Keeping Steady as Time Flies

2017 is already looking like it’s about to be a fast year. Like, it’s already the middle of January and I feel like I just did the countdown to New Years’ last night! As a matter of fact, I may have said this before but second-year has been SPEEDING by really fast. When you’re always busy studying a new organ system while doing the other things that are important to you in your life, time tends to zip right past you. As of last Friday, we have completed six different organ systems this year and taken about 11-or-so exams. That’s a lot of stuff yo. We start the Musculoskeletal block this Tuesday and then our final block before our dedicated Step Study Period will be the Endocrine/Reproductive block. Two blocks separate me from Step-focused time, which starts in early March. Just two. And best believe, they will fly by very quickly. Oh boy.

upset breaking bad bryan cranston walter white oh no

We finished up our Renal block last Friday with a pretty short and straightforward Renal pathology exam. I’m happy to say that I don’t have any worries about my performance. I really love that the course director decided to split the Renal block in half, where we do physiology before winter break and pathology after the break. It made learning the material so much more manageable and because I had a pretty solid grasp of the physiology, understanding the pathology wasn’t too hard at all. (Also as an update from last week’s post, I did manage to get through all my lectures with a whole day to spare for review 😁.) Although we hit the ground running as soon as I got back from break, I was able to eventually hit a steady stride leading up to the exam. In order to do that though, I had to pretty much study most of the day everyday last week. So with that said, nothing too exciting happened to me last week. I did get to play with ultrasound in order to see some kidneys in real-time though!

Taking the test last Friday has allowed me to relax on this three-day weekend that I’m currently on. (Shoutout to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr! The legend would have been 88 years old today if hatred wasn’t so prevalent in this country.) I spent part of my weekend working as a station leader for glaucoma screenings at the annual health fair that us Wake medical students organize every year. This health fair, called Share the Health Fair, provides a number of free health screenings for the Winston-Salem community and also provides these residents a ton of information on how to live a healthier life. This health fair is the only healthcare that a good number of the attendees get all year, so it’s a very important event for them and it makes it all the more worthwhile for us to volunteer at it. It turned out that the glaucoma screening station that my volunteer team was running was the most popular station at the whole fair! The doors to the fair opened at 10 AM yesterday morning and by 10:02 AM we were swamped with patients wanting to be screened. I kid you not, there were literally like 20 people in line by 10:05 man. And that line did not get any shorter as time went on. It actually got longer on a few occasions! The screening consisted of us testing the visual field, the visual acuity and the eye pressure of every patient while the physician working with us checked their retinas and optic nerves. We all did this non-stop until about 2:30 PM. We must have screened close to 50 patients in that period of time! It felt more like 100 though! Alas, it was a fun time overall and time ended up flying by due to the fact that we stayed busy throughout the day. Our team did an awesome job in executing the screening and making sure that each patient in line got a chance to see the physician!

Lastly, I spent last night at the annual Med School Prom, which turned out to be a good time. Now, as I’m typing this post, I’m here contemplating on how best to use my free time, which is becoming increasingly rarer to come across. I guess I should stop messing around and actually do the things that are on my To-Do list lol.

Do your best to make your week an astounding one! Even though we’re about to inaugurate the new “leader” of America this Friday, who I’m highkey not claiming as my President. Sigh. Don’t get me started on the state of this nation. Just know that we’re about to walk into some strange and difficult times. Why do you have to go President Obama?? Why??? 😭😭😭😭😭

killer instinct

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

– Black Man, M.D.

Straight Grindin’

Alright I knew I would be hitting the ground running when I got back to school…

BUT DAMN!!! *in my best Chris Tucker voice*

I don’t think I’ve really been able to catch much of a break since getting back from Atlanta last Monday. I started class Tuesday morning with four lectures of Renal Pathology (that I FINALLY finished getting through yesterday), followed by another four lectures the next day that I’m still working on getting through. (Yes, I’ve been playing the catch-up game again. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊) And I have about ten or so lectures this week before my Renal Pathology exam on Friday. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But you would think I would have been able to get through my eight lectures from last week by now. You know why I haven’t been able to? I’ll gladly tell you. Because I had another Clinical Skills Exam (“affectionately” called CPX for those of you not familiar with it) this past Wednesday where I not only had to go in and interview a standardized patient before performing a focused physical exam on her, but also had to document our encounter as well as provide an assessment and plan for her care. That took quite a chunk of my Wednesday overall. In my opinion, it may have been my best performance yet, but you never know these days. I’m just gonna hold my breath and hope that I don’t get another email stating that the history-taking portion of my encounter was “Unsatisfactory” and that I will need to “remediate my history-taking skills”. I don’t even wanna hear the word ‘remediate’ anymore. I’m tired of remediating my history-taking dammit. Lol.

I then tried to get through some more of Tuesday’s lectures after finishing my standardized patient documentation, but I didn’t get very far. Plus I was tired and wanted to get some sleep in order to attend a Case-Centered Learning (CCL) session early the next morning. Thursday turned out to be a pretty long day as well. I attended the CCL lecture and then attempted to study some more before having to go to my actual Clinical Skills class, which ended up taking up most of my afternoon. The class was especially interesting this time around though, for we learned a practical and helpful method to go about breaking bad news to patients as well as how to take a “SOAP Note”, which is a quick daily progress note of a patient that includes an evaluation of how the patient is doing from both a subjective and an objective perspective, a current assessment of the current health of the patient and a plan of care for the patient based on the overall evaluation and assessment of him/her. We also learned how to access patient files, which comes with a HUGE amount of responsibility and actually made me feel more like a healthcare provider instead of a second-year med student tryna stay afloat in this choppy sea of lectures and exams. It was pretty cool, to say the least.

After getting back from Clinical Skills, I played the catch-up game a bit more before having to attend a meeting for the annual “Share the Health Fair” taking place this Saturday. I’m going to be working as a station leader at the glaucoma screening station at the health fair all day, so I had to make sure I knew what the set-up was going to look like as well as make sure the volunteers working at the station that day knew what to expect. On top of all this going on that day was the fact that it was my Founders’ Day, so of course I had to celebrate for a bit with some other fraternity brothers in the area. I finally got back to my place later that night, studied for a bit and then crashed in order to attend a review session the next morning because Lord knows I definitely needed that. I attended the review session and then was able to get some more studying in after that, but my studying was cut short (yet again) by a mandatory presentation I had to attend where my class was formally introduced to the scheduling procedures for our third-year clinical rotations. By the way, this presentation further proved to me how freakin’ close third-year is. The fact that I’ll have patients in the near future that I’m somewhat responsible for is mind-blowing man. In addition, clinical rotation schedules are strict AF. I’ll have to be at the hospital damn near every waking hour of my week, although I’ll get weekends off on some rotations. So that means I’ll have much, much less control of my time. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride, that’s for sure.

Right after leaving that presentation, I made my way to Charlotte in order to fly to Irving, Texas (it’s near Dallas) for the SNMA National Leadership Institute. First off, I traveled back in time. That’s just cool to say. Also, it was ’bout cold as fuhhh over there! You would think Texas would be hot or whatever. But nah. It was 22 degrees when I landed. And it stayed cold the whole weekend. I wasn’t reaaadyyyyy! *in my Kevin Hart voice* But it IS January, so I guess I should have known better lol. The conference was fantastic overall though! I was able to interact with regional and national leaders in the organization from all over the country while representing my school. I also learned quite a bit from the sessions that I attended, including tips on how to efficiently plan your goals, why understanding the business side of medicine is particularly important, the importance of understanding the value of a personal brand, how to verbally communicate with people in a proficient manner in under a minute, and how to take advantage of the plethora of post-career opportunities available for medical school graduates. In addition, there was a SNMA Leadership Panel presented to us, which was made up of prior SNMA leaders who are now practicing physicians and the Dean of Texas Christian University’s future medical school came to talk to us about the innovative curriculum that they’re working to provide to their future students. Finally, we were given a talk during dinner last night that focused on the vital importance of voting in all government elections and being leaders in our respective communities. All in all, I’m happy that I had the opportunity to attend this conference and I feel that I’ll be making use of many of the connections that I made here, as well as many of the lessons that I learned here, in the future.

So now I’m back in Winston, where it actually snowed quite a bit while I was gone! Now all I need is to throw a snowball at someone and to drink some hot cocoa to be perfectly content. I’m lying, I won’t be content because I still gotta get through these lectures.

confused hand robert downey jr frustrated sigh

I hope you’ve started off the New Year on a phenomenal note! Keep on working towards your goals and powering through your resolutions! Those who say they can and those who say they can’t are usually both right!

Be the one who says they can!

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston  Churchill

– Black Man, M.D.