Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Celebrating a Decade of Accomplishments

So much to be thankful and proud of this past decade

I know everyone is currently reflecting over the past year, but can we talk about the past decade?!?! What an incredible ten years it has been! I won't lie and say it has always been happy and full of success, but looking back over the past ten years, I can't help but smile and feel a sense of pride about all that I have been able to accomplish.

Started the decade as a research associate

At the start of 2010, I was a few weeks freshly divorced, a new college graduate, and I had just moved into a new apartment. Since I had to leave my campus and work-study jobs behind after I graduated in December, I remember spending New Year's Day 2010 frantically searching for jobs because I had a child to take care of and I needed money! I was blessed not too long afterwards when I received an interview for a parasitology & immunology research associate position and got the job. This began a very rewarding career in research for four years, and during this time, I helped manage a laboratory, presented research, had my name published in a few papers, and even received a master of science degree in biochemistry. The goal was always to become a physician though, so my career happily ended when I finally received an acceptance and started medical school in 2014.

Became a Student Doctor midway through the decade

This blog started right before I entered medical school, so those of you who have been around from the beginning know what a wild ride it has been! If I have to go back to my first favorite memory of my medical school career, I would have to say it would be the day of my white coat ceremony, but there were so many awesome moments during my time as a medical student. I had the chance to meet and interact with many inspirational and influential people (such as television personalities, former surgeon generals and congressmen), became the first osteopathic medical student to ever serve as national president of the Student National Medical Association, was featured in various newspaper and online articles, and not only got the chance to perform surgery with the first black female transplant surgeon in the United States, but received the amazing blessing of her becoming both my friend and mentor! I ended medical school in 2018 with the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal (the highest honor given to only one medical student each year at my institution), my picture hanging on my medical school's wall, and having achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a physician.

Ending the decade as a physician

The past two years have been mostly a transitioning phase. I made it through a grueling traditional rotating internship year in general surgery working in a program that tested my limits in every way imaginable, but I thrived as chief intern and finished even stronger than when I started. And despite two unsuccessful match cycles, I continued to press on by completing and passing my final medical board licensing exam, obtaining a full unrestricted medical license, and successfully landing a position as an urgent care physician this year. It's been a crazy transition full of opportunities that I never thought possible, and I'm looking forward to what the beginning of the next decade will bring.

A decade full of fun and adventure!

This past decade hasn't just been all work and no play though. I can honestly say I took advantage of living life to the fullest extent as much as possible, and I feel truly blessed for the many experiences this decade has brought me. I traveled to seven countries with a few solo trips that allowed me to meet awesome new individuals while finding myself and immersing into other cultures. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried things like skydiving, surfing, zip-lining, and even pole dancing. I spent time with my daughter and had many memorable moments with her such as attending her first short film premiere (back when she was into acting), surprising her with a trip to Disney World for her 6th birthday, or even more recently taking her to France for her 13th birthday. I spent time with my family and loved ones whether it was just because, for the holidays, or girls trips with my sisters, and I kept up with blogging for the past six years. This has been quite a fun decade and I'm already excited for the adventures the next one will bring.

Stay tuned for more from Dr. Ward!

So what's next for the upcoming decade? I tend to stay quiet about my plans, but those close to me say I should speak my goals into existence, so here's what I see for the upcoming ten years:

In the first few years of the decade, I will have published my first book, started a business, and finally landed a surgery residency position. By the end of 2029, I see myself ending the year as a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and being a part of a growing practice. **Ten years gives a lot of time to accomplish this, so don't count me out yet ;)** My daughter will likely have just finished college (Can you believe that?!?!), and I will have finally settled down enough to be a homeowner. Because I love to travel, I already know I will have added at least five new countries to my travel list. I will also be very active in my community, likely through mentorship, but I wouldn't be surprised if I ended the decade in some sort of leadership position. Outside of that, the next ten years will be filled with me working towards my surgery dreams while staying true to myself and loving on those in my inner circle.

I hope those of you reading this had a decade full of accomplishments, and I wish you an upcoming decade filled with hope, love, and new adventures. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts, and I hope you will stick around with me into the next decade. If I don't make it back to post again tomorrow, I wish you all a safe night and a very happy New Year.

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