“She made broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.” ― Ariana Dancu @arianapoetess •
No #TBT more apropos, then of you in medical school as I traverse this journey carving my own path. No greater honor is it to be your son nor privilege to call you my role model. Doctor. Colonel. All titles you’ve sacrificed & earned. You are Deniece! You are a phenomenal woman. Today belongs to you & every other woman that continues to use their voice & actions to empower more than just themselves.
I grew up knowing that medicine was my calling. I had a phenomenal example of the sacrifice and dedication required of the profession from my Mom, who is an internal medicine physician and retired Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. I credit my many adventures roaming the hospital floors, during take your child to work day, for my love of all things medical. But my passion for learning how and why the body works, came from my Dad being chronically ill throughout most of my life. Continuously being in & out of the hospital with him, as well as being overweight myself as a teenager and young adult, only served as a catalyst to pursue this career to its fullest.
Most of my time as a MS2 is spent with my nose in my USMLE Step1 book & eyes heavily fixed on my computer screen. The days I’m able to practice my clinical skills, with real patients, are the days I look forward to the most because I’m reminded why I love medicine.
I believe all people in this world want the same three things, “to be seen, to be heard, and to know they matter.” If I’m able to make every patient feel like medicine is relatable and empower them to take charge of their own healthcare, then I can walk away with a great sense of accomplishment.
I’d say this is a pretty accurate depiction of me on most days! 😩🤣
Always remember your A, B, C’s...
It’s amazing how full your heart ❤️ can feel when you take a minute to be kind to yourself & soak in the all things happening around you. I’m not an expert at finding balance. I have days when shame & doubt overwhelm my better judgement. But I’m learning how to keep moving forward. To sit in gratitude before jumping to the worst case scenario. To push further in the direction of vulnerability. To embrace the opportunities that are coming my way & meeting them with open arms. What are you doing to move that dial an inch in the forward direction? What chances are you taking that could bring opportunity?
"There’s a scientific study that shows that if you stand like this in superhero pose for just five minutes before a job interview or a big presentation or a really hard task, you will not only feel more confident, you will perform immeasurably better.” - Dr. Amelia Shepard ☤ •
Some kids grew up wanting to be Batman or Superman, idolizing these figures as the ultimate superhero. I however, grew up idolizing my 5’1” Mom dressed in her white coat and scrubs. Today, I don’t get to just idolize a superhero, I get to train to become one!
How do you find balance in medical school? How do you juggle, what seems to be a continuous number of balls in the air, without letting a single one drop?
I struggle with this question and think it comes down to LISTENING to what my mind, body & soul needs and showing myself KINDNESS, especially in the moments when I fall short or stumble. It’s mental health week at my school & undoubtably the topic of balance comes up. I don’t think there’s a simple answer, certainly there’s no blueprint, but we should all stop & evaluate from time to time…How & where do we feel balance(d)? How & what do we need to do to maintain it?
Being able to bridge the gap between medical providers, their patients, and developing a sense of ownership for one’s own health, stems from looking at every situation through a lens of vulnerability rather than judgment. I can’t ask of my patient something I am unwilling to ask of myself. My ability to open and honest comes from a dedication I’ve made to be my most authentic self; to embrace my imperfections, be flexible yet ever pursuant in striving to be the best version of myself.
I speak openly about the importance of mental health in medicine, especially because it still carries with it a sense of embarrassment or shame. However, to be able to grow with purpose and traverse the difficulties and demand of medical school and eventually the medical profession, I have to be able to look within myself critically and develop tools and strategies for my own health and well-being! Medical school continues to be one of the toughest rides I have embarked upon but I’m learning to be kinder to myself and to embrace the unexpected; if the footsteps for my path were already laid out in front me, then I wouldn’t be following my journey but someone else’s.
~ Cheers to me 🥂~
Ever since my 1st semester, it’s always been my tradition to book a session with my therapist post finals (Shannon). Any med student will tell you, finals are an emotional rollercoaster no matter how well or poorly you are doing. There’s value in the exam...for some, in the score they get, but for me, in my ability to say I put everything I had into studying, preparing, & staying focused through burnout, anxiety & doubt. I’m so focused on the questions I KNOW I got wrong from looking the answers up, post exam, that I forget to take a second & just be proud of what I just accomplished. •
So here’s to taking a moment to appreciate the long hours, sleepless nights, lost moments w/ friends & family, pushing past self-doubt & fear & all the other sacrifices...today I will look in the mirror & say, “I’m proud of myself. Cheers!” 😊 #fbf❤️ 📸 @gsotolon