MD

2-0-1-9

I can’t believe we are here. The year that I officially graduate medical school. 2019.

I remember back starting the MERP program in December 2014 in North York, Ontario thinking of 2019 and how this year will be the best year ever. I knew I had a lot of work to do and a lot of exams to finish before then, but this year was always in the back of my mind. Fast forward to present day, and I am one week away from obtaining my M.D degree. WHAT.

These past couple months have truly been amazing. I have been traveling across the U.S for residency interviews, and although exhausting, the feeling of a program wanting you for residency is such a great feeling. I have interviewed here in Atlanta, all the way to Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Alabama, etc. It has been such a neat experience learning about the various programs and how they differ according to their mission statement, location, and direction of the program. Every time I finished an interview, I would make a list of things that I really liked about the program and made a final list last week of the programs that will go on my rank list.

I officially submitted my rank list last week which is a big moment for all medical students. Now the worst part is waiting until March 11th to see IF I matched into a program and then March 15th is the email detailing WHERE I matched. Let the waiting begin! (SO hard)

Overall, this medical school experience is such a journey. I really can’t explain it. You honestly have to live it to really get an idea how taxing it is, how draining it is, and the sacrifices that us medical students have to go through. It is tough, no doubt about that, but now being on the other side and being SO close to being done…I can look back now and see that it is all worth it. I get numerous emails a week asking for my advice, my study tips, being a confidence booster, and how I managed to do well throughout my four years. But the most common theme that I get asked is: “is it doable? Will I fail?” I always try and comfort those who email me about this topic, as I try to be a voice of reason for those needing comfort. I can’t make decisions for the people who email me asking for my advice, but what I can do is let them know that it is in fact doable, but it does take an incredible amount of work.

These last five days as a medical student, I am taking it all in. The experience at Atlanta Medical Center has been amazing and I tried to gain as much knowledge as possible for my future patients these past two years. In only a few short months (okay…like five months) I will be a resident physician that is putting in orders by myself, managing my own patients, and consulting with other physicians. I seriously can’t wait!

Even though this chapter of my life is closing, the next BIG chapter is just beginning. Thank you all for being on this journey with me!

Bye for now,

-E xo

The scariest moment is always just before you start.
— Stephen King

Five Long Months

As I begin this blog post, I am in shock of how long it has been since I have written. You have read it in the title...five long months. FIVE.

A lot has happened, A LOT since I have last written a blog post. I will definitely get you all up to speed, don't worry! I have a tea in hand (ok, ok, it may be a cider) and I am getting ready for the first day of my new rotation at Emory University in Atlanta tomorrow, so I wanted to take a minute and update you all.

Medical school is something that is incredibly hard to describe, unless you are in it yourself. The amount of material we need to cover for each exam, the dreaded board exams that linger over our heads, and the commitment to leave no stone unturned in the hospital during clinical rotations is exhausting. There is the constant battle with yourself to do well and let me tell you, it is a very HUMBLING experience to see your classmates and peers do exceptionally better than you, when you worked your butt off to "just pass". I think it is our inherent nature as humans to have a quick reaction to something, that when something goes right for someone, we are quick to judge and want that same thing in return. I have realized that we are all wanting the same thing in life- to be happy and successful and I have no doubt that we will all obtain that at some point, and I make a reminder to myself not compare myself so hard to others, or don't compare myself to others at all. We are ALL on a different timeline, whether you failed a big board exam, whether you failed a semester, whether you took time off because school was insanely stressful on you, WHO CARES. The fact that you are following your passion, whatever that may be, is amazing and never compare yourself to people who obtain that goal faster than you. 

Whew. Okay, had to get that off my chest. I get many emails that tell me how amazing it is to watch my journey and follow my steps as I check one thing off after another so "effortlessly". I try my best to detail everything about medical school, the good, the bad, the ugly. I have had my fair share of ups and downs with multiple crying sessions either on the phone with my parents, with Stephen, and honestly, by myself sometimes. Medical school is hard, school in general is hard, but the one thing that I keep reminding myself is that when it is all over, education is one thing that is sacred to you. No one can take that feeling of achievement away, no one can tell you anything different, because you did the work, you put in the time, no matter how long it took you to finish it. 

I am currently applying to residency programs right now and for the people that follow me and have no idea what I mean by that let me just give a run down of a typical journey to an M.D degree:

Undergraduate degree: 4 years
Medical School: 4 years
Residency training: 3-7 years (depending on specialty)
Fellowship: 1-3 years (depending on specialty)

After graduating from medical school, you have an MD degree, which is a Doctor of Medicine Degree. With this degree, you cannot practice clinical medicine until having residency training and passing your certification board exam, this is where applying for residency comes in. You apply to programs during your 4th year of medical school (AKA right now for me) and Oct-Jan of that year you will be invited to interviews across the country that like your application and want to learn more about you and to see if you are a good fit for their program. After interview season you "rank" each program from 1-10 (or however many interviews you attended)  and then the programs "rank" you as well, both ranking systems are confidential, so you are not sure where programs rank you in their list. You submit your rank list by February of that year and then in March you will get an email saying: "You have matched!" or an unfortunate case: "You have not matched". So this means you can go an entire four years of schooling and not match into a program for residency and you will have to reapply that following year. Not nerve-wracking at all right?! 

The stress associated with medical school does not end with medical school. Securing a residency spot at a program of your choice is on your mind Day 1 of medical school. But with hard work, passing your board exams, making connections, volunteering, showing leadership skills and being KIND to people along the way will get you far, and having confidence in yourself that you have put the work in is something that is not taught. 

Life has a way of figuring itself out. Trust the process. Trust in yourself. You CAN do this, no matter how much doubt creeps into your mind. There are hundreds if not thousands of people around the world that would love to be in your shoes, and I take that sentiment with me everyday. I have been put on this earth to give back through medicine and I will stop at nothing to make this a reality. Five more months of medical school, graduation in March of 2019, graduation ceremony in May 2019 in Miami! So surreal!

Happy Labor Day everyone! Have a great week and never lose sight of your end goal!

-E xo


Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.

-George S. Patton

Twenty Eighteen

Hey everyone!

I have resurfaced yet again to write a blog post tonight and it honestly feels so amazing to sit down with a tea in hand and update you all. 

Things have been busy, as always, and if you can believe it, it is about to get busier. 2018 is going to be my busiest year yet, with two board exams to go, traveling across the country for 4th year electives, submitting my residency application to various programs across the U.S (ah!) and then traveling yet again for interviews. Knowing myself, I have to take things one at a time, one day at a time and one month at a time. If I look ahead and see everything that I have to do this year, I freak out and curl into a ball, and try to avoid the thoughts that creep into my head, the doubt, the insecurities, and the "what-ifs". I have learned to let all that go, and I have learned to embrace the journey, no matter how crazy it is about to be.

These past few months have been hard. I have realized that I stayed to myself a lot, I have felt sorry for myself sometimes, and I have doubted myself more than ever before. I think it is a mix of "oh my gosh I am actually going to be a doctor" and "I don't know if I have what it takes to take care of patients by myself starting next year." Having only 5 more weeks of 3rd year of medical school left and then only 9 months of 4th year electives to go, time has honestly escaped me. I remember my first days on the island of Dominica, just trying to make it through the first exam, and just wishing I could be entering 4th year and almost being done with medical school altogether. Now that this time is here, it is almost like I wish I was back on the island and my only worry was passing that first exam. What thinking is that?!

Thankfully, I talked with myself and told myself to toughen up. As my Dad would say whenever we were in a rut or felt like we couldn't accomplish something: "You are a Cronk girl! You can do anything!". That sentiment alone has gotten me through so much over the years and I am extremely thankful to have the most supportive parents on the planet. I would not be as successful if it was not for their unwavering support and pep talks throughout school and for those skype calls where they both try to fit into the screen so they can talk with me. I will hold those memories in my heart forever. 

So here I am. Feeling better than I have been and getting excited for the next adventure. I am currently in pediatrics and am loving the little kids that come to clinic. Thankfully this rotation is not as intense as my other core rotations, which gives me a chance to plan my electives and simultaneously study for my Step 2 CS board exam, which is coming up in April. Medical school is no joke, there will be times where you are tired, there will be times where you doubt your decision, and there will be times where you cannot even think about going back to the hospital that day. I have realized that when those thoughts come into my mind, I have to remind myself of how truly fortunate I am. I get to wake up each day and help take care of people, talk with family members and make a difference. No matter how tired I am, how much I have on my plate, or how much I have to plan for, nothing exceeds that more than seeing a smile on a patient's face that you helped that day. THAT is what makes it worth it. How lucky am I to have a job that challenges me every single day, both emotionally and physically, that teaches me something new each day and gives me a chance to grow. I think I am pretty lucky. 

Thank you all for being on this journey with me and thank you for believing in me since Day 1.

I am almost there, and I could not be more excited. 

Bye for now, 

-E xo

 


The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. —Ayn Rand

Hello From the Other Side

Okay, I know what you are all thinking..."Where has this girl been?!" "She has a blog...why doesn't she write?!" "Hellllloooooo?" "Anyone there?" 

Hi everyone! I am here! A lot has happened since December, and I am eager to get talking about it so without further adieu, I am here to chat. I am alive. I am well. I am surviving!

This has been the most whirlwind of a time in my life, from getting engaged, getting married, writing Step 1 [or "taking step 1" for you Americans], and moving to Florida. It has been hectic, but some odd reason, I like this pace. I like being forced out of my comfort zone, and being expected to figure it out quickly. I got engaged at the end of November, and Stephen and I decided to get married on New Year's Eve that December...yes...in less than a month I had to plan a wedding, study for my USMLE Step 1 exam, get all my immigration and health documents read to move to Florida for January.....you can see why I pushed my exam date back until February and moved our scheduled departure to Florida for the March IMF intake. [So so so happy I did this]

So here I am! Married, onto year three of my medical studies, and I am [im]patiently waiting for my Step 1 score to come out this Wednesday morning. [Positive vibes welcome] Medical school off island has definitely been different, and I have heard from a lot of my classmates that it has been hard to focus or study for our massive board exam when being on island was much easier, less distractions, less temptation to go watch a movie with friends, etc, more motivation to study hard and get off that island as fast as you can. Staying on island to study for my COMP exam was the best thing that I ever did, and it allowed the foundation I needed to come home and study hard for my board exam. 

That exam was tough, guys. Extremely tough. You needed to know the ins and outs of every topic, every drug, every pathological symptom that you can imagine. But the board exams take it a bit further, they test you on not only your knowledge, but the way you critically think and integrate that information. There were times where I would look at the computer screen and just stare at the question, trying to figure out exactly where they want me to go with the information. Seven blocks, each block had 40 questions, and we had an hour per block. Seven hours of straight testing and a 45-60 minute break , so it ended up being an eight hour day. It was extremely exhausting, but making sure I had appropriate snacks, adequate sleep, and confidence was the reason I felt okay on test day. I will make sure to update you all when that score comes out!

For the people asking what my next steps are of my medical journey I will outline it below:

Currently: IMF-Internal Medicine Foundations- 6 weeks-Miramar, Florida
Core Rotations- 6 core specialties at ONE hospital for an entire year (hoping for Atlanta Medical Center-we found out this Tuesday)
Elective Rotations- I choose the area of medicine I want to study and where. These electives can be anywhere from 2, 4, or 6 weeks. This is for an entire year. 

So in short, I have two years of schooling left, all in the hospital setting and interacting with patients. I am extremely excited to be on the other side of learning, as the island was tough and studying from textbooks upon textbooks was hard to keep the motivation up. I am eager to hit the hallways and interact with as many people as possible, learn from the best, and soak it all up like a sponge. I will keep everyone posted with each core elective that I do and see which area of medicine interests me the most. 

This post was more of an update post I guess, letting you all know where I am and where I go from here. I cleaned up my website a bit, and organized it better and getting the camera ready for some YouTube videos. I will end on one final note: time has literally been flying by, and I want people reading this to know that anything is achievable in your life. Whether it be school, an occupation, a hobby, a business proposal, anything that you 100% commit yourself to can be done, it will be hard, but it can be done. I have made a point in my life to never put an expiry date on anything that I do, I was 27 when I applied for medical school, and turning 29 this year illicits only one emotion: I am proud of where I am, how I got here, and how I continue to help you all, one post at a time. 

Bye for now,
-E xo