A Black Female Medical Student

Building a Support Network in Medical School

Posted on: October 15, 2008

So I have decided to get to work on building my own mini- support network. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have one until I started encountering some issues in my anatomy class, and I didn’t really know who to talk to about it. I have made some friendships within my class, however, generally they are just as clueless about stuff as I am. It may be a personal thing, but I think having a support network has been one the most important factors of my success as a pre-medical student and will have the same role as I matriculate through medical school.

Its more than just having friends in your class. I have found that other medical students can be some of the best and the worst people to decompress with. On one hand they know what you’re going through and can identify with your frustrations, but on the other hand, we can be extremely narcissistic, stressed out, and annoying, not to mention tired all the time. Its like you can vent out stuff to a fellow med student, but really all they can say is “You better just go ahead and suck it up… cuz I am.” :-/

Medical school is extremely stressful, much too stressful to go through it alone. Since Ichose to attend medical school 1/2 across the country from my alma mater and home, I am fairly isolated from old friends and family. I’m working to reconstruct my support network now.

First off, I’m looking for a new church home and I do think I’ve found one. I’m a Christian (flawed though I am), and was raised in the church. As for my personal walk with Christ, its been difficult to find time to commune with the Lord on a daily basis, but I’m working on it. I have to, for the sake of my sanity.

As always, I am striving to maintain a close relationship with my family. We’re scattered all over the country (and at times the world since my parents travel so much). Its hard, and I have a large family. I have 5 sisters, and I have decided that I will try to talk to at least one of them everyday.

I’ve also been trying to maintain a relationship with my old friends. I guess I got caught up in the new people, the new city, the new  experiences and the massive amounts of studying I’ve been doing on a daily basis, because I didn’t realize that I was losing my sense of self. Personal growth is good, but for awhile I kind of forgot who I was. I plan on going back to my undergrad for homecoming (omg…. I can’t wait. The Midwest is cool, but I need to get out of here!!!), and I text my old comrades on the daily. Of course time is limited, but you make time for who/what’s important.

I’ve gotten to know the Dean for Colored Folk. These people go by many different names at different institutions. This person could be a Dean/ Asst. Dean/ Director of Diversity/ Minority Affairs/ Multicultural Affairs… they have a lot of different aliases, but their purpose generally to make sure that minority students are adjusting well. They are generally very busy, but try to seek them out. You definitely want to come to them before they have to come to you. If you’re struggling will want to have an advocate if you every have to come before the review board for whatever reason.

I’m trying to move out my comfort zone and talk to my non-black classmates more. As it is, I have gotten very close with my fellow black classmates, it cannot be denied that my class as a whole is awesome. I was talking to someone today, and they said that our school is the 3rd most diverse medical school in the country (outside of the HBCUs) and I was not surprised. Even though sometimes my classmates do things that make me raise an eyebrow, I must admit they have taught me a lot of things and introduced me to knew experience. Who woulda thought this chick from MD woulda have every tried out for an a capella group or intramural football?

So thats pretty much it in a nutshell. I have 2 tests this week, both Biochem and Anatomy so I probably won’t be back here for a few days. If I do, it will more than likely just be to vent lol.

Best wishes!!!

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