Unbroken.

Do you remember the quote I posted last week?

You know, the one that read, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.“?

Turns out that it was ironically the PERFECT quote for me this past week. But before I get into all that, let’s talk real quick about my most recent shelf exam, my relaxing weekend and my upcoming Pediatrics rotation that starts tomorrow morning. The Ob/Gyn shelf exam still ended up being tough, even after all the long hours of studying I put into preparing for it. Smh. But that was to be expected. Of course there were going to be a few questions asking about minutia that I never even considered putting to memory. For those questions, I mostly just used process of elimination before throwing hail marys and moving on.  For the most part though, I was able to breeze through a good number of the questions that asked about important topics that I had drilled into my head. I was even able to finish the test and review some of the questions I was previously unsure about before time ran out, something that I had way less time to do on my previous Internal Medicine shelf exam. Overall, I think I did better this time around than I did on the IM shelf due to the increased emphasis I put on preparing for it and the fact that I had a better understanding of how to take a shelf exam….I just hope my grade shows proof of that. 😅

In other news, I’m honestly pretty excited about my Pediatrics rotations coming up! Six weeks of caring for children and teenagers is going to be a unique challenge, especially since I’ll have to learn how to efficiently interact with their families in a direct manner. Although it’ll be cool to help care for kids with their relative innocence and all, I feel like it’ll also be quite depressing to see them in the hospital stricken with debilitating conditions that they do not deserve to have. That will most likely provide me with an even stronger resolve to try and help them in any way I can. With the outpatient component of this rotation, I’ll be working in a sub-specialty clinic, a newborn nursery and an ambulatory clinic, each for a duration of one week. It’ll be quite interesting, to say the least. I’m also 96% sure that I’ll catch a cold at some point during this rotation.

The Paley Center for Media ugh frustrated i cant headache GIF

In regards to this weekend, I spent it relaxing back home in VA with both my family and my girlfriend. As always, it was a pleasure to be back there spending time with them! We all ended up chatting merrily with one another and having a great time grilling with our neighbors while enjoying the pleasant weather that was gifted upon us. It was a much-needed decompression, especially after this past week. Speaking of this past week…

Let me start off by saying that I learned a LOT about the female pelvis and about many of the reconstructive surgeries that can be done in that area. Also, the field of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery is just about as cool as it sounds; you literally assess the pelvis and perform various operations on the defect(s) that the patient is complaining about. Over the course of the week, I participated in clinic work and assisted in multiple surgeries, those of which included a sacral colpopexy, a colpocleisis and a bilateral oophorectomy, among a few others. Now you may be reading this and asking yourself why I went ahead and said that last week’s quote was the PERFECT quote for me while I was on this service this past week. Up until now, it pretty much sounds like I had the typical great experience that I’ve been having so far in my third year, does it not?

Well, everything about the experience was actually pretty great if you take out the critical fact that, throughout the week, I honestly felt like I was being treated in a manner that could have made it incredibly easy to doubt my own intelligence. Keywords, could have. Thankfully, I’ve acquired the ability to take criticism, warranted or not, with a graceful stride. Plus, I’ve already been working on developing confidence in my growing medical knowledge and after writing what I wrote near the end of my last post, it only felt right to keep all thoughts of self-doubt at bay as I was pummeled with endless, highly specific questions about pelvic surgeries throughout the week, half of those I simply did not know the answer to. I was also torn apart after fumbling through a patient presentation that I had been given very short notice about, was told that I had to shadow during my day in the clinic to learn more about interviewing patients since I had not given a good impression so far (it was Tuesday) and was given the impression that I needed to do some serious improvement if I were to perform adequately as a third-year student.

 confused kevin hart where is this coming from? GIF

However, I was given the opportunity to present another patient near the end of the week and did a “fantastic” job after having been able to prepare for it, and was able to answer more of the questions directed towards me by the end of my time on that service after putting more work in understanding the pelvic surgeries that I was assisting in, none of which were tested on in my shelf exam. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy week for me. For the first time in my third-year (and probably in all of medical school), I was unhappy with what I was going into each day. Sure, there had been times as a medical student where I looked forward to a week being over in anticipation for an exciting event during the weekend or where I looked at an upcoming situation with typical anxiety. But never had I gone to sleep at night absolutely dreading the next day. It was not a good feeling. I felt intimidated, frustrated and annoyed all at the same time. The atmosphere I encountered while on that service was also unsettling to me. While I did appreciate the knowledge that was shared with me (usually after having been burned) and all of the learning opportunities that I took advantage of in the clinic and the operating room, I feel like the experience had the potential to be more enjoyable overall. Thank God for my thick skin.

Whew! It feels great to have gotten that off my chest! I gotta be genuine at all times man; I would be doing you and me both a disservice if I strayed from doing so!

Cheers to an exceptional week ahead of us!

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” – Lao Tzu

– Black Man, M.D.

Stepping Towards Improvement

I don’t think I’ve ever studied this hard in my entire life.

Like, I’ve really been putting major hours in ever since this study block started. The only thing that comes to mind to compare this amount of studying to is the summer that I studied for the MCAT…but even that pales in comparison to this. I mean yeah I’ve been studying hard all throughout med school too, but this has been quite different. Throughout my coursework up until now, I was learning about one organ system each block, so I was focused solely on that topic. I also balanced my time out and did a number of other things outside of studying in my past blocks. However, now I’m studying every damn thing there is to know about the human body and the drugs that affect it, including some things that I’ve never actually learned. Also, I’m pretty much entrenched in my studies all day with small breaks in between, which is quite different from what I’m used to. I’m usually the type that is pretty flexible with time and who prefers to go with the flow rather than keep to a structured schedule. So the fact that I actually currently have a schedule I stick to (for the most part) is pretty wild to me. Like, I actually wake up around 7:15-7:30 AM each day and am usually fast asleep by 11:30-11:45 PM. I’m still a bit flexible with my daily schedule here and there, but I’m nowhere near as malleable with my time as I was before I started dedicating my time to Step.

Speaking of time, these days have all been a blur man. Truth be told, I’ve actually forgotten what day it was on numerous occasions last week. Also, time flies so fast throughout the day when you’re intensely focused…one minute it’s 12:55 PM and then when I look up again, it’s 5:34 PM. It’s annoying how quickly time can zip by when you would rather have it slow down a bit. Smh. And don’t even get me started on these UWorld questions man…these questions are just ridiculous. They’re hard as hell, even with all the studying that I’ve been doing! But on the flip side, I’ve been learning a ton from them and I’ve actually seen some steady improvement in my scores within this past week! I did have a sharp nosedive in the score of the most recent question set I answered, but I’m considering that set a fluke lol. Plus, it just gives me a great opportunity to learn more information that I either didn’t know before or hadn’t stuck as well with me as I previously thought! What’s important is that I’m seeing a steady improvement in applying my knowledge to new questions while retaining information that I’m continuously acquiring. I’m still on a treacherous uphill battle but as long as I keep calm, confident and determined, nothing will stop me from soaring to that mountaintop!

With that said, I’m getting back to the grind. Y’all keep me in your prayers and I’ll keep y’all in mine! Have a sensational week!

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Congratulations to all the medical students who matched this past Friday!! That’s a MAJOR accomplishment to have achieved! I pray to be in y’alls shoes one day!

Resisting The System

First off, I want to express my deepest gratitude to President Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, both of their families, and the Obama administration as a whole for doing what they could to make this country a better place. I distinctly remember watching the Obamas on CNN as they graced the stage in Chicago on Election Night back when I was a 15 year-old high school sophomore. I also remember not having to go to school during his first inauguration due to snowfall (it was like a 1/2 inch of snow lol). I remember watching his inauguration in awe and beginning to wonder what all of this meant for the country. That’s when I really began to both watch the news and pay attention to how politics were played out in this country. Having a leader such as President Obama in the Oval Office during such a critical period of my growth has been a blessing and an honor. He has inspired me to learn so much about so many things and has been a powerful symbol of hope, love and equanimity. Getting the chance to see him speak during my sophomore year of college was a highlight of my college career!

obama-speech-at-um

I took this picture…as you can see, I was hella close to the stage!

I actually videotaped most of his speech…I have no idea why. It really sucks to have had to see him and his administration go, but it feels good knowing that he will continue to interact with us as a fellow private citizen. It’s also dope that he and Michelle created Obama.org! Best believe I will be a frequent visitor of that site; I already got it bookmarked and everything!

obama-u

A dope picture that I didn’t take!

Now that I’ve had the fortune to mature during Obama’s presidency, I’m ready to fully resist anything that threatens the progress his administration made in this world. This so happens to include almost all of Trump’s agenda and the agendas of the many Republicans that support him. It was so amazing to see all the Women’s Marches happening across the world yesterday…it just shows how insane the predicament we’re in is and how many people are willing to fight against hatred and inequality. Shoutout to all of you who took the time to participate in the marches! I admire each of you!

If you plan on resisting the current government but aren’t really sure what to do, the easiest thing to do (other than signing petitions) is to either write emails to your Senators or Representatives or to call them! Calling is more effective though and it only takes a couple minutes to do so, if that! You can click this link to find the contact info of your senator. Or you could just dial (202) 225-3121 (U.S. House switchboard operator) and ask to be connected to your state representative! I personally plan on calling the NC senators everyday in order to help fight against the craziness we’re up against. One person calling may not do much, but if many people are coordinated to call on a constant basis like Michael Moore is suggesting us to do, then I believe that we can make some sort of impact. If that means annoying them to death and jamming up their call lines, so be it. And you don’t need to have a speech rehearsed or anything, just tell them how you really feel! We’re currently on an uphill struggle, and it’s definitely not going to be an easy battle…but just like others in the past have, WE WILL PERSEVERE.

Okay I could go on and on about that, but I need to finish up this post and get back to studying because I’m still a med student lol. We started the Musculoskeletal/Rheumatology block this past week and it has been pretty straightforward so far. There’s a lot of little facts associated with the different rheumatologic conditions, which have been annoying to memorize, but I’m positive that I’ll be able to efficiently categorize the diseases and get them all down before our exam next Monday. But didn’t I just take a Renal pathology exam a little over a week ago? Yes, yes I did. These tests have been coming in like rapid fire yo. This ain’t no joke. I did do pretty well on that Renal exam tho! After this block will be the Endocrine/Reproductive block, and…..that’s it. Then I’ll be studying for the Step exam. Boy am I ready to get that exam over with.

On a final note, I’ve recently gotten involved with a minority male mentoring program that one of my friends founded, called S.Y.S.T.E.M. (Supporting Young Scholars Through Empowerment and Mentoring). The overall goal of the program is to provide support and guidance to young men by building meaningful mentor/mentee relationships. We plan on supporting the growth and development of our mentees by strategically partnering with schools, engaging in group-based mentoring & one-on-one meetings, and providing models of success that focus on emotional/behavioral management, professionalism, personal, and academic growth. We started working on the new program a few months ago, and this past Friday we all finally got to meet our mentees, who are all in 4-5th grade. Our main topic of that meeting was managing stress and emotions, so we spent about an hour discussing their thoughts on that and how us as students in the medical field each manage our own stressors and emotions in our everyday lives. It was a great event overall and the kids were actually really excited to interact with us! I’ll be looking forward to the rest of the meetings that we have with them over the course of the semester!

system

That’s all I have for today. Do your best to stay full of perseverance and empowerment this week!

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Ziglar

– Black Man, M.D.