This year has gone by swiftly and if I am being completely honest, I’m glad that 2017 is coming to a close. This year has been equal parts trial and tribulation. This year has been equal parts exciting and exhausting. This year has been a year of opportunity and obstacle. It has been months since I have shared anything personal or academic in this space. This semester has been one of the most academically challenging and I can finally give a sigh of relief (now that grades are in). As I have mentioned at multiple times elsewhere on the blog, I’m one of the four-year MD/MPH (in Tropical Medicine) candidates at Tulane. This program is hands-down one of the reasons why I wanted to receive my medical training at Tulane. I elected for the tropical medicine concentration for quite a few reasons such as my interest in international medicine and infectious disease. They told (warned?) us early on that the tropical medicine concentration requires coursework in the fall semester of MS4 but I truly underestimated the chaos of juggling five classes, interview season, and clinical rotations. It has been: crazy, exhilarating, informative, stressful, but most importantly worthwhile. There were points during this semester when I legitimately forgot the day of the week (hence, the quote – an excerpt from O.L’s poem “blurred“). There were points during this semester when I woke up in a different city every single day of the week. So honestly, the life recap for the past few months is succinct: I have been traveling and studying.
Last year, I posted about: 1) the highlights of 2016, 2) the lessons I learned in 2016, and 3) my resolutions for the upcoming year. I wanted to keep the tradition alive and give a quick recap of the highs and lows of 2017! I’ll start by saying that the lessons I learned in 2016 were re-learned and revisited this year. I’ll repost the list and highlight the lessons that were most relevant to me in 2017.
Things I learned in 2016:
- Sometimes people hate you because of the way other people love you. Sometimes people are so blinded by their pasts that they’ll interpret your kindness as “disingenuous” and your compassion as “fake.” Not everyone will find you witty and charming. Haters are not a reflection of your value. My friend Sarah reminded me: “Even Jesus had haters. Who are we to think that we will not?”
- People will tell you anything when you wear a white coat. It’s important to act appropriately with the information disclosed.
- One of my patients shared with me that ze identifies as a male; ze had never told anyone (in real life; ze was active in a few online blogging communities) that ze identifies as transgender. When I asked ze why ze felt comfortable sharing that information with me, ze said that ze felt safe. This encounter reminded me how important it is to be a safe space and advocate for my current and future patients.
- Even the most caring people can have ideologies that espouse hatred.
- There are appropriate ways to discuss politics. Insults are never necessary.
- You shouldn’t share the details of your personal life with anyone who views your life as a source of entertainment. Real friends hurt when you hurt. Fake friends relish in your trials and resent your triumphs. If they need more drama in their lives, direct them to Bravo TV.
- Unsolicited advice is not received as “wise words.” Unsolicited advice is rude. Refrain.
- It is an amazing and strong thing to forgive even before someone has sought forgiveness. It is a beautiful thing to strive to be the bigger person. Forgiveness does not mean you have to maintain the same level of closeness. If you are constantly forced to be the bigger person, you should walk away. Giants do not associate with ants.
- If someone disrespects you, that’s not your fault. If they repeat the behavior (after you give them a second chance), the onus still lies on them. There’s no shame to being hopeful.
- You probably should not seek out dating advice from your single friends. Some (not all) single people are bitter and want to keep you around as a single / going out friend.
- The most important thing is that you like yourself. Everyone is a critic these days. There’s no way everyone will like your new favorite pair of shoes. Some people will think you look terrible with pink hair. If you like it, rock it.
- There’s a good chance that you’re somebody’s role model. Remember that whenever you want to give up.
There were other lessons that I have learned over the course of the year, but I’ll address those in a little bit.
What Happened in 2017:
- Made it through the psychiatry clerkship. It was cool but not for me.
- Enjoyed the neurology clerkship. I had a pediatrics focused rotation which made things infinitely better!
- Enjoyed my third New Orleans Mardi Gras
- Bought a few fake septum rings
- Fell in love with poke bowls
- My best friend Wilhemina made her first trip to New Orleans and was my partner-in-crime at Med Prom
- Played tourist in the Garden District (and begrudgingly allowed her to take photos of me)
- Grieved the loss of two of my friends
- Survived the OBGYN rotation – this one… was not one of my favorites
- Spent time with my middle school best friend (Emileigh) the weekend of her engagement
- Gave a tearful goodbye when my friend Marion moved from New Orleans to Denver
- Completed the radiology rotation
- Took Step 2 CS in Houston
- Celebrated with a fellow MS4/roommate when I was in Lafayette in for inpatient pediatrics
- Switched things up majorly and went with blue hair for my 25th birthday
- Turned 25 and celebrated with my closest medical school friends
- Spent a month in the PICU as a sub-I
- Greatly enjoyed two weeks of allergy/immunology/rheumatology (adults and pediatrics)
- Took Step 2 CK
- Travelled to Philadelphia for an away rotation (general pediatrics/hematology)
- Caught up with my best friends Viviana and Lisa while in Philadelphia
- Went to Federal Donuts with my dear friend Ben
- Explored my sister‘s favorite brunch places in Philadelphia (e.g. Green Eggs)
- Explored museums and restaurants when my father came up to Philly to visit us
- Met some of my favorite medical Instagram bloggers (Yang, James, Priyanka, and Elizabeth)
- Tried rolled ice cream for the first time with my friend Jason
- Returned to New Orleans
- Went to a rooftop bar (Hot Tin) for the first time (with my partner in crime Hugh)
- Fell in love with kombucha
- Attended a silent disco at Eiffel (with my partner in crime Hugh and my dear friend Ofure)
- Met a few professional athletes – they were nice!
- Started playing tennis again
- Went to an amazing SNMA potluck
- Completed a rotation in drug development
- Tried Turkey and the Wolf
- Started my final semester of MPH courses
- Met amazing people in the MPH program
- Submitted my ERAS application in pediatrics
- Completed a month of pediatric infectious disease
- Attended an amazing PEDS ID journal club at my attending’s house (the Cuban food was amazing!)
- Grieved the loss of my grandmother
- Grieved the first loss of a pediatric patient
- Bought a maroon suit for interview season
- Started the crazy whirlwind of traveling around the country
- Made friends on the interview trail
- Caught-up my friend Marion in Denver
- Visited City Park for the first time
- Tried Morning Call beignets for the first time (I’m not sure whether or not they’re better than the beignets at Cafe du Monde)
- Tried caribou for the first time
- Read many books during layovers
- Rekindled my love for poetry
- Explored Louis Armstrong Park when my dear friend Nikitas visited New Orleans
- Grew tired of hotel rooms and inflatable mattresses
- Fell in love with kombucha
- Tried new (to me) restaurants in New Orleans: Vessel, Baru, and Elizabeth’s
- Happy danced when my narrative medicine piece was published in Academic Medicine
- Cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner (my sister helped…kinda)
- Visited Shake Therapy with Jerry, Leta, Hugh, and my little sister.
- Caught up with my best friend Emi in Atlanta
- Caught up with my best friend Jasmine in Chapel-Hill
- Met Jasmine’s boyfriend ❤ !!!
- Studied for my last public health examinations
- Visited the Spotted Cat for brunch when my mother came into town!
This year has been a year of tremendous growth. There is nothing like a loss to remind you of what is important. There is nothing like dating drama to make you value your long-term relationships. In 2016, I went on a grand total of 3 dates. I made a commitment to explore the realm of dating in 2017 and went on ~25 dates (five first dates) which was 1) dramatic 2) ridiculous and 3) informative. Below are the some of the lessons that this year has taught me.
Things I learned in 2017:
- Hardship and happiness can co-exist.
- Communication is a two-way street. Even if you are a good communicator, you’re bound for drama if you’re spending time with people who aren’t at that level.
- Friend break-ups can hurt worse than romantic break-ups.
- I know myself better than I give myself credit.
- There are friends you can have for years and share everything with who never did and never will truly understand you. Sometimes you realize this when you meet people who are more of your style.
- If someone you consider toxic makes you feel guilty for stepping away from the friendship or relationship, they’re only giving you more evidence for why they should play a less prominent role in your life.
- Friends won’t let you suffer in silence.
- Friends who celebrate your wins are the ones you should hold most dear. These friends are rare. Treasure them.
- It’s okay to vent about the same situation 500X. If anyone rushes your process, they don’t care enough. Don’t share your personal grievances with people who don’t care. They’ll just give you another reason to vent.
- There are a ton of fake people out there. Don’t hate them for it just be grateful that you can be comfortable with your authenticity.
- You can’t help people who are unwilling to help themselves.
- You can’t fill a broken cup. Broken people will not respond to your positivity or love. This isn’t about you.
- Grieving is a very unique process. It can take weeks. Months. Longer. It’s ok to not be ok.
- Dating someone with low self-esteem is dangerous. Your attempt to build them up will only make you feel small.
- It is difficult but not impossible to do your work well even if you are 1) grieving, 2) sleep-deprived, or 3) heartbroken. There’s no excuse for not meeting your goals.
- Ask advice from individuals who can give advice the applies to you and your situation rather than something he/she would do if they were in the situation.
- It’s okay to stay in a friendship or relationship until you’re certain that it’s no longer worth your time. Sometimes lingering “what if” questions are more challenging to move past than a relationship that implodes.
- It is beyond okay to be single. It’s better to be single than to date someone who is not a good fit.
- Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to fit a certain timeline. There are no rules to the game of life. Get married if you want. Stay single if you want. Have children if you want. Adopt if you want. Don’t do any of that. You have to live the life that makes you happy.
- It is important to protect your happiness fiercely.
My resolution for 2018 is simple. I want to be more generous: with my time, understanding, patience, love, forgiveness, compassion, and in my perception of myself. Wishing a very happy and fulfilling 2018 for all of you guys. Sending you love!
This is incredible. I know you say it was a difficult year for you, and I can see why; but you should know that you are inspiring me to be better and do more. You’ve done some incredible things this year. Keep going, girl; you’re amazing!
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Hi my dear! Thanks so much for the kind reply. I really appreciate your words of understanding and your words of support. I can’t wait to see what you get into. I hope the rest of 2017 and 2018 treat you well!