Riding It Out

Just to let you know, this is probably going to end up being a short post because I don’t really have that much to say. Plus I’m currently snowed in and have been in and out of power throughout the day and I don’t want to use up a lot of my laptop battery typing this up. In all my years of experiencing snow days, I’ve literally never lost power because of the snow…so this predicament is pretty new to me lol. I had to go layer up on my clothing because without the heater keeping us warm, it’s already starting to get a little chilly in the apartment.

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Literally woke up to this.

Smh.

But enough about my current issues; let’s move on to other things I want to talk to you about.

I was fortunate enough to be able to stay in one state this past week as opposed to having to drive across multiple states for interviews like I did a couple weeks ago. Saved me a good amount of gas and time, I must say. 😄 During the duration of the week I interviewed at UNC and Duke, both of which I had wonderful experiences at! It was really convenient that they were close to each other, which made my life a whole lot easier. As you can see, I’m very thankful that I was able to schedule those interviews next to each other seamlessly lol. Like just about every other place I’ve interviewed at so far, the people at both of these residency programs were very kind and relatable. In addition, both of these programs are strong ones and they each have their own unique features that will come in handy when I finally sit down and figure out how I’m going to rank the programs I’ve interviewed at.

Speaking of which, that is definitely going to be a tough decision. Having to decide where I’m going to spend the next three years of my life is a huge responsibility to undertake, especially since I’m going to have to factor in things that I didn’t have to factor in back when I was applying to colleges and even medical schools. While I’m looking forward to coming to a decision on how my rank list will look, I’m also beginning to dread the thought of having to comb through and compare what each program has to offer in order to come to my decision. It’ll be a long process, but I do understand that if I really want to be serious about thinking through which program I’ll be happiest at, it will be absolutely necessary to take some extra time to do so.

One thing that I do want to mention before I close out this post is the frequency in which I’ve been able to talk about this blog in my one-on-one residency interviews. I’ve found it fascinating how many times the topic of my blog has come up throughout my interview season. Some interviewers had been so intrigued about my blog that they visited it before meeting me, and there have even been a few interviews where it took up the majority of the conversation!

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When I first started this blog in the summer before my first year of medical school, I would have never imagined that it would become a solid talking point during my residency interviews. To tell the truth, I didn’t even know that it would have expanded as much as it did these past few years. All I had in mind back then was to type up and share weekly updates about my experiences as a medical student. The fact that this simple idea transformed into the full-force entity that “Black Man, M.D.” is today continues to astound me on a daily basis. Who would have thought I had it in me to create something like this? Better yet, who would’ve thought that I would be able to carve out the time these past few years to continue creating content for the blog, regardless of the challenges that medical school brought and continues to throw my way? Through this platform, I have been able to create and maintain relationships with so many people that I would have never had otherwise connected with, while at the same time helping myself reflect on my own experiences and helping motivate other people in various capacities. It’s so easy to talk about my work with this blog that it almost feels like a cheat code whenever I’m asked to describe what it is during my interviews. I could literally talk about it for days lol. As a matter of fact, I’ve already talked more about it just now than I had planned to, so I’m gonna go ahead and stop talking about it now. 😅

Remember when I said this was probably going to be a short post? Hahaha yeah, me too. Well the post ended up being kind of short, I think. Well relative to some of the other posts I’ve typed in the past, it definitely is. Okay, now I’m rambling. I have two more interviews scheduled for this week at the University of Virginia and Eastern Virginia Medical School, but the way this weather is looking, I have no idea if I’ll be able to make it to UVA for my interview on Tuesday. Hopefully things begin clearing up sooner rather than later so that I can drive up there safely! 🤞🏿

I hope that you all have a stupendous week! For those of you affected by the inclement weather, be sure to stay safe!

“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I almost forgot to mention that I got the opportunity to be Santa again at my SNMA chapter’s annual Christmas Party for kids with sickle cell that took place yesterday! I had just as much fun as I had when I was Santa a couple of years ago! The kids loved the event, though some of them weren’t fooled by my Santa outfit 😂

Final Hurdle!

One More Week!!

You would think with the three examinations I had last week and with the never-ending supply of information being force-fed to us throughout these past couple of weeks that I would be crawling and gasping for air while hopelessly searching for the finish line…but I’m honestly not. As a matter of fact, I feel like I’ve caught my second wind. I feel like I’m in total control of my studies and that I’m at a very reasonable pace for my Genetics exam this Friday. It’s a glorious feeling. And yes, it’s entirely possible to feel calm and collected in the frenzied heat of medical school.

But to get to where I’m currently at, I had to get through last week….starting with the Biochemistry test bright and early last Monday. Have you ever taken a test where you blaze through a few easy questions and then get to a sequence of questions that tests you on topics that either go into WAY more detail than you covered in class or that you “weren’t supposed to worry about”, according to the professor? And the cycle just repeats itself over and over? That pretty much sums up that whole exam. I swear I had a couple cold sweats and gave more than a few blank stares to my computer screen while taking that exam. After finishing it, I felt like I had passed it but I didn’t really know by how much. We found out a couple days later that they ended up throwing out eight questions (GO FIGURE) from the 87 questions on the test, so my grade ended up being a lot higher than I expected. 😁

We ended up having afternoon classes the same day as the test, which dragged the day on..but I got through all that. We started Genetics the very next day, which actually wasn’t bad…but I was already busy preparing for my clinical skills exam (CPX) I had on Wednesday. I had decided to myself that if I was gonna do great on any test that week, it would be that one because I had to redeem myself from the first CPX exam I took back in October. Granted, I had done well on the physical exam portion of that first CPX, but my history-taking skills had fallen flat. They were so bad that I had been advised (required) to create and implement a plan to get better with history-taking, since it’s such an important part of being a doctor. 😅  So for the next few weeks, under the supervision of my coaches, I ended up getting extra practice with taking HPI’s (History of Present Illness) from patients as well as taking social, family and past medical histories. So with all that said, acing the interview portion of the exam this time around was a necessity. I went into the exam room with the standardized patient on Wednesday afternoon, where I was challenged with obtaining the chief complaint, HPI, Past Medical History, Family & Social History and to ask a series of general health questions called the Review of Systems, all before doing the actual physical exam where I would be taking her vitals (Heart & Respiratory rate, Blood pressure), performing a HEENT (Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat) exam, and palpating both her lymph nodes and thyroid.

I fell flat, again. 😔

Nahhhh I’m playing, I killed that interview! Turns out that all that extra practice paid the hell off, because I felt comfortable and relaxed throughout the whole encounter. I miraculously remembered everything I was supposed to ask her and I really just let the conversation flow while tailoring all my questions to whatever she was telling me. You know you’re doing it right when your 30-minute patient encounter feels like 10 quick minutes. The doctor that graded me pointed out a few mistakes I made, but overall she thought I did great and gave me an “effective performance” grade!

So I plan on only going up from here when it comes to interviewing patients and just doing my best to perfect that craft. The next day, my clinical skills group and I went up to the cardiology wards to do some more patient interviewing in order to become even more familiar with it. Before we did that though, we learned and practiced the new skill of taking a sexual history on each other. (Role-playing scenarios, of course.) It was…..different. It will absolutely be a skill that I’ll need to work on. Asking patients about their sexual history is definitely going to be quite the experience.

Then Friday came around, and our medical ethics exam/quiz came with it. That quiz was……yeah. I’m just going to say that giving a multiple choice examination on ethics is not the best idea, in my opinion. They should just stick to giving us papers to write and letting us have our discussions, not trying to force ethical questions from readings into multiple-choice format. We already have enough tests to worry about. I mean, I think I did fine but I won’t lie, there were some tricky questions/answer choices up there. But whatever, I took it and got it over with.

Then I had an awesome weekend. A couple of my classmates threw a holiday party Friday night where I sipped on some eggnog for the second time in my life, saw a ornamented deer’s head hung on a wall and made S’mores on an actual fire. Lol. Then on Saturday, I got the chance to be one of Santa’s little helpers at a church that was throwing a Christmas party for children diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia. We helped the kids make Christmas cards, paint masks on their faces and make reindeer out of candy canes. Then we passed out wrapped, donated gifts to the kids, who all for the most part were pretty excited to receive them. It was a fantastic experience. Later that night, I found myself in Durham at an SNMA (Student National Medical Association) social, networking with other minority medical students from Duke and UNC with my fellow Wake friends. That was a ton of fun, if I do say so myself. It was awesome to be able to connect with medical students from other schools and to compare curriculums as well as share experiences. Also, you can’t beat free full-rack ribs and a turn up.

Now I’m here working on trying to end this semester with a BANG by doing the best I can on this test on Friday, which means I gotta get back to studying. THE GRIND NEVER STOPS.

Y’all make sure to have a positive week!

Walk with a smile and do to others what you would want done to you! 

– Black Man, M.D.