Summer Vibes

I gotta say, I’m absolutely loving my time off from school so far.

It feels good to be back home in the 757 with friends and family after having to make a pit stop (more like a week-long stop) in Miami to attend two orientations for the program I’m working with this summer. I also randomly ended up at a concluding breakfast for an annual conference for the Association of Black Psychologists soon after arriving in Florida…but that’s besides the point 😅. The orientations I had to attend were spaced out three days apart with the first one being on Monday and the second one being on Friday. How convenient. The one on Friday was very useful and it directly related to the summer program. It got me even more excited to work with the students in the program. Free Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera didn’t hurt either. 😏 I only went to the one on Monday because the university made me. The info given to us in that SIX-HOUR long new-hire orientation session did not relate to me in terms of my summer employment. Being a current medical student and an alumni of the university, I was already familiar with the information that they presented, which ranged from university history to HIPAA, safety procedures and everything in between. Simply put, I really did not need to be there. But alas, I am a mere speck of paint in the spectacular mural that is the University of Miami. I also needed my name to be on summer payroll. So I silently suffered through it with my co-workers.

I guess I should elaborate a bit more on this program I’m working with huh? I’ve name-dropped it a few times but there are a few of you out there that probably aren’t too familiar with it…my bad! As I mentioned in a previous post (Testing My Brain on a Test on the Brain), the program is called the Minority Students In Health Careers Motivation Program, which is run by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This seven-week, tuition-free program is one of the three summer programs run by the office with the other two being the High School Careers in Medicine Program and the MCAT Preparation Program. The Motivation program is designed to resemble a “mini” medical school experience where the selected students (ranging from college sophomores to recent college graduates) take a sample of classes such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, & Histology. There is also an opportunity every week to participate in a discussion on a selected topic with a featured speaker while enjoying a free, catered dinner. Not only that, but the students are exposed to Health Equity Research, have the chance to attend supplemental workshops and have the opportunity to shadow physicians every week on clinical rotations. As if all that wasn’t good enough, housing & meals as well as metro transportation between campuses are all free for the selected students! What a program! The overall goal of this program is to promote diversity in the health field by providing students from underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to develop skills that will increase their competitiveness when it comes time to apply to medical school. As a Teaching Assistant of the program, I’ll work with my co-Teaching Assistant and the Executive Director in facilitating the overall experience of the students in the program. I’ll be in the classroom each day with them and will assist the faculty in executing lectures and activities. I’ll also serve as a useful resource for the students by answering the various questions they will have and I’ll be able to share my experiences in medical school with them. Needless to say, I’m hyped about being able to work with the program!

In between going to the orientations, I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t enjoying my free time. From taking time to continue reading Black Man in a White Coat (I KNOW I’M TAKING FOREVER TO FINISH IT, DON’T JUDGE ME) to chillin’ at the beautiful Venetian pool with some great friends, I’ve been doing a lot of not-studying. It’s been glorious. I’m only gonna continue this period of relaxation, at least until I start the program next week.

I freakin’ love Summer!!!

I definitely can’t close out this post without shouting out the big homie and Doctorate of Education student, Mr. Donovan Livingston, for his incredible graduation speech (#LiftOff) at Harvard last week! You’re a clear example of a positive force and are an inspiration to many bro! I also appreciate you for being a supporter of this blog from the very beginning and keeping up with it weekly! Thanks for being an awesome friend and a great human being in general!!

As you may or may have not noticed, I don’t usually name-drop people in my blog for various reasons…but since he already done broke the internet and all, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal this time around. If you haven’t heard his speech by now, you can click on the link below to check it out. I know you have five minutes to spare…so go ahead and click on it. You won’t regret it.

 

Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend! My appreciation runs deep for all those men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect this country! Remember that this country stands because of the bravery and courage they exuded!!

Don’t chase people. Be you. Do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come find you and stay. – Will Smith

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Christel Wekon-Kemeni, (1/4) M.D.

*sniff*  *sniff*

Aye, you smell that?

*sniff*

What does it smell like? You can’t tell?

*sniff*  *sniff*

I’ll tell you what it smells like.

It’s the sweet, sweet, sweeeeeeet smell of THE END OF MY FIRST YEAR OF MED SCHOOL!!!

You know what that means? If you couldn’t tell from this post’s title, it means that I’m 25% of the way towards obtaining my medical degree! (Let’s not think about the other 75% in the way right now) 25%! That’s half of a half! That’s equivalent to a huge piece of some warm apple pie! That’s a quarter of a dollar bruh!

I’m getting the feeling that you get the idea 😅.

It’s pretty cool saying that I’m a second-year student now, mostly because I’m now one step above being on the bottom of the totem pole lol. The personal growth that I’ve gone thru this past year has been quite an experience. It’s also been interesting watching all of my classmates expand their knowledge base throughout the year. It’s hard to believe (and quite hilarious) that there was a time when most of us couldn’t clearly tell the difference between sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation 😂. What I’m really looking forward to this upcoming fall is helping out the incoming first-years and being able to provide them calming & positive vibes whenever the stress of school begins to try and creep up on them. But like I said in my last post, I’m very ecstatic about this much-needed break from lectures and exams this summer. Having the time to do things that don’t require me preparing for a looming exam is becoming more and more of a foreign concept to me…truthfully, it’ll feel a little weird not having to study for an exam for a while. I ain’t complaining though. I’ll be happy to find things to do that doesn’t involve studying. Plus, it’s not like I won’t be keeping myself busy with the Motivation pre-med summer program that I’m helping out with. By the way, I almost forgot just how HOT & HUMID it gets down here in Miami during the summer…

Soooo remember that third Neuroscience test I told you about on my last post? The one that I had a good feeling about before I took it? Yeah, the one that had questions about Xanax and whatnot on it. Turns out that my performance on that test was the best performance I’ve had on any subject test thus far! Not only did I hit my personal goal for the year, I also actually beat the average score in my class for once! I think the last time that happened was at some point in Anatomy or something. If you didn’t already know, I’m in a class full of geniuses. So yeah, although it’s not one of my main goals, it’s nice to see that I’m able to beat the average every once in a (long) while. As for the ethics test (more like quiz) I took last Monday, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was 20 questions and most of the questions had multiple answers that we could pick. Most of it was pretty much common sense and a couple questions were based specifically on some of the readings assigned to us. *sigh* It pains me because this class has so much potential to be better…and I’m not a fan of these quizzes. But that’s neither here nor there. Moving right along. I finished my year up with the cumulative 160-question Neuroscience exam on Friday. That was A LOT of questions to click thru. However, the vast majority of the questions were much clearer than the questions we’ve been getting on the previous three Neuroscience exams. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that these questions weren’t written by our professors…anyways, the exam wasn’t too bad. But like I said, it took forever to get through. After submitting my exam, the first thing I wanted to do was jump in the air and click my heels. Knowing myself tho, I would 1) look like a damn fool and 2) pull a muscle in my leg and/or trip and bust my lip open. Ain’t no one got time for that. So I proceeded to be normal by saying bye to a few people in the school and taking my happy tail on home. Overall, I feel like I finished the year off with a BANG, which is all I could have asked for.

Ahhh Summer ’16, Summer ’16.

You’re finally here.

So much to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. You surely will NOT be wasted. Gotta enjoy your presence to the fullest since it’s my last summer break and all…

Go on and start your week on a prosperous note! ✌🏾

If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you’ll see obstacles.

– Wayne Dyer

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Testing My Brain on a Test on the Brain

First off, Happy Easter to each of you who celebrate this glorious day!

And if not, Happy Sunday to you!

I woke up this morning half-expecting the sun to be shining radiantly in the blue sky, birds to be chirping, sunflowers to be sprouting, bunnies to be hopping around, etc. You know, your typical PBSkids-looking sunny spring day. I got dressed and walked outside into a dreary forecast of clouds, fog, mist, and coldness. You know, the kind of thing you see in a graveyard in a scary movie. What an Easter.

That didn’t screw up my mood tho! Then again, now that I think about it, what if this dreary weather is a grim reminder of my first Neuroscience exam I have…tomorrow???

 

 

Yup that’s right, I got my first Neuroscience exam tomorrow. You would think that Ola Ray’s reaction above would be precisely how I feel right now. But if you know me well enough or have been following this blog for a while, you would also know that I’m not one to really ever freak out…unless I just witnessed Michael Jackson transform into a werewolf and was about to slaughter me in the middle of the woods. Then yeah, I would be screeching like there’s no tomorrow. I like to keep my cool and to believe that I can trust myself to do well after all the long hours of studying I’ve subjected myself to. Honestly, I know I probably don’t share the same view of this block as a great portion of my classmates but I’m actually finding this material to be highly interesting. It’s almost as if I’m enjoying studying about the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord), everything that can go wrong with it and how to fix different pathologies relating to it via surgery procedures and drugs. I know, I know, I’m not smoking anything. I swear. Maybe I like it so much because it’s extremely relevant to what I’m going to be seeing as a doctor. Or maybe because the brain is literally the cornerstone of the human body and it has so much power over what we do in our daily lives. Or I could just be a straight-up nerd. It’s okay, you can point at me and yell out, “NEEERRRRDDD!!!” I’ve come to accept that title a long time ago. 😂 Regardless, it’s been nice to actually understand how strokes work, how the brain coordinates movement/pain/sensation/emotion/homeostasis/yadda yadda yadda and what the drug commercials are advertising as well as how those drugs work in the body. Don’t get me wrong, this ish ain’t easy. It’s actually SO MUCH information…like I’ve been having study-thons these past couple of weeks. But the material has definitely been capturing my interest. So with all that said, I’m ready to take on this test tomorrow, rain or shine!

Also, I FINALLY found out what I will be doing this summer. Turns out I’m going to be a Teaching Assistant for the wonderful Minority Students In Health Careers Motivation Program, run by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the Miller School of Medicine in Miami! (Talk about a mouthful.) I just can’t seem to stay away from South Florida 😅. I’m looking forward to meeting the students in the program as well as sharing my first-year experiences with them as they are looking to pave their way into the medical field. I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to make something out of my summer; Lord knows I don’t know how to sit idle. I also wasn’t landing any of the paid research positions I was applying to, so I really wasn’t sure what I was about to occupy myself with this summer. As a matter of fact, one program still hasn’t hit me back up yet now that I think about it…not that it matters anymore anyway. I’m more than happy with this TA position I was blessed with.

There’s a couple more things I wanna touch on before I wrap up. First, in our medical ethics class for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about death, the complicated feelings associated with it, and how to deal with it as doctors both on a patient and an individual level.Yeah…it was pretty depressing. We delved into what our visions were on a “good” death, what our visions of death were based on, the moral significance of death, and how American culture views it. We also touched on why it’s still very difficult for physicians to deal with mortality even when we all understand that everyone has an end to their life. It wasn’t a fun topic to have, but it did get me thinking on how much power a society has on influencing the way we think about things, including mortality. On another note, we had a nationally known speaker named Robyn Ochs come speak to our class on the topic of bisexuality. She was funny man. I ended up learning a ton from her presentation; things I really never considered at all when it comes to the LGBTQ population. I’m glad I was able to attend and further diminish any ignorance I may have had for the population. Ignorance is bliss y’all…it truly is a danger in this world.I’ll be sure to think back to Mrs. Ochs whenever I have patients in the future that identify themselves in that group.

That about does it! Have a lovely week!

A change in your life can only come from a change within yourself.

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S: I’m still salty I didn’t get to go to the SNMA conference this past weekend…and that my bracket is completely busted after Kansas’s loss last night. Way to go Jayhawks.