“Memories have huge staying power, but like dreams, they thrive in the dark, surviving for decades in the deep waters of our minds like shipwrecks on the sea bed.” – J. G. Ballard

I have found myself caught by the inescapable vise of nostalgia. There’s a trend. It is often when thoughts of the future overwhelm me that I find myself retreating to the past. This is an extremely happy time. The results of Match 2017 were revealed yesterday. I am extremely happy for my dear friends as they move forward in their journey to be health care providers. This is an extremely unnerving time. Many of us in the class of 2018 are weighing a lot of major (at least they seem major right now) decisions: what specialty will make us happy, should we even participate in Match 2018, research year, away rotations, sub-I, STEP 2CS and STEP 2CK — all while wrapping up MS3 year. It’s a lot!

I’m made a few of the major decisions. I plan to go into pediatrics. I have scheduled STEP 2 CS and STEP 2 CK and they feel like they are coming up ridiculously quickly. I’ve registered for my MS4 coursework, but I’m sure I’ll have to make some changes. 😸

I’m in the process of finagling VSAS in hope of landing an away rotation. I don’t even want to think about my sub-I right now; I’m still just trying to get a handle on the rotation I’m on: OBGYN. Full disclosure: I spent two of my hours on call in the CBD eating lunch and enjoying affogato so it’s not like they’re killing me. 😸

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I had a really heartwarming conversation this morning with a member of the ancillary staff moments before I had to scrub into a C-section. She asked me: “how long would it be until you’re a pediatrician?” I answered: “Fours years. One more year of medical school and three years of residency. If I sub-specialize, that will be another 2-3 years.”

She responds: “It’s a long journey!” I responded non-verbally. Maybe I gave a sigh followed by an uncomfortable laugh. “At the end of the day,” she said, “it will all be worth it. I’m so proud to see a smart black woman in this field. Keep it up my dear. Keep going.”

There’s a trend. It is often when thoughts of the future overwhelm me that the words of a kind stranger restore my hope.

Five years ago, I had an unexpected albeit restorative conversation with a homeless man in Denver . We discussed politics, homelessness, medicine, art, and our hopes for the future. Before we parted ways, he gave me a hug and said: “You are going to be an amazing physician.” I remember crying, I was so moved, when I made it back to my apartment. I remember crying even harder, I was so distraught, when I came to realize he passed a year later.

These words of encouragement have been such as source of comfort. For those of you who are also juggling feelings of excitement, anxiety, and doubtfulness, I have faith in you. We can get through this. One day at a time.

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