Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020!

It's the last day of 2020 and I'm currently reflecting over the past year. Even though this year has been full of grief and loss for so many, I can't help but count my many blessings. I was blessed to have a job this year doing what I love taking care of patients and I was thankful for the training that allowed me to help so many in the midst of a pandemic. Additionally, I celebrated in the achievement of publishing my first book, and I still found time to educate those in my community as both a mentor and by appearing as an on-air medical expert (my first television appearance!)

I also took the time to embrace the love and friendship from all those around me. With a year that brought so much sadness from people passing away due to a horrible pandemic, it is not lost upon me how much of a blessing it is that the people close to me in life are healthy and alive. While I didn't get to be around those closest to me as much as I wanted to for obvious reasons, I was thankful for the very few occasions when  got a chance to be around those closest to me and celebrate achievements and each other.

Lastly, I am blessed that despite her now being a teenager, I still have had the sweetest daughter ever! Although I'm still as busy as ever, she has remained understanding and an absolute joy to be around. I was thankful to watch her continue to grow into a beautiful young lady this year.

Right now, I am currently lounging around in my comfy PJs, had some delicious ramen takeout, and will be spending the evening watching NYE celebrations on TV while sipping on whiskey (I've already started which is why this post is so short) and playing scrabble. Wishing everyone reading this a very safe, healthy, and Happy New Year, and as always, thank you for reading my posts this year!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

It's My 7 Year Blogiversary!!!!

I seriously can't believe I have maintained this blog for seven years! Admittedly, I have not been as active on here over the past year, and many times I forget I have a blog, but I remain thankful to all of you who continue to follow along with me on this crazy journey. I enjoy reading your comments, receiving your encouraging emails, and even more so love when you reach out to me to let me know that reading my blog helped you make it into medical school or inspired you to continue to follow your dreams. Y'all are the real reason why I continue to keep this up, and I truly thank you for your support.

Usually I would show my thanks by doing my annual Starbucks drink giveaway, but since we're in the middle of a pandemic, I don't want to encourage anyone to go out. Plus, I honestly didn't remember it was my seven year blogging anniversary until a few hours ago or else I would've made the Kindle version of Atypical Premed free for everyone today (the free days all have to be done in advance). What I did manage to do today was exercise my right to vote by taking part in early voting for the Georgia senate runoff race, so I'll consider that a win :)

Over the past seven years, what this blog has taught me most is the importance of sharing your struggles and accomplishments. I know there are many who feel like they are alone on their paths, and blogging has given me the ability to connect with so many and show that their dreams are not invalid. Blogging has also given me the chance to have a written record of my journey which I am sure will bring me plenty of smiles one day when I take the time to read through all of my old posts. 

But anyway, just want to end with a huge THANK YOU!!!!! Maybe I'll get better with posting as frequently as I used to, and hopefully I'll continue to post for another seven years, but either way, I appreciate you all following along on the ride :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

It's My Daughter's 14th Birthday!!!!

When did the baby on the left become the young lady on the right?!?!

It's November 10th which means I am officially the mother of a 14-year-old! Yup, today is my daughter's birthday so what better reason to type up a quick post :) 

I started this blog about a month after her 7th birthday and received my acceptance to medical school about a week before her birthday. Soooo much has happened since that time! I still remember people telling me I would never make it through medical school or become a physician being a single mother, and I was determined to prove everyone wrong. Looks like I've accomplished all that and more, but it wouldn't have been possible if I didn't have such an amazing child. My daughter has been supportive through all the long hours spent studying, leadership roles taking up a lot of my time, and even through us having to live apart from when I moved to Philadelphia to start intern year. She has never once complained or made me feel like I wasn't being a good mother, and for that, I will forever be grateful. She is my entire world, and everything I do is with the intent to show her that all her goals and aspirations can become a reality. 

With that being said, I am big on birthday surprises, and I think this year was the best one yet! I not only pranked my daughter in the most epic way possible, but I ended up making her cry tears of happiness for the first time ever! 

The video is below, but here's a recap (copied from my Instagram caption) for those who don't want to watch the full 3 minute video: she's been bugging me for a bass guitar for months, so for her early 14th birthday celebration (a very small get together with only immediate family and the two friends she hangs out with all the time) I surprised her with a Disney princess ukulele instead. After seeing everyone's initial reactions, I acted like I was upset and said I was going to pee, only to return with both the bass guitar and amplifier she wanted. Her reaction was priceless! Cried in front of her friends and everything 😂⁣

⁣Why was the prank so successful? Our deal was that she was supposed to have straight A's, but she ended up getting a B a couple of days ago, so I told her she would now have to wait until Christmas. I'm also known for not giving what people think are the best gifts (I got her a period starter pack and math book as one of her Christmas gifts a couple of years ago and my family still won't let me live it down), and I'm also a bit cheap, so the ukulele wasn't exactly out of character for me. I also made sure to only tell my sister since the rest of my family can't hold water, which helped make it a surprise for everyone. Did y'all peep the look of horror on her friend's face after she realized what it was? My brother also looks like he's super disappointed 😂

Anyway, my daughter now has her bass guitar and couldn't be happier. As for me, I thankful to have raised such a smart, brilliant, sweet, and wonderful young lady. Can't wait to witness all that she will accomplish in both of our lifetimes 💕 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Still Kicking! An Update

Still here!

I'm back! First, my extreme apologies for the huge lack of posts this year. I tell myself that no one actually reads my blog (which helps me be more open and personal with what I write about), and it doesn't actually matter if I post or not, but clearly that's not the case. My mentee passed along a "formal complaint" today that some of you have felt a bit ghosted by my lack of posts and updates, so I promised I would do a brief update.

A text from a friend today that pretty much sums up the 2021 residency season for me

For those who are wondering, I have not given up on my surgery goals. I have submitted my completed applications, and since the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) officially opened to programs at 9am EST this morning, I am officially back in the residency program waiting game. Unlike prior years, I will share my experience with the entire process on my blog BUT you will have to wait until after Match Day in March 2021 to read about it. I don't want anything written to interfere with my chances, so while I plan to write frequent dated posts throughout the process, I will not actually hit the publish button on them until everything is all said and done. I will continue to post about things outside of this application season, and I am always happy to take requests if there is a topic you'd like me to address. What I can tell you regarding this season is I have only applied to surgery programs, and I continue to remain positive and hopeful that everything will work out the way it should.

Post work glow :)

As for work updates, I am still enjoying my work as an urgent care physician. If it weren't for my love of surgery and the fact that I deeply miss being in the operating room, I would be completely happy with this lifestyle. I work an average of 3-4 days a week, pretty much get to pick my schedule, the attending physician level pay is a plus, and I usually have time monthly to take a quick getaway or have a staycation for a few days. Plus, working in the urgent care setting offers a ton of variety, I still get to perform small surgical procedures in addition to suturing, and I rarely have to type up notes at home.  


Me and my not so little one

For those of you who care about mommy updates, my daughter continues to do well. She is currently attending school in-person, remains an Honor Roll student, and in a little less than 3 weeks, she will be turning 14 years old...Can you believe it?!?! This blog has been around for half of her life! She still remains very supportive of my surgery goals and loves to speak things into existence by telling all friends about her "surgeon mommy" :) My daughter remains the biggest reason why I continue to push forward and I hope to continue to make her as proud as she makes me.

I voted! Have you?

Despite being in a pandemic, my life hasn't changed much, so I don't have too much in the way of updates. I continue to stay pretty busy with work (COVID testing and telemedicine services have added a new layer to what I do), and I'm always keeping myself occupied with new activities. My recent hobby has been testing out new vegan recipe ideas, so I hope those of you who follow me on Instagram haven't been rolling your eyes with all of the food posts in my stories, LOL. I've also been trying to make a better effort at promoting my BOOK since a few people recently were super surprised that I wrote one, so don't be surprised if you see a few shameless plugs in each of my posts. Other than that, the most important thing I will end with is I don't care if it's via absentee ballot, mail-in, early voting (like I did last week), or in-person on Election Day, please do not forget to exercise the right that so many fought for you to have. GO VOTE!!!!


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

I Am Not Okay

I am not okay.

As a black woman, mother, and physician during the era of COVID-19, to say I am tired and overwhelmed at the moment would be an understatement. In just the past two months alone, I (and so many others like myself) have had to navigate the many emotions involved with trying to understand the loss of so many black lives. Black lives lost by being shot by police while peacefully sleeping at home (Breonna Taylor), being shot by civilians while taking a daily morning jog (Ahmaud Arbery), not being able to breathe due to asphyxiation caused by an officer compressing an individual's neck with his knee (George Floyd), and lives lost due to the many racial health disparities that continue to plague this country (the thousands of black individuals who have died as a result of COVID-19).

The only way to truly understand the loss of these lives is to acknowledge the longstanding history of systemic racism within this country, and actively work to change the system. Unfortunately, I do not see this change occurring any time soon. What I see instead, are those who refuse to acknowledge their privilege, but are okay with the status quo, as long as it does not directly affect them. Individuals who are absolutely silent about the murders of black people, but are vocal about the looting and protests. Biased preliminary autopsy reports released to protect murderers and deflect from the victim's primary cause of death. Individuals who try to justify these murders by bringing up something the victim may have down in their earlier years (we all have a past) or by saying that these deaths could have been prevented if the victims simply acted a certain way. I see myself, fearful that I would have the same demise as Sandra Bland, a few weeks ago, when I was not only followed for 15 minutes by a police officer, but then pulled over and questioned about why I was driving in a certain neighborhood (I was going to visit my parents, and doing nothing wrong...hence the lack of finding a reason to give me a ticket). I also see people who don't believe that racism exists simply because they have not experienced it in their small bubble of a world.

I think what gets to me most though is the apathy, indifference, and ignorance displayed by some of my peers/colleagues. Being completely silent about these injustices speaks volumes to me. Focusing solely on the protests and riots while ignoring the root causes behind them tells me exactly where you stand. Saying you're not racist, but being quick to say things like "all lives matter" (which if were true, we wouldn't have to remind you that black lives are included in that too), "these people" (we know who you're referring to), or referring to those who are protesting as "thugs" shows me your thinly veiled racism. And if I'm being completely honest, asking me to explain to you why people are upset, highlights your privilege and shows me your lack of motivation to do the work and find out for yourself.

During this time, I worry that things will only get worse for people of color. That if a surge of COVID-19 cases occurs in the next few weeks (yes, we're still dealing with a pandemic!), Black Lives Matter protesters will be blamed and not the many people who decided to party it up for Memorial Day weekend (and let's not forget those who protested with rifles about being quarantined and having to wear a mask). I also worry that while some are trying to prove they are allies at the moment, in a few weeks they will forget about these events and go back to life as usual.

If you're wondering what emotion I feel the most right now, it is sadness. I am sad that no matter how many degrees, accomplishments, or accolades I have, I will always be judged first by the color of my skin. Sad that I have thoughts of being thankful that I am not raising a son during this time (I would be even more heartbroken), and even sadder for my five brothers and the other men in my family who will always have it worse than I do. I am sad that I have to have these painful conversations with my daughter who will likely grow up to raise a family and experience the same fears that I have now. Sad that I have little faith in a system designed to "protect and serve" and even sadder that I felt compelled to write this post.

So if you really care to know, I am not okay, haven't been (unfortunately events like the ones mentioned above are nothing new), and probably won't be for a long time. I am exhausted from constantly hiding my sadness behind a smile, exhausted from having to be pleasant in order to make others feel more comfortable (or else I get labeled as "aggressive" or an "angry black woman"...but that is a totally different topic), exhausted from dealing with individuals who smile in my face, but make it clear in other ways that I am not wanted, and exhausted, because even through all of the current turmoil, I still have to fulfill my duties as a physician even if that means caring for and saving the lives of those who hate me.

I think I'll leave it at that, but please respect my need to vent during this time. This post was not meant to be informational, but instead it was written as a way to somewhat help me process a very small amount of my inner thoughts. It's just all a bit too much to deal with right now.

“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. ” - James Baldwin

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I wrote a book! Atypical Premed Available Now!!!!

Click the picture to buy now!

I am excited to announce that I finally wrote and published my first book!

I have teased about writing a book over the past few years, but for various reasons I never finished the process. Well, it's a new decade and a great reason to stop procrastinating, so I finally got it done.

Writing this book was certainly not easy! I not only wrote the book, but completely self published meaning I was responsible for making sure every aspect was complete from finding an editor to book cover design to even creating the ebook and finding a distributor (please don't punish me on the ebook formatting...that was the hardest part!). I have developed a new respect for all authors out there, especially ones who self publish. It was a completely new world for me, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I am happy with the final result.

So what is the book about?  

Atypical Premed: A Non-Traditional student's Guide to Applying to Medical School is filled with advice, tips, and my own personal experiences to both guide and encourage students from all backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a medical career. Whether you are overcoming low GPA and/or MCAT scores, a single parent, changing careers, involved in the military, an older (or even younger) student, or involved in anything else that does not fit the typical view of an entering medical student—if you plan on applying to medical school, this book will have something for you.

In full disclosure, I will also say that the majority of my book comes from previous blog posts that have been edited to reflect my current status as a physician. This means you can still find answers to your most frequently asked questions within my blog since I have always been an advocate for affordable and/or free resources for premedical students. I am also open to feedback and suggestions so that I can create updated editions in the future to reflect the needs of current premedical students.

So surreal having a book with my name on it!

Help Atypical Premed reach #1!

Atypical Premed is available now in both paperback and Kindle ebook versions on Amazon, and can be purchased by clicking HERE. The book will also be available through major book retailers such as Barnes & Noble in the coming weeks (or you can request it directly at your local bookstore to get it faster), and I plan on putting out an audiobook version in the coming months.

For those of you who may already be medical students or physicians, my book would make a great gift for your mentees. For the premedical students, my book is an excellent starting point to helping you on the path to becoming a physician, and it was written by someone who has already went through the process (me!). I would be more than honored if you all would buy my book, take pictures of yourselves with the book, and post using the hashtag #AtypicalPremed. I not only want to hear your stories, but I want my book to reach those who may need it the most. I would also love it if those who buy the book would leave me a 5 star review on Amazon so that others may find it too (note: Amazon gives more weight to verified purchases when leaving reviews).

Win a free signed copy of Atypical Premed!

Giveaway Alert!

If you're tight on money, I have great news! I am offering the ebook version of Atypical Premed free for the next 24hours, and will have a few more free promotion days over the next couple of months. The ebook is also free indefinitely for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. As for the paperback version, I am giving away signed copies of my book to five lucky readers. All you have to do is the following:

- Follow me on Instagram
- "Like" the post on Instagram with the above picture of me holding the book
- Tag two friends in the Instagram post with this picture
- Extra points if you comment under this blog post and tell me what makes you an "Atypical Premed"

*Giveaway ends Monday, January 20, 2020 at 12am EST
*Multiple entries allowed with additional tagged friends
*Winner will be randomly selected and announced in both my Instagram comments and story section in addition to receiving a DM

Thank you so much for inspiring me to reach another goal, and I hope you all enjoy my book!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Featured on CBS46 News Atlanta

My first television appearance!

Happy New Year!!!! Last week I was given the opportunity to discuss the recent flu spike and its impact in Georgia on CBS46 News. 

I honestly had no idea I would be doing a news segment when I went to work that morning, and only had a few minutes to prepare for filming which took place in between seeing patients, but I'm always more than happy to educate my community. 

It was definitely a fun experience, and I look forward to doing more in the future. I am including it on the blog so that I have a fun memory to look back on. Plus, who knows? I may even get a chance to become a featured medical correspondent on national news one day ;) 

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