Study Block

Sooo we have our third Cellular & Subcellular Processes (CSP) test tomorrow. It’s going to have concepts from Immunology and all types of bacteria, ranging from the morphologies of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria to what specific antibiotics treat each of them. Mechanisms of action, mechanisms of resistance, somatic hypermutation, STI’s, Amoxicillin, Tazobactum, Klebsiella pneumoniae, you name it. It’s all fair game for this test.

But if you know me or have been following this blog for a while, you already know that it takes quite a lot to faze me. Simply put, I’m not really fazed by this test. Better yet, I’m actually ready to get it over with and move on to learning about viruses, parasites, fungi and immunodeficiencies…..just so I can repeat the whole cycle of studying for the fourth CSP test.¬†ūüėď

Sigh. 

You ever reach that point where after studying and reviewing day and night for so long, you find yourself looking forward to test day just so you can feel sort-of free¬†and have one less thing on your mind? I can already hear you going,¬†“Hell nah fool, you cwwwazy.” And you may very well be right, but that’s just where I’m at now. I’m having to force myself to review more practice questions for tomorrow’s test. I literally was watching a movie last night and as this man was crawling through soil and mud in the wilderness with open cuts, all I could think about was how high-risk he was for¬†a¬†Clostridium bacterial¬†infection. Like, c’mon man. I can’t watch a movie or even cook a meal without thinking about bacterial infections and the proper way to diagnose them. It’s almost like when I couldn’t fall asleep back in the good ol’ Anatomy days without mentally¬†naming the origins and insertions of the Cranial Nerves.¬†Lol. I’ve¬†grown to learn that¬†whenever I begin to incorporate what I’m studying into my everyday thought processes,¬†I’m more than ready for a test. I guess that’s what happens when you stay glued in your apartment to your notes, First Aid book and laptop for a week. And can’t forget about SketchyMicro. Lord knows that’s how I’m getting through the rest of CSP.

With all that said, just because I say I’m ready doesn’t mean the test isn’t gonna be hard. I felt ready for the last test I took before winter break and they hit me with the okie-doke with some ridiculous questions. Had me feeling some type of way going into winter break, smh. But on the other hand, if you aren’t confident in your abilities, you’ve already lost before you’ve even started. And I don’t like to lose.¬†ūüėú

I honestly don’t really have much to say today, only thing on my mind is getting a good score on this exam. And what I’m wearing to Wake’s Med School Prom this Friday. Yeah, we have a prom for medical students.¬†ūüėé And oh yeah, what the hell I’m doing¬†for the summer. I’ve been doing some extensive browsing on summer research opportunities and I have a few that I’m willing to take a shot at. My options are ranging from diabetes to cancer to eye research. However, the worst part about applying for summer programs is that you don’t hear back from them till like March or even April, which makes it hard to plan out any other options in the chance that I don’t get accepted into the programs that I’m applying to. Talk about annoying. Well regardless, I’m going to be doing something productive this summer. I’m not giving myself a choice.

Y’all have a splendid week!!

 

– Black Man, M.D.

Working Smarter > Working Harder

I woke up to snow this morning.

I literally haven’t seen snow fall since high school…it was a pretty neat scene. But then my amazement quickly spiraled¬†into horror when I remembered I had to walk my friend’s dog. Try to imagine my face when I took my first step outside in those freezing white flurries.

SMH.

What’s even crazier is that the snow abruptly stopped a couple hours later and the sun came out like any other ordinary day. Looking outside now, it’s as if the snow flurries never existed; as if they were a part of some weird winter wonderland¬†dream. But I assure you, the snow that coldly stung my face this morning was very real. And COLD.

I want to take a moment to shoutout to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for everything he did for this country & the world in general. I want him to thank him for his Dream and for helping pave the way to equality and success for people that look like me. I also want to thank him for this three-day weekend that I desperately needed. You see, we started learning about the different bacteria that cause infections in people last week and maannnn let me tell you, there are a TON of bacteria all around us at all times. There are so many different types of bacteria that have so many different ways to help us as well as attack us, and we’re expected to retain all this information. Not only do we have to know every kind of bacteria out there, but we also have to know how to identify them via the disease processes the body exhibits and we need to know how to treat each infection.

I learned about most of these pathogens in college, but memorizing (and pronouncing) everything this time around hasn’t been any easier.Well I should say hadn’t¬†been any easier, because I started using this Godsend called SketchyMicro last Thursday…and it’s changed my life! For any medical students out there that either are studying Microbiology right now or are beginning to study for the Step 1 exam and for some reason haven’t heard about this miracle yet, PLEASE check it out. Hell, even undergrads could use it, although it’s quite a bit more detailed than is necessary for undergrad Microbio classes. Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with SketchyMicro, the creators literally took just about every concept and organism that we need to know in the world of Microbiology and sketched a story out of it. So instead of having to dryly memorize so many facts word for word, you literally watch a story unfold with pictures used to trigger certain elements in the concept you’re trying to learn. It sounds hella weird I know, but it’s extremely creative and it’s working wonders for me so far! People were recommending it to me for so long and I can clearly see why. I’ve been binge-watching it this past weekend, and will continue to binge-watch up until my exam next Monday. SO needless to say, I’ve been pretty much a lame all weekend. But we all gotta make sacrifices to be great, right?

Also, I’m getting the opportunity to house a Wake interviewee for a night this week so that he has a place to stay for free before his interview on Thursday morning. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to do this, especially since it was done for me when I had my interview here almost exactly a year ago. Having a secure place to stay before my interview day and getting to talk to current medical students at the time definitely made my interview experience a hell of lot less stressful. I feel that it’s only right that I give that opportunity to another potential student. I’m slick excited to meet this guy and help him de-stress before his interview; he’s already called me up about any advice I had for him lol.

So with that said, if you’re currently interviewing for medical schools or any other graduate school in general, keep your head up and good luck! Always remember that if you’re being asked in for an interview, you’re already winning the battle. All you have to do is give them a good reason to pick you, which means being confident, being true to yourself and genuinely answering any question they throw at you. And smiling. Definitely smile.

Have a great week!

 

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Knowledge is Power.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting medical school back in July, it’s that it¬†really has a way of humbling you. I knew when I started med school that I didn’t know much about medicine and that I would have a lot to learn…but looking back now, it’s scary to see how very little I knew about the field I was trying to start a career in. Aside from Immunology, Biochemistry and the basics of Biology, I¬†really didn’t know a damn thing about the medical field the day I graduated from the University of Miami. The¬†limited scientific knowledge I had did not make Anatomy any easier and the whole Biochemistry course¬†only lasted a couple of weeks¬†here. I’m happy to say my major in Microbiology & Immunology is making my life a bit easier during this Microbiology/Immunology block, but I’m well aware that my safety net will not last long. Even to this day, it’s incredible how much I still do not know about medicine and what it means to become an overall effective physician. It’s like the more I learn, the more I realize how much I haven’t learned. I’m also finding that with an increasing knowledge base, I have so many more questions to ask and answers to find. Every¬†time I begin to understand a concept, there’s suddenly 100 new questions that I need answered in order to feel like I legitimately understand it. I’m literally on a never-ending quest¬†to catch smoke with my bare hands. It’s like an undying thirst for knowledge; an insatiable appetite.

But it’s eerily entertaining.

I actually enjoy being able to ask questions about new concepts, because it only increases my knowledge base on the subject.¬†Figuring out how certain mechanisms work and why they work the way they do is so cool to me and allows me to appreciate the human body that much more. It’s a wonderful feeling when you can finally connect something you learned about a system in the body to a disease process such as diabetes. It’s an even better feeling when you begin to understand the mechanism of the disease process and how it shows the symptoms that everyone is familiar with, like why people with sickle-cell anemia are more likely to suffer from frequent bacterial infections and sepsis,¬†or why people with untreated diabetes can go blind via diabetic retinopathy.

I know, I know…..I’m a nerd. I’ve always been this way…I can’t help it.¬†ūüėÖ

I guess the medical field just tends to attract people that find pleasure in figuring puzzles out. Guess¬†I’m in the right place.

On another note, I have a question I want you to answer. Can you tell me how in the hell a 20-minute meeting about my summer research plans¬†ended up turning into an almost-3-hour long shadowing experience? Not that I’m complaining…I was actually very excited! It was just crazy though…I had walked into the ophthalmology department expecting to meet an ophthalmologist in his office so that he could help direct me in what I should be doing this summer. 30 minutes later, I was scrubbed up and having casual conversation with the doctor in the (really hot) Operating Room while he was performing retinal-laser surgery on a premature baby in order to save her vision.

The retina is in the back of the eye, by the way.

I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. This doctor was literally having a full-blown conversation with me while¬†LITERALLY saving a kid’s vision with a laser machine attached to his head, a magnifying glass, a few metal tools and some eye drops. The fact that this guy really made the time to talk with me about my future goals while on the job really struck a chord with me. Hell, I’m still in absolute awe. I didn’t even want to say anything at first in fear that I would distract him from his meticulous task, but he kept telling me to ask him any questions I had on my mind. So I unloaded my barrage of questions ranging from why he decided to become an ophthalmologist to what disease he was working to fix on this baby. I almost forgot to ask him about my research interests, which was why I was there in the first place. Even after all my questions, he let me not only continue to watch him finish the surgery; he invited me to follow him around the ophthalmology floor as he continued about his day,¬†meeting new patients he had to perform surgery on and discussing details with his fellow. (A fellow is a doctor that has finished residency, but is in training to specialize in a specific area¬†of his/her field of medicine.) It was an awesome experience, to say the least. Doctors like him really make me appreciate studying medicine here at Wake Forest.

Overall, my first week back from break has been one of the calmest, if not the calmest, school weeks I’ve had since starting Anatomy back in August. The combo¬†of having very little afternoon classes and actually having a background in what we’re currently studying has been reassuring. I was even able to find time yesterday morning to volunteer at Wake’s annual Share The Health Fair, where I got the opportunity to help screen patients in the community for glaucoma. Granted, I’ve been studying pretty much all weekend because it’s still a ton of material to cover…but I’ve felt a lot better going over this material as opposed to the Biochemistry and Genetics rush I had before winter break. This upcoming week though…it’s looking like there’s about to be a lot more activity going on. I’m ready though, I ain’t worried ’bout¬†nothin’!!

Y’all be blessed!

 

– Black Man, M.D.