The Beginning of A Surreal Transition

That moment when you realize that you’re ONLY THREE WEEKS AWAY from graduation!!!

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I’m really going to have an M.D. in three weeks y’all. Like, I’m really about to be a Black Man, M.D. forreal forreal. I can’t even begin to express the level of emotion that I will surely feel during Graduation weekend and beyond. Just thinking about it all is starting to give me goosebumps!

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Although it hasn’t completely hit me yet (and it most likely won’t until the day after I graduate), I still can’t find the right words to fully encompass the feeling I get whenever I begin thinking about the magnitude of this accomplishment. The closest I can get to describing this feeling are using words like: surreal, incredible, humbling, nerve-wracking, sensational, exciting, delightful, extraordinary, and dumbfounding. I feel like although I’ve learned SO MUCH in these past few years, I still have a lot to learn before becoming the type of confident, intelligent and graceful healer that people think of whenever they hear the word “Doctor”.

Turns out, that’s exactly what my residency training is for.

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I’m not supposed to know everything before starting my intern year. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a doctor out there that knows all there is to know about medicine; that’s why we call it the “practice of medicine”. So with that said, as long as I know how to look up answers to the questions I have, know when to ask for help, know how to be a great team player, and know how to effectively learn from both my mistakes as well as the mistakes of others in order to grow into a better clinician, I’ll be just fine as I begin my residency training in June. 😁😁😁

My confidence in starting residency is also being boosted by the Intern Boot Camp experience that my school has been hosting this past week. The sessions that I have participted in so far have been very helpful in preparing me for the beginning of my intern year of residency. The sessions that I have participated in touched on topics such as how to effectively transition care in the hospital, tips regarding lines and tubes on imaging films, debt management & loan repayment, over-the-counter medications, effectively giving bad news & avoiding burnout, effective approaches to pain management and rashes in the pediatric population, the importance of sleep in residency, adolescent rights, treating conditions that commonly present in the hospital, and appropriately prescribing opioids to patients (part of our special DEA-X training).

In addition, I got the chance to participate in a workshop where I was tasked with leading a multidisciplinary team in stabilizing a patient who was acutely decompensating (talk about nerve-wracking), I practiced performing various procedures (putting in an IV line, placing and removing a central line, establishing intraosseous access, and performing a lumbar puncture) at a separate procedures workshop that took place in our old anatomy lab (I HAD FLASHBACKS 😩😨πŸ₯Ί), and I learned some valuable teaching skills during an “Intern as Teacher” workshop that I will try to utilize throughout my time in residency. These have all been very fruitful experiences that I’m sure will prove to be immensely useful in a few short months, and I’m looking forward to learning from the rest of the sessions taking place this week.Β I’m SO glad that Wake is doing this for us; Lord knows I needed a few reminders about certain topics before graduating. It’s amazing how rusty you can get during your last year of school…..πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

After this upcoming week, I’ll be done with my boot camp experience and will officially be done with all of my requirements for medical school. I’ll then be playing the waiting game for two weeks as I continue to make preparations for graduation and the beginning of my residency training. Preparing for residency means that I’ll have to start packing up my belongings and begin the process of moving to Chapel Hill. In case you weren’t already aware, I. HATE. MOVING. (I managed to only have to move one time during my four years here, and it was literally up the street…I still hated every second of the processΒ πŸ˜’) But alas, it must be done. So I’ll get it done. Along with moving, I still need to finish getting all of my paperwork done for my residency training. There’s sooo much paperwork that I need to complete in the next couple of weeks…it’s damn near suffocating. But again, I’ll get it done because if I don’t, I can’t begin my training. And it would have been a hell of a waste of time, effort and MONEY if I went through everything I’ve gone through, only to not be able to use my medical degree in my residency program.Β The thought of not being able to start my training makes me shudder.Β So yeah, I’ll shut up and get the paperwork done lol.Β 

Okay, I think that does it for this post. I hope you had a marvelous weekend and that you have a spectacular week! πŸ˜„

“Confidence is a habit that can be developed by acting as if you already had the confidence you desire to have.” – Brian Tracy

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I went to my first music festival this past weekend! Broccoli City was a good time, though it had the potential to be even better. Shoutout to VIP access thoooo!!!Β πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏ

P.P.S. – I STILL haven’t seen Avengers yet! 😭😭😭 I’ll fix that this week though!!! Oh and although I don’t really watch Game of Thrones, I decided to watch the latest episode with my girlfriend (a very devoted fan) last night. That battle scene was CRAAAZZYYY!!!

Scanning The Future

I’m one week into my Radiology elective and I must say, I’m certainly glad that I not only decided to select this rotation, but also that I ended up placing it at the tailend of my fourth year. 😊

It has been a real chill week, yet I’ve learned a lot of useful information about chest x-rays, CT scans, joint x-rays and MRI scans of the musculoskeletal system while working with the radiology residents and fellows. It’s amazing to watch how they are able to describe their findings in such detail as well as how they navigate through the various imaging modalities in order to accurately interpret an image. I was also able to appreciate what actually happens when an image study is sent to the Radiology department for interpretation and I ended up receiving helpful tips from the residents, fellows and attendings regarding the appropriate indications of sending in image studies for interpretation. Getting the opportunity to learn more about their perspective of healthcare delivery will definitely encourage me to think more about what imaging studies I order for my patients in the future and also think critically about why I decide to order them.

Although I was blindsided by the fact that there would be more work on this rotation than I expected (we have to write about an interesting case every day, deliver two separate five-minute presentations about interesting patients at some point during the rotation and take a final exam at the end of the rotation that’s based on the lectures that residents give us daily πŸ™„), I’ve still been having a great time so far and I’ve had more than enough time to get work done not only for this rotation, but for my other responsibilities as well (I have no idea why my list of responsibilities continues to grow when I’m just tryna chill 😩). However, I’ve been also taking some time to relax and thoroughly enjoy the free time I have; I’m definitely not about to take this hard-earned free time for granted.

Outside of reading diagnostic images and attending lectures, I spent some time last week providing input at a focus group dedicated to boosting the recruitment side of future admissions efforts at my school. I also spent some time interviewing prospective medical students for the fourth (and final) time this school year, getting my SNMA Region organized so that we are fully prepared for the Annual Medical Education Conference in April, and making preparations for both Match Day and Graduation Weekend. The more I think about this transition to the next phase of my life, the more unreal it seems. Like, I’ll have confirmation of my next destination in less than two weeks and I’ll be a full-fledged physician in less than three months! And from there, I have the potential to do whatever I want with my budding career!

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It’s both thrilling and nervewracking at the same time, but I’m honestly much more excited about it all than I am nervous. So much work, time and sacrifice has been put into this mission, so I deserve to be excited about this next phase in my journey! I’ve come a long way from fighting vigorously for my hard-earned spot in medical school a few years ago and an even longer way from my teenage years, where the concept of becoming a physician was an idea that I believed in and was starting to work towards, but at the same time was one that almost felt unreal to me simply because it had seemed like it would take FOREVER to achieve the goal of becoming a doctor. All these years later, it’s incredible that I’m going to be obtaining my medical degree and am going to FINALLY turn this long-standing idea into a reality! πŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏπŸ™ŒπŸΏ

Figured I would go ahead and end the post here on a high note! I hope that your week ends up being a marvelous one! πŸ˜„

β€œI had to make my own living and my ownΒ opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker

– Black Man, M.D.

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???Β ” 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 πŸ˜…” 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.

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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! πŸ˜„

Here’s to a fantastic and prosperous New Year!

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“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!