Life After Step

It’s OVER!! I made it to the light!

I’ve finally completed the USMLE Step 1 Exam!!!

WHOOOOO-HOOOOOO!!!!!

Nick At Nite dance dancing excited celebration GIF

It’s been almost a week since I took the exam, so I’ve had some time to process the surreal feeling that came with finally finishing it. After I wrote last week’s post, I got some snacks for the big day and relaxed the rest of the afternoon, as I said I would. I ended up watching Neighbors 2, which was ridiculously hilarious. I slept okay that night, although it wasn’t the best sleep I’ve ever had due to the fact that I was so hyped up and ready to take Step. As soon as my alarm went off the next morning, I immediately jolted out of my bed and began getting ready to leave. I got to the testing center and because I had visited the center a couple of days prior, I was familiar with the whole layout. After checking in and going through all the required procedures, I began my 7-block exam. I won’t lie, I felt my nerves creeping up on me for the first few minutes of the test…but then I eventually got into my zone and was able to answer the questions just like I had been answering them during my whole study period. However, that test was pretty long. Time was actually flying by but I definitely felt myself getting fatigued, especially during the last block of questions. Taking any kind of test for eight hours can really mess with your head, no matter how many practice questions you complete or how often you simulate exam day. We were granted an hour-long break that could be used in whatever way we wanted to use it throughout the day, so I actually spent seven hours answering questions. Oh and my computer decided to turn off on me during my fifth block 😳. Isn’t that lovely? Thank God I didn’t lose anything and that I could continue exactly where I left off after about five minutes of waiting for the IT crew to fix the issue.

When I finally finished the exam, I walked out of the testing center not really knowing how to feel. To tell the truth, it was a pretty weird feeling. I had just taken the test that I’ve been preparing for in one way or another ever since entering medical school. I felt that I answered a good number of the questions correctly, but there were also a solid number of questions that I had to go with my gut for, especially in the final block of questions (which ended up being the hardest block of the test and contained the longest question stems). Those questions were the reason as to why I didn’t feel too certain about my performance because ideally, I would have liked to have been sure about all of my answer choices. But this is the USMLE Step 1 exam we’re talking about, so of course that wasn’t about to happen. I also realized that although I worked extremely hard to prepare for this exam, there was no way that I could have been FULLY prepared for the test I took. Some of the questions were just straight-up bizarre. So with that said, I was glad that I took it when I did because I don’t think that waiting a few extra days would have done me any good overall. The test was going to be hard as hell regardless. All in all, I know that I put an intense amount of energy into preparing for Step and I genuinely felt that I did the best that I could do on that test. So as long as that holds true, I’ll accept the score that is given to me because it simply is the score that I was meant to have. But until I get my score back, I won’t even entertain thoughts about my performance anymore unless I’m asked about it. I’m just going to continue celebrating the fact that I’ve finally completed this phase of my medical education!

collin dancing excited tupac pumped GIF

In regards to how I’ve been celebrating life after Step, I’ve done so this past week by chillin’ for a couple of days and then attending the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC), which took place in Atlanta this year! I actually just got back from that and I’m extremely glad that I was afforded the opportunity to attend. There is SOOOO much that I could say about my time at the conference, but I also don’t want this post to turn into a dissertation. So with that said, I’m going to try and give you a captivating synopsis of my experience at AMEC!

I got to the conference with friends from Wake on Thursday morning and we literally hit the ground running. We checked into both the hotel and the conference before splitting up to go to the various sessions that were made available to us. I ended up going to the Professional Exhibitor’s Fair, where many institutions were advertising their respective residency programs. I also went to an interesting talk where a neurosurgeon shared his incredible life story that contained various elements of adversity, a House of Delegates meeting where representatives of all the ten regions of the SNMA get together in order to vote on a number of official things, and a presentation skills workshop where we were given tips on how to give effective and memorable presentations. After that, I attended a Regional Meeting before heading out to enjoy Atlanta’s nightlife.

I woke up early Friday morning with a good amount of sleep still in my eyes, but determined to make it through the day! The first session I attended was a discussion facilitated by Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, who just so happens to be one of Diana Ross’ siblings and an aunt of Tracee Ellis Ross! She hit on great points in the discussion, including the importance of understanding that studying medicine is a lifestyle, realizing that communication is fully based on how the person you’re communicating with interprets what you’re saying, appreciating the fact that every patient encounter is a cultural encounter, and taking notice of how majority populations are usually judged by their strengths while minority populations tend to be judged by their weaknesses. I then attended a talk that was focused on historical and future perspectives of Blacks in Medicine and on the necessity of learning this very important history. Soon after that, I attended a panel discussion that was focused on Minority Men in Medicine. A couple of things we touched on in this session included realizing that you could potentially “pigeonhole” yourself by trying to solely find mentors who look like you, understanding the greatness of organic relationships, and understanding that the government will very likely not be willing to look out for our best interests as minority men, so we must be comfortable taking care of ourselves.

After that session came the President’s Luncheon, where guest speaker Dr. Camara Jones spoke to us about how racism plays into health disparities and how these disparities can disappear if health equity was achieved. She especially emphasized the power that social constructs have on health conditions, using herself as an example by stating how she could go to different countries and be classified as a different race in each country, which would eventually affect her health outcomes in the long run if she were to stay in one of those countries long enough. After the luncheon, I attended another panel discussion that was focused on nontraditional career paths in medicine. The people on this panel had some very interesting things to say and some useful pieces of advice to give, which included having a “Board of Directors” of your life, getting “off the tracks” of the traditional path for a bit in order to learn about how other people in different professional fields think about certain things, taking leaps of faith, understanding the incredible power of self-confidence in every aspect of life, and thinking in a big and disruptive fashion with a very open mind. This session was actually one of my favorite ones of the whole conference!

After leaving that one, I attended the second Regional Meeting of the conference, where I actually ran for the Regional Community Service Liaison position for Region IV of SNMA! Unfortunately, I completely bombed my speech in an embarrassing fashion and although I had some great ideas to share, my speech delivery was one of the worst ones I’ve ever given. Maaannnnn it was quite uncomfortable, to say the least. Crazy thing is, I wasn’t even that nervous on the podium. It was just that the words that I was looking for weren’t coming to me. It was so unlike me. In all honesty, it may not have been as terrible of a speech as I’m making it seem but because I know what I’m capable of, I sincerely feel that it was one of the worst speeches I’ve given. But nevertheless, I finished my speech with a smile without falling apart or anything and returned to my seat in confusion as to why that had just happened to me. Needless to say, I believe that my speech helped me lose votes to my competitor, who had a great delivery and even gave out snacks to the audience, which is always a plus lol. Thing is, losing to my competitor didn’t even bother me. What really annoyed me was the fact that I performed so poorly in doing something that I believed I had prepared myself for and that I’ve done on numerous occasions. Giving a speech wasn’t supposed to be a hard thing for me to do. But I dropped the ball. So now the best thing for me to do is to use this experience to my advantage and to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, which I’ll do by further honing my skills as a public speaker. My ideas didn’t go unnoticed though, for one of the chairs of the National Community Service Committee approached me later on and expressed interest in working with me because she liked the ideas that I shared. Plus, the Regional Director of Region IV told me that she would still love to work with me in some kind of way. So I actually did end up gaining something positive out of this painful, yet humbling experience. As one of my good friends loves to say, you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. 

The final sessions I attended on Friday were a couple of mixers hosted by residency programs from various institutions. At the mixers I attended, I got the opportunity to meet with a number of residents who talked about what their programs were like and how they’ve been able to flourish in their respective programs. I then proceeded to take a nap before venturing out into Atlanta’s booming nightlife once more 😎. Saturday morning was pretty rough…but just like Friday morning, I was determined to learn as much as I could from the sessions made available to us! So I attended four sessions in a row, which included useful tips on how to succeed in your clerkship years, tips on how to choose a medical specialty, how to effectively manage your social media presence, and how to implement strategies to increase the presence of underrepresented minorities in the faculty population of academic medical institutions. After this marathon of sessions, I caved in and took a pretty long nap before working to get a few things done and going to the closing banquet. I then enjoyed Atlanta’s nightlife for the third night in a row 😅!

 reactions wow surprised really oprah GIF

LMAO. Throwback to when I said I was going to give a synopsis of my AMEC experience. I wrote a damn essay without even meaning to. Lol, I promise I was trying to keep it short. But it was such an exciting and memorable experience and I just had so much to say about it! I ran into so many people that I hadn’t seen in a really long time and I met an even greater number of awesome people! The networking opportunities were absolutely mind-boggling. I even unexpectedly met the author of the Overcoming The Odds book that I had finished reading a few months ago, Dr. Antonio Webb! Like I said before, I’m extremely glad that I was afforded the opportunity to attend this conference and I really hope that I’ll be able to go to next year’s conference, which will be taking place in San Francisco! I’ve never been to Cali, so I REALLY hope that I’m able to go!

If you’ve made it this far into this post, I sincerely commend you. I owe you a high-five next time we meet!

I hope that you had a marvelous Easter weekend and that you have a stupendous week! And much thanks once again to all of you who prayed for me as I worked to overcome the challenge of Step 1!

“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” – Jack Canfield

– Black Man, M.D.

Stepping Into The Light

THIS IS IT! 

It has ALL come down to this!!

Liberation Day is finally upon us!!! (Well, upon me that is.)

My performance on tomorrow’s 8-hour long, 280 question exam will be the result of all the endless studying I’ve committed damn near all of my waking hours to these past five weeks. Even more so, it’ll be a reflection of all the knowledge that I’ve gained ever since I first stepped foot into medical school almost two years ago. I sincerely hope that my performance tomorrow accurately depicts just how hard I’ve worked for this exam…I haven’t studied this intensely for any other test in my entire life. When I tell you I’ve sacrificed almost every waking hour these past five weeks for this test, I literally mean it. I’m talking about waking up at around 7:15 AM each morning, doing practice questions and reviewing answers until lunchtime, then studying whatever material I needed to get through for the day up until like 10:30 PM. Then I would be asleep a little after 11 PM. Granted, I definitely took breaks here and there for various things like the gym, grocery shopping, running errands, etc. But for the most part, I’ve been grinding. There were times where I didn’t even know what day it was, because I was literally doing the same thing every single day. It was like I was in my own little world…I would sometimes forget that life was happening all around me as I continued to study the endless droves of material in front of me. I even got pranked on April Fools’ Day because I forgot it was April Fools’ Day! And I’m never one to fall so hard for a prank. SMH. Hell, a season literally changed while I was in my study block! I didn’t realize it was officially Spring until like a week ago. It’s crazy how fast time can move when you’re intensely focused on one thing.

But alas, my Step Study Block is officially coming to an end! It honestly wasn’t horrible or anything overall, but I sure am glad that I’ll be able to move on with my life very soon! And I couldn’t be more excited! Okay I’m lying. I’m not even excited right now. I actually have a stale face on as I’m typing this sentence. I’m not allowing myself to come even close to excitement until I leave the testing center tomorrow afternoon. Right now, I’m fiercely focused on the mission, which is to give it my all plus some on Step 1. As I’ve said before, I’m going to attack the exam with 110% effort and as long as I know I’ve done my absolute best, I’ll be comfortable knowing that the score I’ll eventually receive is the score I was meant to have. Only after I walk out of the Prometric Center tomorrow will I do heel-clicks and screams of praise and all that. But until then, concentration is key.

With that said, I’m going to end this post and relax for the rest of the day. I spent all morning reviewing the last-minute material that I believed was relevant, so I’m now at peace with resting my mind for tomorrow. Trying to continue studying at this point would be futile, because then I would just go on a never-ending cycle of trying to review things I’ve already reviewed 156 times. I have complete faith that I’ve learned everything that I need to know at this point. If, by any chance, I come across something tomorrow that I’m not too familiar with, I’m confident that the test-taking skills I’ve been sharpening throughout this study period will help guide me towards the best answer choice. I’m also glad that I took the time a couple days ago to actually drive over to the testing center in order to get a feel for the place. Knowing exactly what to expect when I arrive at the center tomorrow morning has helped put me at even greater ease about taking this exam.

Okay, I’m actually ending this post now. Wish me luck!

And thank you for all of your prayers, I GREATLY appreciate each of you!!

Have a spectacular week! Lord knows I’m about to have one!

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Dr. Benjamin Spock

– Black Man, M.D.

Stepping Up To The Pressure

I’m about eight days out from taking my Step exam…

And I’m just about over this insanely repetitive lifestyle of intense daily studying. To be real, I highkey just want to take this test and move on with my life. It’s cool and all to be able to synthesize everything I’ve ever learned plus more and to think through various mechanisms, but there’s only so much of this that I can take. Although I know I’ll learn even more useful information during this final week of preparation, I’m honestly real glad that the test is finally coming up soon lol. I’m just going to keep putting 110% effort into preparing for this exam and leave the rest up to God. As long as I know that I’m working harder for this exam than I’ve ever worked for any other test in my life and know that I’m giving it my all plus more, I’ll graciously accept the score that I produce next Monday and continue moving forward with my life. There’s only so much you can do before you begin to feel like you’re burning out. The pressure is definitely building up, but the worst thing that you can do whenever it does build up is lose your cool. So I’m keeping my cool like I usually do. Matter of fact, I’m stepping right up to the pressure face-to-face. Kinda like that picture with 50 Cent and Kanye back in ’07 when they dropped their albums on the same day. I’m Kanye and “The Pressure” is 50 Cent. And we ALL know how that panned out.

Life after Step still seems like a distant realm in the future to me, but it’s literally starting next week. It’s hard to believe that I’ll be mingling with other medical students from around the nation at the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference in Atlanta starting next Wednesday and that I’ll be kickin’ it in CancĂșn in a little over two weeks! Just thinking about it all is getting me excited!

But first, I gotta go Beast Mode in these final days leading up to Step.

Then I gotta go Triple Beast Mode while I take the actual exam.

I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. TO. BE. DONE. WITH. STEP. 

Y’all have a great week!

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

– Black Man, M.D.

Appreciating the Steps to Step

Liberation Day (Test Day -April 10th) is sneaking up on me faster than I expected it to…which just means that I’ll be free even sooner than I expected to be! I’m only two weeks away from taking Step and to tell the truth, I’m much more calmer about it than I ever thought I would be. Granted, I’m not ready to take it tomorrow or anything…but after taking a practice exam last Monday and enduring this past week of intense studying, I actually sincerely believe that I’ll be 100% ready for this Step exam on Monday, April 10th. Speaking of, I actually performed better than I thought I would on that practice exam! I’ve also continued to witness an overall improvement in my performance on these UWorld practice questions. I’m taking another practice exam tomorrow and I pray that I continue this trend of ascension as I continue to double-down on preparing for Liberation Day.

It’s honestly been pretty cool to be able to synthesize and apply all of the information I’ve learned this past year-and-a-half. Sometimes, dare I say, it’s even fun! Well, it’s only fun once I finally understand a concept. I legit feel 10x smarter than I did just 3 weeks ago lol. But even when I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of everything, these practice questions have this uncanny ability to humble the hell outta me by instantly getting like 50x harder. It’s soooo annoying, but very necessary because it gives me the opportunity to learn and harmonize new sets of information that I wouldn’t have learned or harmonized otherwise. All in all though, I haven’t really had a negative experience with this study block so far. Plus, having something to look forward to after taking this test has been really helping me power through everything lol.

While I’m on the topic of looking forward to things, I had the opportunity to accompany my girlfriend as she attended an Open House at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health this past Friday! Having that to look forward to gave me the necessary drive I needed for the first half of this Step Study block. It also served as a much-needed break from the mundaneness that I’ve grown accustomed to these past couple of weeks. We stayed in Chapel Hill for a couple of nights and were able to explore the UNC campus (including Franklin street) while we were there. She was accepted into the five-year MSPH/PhD program at the public health school there, so we were able to meet and interact with a bunch of people associated with that program, which included faculty members, current students and prospective students. We were both thoroughly impressed with what UNC had to offer overall! Considering that it’s the #2 public health school in the nation, there was plenty to be impressed about. Plus the campus was quite scenic, even with the bare trees and all. I can only imagine what it looks like during the spring and summer months. Now it ain’t no University of Miami, which has the best campus design of all time (I’m bias and I don’t care) but I can definitely appreciate the beauty of UNC’s campus. We tried to go to Franklin street and watch the UNC-Butler game at a restaurant, but we made the freshman mistake of getting there too late smh. Every single restaurant and bar was PACKED. But we ended up finding a restaurant near the inn we were staying at and had a great time there lol. I’m honestly extremely proud of all of her amazing accomplishments and of the fact that she was able to secure one out of the less than 15 spots available in this prestigious program. You go girl!!

 drink leonardo dicaprio hd cheers the great gatsby GIF

I’m now back on the mundane grind and with only two weeks left till Liberation Day, I’m only going to be grinding even harder. With calmness, flexibility, confidence and determination, these next 14 days will only make me an even stronger candidate who will be fully able to step up to the challenge that is the USMLE Step 1 exam!

Make your week an astounding one!

“When you are progressing toward a goal that matters to you and appreciating the steps along the way, that’s a good life.” – Ruben Chavez

– 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!

No Time For Baby Steps

Shoutout to Daylight Savings Time for completely disorienting me this morning.

I woke up at 7:30 this morning real confused after my alarm went off…then I remembered that we sprung forward an hour, meaning that I lost an hour of sleep. Smh. So in my half-asleep state, I decided to be nice to myself and give myself at least an extra 30 minutes of shut-eye. I turned off my alarm and completely forgot to reset it because, well you know, I was half-asleep. I blinked and it was 8:55 AM. Had me like:

waking up

So that’s how I started my day. I’ve been doing practice questions and going over my answers ever since then. As a matter of fact, doing absurd numbers of practice questions and reviewing them has literally taken over my life ever since I took my final exam last Tuesday. I’ve actually been answering numerous Step-style questions every day since then. It’s been an annoying, yet fruitful experience so far. Annoying because these questions are hard as hell and are making me feel inadequate and whatnot. (Boooyyy do I have room for improvement.) But on the flip side, it has been fruitful because I’ve been learning and re-learning SO MUCH information while reviewing these questions. I can feel my knowledge expanding exponentially with each day that passes, and I just hope that my efforts in retaining all of this knowledge for test day prove to be beneficial. But yeah, this is what my life is going to look like for the next several weeks, so don’t go and set your expectations high for my next few posts. I can almost guarantee that I’ll fall short of the standards that you may have already set for my content. C’est la vie.

kanye west shrug shrugging kanye shrug

Lol I don’t really have much else to say right now. I actually would like to get back to reviewing my questions…but before I go, I do want to shout out the fact that Winston-Salem is recognizing the work that a group of us medical students are putting in for the S.Y.S.T.E.M. program that I talked about with y’all a few weeks back! Us and our mentees were featured on the local news last Friday afternoon, which was really cool! I’m real happy that I was asked to be a part of this program and I hope that our exposure reinforces the importance of mentorship and representation to the public.

Aight, I’m outta here. Make sure to have a fantastic week! And to all of you who are on Spring Break right now, just know that I TOTALLY envy you.

“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” – Robert F. Kennedy

– Black Man, M.D.

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.

Shifting Gears

Any of y’all know the difference between Leukemia and Lymphoma?

I thought I did…until last week happened.

I really had no idea how complex these cancers were. Like, you don’t just have leukemia. It’s broken up into various subtypes such as acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia and chronic lymphoblastic leukemia. Same with lymphoma, it’s divided into two categories: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s is one type of lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s encompasses all the other types of lymphoma that isn’t Hodgkin’s. How convenient. 

Now you may be asking why I’m talking about these cancers.  Or you may not care as to why I’m talking about them and are just passively reading along. Well regardless, I’m talking about them because we just spent the last six days being lectured on everything about both of those cancers as well as other cancer-like disorders of the blood, radiation oncology (the Chair of the radiation oncology department at Wake gave us this lecture…and he’s another black man! Ayyyeeee!!), and all the different types of chemotherapy that exist, along with all the thousand-billion-million-gazillion freakin’ cancer drugs that come with it. (Our chemotherapy lecture was four hours long in total and the PowerPoint was 175 slides. How Sway? HOW???) So needless to say, that’s pretty much the only thing on my mind right now lol. While it has all been interesting, it’s also been hell trying to sort all this information out in an organized way…but I THINK I’ve finally been able to do so. I’ve realized that I’ve got to be even more flexible than I was last year in regards to learning and retaining all of the information coming at me from all directions. Too bad we have another whole week of new material to learn that has to do with clotting factors of platelets and all the disorders and drugs that come with it 😭😭😭😭😭. And that’s not even the best part. Our test on Hematology/Oncology is next Tuesday.

will smith church fresh prince of bel air faint fresh prince

It crept up on me so fast man. I don’t want to even think about how many questions could be on this exam. But here’s the thing. I don’t even care about these tests anymore…to an extent. I haven’t lost my mind, I promise. Of course I’m still going to put my best foot forward and do the best I can on each exam that I encounter. But unlike last year, doing well on these exams is not my main priority. I have this hell of a beast called Step 1 coming up sooner than I would like to think, and I fully plan on doing whatever it takes to effectively slay it. This means that during these organ system blocks, instead of trying to figure out what I think is going to be on the subject tests and studying accordingly, I’m going to be deeply entrenched in everything I’m learning. This means that I’ll be memorizing facts less and actually understanding pathways and systems more. I was doing this during the Neuroscience block last year as well, but not to the extent that I will be doing it this year, for everything I’m going to be learning now will be very high-yield for both the Step 1 exam and for my future as a physician. Besides, I believe that by studying in this fashion, I should be able to do well on the subject tests anyway. So bottom line is, I’m Step focused and am not gonna be sweating these tests that come along the way.

In addition to learning all of that info last week, we started our Healthcare Systems & Policy class as well as our Medicine and Patients in Society class (MAPS). In the policy class, we spent our first day learning a bit about economics and how it relates to healthcare in general. We then did a group activity where each group had to choose insurance policies for a population using limited funds. That was hard, I must say. Boy am I glad I don’t have that job in real life…I would feel horrible having to cut out funding for one service in order to fund another service. Based on how our professor described the overall objectives of this course, I have a good feeling that I’m going to like this class! As for the other class (MAPS), it’s literally the same ethics class that I was in last year. However, they’ve totally revamped it. (THANK GOD!) To sum up some of the changes they’ve made:

  • Instead of being tested on readings, we’ll be tested with questions that are similar to the ones we’re likely to see on Step
  • We don’t have to sit in small group discussions for 90 minutes anymore
  • Our assigned readings will be more up-to-date instead of being from the Stone Age
  • We have a poster presentation that’s due at the end of the semester…
    • I honestly don’t really wanna do it…but it’s definitely a vital skill that I don’t have yet. I gotta learn how to put together a research poster at some point 😅

I think that these changes will help to make this class more enjoyable overall. The class sure does have a lot of potential to be an awesome class…hopefully that potential will be realized this semester.

Welp. Gotta get back to studying now.

I hope that you had a great weekend and that you have a stellar week!

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

– Black Man, M.D.

Life After Anatomy

Ayyyyeeee!!!

Guess who blazed thru his Anatomy CUMULATIVE final exam?

Guess who doesn’t have to mindlessly memorize muscle groups and innervations anymore?

Guess who has (slightly) more free time now?

 

THIS GUY!!!


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Ain’t no more Anatomy bihhh!!!

After almost 13 grueling weeks of learning the intricacies and wonders of the human body, I can finally say that I’ve completed my first major milestone of medical school. After taking five demanding anatomy exams, I feel like I’ve finally gained a grasp of what to expect moving forward in my adventure at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. It’s a pretty glorious feeling. Knowing that I’ve sucessfully completed a subject that many people fear coming into medical school makes me feel like I’ve achieved something momentous. More importantly, I hope it proves to those that haven’t experienced anatomy yet that passing and getting a decent grade in it is FAR from impossible. In my opinion, if you can make it to medical school then you automatically have a very high chance of passing anatomy. It’s a tough adjustment for sure, but if the admissions team selected you at their medical school in the first place, then they probably had a good feeling that you could handle anatomy, not to mention the demanding nature of medical school as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Life after anatomy. Finishing anatomy feels awesome, but that’s just the beginning of this journey. I now have to tackle Cellular & Subcellular Processes (CSP) for the next three months, which include Biochemistry, Pathology, Molecular Biology/Medical Genetics, Pharmacology, Microbiology & Immunology.

As a matter of fact, they actually thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and start biochemistry the day after the final anatomy exam. They must not know who I am. They cwwwazy if they thought I would go to class only to sit and have my eyes glaze over as they drone on about material I could watch online and learn on my own. Thank God for recorded lectures. (Shoutout to the Tegrity heroes of our class, y’all know who you are 😉).  I had to go ahead and start my Thanksgiving break a week early, y’all already know I needed to leave country-ass Winston-Salem for a little bit. I simply couldn’t take two exams and start a block of new material in a single week
that’s just ridiculous to me. If they won’t give me the breaks I want, I’ll make my own damn breaks. Who gon’ stop me?

I also finally got to talk to my assigned ophthalmologist mentor and he told me now that anatomy is over, I should begin supplementing my studies with Step 1 materials. Not really the words I wanted to hear. Honestly, I didn’t want to have to think about that crucial exam right now seeing that I’m taking it in the spring of 2017. But if it is going to be the one test that pretty much determines my future, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to start investing some time (and money) into it as early as possible. He was so gung-ho about getting a great score on Step 1 though
like I asked him about summer research and volunteer work and he just said, “depends on how you’re feeling with your Step 1 studies.” I hate that one test can single-handedly limit my options as to the type of doctor I would like to be. With the fact that you can only take it once and that there are specific cutoff scores for different specialties at different residency locations, it looks like it’s going to be a hell of a lot more annoying than the MCAT. That’s just great.

You see, this is why I needed to unofficially extend my Thanksgiving break.

I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to come back to Miami for a few days before flying back home in a couple of days. It has been awesome to surprise old friends down here with a visit and to catch up with them on life. I even ran into a number of people that have told me that they actually keep up with this blog and love it! That warmed my heart up. 😄 It’s good to see that pretty much everyone I’ve talked to is doing pretty well and are keeping their eyes on their respective goals. By the way, I want to give a huge shoutout to Tau Rho for bringing in their new line Friday night, y’all hella deep now lol.  Special shoutout to the #12 too, you know who you are 😉. It’s also been nice to look at all the palm trees and to walk around UM’s campus again. I don’t miss the ridiculous traffic here though, or the strangling humidity. I know that people can’t drive down here, but it still surprised me how much bull I’ve seen on the streets so far in the few days I’ve been here. Smh. Anyhow, I’ve really missed it here
but we all gotta grow up and expand our comfort zones right?

Well, I’m going to continue enjoying this break and each of y’all out there should do the same! Happy early Thanksgiving to each of you! And to those of you that don’t necessarily celebrate Thanksgiving, feel free to still stuff your face with food! And to those of you that got money to blow, have fun Black Friday shopping!

– Black Man, M.D.