Where Has The Time Gone???

Bruhhhh my little brother turns 19 tomorrow…😳😧😰

Where has the time gone?? I still distinctively remember when I was 19, living out my sophomore year of college without a care in the world. Okayyy I cared a little. Had to keep up my GPA to keep my scholarship…and to make sure I became a doctor…but still, I was having an awesome time. I remember telling myself how grown I was…which means my little brother is pumping himself up on how grown he is. Thing is, he’s actually a man now…that’s crazy to me.

What happened to the good old days man?? Back when my biggest stressor was deciding what starter Pokemon I should pick on my Game Boy Advance? Or what character I should choose to whup my brother’s ass in any given Dragonball Z game on PS2? Or even missing most of my Saturday morning shows because my mom STAYED making us clean the house from top to bottom? Shiii, I wouldn’t mind relieving some of my childhood experiences for a day or two…life was so easy back then. I wasn’t worried about trying to differentiate between the tensor tympani and tensor veli palatini muscles or about trying to figure out the innervation of the 12 cranial nerves and its a-thousand-and-one branches. Only branches I knew back then were the ones I used to climb on…*deep sigh* 😔

Well I’m now 22 and I got my third anatomy test this Friday. Talk about a stressor. However, now that I know that anatomy grades don’t really matter in the long run and aren’t even high-yield for the Step 1 Board Exams, I’m not really trippin’. But anatomy still isn’t something you can just glaze over and BS. You do that and you’ll fail. Quick. So I might as well keep doing the best I can do since it’s been working for me so far. But ima be real…as of right now, I ain’t ready for test at all lol. But I do know that I’ll be good come Thursday night, because when you keep telling yourself failing is never an option, you eventually end up believing it and you tend to find ways to make things go the way you want it to. Sooo I’m not ready, but I simply refuse to fail, so I’ll find a way to not only pass, but do better than I did last test, Lord willing.

I’ve also come to realize that there’s a general pattern to this anatomy BS. We go in the first day of a new block and our lecturers throw hella info at us, expecting us to whine and pull our hairs out about it while they (most likely) smirk in their offices. That whole first week of the block, a majority of us are complaining to each other about how completely lost in the sauce we are. I’m usually asking myself “how the hell am I gonna learn all this??” Then I laugh to myself in a delusional manner and hit the gym. Second week comes around and I’m starting to very slowly piece certain things together while going thru all the lectures and labs getting hurled at us. I’m still pretty lost at the beginning of this week, but I’m lost in a more confident and upbeat way. By the end of the second week, I feel like I have a little more than a basic understanding of the material because I realize that although we continue to get new lectures, there is a lot of repetitive information that ends up getting drilled in my head. Then the third week (exam week) hits and we STILL learning new material, but by this point I’m screaming to myself, “only ___ more days until my free weekend!!” Then Thursday night I have a nice chat with the Father before going to sleep earlier than usual. On Friday morning, I throw another Hail Mary prayer before I click Start on my exam. By Friday afternoon, I feel like Diddy. Then by Sunday night of the same weekend, I’m silently weeping myself to sleep about starting the cycle all over again the next day.

It’s all good though, because after this upcoming test I’ll have one more block of anatomy!!! 😄

Then Biochemistry starts and I’ll have to start listening to three-hour lectures while taking notes on 100+ Powerpoint slides.

Honestly, other than having made some incredible friends here and having an enormous amount of support from old friends and family, only reason I’m getting thru all of this with a smile on my face is the fact that I continue to put time aside to volunteer for various things. It reminds me that the world is very much alive outside of the four walls that tend to trap me more often than I would like. I actually started participating in a once-a-week tutoring initiative this past week called Project TEACH through the SNMA (Student National Medical Association) group at Wake. I went in last Tuesday thinking that I would be helping out underrepresented high school kids that were having trouble with their school assignments….but I quickly found out as I walked in my first session that we would actually be helping out not-so-underrepresented gifted middle school children. I admit, I was a bit confused because I did expect quite a bit more diversity, and the kid I ended up getting paired with was smart as hell. He’s actually a pretty funny kid with a very thick Southern accent that loves to fish and hunt, both of which I have actually never done 😅. It was a good time though, we vibed for a while after I helped him a bit with his homework. I have a feeling that tutoring him is going to be a blast. I also get to be a role model for a young guy that doesn’t look like me, which I find to be a pretty cool and unique experience. I would also love if we could add some color to the mix of students, because I know that if I had come, as a young black middle school kid, to a nice tutoring facility and saw some medical students that looked like me trying to achieve great things with their lives while taking the time to make sure I was doing alright in school, I would highly appreciate it. I would even internalize it. Who knows, it could potentially spark a flame of ambition in my young mind.

Another thing that’s been keeping a smile on my face is hearing all the good news about friends that have already gotten interviews and even acceptances from medical schools around the country! CONGRATS to all of you already hearing back from medical schools, y’all highly deserve it!! It really makes my day every time I hear about someone I know getting either an interview or an acceptance because Lord knows I know the feeling. Especially that feeling of your first acceptance. It’s amazing to think that I was applying to schools as well as painfully waiting for replies around this time a year ago. At that time, I had absolutely no idea what my future would look like, much less where I would end up. Hell, I didn’t know until six months ago if I would even be going to medical school this fall. (The MCAT can go to hell. t(-_-t) ) So to all of you that may be painfully waiting right now to hear back from schools and may be painfully waiting for the next few weeks or even months ahead, keep your head up. Anything can happen at any given moment. And congratulations on having the drive to get thru the MCAT and the application cycle, that in itself is a feat to be proud of. Not everyone is blessed with that gift.

And to all of you going on interviews, honestly just be yourself. It’s cliché as hell but it’s cliché for a reason. It works. You already know all the answers to the questions they’re gonna ask you because you’re the only person that’s lived your life. If they’re putting time aside to talk to you, they want you at their school. All they need you to do is talk about yourself, and ask them questions about their job and institution. Think about how hard it is to screw that up. So don’t stress about it, just do it! Plus there’s plenty of stress to choose from after you make it into your school.

With that said, GOOD LUCK to all of you applying to medical schools! Patience and persistence is key!

Y’all be blessed!

– Black Man, M.D.

Second Test, No Stress.

Can we talk about why everything in anatomy/medicine is SO hard to pronounce??

It’s like the scientists and doctors in years past just huddled together played the “How Hard Can You Make The Life Of Future Med Students” game. Brainstorming words like pancreaticoduodenal and ischiocavernosus and shiii…try saying preganglionic parasympathetic nerves five times fast. If you can, try saying it ten times fast while doing backflips, ya damn showoff. Lord already knows I pronounce regular words wrong all the time, now I gotta learn how to speak in medical language (PIG LATIN) without sounding illiterate. Smh. Whatever. I’ll be fine with sounding illiterate, I’m still gonna be a doctor lol.

But in other news, I’m finding it incredible that my brain is starting to get used to retaining a crazy amount of information at once. Like, I’m actually starting to learn how to study properly in medical school…or maybe just for anatomy. Although I kept my cool before my first exam a couple weeks ago, I was still pulling hairs out trying to figure out if I knew everything I needed to know. Now even with my second exam this Friday, I find myself strolling into anatomy lab everyday with a smile on my face. Maybe it’s confidence, maybe it’s the first signs of insanity. I don’t care. It’s either this or crying myself to sleep at night feeling like anatomy slapped me across my face.

I’m also amazed at the fact that I’m starting to make actual free time for myself during my marathon days of studying. Just last Friday, I went to a pregame, a party that the school threw for Homecoming and an after-party where I met Melissa Harris-Perry. Great times, great times. I’m also making time to volunteer for different organizations to help keep me involved in my new community. I started volunteering last week at a free clinic where I helped with vision tests and I’m going to start tutoring high-school kids in a couple weeks. Studying is vital to doing well in school, but I personally just can’t do that 24/7…I need to be doing other things to keep my mind fresh. It’s just how I’ve always operated. Plus I like to meet all kinds of people and learn how others see the world. Who knows, you could end up changing someone’s life for the better…or they could even end up changing yours. You’ll never know if you never put yourself out there.

Speaking of volunteering, I beginning to wonder what the hell I’m gonna do this upcoming summer. I don’t know if I should go abroad and help set up free clinics, stay in the country and do some ground-breaking research to try and get published, find a summer job and get some money, shadow doctors, chill and travel around, etc. People say it’s your last free summer, so I wanna make sure I spend it doing something I really want to do…but I have no idea what I want to do. I feel like I need to do something productive, which I have no problem doing…I just want to enjoy whatever it is I get myself into. I spent so much time and energy trying to get to medical school that I never thought about what I would actually be doing (other than studying) now that I’m here. I guess I got time to figure it out, but time is slick flying by. You’d be amazed at how fast you can make time pass by staring at notes and cutting up dead bodies in lab. Creepy as hell, but you get the point.

So yeah, back to this test on Friday…I plan on doing the best I can because that’s all you really can do in anatomy. Between the gastrointestinal system, the renal system, the anterior abdominal wall and the pelvic region, I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’ll never know every little detail by Friday…or ever. If I get the general concepts down cold, I’ll be able to make a good amount of educated guesses, which is what being a doctor is all about. No point in overly stressing myself out. Sooo I’m just gonna keep smiling, studying, and sending prayers up to God. 🙏

Positive Vibes!

– Black Man, M.D.