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Making it Through Med School || Black Girl, White Coat

December 2017 – where has time gone?

As I lay in bed in San Sebastian, Spain battling a cold while binge watching House, I find myself spending a lot of time reflecting on the year that seems to have flown by. I’m in the final week of December, and I still remember the start of 2017 like it was yesterday.

Time flies when you’re having fun…? Maybe.

Highs and lows, ups and downs, W’s and L’s…this year has been full of many tests and trials, all of which I am very grateful for in hindsight. While I could drag you all through the various life lessons I learned, I figured it would be best to just focus on the way my first semester of my second year of medical school turned out.

Long story short, this semester tried to drag me y’all! Second year has proven to be brutal, intense, time consuming, challenging, and nothing short of an emotional, mental, and physical rollercoaster.

Academically – I began the semester with nothing but confidence due to the fact that I spent the last 4 weeks of summer studying the material we were going to be tested over first. I made it a goal to switch up the way I studied and attacked medical school material, and I can really say that it all paid off on that first test 6 weeks into the semester. [Side note, my goals for changing my study habits and learning methods were discussed in my “Done with my First Year of Med School” vlog!] However, the following 2 months came for me at full speed while challenging every new and improved study technique I had thought I mastered. Neuroscience, neurology, neurological sciences, neuroanatomy…whatever my school wants to call it, had me shook! I actually came to find out that this subject was known to be very difficult and detail-oriented at my school, and as if that wasn’t enough, the recent change in our curriculum, left students and professors frazzled for a majority of the time. Adding insult to injury, this was also the start of my USMLE Step 1 studying. Study methods no longer seemed to work, class material and Step 1 material weren’t aligning well, developing an efficient 6-month study plan proved to be more difficult than I originally thought, practice questions weren’t going well…everything seemed to be falling apart. I began to question myself and wonder why I couldn’t grasp all the material. How would I get through Step 1 if I couldn’t even get through this? I felt like I was back in 1st year, trying to learn how to do medical school from scratch, yet again. My stress levels were at an all-time high, but thankfully through prayer, faith, and tweaked study techniques, I made it to the finish line and passed the Neuroscience and Behavior course. With 3 weeks left in the semester, the only thing holding me back from winter break was a quick block of Endocrine, which I was able to get through with more ease but with less focus and dedication to USMLE preparation.

Physically, Emotionally, Mentally – You all know how much I love fitness and how much I think physical activity and healthy dieting can be vital to your overall well-being. Well, like most, my diligence in this realm of my life typically goes along with my emotions at the time. And of course, what typically plays a large role in my emotions…my academics. I’m guessing you all can pretty much predict how dieting and exercise went for me during this semester. Started off strong and ended up terrible. Started off in the gym 5 times a week while eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed and fast foods; ended up eating out 3 times a week and binging on junk foods on several occasions. As the vicious cycle continued, I began to hate who I saw in the mirror and feel like all the work I put in had gone to waste. I was disgusted with myself for my own lack of self-confidence, persistence, resilience, diligence, focus, and dedication. These are areas of my life I had worked so hard to build and solidify in the previous years. How could I lose it all in just 3 months?

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Now, here I am in the final week of December, the final week of 2017, and after all the hits my self-confidence has taken, after all the self-doubt and malicious thoughts that have circled around my mind, after everything I battled internally while keeping it all together externally, I can still look back on it all with a smile. I can be joyful because my faith tells me that everything will work out and I will be victorious. You see, I know that I will make it through med school, I will reach my fitness goals, and I will kill Step 1 when the time comes. My faith reassures me that I have never and will never be faced with anything more than I can handle because the God I serve cares for me deeply, loves me unconditionally, and already has my story planned out and finished.

2017 ends and many lessons have been learned. I have so much to share on this next vlog concerning what I want to improve upon and habits I look to leave behind in my final semester of 2nd year. In the meantime, I hope this little blurb offers a transparent look into my struggles and encourages you in your faith.

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