Life After Match Day

I find it so funny how much everything changes after Match Day is over. As you know, my whole fourth year literally revolved around one thing and one thing only:

Where was I going to match?

With the help and guidance of others, I spent the vast majority of the year working tirelessly to figure out the answer to that question. I powered through both parts of Step 2, met with multiple advisors and mentors to talk about my future, knocked out my rotations one-by-one, carefully selected which residency programs I wanted to apply to, completed and submitted my ERAS application, went on eleven interviews, created and submitted my rank list, learned that I matched into a program on the Monday of Match Week and FINALLY received the answer to that burning question on Match Day! 🙌🏿🙏🏿

Now that I know where I’m going to be spending my first few years as an M.D., there’s not really much more for me to do as a fourth-year medical student. This is further solidified by the fact that I just completed the last day of my final clinical rotation this past Friday! (TURN UHHHH!!!) My time is now being primarily spent on getting through the necessary paperwork for residency (You should have seen all the paperwork I was sent just this past week; UNC ain’t messing around 😅), looking for a place to live within the Research Triangle, getting my finances together, preparing for graduation, getting ready for the trips that I’ll be taking in the next few weeks, taking care of SNMA business, doing some blogwork, and making sure that I take the time to chill out, relax and enjoy this low-stress period of time that I had been looking forward to for a very long time. As you can see, life after Match Day so far has been busy, yet splendid. 😄

Some of y’all may be thinking, “Wait what? Last day of his final clinical rotation? It’s only March! What the heck is he going to be doing until graduation??” Well, like I’ve said in previous posts, I set my schedule up in a way that would allow me to have a month of free time at the end of the year. In other words, I strategically put my second flex block at the end of the year lol. Sooooo yeaaahhh, I’m going to be coastin’ for the next few weeks up until Intern Boot Camp, a two-week pre-orientation program that the school organizes for the graduating fourth-years that has a variety of sessions designed to help prepare us for the first few days of residency. Life is going to be great during this free block, you’ll see 😉.

One more thing before I end this relatively short post. I spent yesterday morning competing in the 6th Annual MACHE Bowl, where my interdisciplinary team and I competed against two other interdisciplinary teams in working to solve a case that was tied into the opioid epidemic and health disparities. We competed in two separate rounds in front of a live audience and judges. While my team didn’t get first place, we were able to appreciate the unique experience that was afforded to us by this competition and we learned a lot from one another in the weeks leading up to the event. Plus, we still got paid and were given some extra goodies just for participating. 😏

Alright that’s it for today! Now go on and make this week an exceptional one!

And keep having fun watching the insanity of March Madness!! 🏀🏀🏀

“When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.” – Jim Rohn

– Black Man, M.D.

MATCH MADNESS: The Outcome

WOW.

WHAT. A. WEEK.

I don’t even really know where to start. This whirlwind of a week has been such a memorable one. Well, really Monday and this past weekend to be specific. The time between when I officially matched on Monday (PRAISE THE LORD 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿) and where I found out where exactly I matched at on Friday was spent doing various things like watching Captain Marvel, watching Netflix, attending a financial aid talk about investing in residency, doing SNMA work and spending quality time with my girlfriend and friends so that I could keep my mind off of Match Day. Nevertheless, I would find my mind drifting off and fixating on what Match Day would be like. I even dreamed about it once or twice during the week! 😂 (My girlfriend told me she had a Match Day dream too lol. God bless her, she has been going through the struggle right by my side day in and day out.) I knew that Match Day was going to be a day full of emotion, excitement, support and love, especially since I had witnessed all of that when I went to the past few Match Days at my school. And just as I expected, the day was full of all of that plus more!

ok go popcorn GIF

I woke up on Friday morning with an energized spirit and an aura of tranquility. As I said in my last post, I had full faith that I would end up matching at the place I was destined to train at, even if I had no idea where that location would be. It also helped that I had purposefully designed my rank list so that my top five picks (with heavy emphasis on my top three) were places that I could envision myself being particularly happy training at, although I would have honestly even been okay with my last choice on the list. Pediatrics is just that great of a specialty. 😊 So with all of that said, I didn’t share the same gut-wrenching anxiety that a lot of my classmates may have experienced in the days leading up to Match Day. Hell, even my girlfriend was much more anxious about it than I was. I feel that my firm belief in the fact that I would make the most out of any residency program I ended up training at also helped keep me calm. Regardless of where I trained, I knew that any one of the programs I interviewed at would transform me into a strong and capable Pediatrician. 😁

Okay, back to Friday.

I spent most of the morning getting ready for all the festivities of the day. I was really excited that I was about to finally find out where I would be spending the next three years of my life. After my mother and my two younger sisters arrived to Winston, we all headed over to the school to meet up with the rest of my classmates. As soon as we arrived at the school, I was instantly struck with an intense energy that had already enveloped the atrium full of future doctors and their respective friends and family. The energy was mainly a medley of excitement, nervousness, awe, pride and love. It was wonderful to see this outpouring of happiness, love and support all across the atrium. We all took a ton of pictures, talked with one another in pure excitement, met each other’s loved ones, and waited in anticipation as noon drew closer and closer. We all eventually made our way up to the fifth floor of the school, to the room where we would all be learning what our respective fates for the immediate future were.

awkward nervous GIF by DeRay Davis

Once we all made it to the room, the already intense energy I had felt in the atrium grew even stronger. Because the room we were now in was smaller than the spacious atrium we had just left, it now felt like this place that was packed with people was about to explode with this buzzing energy. By this point, I had been entirely consumed by this same energy, was bristling with it, and I was more than ready to snatch my envelope off the table at the front of the room, tear it off my match letter and read where my next destination in life would be.

happy kid GIF by AT&T

Forty seconds after hitting 11:59 AM, we began to countdown to noon. As we approached the last second before noon, our voices all got louder and louder. All my classmates and I braced ourselves more and more.

The energy in the room was incredible.

Man I’m telling you, WE WERE SOOO READY.

FIVE!

FOUR!!

THREE!!!

TWO!!!!

ONE!!!!!

black friday thanksgiving GIF by NBC

I wish I could have seen what the scene looked like from a bird’s-eye view of the room as we all madly dashed to the tables to retrieve our stylish envelopes, all of which had our names elegantly enscribed on them in cursive. Luckily, I had gotten myself to the front of the crowd before the countdown, so all I had to do was take a few quick strides to get to my envelope. I snatched it from the table, snaked my way back through the crowd to get to my loved ones, gathered them all together once I finally reached them, and:

 

WOW!!

I was taking my talents to the North Carolina Children’s Hospital at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill!!

jumping college basketball GIF by UNC Tar Heels

I felt a wave of relief, surprise, and excitement all at the same time after reading aloud the location that would be responsible for molding me into an independent, inspiring, and extremely effective Pediatrician. It was both humbling and lifting to have been granted the opportunity to train at one of my top choices for residency! Not only will I recieve superb training at that institution with some awesome people, but I will also be working on the same campus as my girlfriend for the first time in four years!! Getting the chance to be in such close proximity to her for the next three years of my life is simply incredible and honestly almost feels unreal. It feels so right, almost like this was what was always meant to happen. 😉

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everything that happened next is such a blur to me now. I remember high-fiving multiple people, giving and getting a ton of hugs, well wishes and congratulations, taking MANY pictures and a few videos, learning where other people ended up matching at, witnessing a spectrum of emotions as I periodically scanned the room, going downstairs to take a class photo of all of us in our white coats, and traveling a few blocks downtown in the rain to get to the location where our Match Day luncheon would be taking place. The luncheon was wonderful, elegant and emotional as most of my classmates walked up to the stage one-by-one (two-by-two for all the couples who matched together) to announce to everyone where they matched. My experience at the luncheon got even better when I received a congratulatory call from my soon-to-be Chief Resident. It made the whole experience feel that much more concrete.

I’ve really matched.

I was really going to be a resident.

WOW. I WAS REALLY GOING TO BE SOMEONE’S DOCTOR.

The rest of the luncheon went very well, after which my girlfriend, my mom and my two sisters went back to my apartment to chill for a bit. That’s when I finally had some time to reflect on everything that had just happened. Shortly after my reflection time, posting the incredible moment on my social media, and talking with my mom, her and my two sisters got ready to hit the road to drive back home. I saw them off, and then proceeded to get dinner with my girl before heading off to the evening festivities planned for my class to celebrate our collective achievements.

dance GIF

All in all, Match Day was an awesome day. The excitement of the day spilled over into the weekend as I celebrated on Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday in Charlotte in conjunction with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl that takes place in the city each year. (Perfect timing, if I do say so myself.) I also spent all of yesterday in the same city with friends, where we hopped around various areas of the city to entertain ourselves. Now that the weekend is over, I can really begin to think about my immediate future and make concrete plans as I begin to transition into the next phase of my life. I can also start working on some of the things that I had pushed to the side all weekend as I was celebrating. 😅

Man, that was a whirlwind of a post! I’m glad I finally had some time to sit and share all of this with you. I’ve been getting so much love from so many people this past week, all of which I very much appreciate!! I’m still working on answering everyone on my social media, which is a task that will take quite some time lol.

Congratulations to all the fourth-year medical students across the nation!! Whether you matched or not, we all have hit a very important milestone in our medical careers and have reached a point that very few people (relatively speaking) ever reach! We all have great things destined for us; all we have to do is believe it, have full faith in that truth, and work to achieve what lays in store for us in the future!!! 🙌🏿💪🏿✊🏿

I hope that you all have a phenomenal week!!!

“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than your comfort zone.” – Billy Cox

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Y’all better get your brackets reaaadddyyyy!!! It’s that time of the year again!!! 😈#MARCHMADNESS

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.

IMG-9014

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!

barack obama singer GIF

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 😂

The Little Things In Life

Ayyyeeeee ya boy is turning 25 this week!!

dance dancing GIF

The big 2-5. Lol, some of you reading this may chuckle at the fact that this is such a big deal to me. You’re probably reading this like:

“Boy, 25 ain’t nothing. You ain’t grown at all, you still a youngin!” 

Others of you may gasp after reading this and be like:

“Daaannng, you 25?? Bro, you old as hell!”

Yet, others of you reading this probably don’t really care at all and are like:

“Okkkaayyy? And? The sky is still blue, the grass is still green and Kanye’s still crazy. You got older, whoooop-tee-doo.”

Whatever the case, just know that as I sit here and type this, I’m seriously thinking about just how much life I’ve already lived and how much more (Lord willing) lies ahead of me. I don’t care what you all say, turing 25 is a big deal to me lol. I’m pretty much in my mid-20s. Mid-20s!! I can clearly remember entering my 20s and feeling like I was all grown. And you couldn’t tell me NOTHING when I finally turned 21. But man, I’m about to turn 25 and I’m in awe. This year is going to be life-changing for sure. Like, I’m going to be recieving my medical degree and starting residency at this age! I also get the feeling that within this next year, I’m going to be enjoying some of the greatest life experiences that I’ll ever have.

ready viola davis GIF by Team Coco

Man, I’m ready for 25 and am excited to celebrate my birthday this upcoming Labor Day weekend with my girl! Not only will I be going to Carowinds for the first time and enjoying some of the other things that Charlotte has to offer, but I’ll also be cheering on my ‘Canes when they play their first game of the season against LSU on Sunday! That’s right, COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK BABY!!!

college football GIF by Miami Hurricanes

I’m really hoping that we can capitalize off of our success from last season and really shake things up this year!

Okay, let me actually start talking about stuff that you care about. 😂

My first week on the Peds Heme/Onc service was a fantastic one! Although there was an abnormally low number of patients on the service this week, I was able to maximize my learning opportunities with the patients I was caring for by studying their charts, ferociously googling and reviewing chemotherapies like a madman, asking endless questions to the members of my team, and engaging in the attending’s educational discussions throughout the week. Because we had such a low number of patients for our abnormally huge team, I had ample time to get adequately acclimated to the service. The fact that the team was so chill and easy to work with made the week that much better. In addition, I had the opportunity to spend extra time with some of the patients on the service in order to form memorable relationships with them that I hope impacted their lives as much as they impacted mine. It was awesome to be able to sit and have a lengthy conversation with one of the teens on the service about regular teenager stuff. He helped me realize just how out-of-touch I was with current trends 😭. I also had a ton of fun getting crushed repeatedly in thumb-wrestling matches and staring contests by one of my younger patients throughout the week. She would make it a point to remind me to come back in the afternoon to play with her and she would ask people where I was if I hadn’t come to visit her yet during the day. She really liked to talk with me and beat me in her lil’ games 😂. I loved going to visit her in the afternoons; she was so precious!

I’m definitely looking forward to another week on this service and I’ll be more than ready to carry more patients in the event that things get busier. I’ve already learned a lot about managing patients with various blood disorders and types of cancer, and I’m sure that I’ll have the opportunity to learn much more as I spend more time on this service in the upcoming weeks. Additionally, I’ve already encountered patients with some really tough diagnoses and I anticipate that I’ll be encountering more soon enough. Cancer is such an evil disease man. If there’s anything that I’ve taken away so far though, it’s that these kids and their families have an incredible amount of strength and resilience. I’m absolutely honored to be able to serve as a health provider for them.

I spent the weekend at Chapel Hill in order to attend UNC’s First Look, a free program designed to give medical students the opportunity to check out some of the residency programs that the institution has to offer. There was a fun reception on Friday night, where I got the chance to meet students from various institutions as well as faculty at UNC. I also unexpectedly ran into some old friends and got the chance to catch up with them, which was an awesome surprise. The program continued on Saturday, where we listened to resident and faculty panels who answered the many questions that the audience posed and shared some of the experiences that they’ve had at UNC. We were then split into groups based on our specialty interest and had lunch with residents and faculty members who worked in the specialty we were interested in. After that, we listened to the keynote speaker, who happened to be the Chair of the Family Medicine Department at UNC and then I went on a tour of the facility with the Pediatrics residency program director and some other medical students interested in Pediatrics. After the tour, we came back to the main room and the program officially came to a close. That’s the quick synopsis you’re getting, because I’m getting tired of typing lol. Overall, I’m really glad I decided to attend because I felt like I got an even better idea of what resident life at UNC would be like and I learned some useful information about both the application cycle and residency in general. Plus, it’s always great to meet new people and to catch up with old friends! And I can’t forget about all the free “UNC swag” that I got just by being there 😎. (Shoutout to the new UNC coffee tumbler gifted to me! I was supposed to have bought one a week ago, but I kept putting it off. This is one of those rare times in my life that procrastination actually worked in my favor 😄)

Okay, I’m all done for today! I hope that you have a spectacular week! I definitely plan on having one! 😜

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James

– Black Man, M.D.

New Kids On The Block

Okay, I’m keeping this one short. Don’t got time to write a whole lot, and I don’t really have a whole lot to say other than the fact that I’m sadly finishing my Pediatrics rotation this week. And oh yeah, I have a notoriously tough shelf exam on Friday that I’m still actively working to prepare for. 😅

I just got back from a fun couple of days in Chapel Hill, where me, my girlfriend and a couple of close friends attended the UNC-Miami football game and watched Miami take down UNC in a game that shouldn’t have been close at all. But it’s whatever, we 7-0 baby!!! Okay I lied, it’s not whatever; we play VA Tech at our homecoming next weekend and they are not going to be an easy team to play. Plus our schedule gets even tougher after that game…so we’ll see how long our undefeated status will last. I got faith though!

Before going to Chapel Hill for the weekend, I had spent my week in the Newborn Nursery where I not only got to play with babies every day, but also learned how to perform routine physicial exams on newborns. Throughout the week, I also interacted with and gave discharge talks to the families of the newborns, witnessed firsthand the complex social situations that these babies were born into, listened to informative presentations on child abuse & child advocacy, and gained a ton of knowledge from the residents and attendings I worked with about the various medical conditions that can affect newborns. I even changed a couple of diapers, something that I hadn’t done in a number of years! (That exclamation mark doesn’t mean that I wasn’t excited about changing diapers…if anything, I was moreso surprised that I was actually doing it once more after all this time lol.) It was a really great experience in a chill environment and unlike in the inpatient setting, the vast majority of these babies were born healthy, meaning that there was more happiness than sadness going around in the nursery. I really enjoyed going to “work” each day, even on my Saturday morning shift. My team played a huge part in my happiness in the nursery; they were such fantastic people to work with! Also, you wouldn’t believe how much manpower it takes to transition a family from birth to discharge from the hospital. There’s SO much work that’s involved in making sure that a newborn is adequately taken care of in its first couple days of life, which is followed by multiple appointments at a Pediatrician’s office after the family is discharged. It’s funny to think that, once upon a time, we were all newborns who went through this whole baby shuffle.

The fact that I’m entering my last week of Pediatrics is so wild to me. It just all flew by so fast! And I’m sure that by now, you’re fully aware of how much I’ve been enjoying my experience in this rotation. I’m finishing up my Peds experience on the Endocrinology service, where I’ll be interacting with patients afflicted with various endocrine disorders in a couple of different clinics. I’m excited to relish in this opportunity and judging by the email I received from the doctor that I’ll be working with, I can already tell that it’s going to be yet another awesome week! Then I gotta take this shelf exam that literally everyone has said was tough as hell. But it’s all good, because I know I’ll be prepared for it by the time I take it! And then I’m going to have a dope weekend that I’m so looking forward to after I finish the test! 😄😄😄

 I hope you have an incredible week!

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

– Black Man, M.D.