Fresh Start

It looks like the New Year is starting off on a strong note for me!

Well, nothing major has actually really happened this past week…but it’s been a great week nonetheless. I spent the rest of my winter break at home in VA with my family, neighbors and girlfriend, where I was able to bring the New Year in! After the whole celebration that came with New Year’s Day, I had to drive right on back to Winston that same day in order to start my Anesthesia Sub-Internship the very next day. Yeah I know, it kinda sucks to have to start back up the day after New Year’s, but I can’t really complain after having had no clinical responsibilities since my last day of my Sub-Internship at CHOP back before Thanksgiving break. I’ve literally spent the last 6 1/2 weeks doing a whole lot of traveling, interviewing and sleeping with nothing much going on in between. Okay I’m lying, I definitely had plenty of SNMA administrative work to take care of, especially making sure that we kept our social media presence strong this past month. Also, I’ve been actively trying to decide where I want to spend the next three years of my life, which honestly isn’t the worst problem to have….but still, it’s a tough decision to make. I would rather be in this scenario than be in the scenario I was in when I was applying to medical schools, essentially begging for a school to give me a chance at earning a medical degree and to put me in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt along the way.

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The whole point I’m trying to make is that I’ve had a great time using my time the way that I’ve wanted to use it this past month and a half. Having to go back to a clinical schedule wasn’t that smooth of a transition, but the nature of my current rotation has made it relatively painless. I started it this past Wednesday with a brief orientation, where I swiftly learned that I was going to have to take a midterm exam, a final exam, and a mock OR simulation exam.

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I went into the rotation knowing that I would have to unfortunately take a final exam, but A MIDTERM AND A SIMULATION EXAM?? THREE WHOLE EXAMS??? IN ONE MONTH??? JEEEESUS *in my most authentic Cameroonian accent*

I almost forgot to mention that I have assigned readings from a giant textbook each night, which is where the material I will be tested on will be coming from. Oh, and I’ve repeatedly heard that the tests were incredibly difficult.

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And to top it all off, I’m going to have to present a topic of my choice to my peers and an attending at some point in the next couple of weeks.

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So yeah, the requirements are ass, but it’s all relatively offset by the fact that everyone in the department seems to be really chill. Plus I get to pretty much design my own schedule when I’m in the OR, meaning that I can pick whatever cases I want to go to, with breaks included in my schedule. And while I have to be at the hospital at 6:00 AM, my workday is pretty much over by 3:00 PM, unless I decide to stick around for another hour for the residents’ lecture. So yeah, no complaints there. My first few days have  been great, and I feel that my day-to-day experience throughout the rotation will be engaging, informative and fulfilling. I did forget to mention that each medical student on the rotation has to do one long call shift each week (6AM – 10 PM), so I got that delightful experience to look forward to. 😊😊😊😊😊

Outside of the hospital, I got the opportunity to interview some more medical school applicants, which was pretty cool. Because I had already gone through this experience once before, I was privy to what was expected of me and the applicants as I interviewed each of them. It’s very interesting to watch how one standard prompt can be processed in so many different ways. You would be amazed at what the applicants come up with. All I’m going to say is that if thinking on your feet is a requirement to get into med school, the competition is only getting tougher and tougher. The morning also seemed to fly by faster because I was fully aware of how things flowed. I have a couple more interview days that I will be helping out on, and I’m looking forward to serving as an interviewer on those days!

That’s really all I have to say today. I have my FINAL residency interview this Tuesday at UVA, which is the one that I may or may not have mentioned in an earlier post that I couldn’t attend because of a snowstorm last month and thus had to reschedule. I honestly wish that I didn’t have to do any more interviews now that I’m back in school and all, but it’s for the best. After this one, I’m all done with interviews and I can officially begin working on my rank list! 😄🙈

I hope that your New Year has been off to a spectacular start! Let’s make this week a fantastic one! 😁

“Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…..If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually’, just do it and correct course along the way.” – Timothy Ferriss

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Now that the House of Representatives has offically switched power as of last week, I really am starting to feel those invgorating jolts of hope that were shattered soon after the shocking and disastrous 2016 elections. It’s a feeling that I’ve sorely missed these past couple of years. Shoutout to the new, diverse wave of Democrats in the House!!! 🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿

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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.

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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! 😄

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!

Starting Off Strong!

Well would you look at that, it has already been a week into the New Year!

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My first week of 2018 was spent in Atlanta, where I enjoyed a fantastic week full of relaxation, goal-setting, and brainstorming. New Year’s Eve was a blast, and New Year’s Day was full of some spectacular college football games. The other days of the week seemed to blend together, all the way up until yesterday when I returned here to good ol’ Winston. Within those days, I FINALLY watched Girls Trip, Bright (wasn’t a bad movie at all, despite what the movie critics say), the new season of Black Mirror (shoulda seen my face when I realized there were only six new episodes), the new Dave Chappelle Netflix specials, the series premiere of Grown-ish, and some other stuff I can’t think of at the moment. I can’t remember the last time I watched that much TV. I also ate a lot of good food from multiple restaurants, met a few of my girlfriend’s old friends and went ice skating for the second time in my life (first time was as a first-semester college freshman and my dumbass had decided to wear a v-neck t-shirt with some cargo shorts back then…I wasn’t so dumb this time 😊). I was wobbling about 97% of the time….buuuutttt I DID NOT FALL!!!

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It was a fun and restful week overall, and an awesome way to finish up my two-week long break from my clinical rotations. I honestly don’t even know when I’ll have that much time off from school again. Probably sometime deep within my fourth-year. Who knows. All I know is that I made the most of my break and I feel more than ready to return to the grind and knock out these last two weeks of my Neurology experience! Then comes my eight-week Surgery rotation, and I’ll be ready for that too, belieeeve that! I’m not letting anything stop me, scare me or slow me down man! Remember, a positive mindset = positive results!

Lol can you tell I’m pumped up? This holiday break really invigorated me, just like pretty much all my breaks in the past have done. Also, I just feel so grateful for where I am in my life and where I’m headed, Lord willing. There are hundreds of millions of people in this world who would kill to be living the life I’m living, so why wouldn’t I be pumped up about being able to continue my medical journey? I know how hard I’ve worked to get this far, how hard I’m willing to work to reach and surpass the goals I’ve set for myself and how much support I’ve been blessed to receive along the way, so what reason do I have to complain or become discouraged? As you can see, when you take some time to put things into perspective, you realize just how great your life is and how much worse off you could be! Perspective is key, never forget that!

That’s all I got for you today, short and sweet! I have a really good feeling that 2018 is going to be such a dope year; I hope that you feel the same about this year as well! Let us continue to prosper and reach our desired goals as we move further into this year!

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey

– Black Man, M.D.

Back At It.

Well.

I’m back in Winston-Salem.

School starts back up tomorrow with three morning lectures and an afternoon discussion session, which isn’t too bad. As a matter of fact, this week isn’t looking bad at all, its mainly just morning microbiology lectures and free afternoons that we can use to digest the new material given to us. However, next week is a packed week with both morning and afternoon classes. It’s all good though, I’m ready for just about anything. Although I’ve been resting and relaxing for the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been mentally preparing myself for this semester…and I’m happy to say that with a semester of medical school under my belt, I have no fears coming into this next semester. You see, I’ve come to realize that it’s pointless to be afraid or nervous of what lies ahead in medical school. Whether it be future exams or being thrown in a brand new environment with minimal skills, there’s really no point in worrying about the potential hardships the future might bring. That’s because it’s only gonna get harder later on in my career, and I’ll just be looking back at my first year wondering what the hell I was so anxious about when I had it so easy. Also, there simply is nothing I can do about the future except prepare for it. Worrying is such a waste of energy. So I might as well enjoy the ride and actively learn as much from it as I can. I have Dr. Damon Tweedy to thank for helping me reach that conclusion, for I was reading his book this past week (Yeah I know, I’m taking forever to get through it) and as I was reading through his experiences in his first year of residency, I started to fully realize that I really do have it easy in comparison. I mean, all I really have to do is study for exams and absorb as much material as I can throughout these four years of medical school. Third and fourth years are clinical years and I will have more responsibilities as a result, but I still don’t have the full responsibilities an actual doctor has. Plus, I’ll be closely supervised anyway. Sure I’ll have screw-ups along the way, but when was the last time I was scared of screwing up? Failures are stepping stones to success. Kanye said it himself, “N-Now th-that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger.” Residency will be by far more challenging than what I’m currently experiencing now, but by the time I get there, I’ll have the skillset needed to be a full medical doctor. Sure it’ll be probably one of the hardest adjustments I’ll ever have to make and I probably won’t feel ready to make decisions for the well-being of my patients, but I’ll survive and get through it. As Marcus Aurelius once said, “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present. ” That goes for anything that you may be going through in life; just trust yourself and you’ll find a way to get through your struggles.

In other news, this past week in Atlanta was an awesome experience! It was such a diverse city man; I saw all kinds of people when I was down there. While I was there, I got to see all kinds of aquatic wildlife in the Georgia Aquarium, which by the way was so freakin’ huge. I’ve never seen an aquarium that big…and that expensive 😒. It was worth it though, my girl and I got our money’s worth and toured just about everything in that place. I also rode the new (and random) Ferris Wheel in the Centennial Olympic Park, shopped in Lenox Mall, drove through Buckhead and dabbed with the Coke Bear at the World of Coke. I also can’t forget about the great food I had at Atlanta’s restaurants and all the fun I had on New Years Day. Great times, great times. Definitely gotta make another trip back at some point in the future.

I hope each of you are starting your New Year right and on a positive note! Don’t let the one life you have be infested with negativity and worry; let it shine radiant with happiness and confidence! Sounds corny, but life’s better when you’re happy and aren’t chronically worried, trust me.

Stay blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.