Sunday, December 10, 2017

When Dreams Start to Become a Reality

Surgery with Dr. Velma Scantlebury, the first balck female transplant surgeon in the US

In my previous post, I promised I would do a quick recap of my experiences in Delaware last month. This was an exciting month not only because I was finishing up the last of my general surgery audition/away rotations, but because I was blessed with the opportunity to meet some amazing individuals while having awe-inspiring experiences. If you follow me on my Instagram or other social media accounts, then you already know my most memorable experience was being able to assist Dr. Velma Scantlebury, the first black female transplant surgeon in the United States, with surgery! I’ve had so many great moments during my time as a medical student, but this has probably been my favorite thus far. It was definitely something that I will never forget, and it really gave meaning to all the long nights spent studying, the constant sacrifices, and the many times I began to doubt if I was even on the right path. It was just what I needed to further drive my passion to become a surgeon, and I will forever be grateful that I even had the chance to experience this.

Blessed to called her both a friend and mentor

Speaking of great individuals, it’s one thing to have role models in life who you aspire to be like, but to actually meet them and have them be even more fantastic in person is simply amazing! Not only did Dr. Scantlebury open her home to me for the entire month I was in Delaware, but she always made herself available to answer my millions of questions and she gave the best advice. It was so cool being able to hang out with her and I am so blessed to have her in my life as both a phenomenal friend and mentor. I also got the chance to finally meet some of my other mentors while I was in Delaware, and it was so nice to have a support system while I was busy making it through the surgery grind. The hours were rough (especially during the first two weeks I spent in the SICU), and it was stressful at times, but receiving texts and visits throughout the day from some of my mentors made me feel super loved :-)

Some the the University of Delaware SNMA MAPS members

Another highlight of my month in Delaware was getting to interact with some of my SNMA family. I had the pleasure of attending a diversity event where I met some awesome pre-medical students from the University of Delaware who also happen to be the Student National Medical Association’s Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) chapter members. It was a pleasure being able to get their insights and discuss medical school and the admissions process with them. A huge portion of my agenda this year as SNMA National President focuses on inspiring our youth and encouraging students to pursue medical school, so it is good knowing that my efforts are not going unnoticed. Speaking of which, the next SNMA National Leadership Institute will be held in New Orleans, LA January 26-28, 2018, so if you’re a pre-medical student interested in workshops designed to provide you with the knowledge to successfully get into medical school, or a medical student interested in building your leadership skills, click HERE to apply today! I look forward to meeting you and seeing some old faces.
I think this pretty much covers everything I wanted to say about last month. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I think back on how much of a struggle it was to just get into medical school to now where I am getting opportunities to perform surgeries with legends. It is a true reminder of how far I have come, and it reminds me to not forget to bring people up with me along the way. I will continue to share these moments with you all because I want everyone to know that no dream is impossible, and that everything works out and happens at the right time. Just keep pushing, stay determined, and don’t let anyone tell you that you aren't capable of achieving your goals. Anyway, I’m beginning to rant, so I’ll end here. I hope everyone reading this has a great week!





Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Getting Closer to the Finish Line

All smiles at pursuing my dreams :-)

I’m Baaaaaccckkkk!!!! There are no words to express how busy, stressful, and hectic the past few months have been, but I continue to enjoy every moment and chance I spend continuing to strive for my dreams. I’ve prayed for a long time just to have a chance at the opportunity to start the path towards medicine, and now that I’m here I’m going to embrace every second of it. In a little over five months, I will be Dr. Ward, and that alone is a reason to smile.

A pic that sums up the last several months of my life perfectly

I’m not going to lie and say it has been all rainbows and sunshine over the past few months, because at times it has been far from it. I recently completed the last of my general surgery audition/away rotations, and while it was an amazing experience traveling to different states and experiencing different residency programs, I am so happy to be finished. Having to be on 24/7 while people constantly judge your skills, knowledge, and actions is beyond stressful. Plus, being around other exceptional students who are always on top of their game is enough to foster feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. If I learned only one thing the past few months, it is that I don’t know much of anything. Nevertheless, I have utilized these experiences as learning opportunities, and I feel I have grown tremendously in both my skill set and knowledge base. Plus, I am not afraid to put in the work and do whatever I need to do to make sure I learn everything I need to care for my patients.

Missing my little love

Another thing that no one tells you about fourth year is that it can get pretty lonely. I have spent the past few months in some places where I knew absolutely no one. Not really a problem since 90% of my time was spent in the hospital, but I definitely enjoyed the times when I was able to run into classmates and hang out for a little bit. Plus, I had to be away from my daughter only seeing her in person maybe three times since July, and this was soooo weird for me! I went from seeing her every day and only being apart for maybe a month each year during the summer when she went to spend time with my parents, to only being able to interact with her through video chat. I think it was more of an adjustment for me than her, since she is used to me being busy anyway, but it was definitely bittersweet to see how happy she was that I wasn’t around. Bitter because she really didn’t miss me that much, but sweet because she was constantly surrounded by people who spoiled and made her feel loved. It’s a blessing to have a child who is not only supportive of my dreams, but who doesn’t get upset in my absence and continues to be happy and do well. I literally have no reason to complain, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t experience mommy guilt from time to time. I will say that the major highlight of the past few months was taking a weekend off to fly and surprise my daughter for her birthday last month. It was such a feel good moment, and I was happy to have my sister there to capture it on video which you can see below:


Now that I am finished with audition rotations, the only things left to do are have a successful interview season, match into a great residency program (prayers requested!), finish out rotations, and graduate! The coming months will be both exciting and somewhat scary, but I look forward to the ride :-)

Since I didn’t have time to detail my experiences in Delaware, my next post will be a recap of my month there since I was blessed with some pretty phenomenal experiences that deserve a separate post. I have a bit more free time now, so I will make sure to type it up in the coming days. Until then, I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful week!



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