Well… it’s been a minute. Too many minutes actually. I was supposed to write this post like a month ago, but better late than never, right? I know I’ve been MIA from this section of the website for a while, but since my first free weekend since July is coming to a close, I just wanted to check in and let y’all how my first two months of med school have been. I really have no structure to how I want to go about doing this, so I’m just gonna talk. Get comfortable and let’s get into it.
Alright, so boom. First things first. I’m grateful to be here. It’s extremely challenging and it’s been a pretty steep learning curve for me personally, but I’m grateful that I’m getting closer and closer to where I want to be. My Impostor Syndrome has made itself known several times, but I’m getting better with managing it. Some days it still feels like an uphill battle and I wonder if this is what I’m supposed to be doing, but other days I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m getting more involved in things that I’d say align with the legacy I wanna leave as Dr. Black Barbie and doing that has pushed me to buckle down more academically and kick it up a notch. I’m also incredibly grateful for my support system, both here at school and the system I had before I got here because I know for a Fendi fact that I couldn’t do this without them and Big G.
Y’all didn’t come here to talk about academics, so I’ll try to keep this part brief-ish. I thought about not talking about academics at all, but people ask me often, so I’ll just do a little. Before starting med school, I’ve heard med students say that it feels like drinking from a firehose and let me tell you… BAYBEE… THEY WERE RIGHT. Academically speaking, medical school is a full-time job. Of course I had a feeling it was before, but being in the middle of it is something else. No class is just one subject and the classes move quickly. So quickly that some topics that took a week or two to cover in undergrad took all of 30 minutes to an hour to cover here. That fast. There is just so much information and I’m shocked that my brain is actually adapting to hold *most* of it. It blows me. Like I’m really in the process of learning what I need to learn so I can save people’s lives one day. It’s crazy. I’m gonna be honest though. I’m nowhere near the top of my class and right now, I have just been trying to pass. My classes are pass/fail, so when I tell y’all I’m aiming for 70’s, I say it with my whole chest and I am not ashamed lol. I never thought that would be my mindset, but I had to make sure I wasn’t letting myself burn out quickly, so that’s where I was starting this journey. My first module was rocky for me, and the one I’m in now got off to a rocky start too because #LifeHappens, but I feel like I’ve had some time to rest this weekend and I feel good going into the second half of this course. Right now, I’m in a place where I feel like I could be doing better than what I am, so I’m currently trying to figure out how to get there. I’m hoping it’s only up from here.
Outside of school, life has been happening a lot. I do want to keep most things private because that’s kind of where I’ve been mentally for the last couple of months, but there is one thing I want to share before I wrap up this post. If you’ve been around this blog for a while or follow me on social media, then you know that I’m no stranger to talking about mental health and mental health care. With everything I’ve had going on the last few months, I found my anxiety and depression higher than they have ever been. Because of that, I put my big girl panties on and did what I knew I needed to do. I took advantage of some of the resources my school offers for the students and I saw a psychiatrist. During that appointment, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and prescribed an SSRI. At the time that it happened, I was feeling kind of numb. For the record, med school did not drive me to depression or anxiety. The timing and resources were just aligned, so it was time to act. I had always known the signs were there, but it was different to actually hear it coming from a physician. This all happened exactly one week before my first big exam, so I was so focused on my exam at the time that I didn’t even process it or how I felt about it. When I finally got the chance to, I realized that it’s not a bad thing and that I was proud of myself to doing what I needed to do to take care of myself. I also started therapy last week – with a Black woman, might I add – so I’m optimistic about where things will go from here. I debated whether or not I was going to share this with y’all, but I ultimately decided to do it. Y’all know I believe in transparency, and in sharing my journey to Dr. Black Barbie, I wanted to share the good, the bad, and the ugly because every day is not easy and it’s not all sunshine and roses. Life doesn’t stop just because I go in and out of my “med school bubble” and that bubble can’t protect me from life happening either. Some of the things that have happened have felt incredibly stressful as they were happening, but I keep reminding myself that blessings in disguise are still blessings.
Overall, I would have to say that the words that sums up my life over the last couple of months is ADJUSTMENT. I’ve adjusted from living at home with my parents to living on my own and the responsibility that comes with it. I’ve adjusted from being in undergrad to being in med school and what that means. I’ve adjusted from being in predominantly Black educational spaces to being 1 of about 15 Black students in my med school class of 110+ people (more stories for another day because yikes). My relationships with others have had to adjust. My relationship with myself has had to adjust. All while there’s still a pandemic and racism outside, nonetheless. Please hear me and believe me when I say that I 1000% do NOT have it all together and I don’t have it all figured out. I’m growing, learning, and taking this a day at a time because that’s all I can do.
I feel like this post has been pretty long, so I’m gonna go ahead and wrap it up here. If there are specific questions you have for me, don’t hesitate to ask. I have been working on cutting back from social media, so if it takes me a while to answer a DM, don’t think I’m ignoring you. You can also feel free to shoot me an email (it’s linked at the bottom of the page) with any questions you may have. Please remember that I am always rooting for you. Thank you for all of your support so far! Hopefully it won’t take another four months for me to check in! 😉
brena b, md.