Step 1 review books and review high-yield material in them while I’m learning the actual material in class. Much easier said than done I know, but I gotta start somewhere right? Also, I’m thinking about doing research possibly in regenerative medicine next semester because that field has really piqued my interest. It’s so freakin’ cool to me that cells are being engineered to grow into tissues and organs that can replace damaged ones. It’s almost like science fiction, except it’s real life. Regenerative medicine really looks like it’s going to be a big part in the future of medicine, so why not take a peek at how it works? But besides that, I’m thinking of also doing some research in ophthalmology or something relating to that field of medicine for the summer. I apparently need some kind of backbone in research to be seen as “competitive” when it comes to an ophthalmology residency, so I figured this upcoming summer would be as good of a time as any to get involved with that. And if research doesn’t work out for me in the summer, then I’ll maybe do some volunteer work abroad. I’ve been looking at this opportunity called Unite for Sight, where you can go to one of three countries (Ghana, Honduras, India) for as long as you want and help break down patient barriers to healthcare by educating the population about the importance of healthcare, performing glaucoma screenings, performing eye exams, testing visual acuity, observing eye surgeries, and doing many other things. Regardless of what ends up happening, I know for a fact that I’ll be using my summer in a productive manner. I’m not really giving myself a choice.

Well that’s really all I got to say today. See you in the New Year and enjoy the rest of the holidays with the company you plan on celebrating them with! Stay happy and true to yourself!

Bless up! (Shoutout to DJ Khaled 😂)

– Black Man, M.D.

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (1/8) M.D.

 

Aye….guess what?

 

I JUST SPRINTED THRU THE FINISH LINE!!!

MY FIRST SEMESTER OF MEDICAL SCHOOL IS OVER!!!

 

 

 

The morning of July 27th almost feels like a lifetime ago…but at the same time, it’s incredible that we’re already in the middle of December. I really had to pause for a minute and reflect that it has really been 21 weeks since my first day of Orientation. 21 weeks. If we wanna count days, that’s 145 days starting from 9:00 A.M that July morning (7/27) up until last Friday (12/18) at noon.

145 days.

Bruh, that’s 3,459 hours.

Better yet, that’s 207,540 minutes.

I’ve been an official medical student for 207, 540+ minutes. Sheesh.

I’m so glad to be on this two-week break. SO GLAD. Like, I don’t know if you fully understand. These days of relaxation and celebration ahead of me are making me very, VERY ecstatic. I’ve been looking forward to them for a very, VERY long time. I had been looking forward to Thanksgiving too, but I had to worry about an impending Biochemistry exam. With this winter break, there are no impending exams. As a matter of fact, we don’t take our next test until the end of January. Turn uhhhhhh!!

Speaking of tests, let me tell you about this Genetics/Pharmacology exam that we took this past Friday. It was supposed to be very straightforward and relatively easier compared to the tests we have taken this semester. Our professors had implicitly assured us that we would be 100% prepared for the exam.

“You just have to know the overall concept,” they said.

“I won’t test you on specific details,” they said.

Of course, when a teacher says don’t worry about a particular thing in their notes, I still glance at it and make mental notes…but I definitely didn’t commit a majority of what they said not to worry about to memory. Also, the questions about the concepts that we needed to know were made quite a bit harder than I anticipated. That’s why my jaw had dropped so hard to the floor by the time I hit the 10th question. You know it’s gonna be a long test when you spend a good 25 minutes on the first ten questions…and mark near half of them to come back for review. There were only 66 questions on the test too, so each question had a good amount of weight on it, which made it all the more important to get as few wrong as possible. I had come into the test feeling so prepared, just KNOWING that I had a shot at getting a score in the 90’s for once, maybe even…….a perfect score?? 👀 👀 👀 But it turns out that the professors had ulterior motives. I went from shooting for a score in the 90’s on question 1 to just tryna make it through the test by question 45. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some pretty straightforward questions on the test that were easy to get through…but there were also quite a few complex, wordy questions with weirdly descriptive answers. We were basically bamboozled into thinking that it was going to be an easy test. But of course, it was made a lot harder than it needed to be. It was sad yo. And the whole experience was made even more dreadful with the crashing of the testing system in the middle of the examination period. I had already answered all my questions and was 10 questions away from completing my exam review when it crashed on me. When it crashed, a white screen popped up with a small sentence that stated that the system crashed and that I needed to restart my test.

Bruh, I was so scared that I lost all my answers. I literally stared at that white screen for a couple of minutes before realizing that half the people in my testing room had the same issue. The exam proctors were stuck with trying to figure out how to fix this issue while keeping a room full of highly annoyed medical students calm. Thankfully, they helped us in getting the issue resolved and I didn’t lose any of my answers…but not before having to sit there for an additional 30 minutes in that room when I had been literally 5 minutes away from submitting my exam. But oh well, such is life. Like I’ve said with my tests in the past, I’m sure I passed it…I just don’t know by how much.

Whaaaaatever, it’s done with and I’m chillin’ now. I’m going to have a blast spending Christmas with my family here in VA and then spending New Years’ with my girlfriend down in ATL. I don’t even wanna think about medicine right now. Thing is, I repeatedly find myself not only accidentally using medical terms when talking with my family, but also thinking about the mechanisms of the most random things. Sigh. I suppose this is what my life is becoming. I guess it isn’t so bad. Could very easily be a 100,000x worse.

I’m currently catching the itis because I just had some amazing iHop, so all I want to do is nap…but my brothers are begging to get their butts beat at FIFA, so now I gotta go and serve them the fixings. So I’ll leave with wishing each of you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy Holidays!

Please be safe and enjoy your loved ones! 

Be blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.