A Black Female Medical Student

Archive for February 2012

I am sooooo beat. I need to have this first draft of my grant application into my advisor tomorrow, and I have like 1/2 a page written. It needs to be 5 pages (yeah its a small grant… my first one!). That’s what I get for pushing things to the last minute.

I may have to skip class (again) tomorrow morning and just power it out when I wake up tomorrow morning. I *really* wanted to have at least the background figured out and written tonight though. Ugh…. :-/

I have way too much stuff going on.

So tired.

When I started the MPH, I thought it was gonna be this chill easy thing! Sorely mistaken. I’m working pretty hard. I’m just hoping it ends up being worth it in the end. I *really* do.

Whatever, I have 2 more wks til midterms and then I’m going to do some traveling to spend some time with friends and family. I just gotta make it through these next couple of wks.

Beat.

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So I’m going back to the place I called home for 3 yrs before I moved to where I am now. I’m so excited. I’ve been g-chatting my friends all day. All: “Tomorrow’s the day! Are you excited?”

Even though I’m sad cuz I’ve missed them, it makes me feel kinda good cuz they’ve missed me too. Its all love over here.

My ex will be there. He texted me yesterday saying he missed me and he would be excited to see me. We talked last week and I was griping about how I haven’t been out on a date in so long. He offered to take me out, which was sweet of him. At the same time it was a pathetic look for me. lol. But its so funny how things happened, I was complaining about all of that, and then I turn around and get asked on 3 dates within 1 week. But I’m too busy to go on any of them, so supposedly I have 3 dates scheduled for next wk. Life is funny. Hence the title.

I’m scared.

It just seems like my future career is starting to seem more and more in reach. Its hard to believe in less than 18 months I’m going to be an intern somewhere, and lives will literally be in my hands.

I’ve waited so long for this, and now that it seems all the more imminent, I’m scared shitless. Especially as I see my friends prepping for Match Day and after that Graduation. We came in this process together and now they’re taking their next steps. Its frickin’ crazy.

I started thinking about it more as I started thinking about this research project that I’m doing now. Its small, and un-funded, and while my mentor has been super awesome and supportive, at the end of the day, it seems like everything is going to be up to me. I have to find funding by myself, design my own survey, submit an IRB application, and in the summer I’ll be traveling out to the field (its an international project), to actually field the survey… its actually pretty nerve racking for me b/c I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m honestly afraid that I will fail.

I mean, this experience will be great for me, no doubt… if I can actually pull it off.

But its funny, b/c in the future that I imagined for myself, this is what I said I wanted. In all my personal statements, interviews, casual chat, I described exactly this.  I saw myself saving lives, running research projects, doing international work. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAID I WANTED.

But now that is actually coming, I’m backtracking like nobody’s business.

Honestly, I saw this happening for grownup BlackGirlMD. The BlackGirlMD with the plan who had it all figured out. I don’t know when I thought I would become that person, but I assumed it would happen, and then I would be ready to take on all this responsibility.

I mean, I guess I’m going about it the right way. Its a small project, I have a really cool, really involved mentor, and I’m doing it during a technical gap year. But its definitely a bigger undertaking that I initially thought it would be, and I’ve got a case of the self-doubts. Sigh.

Either way…. I’m going to work it out. I always do. I’ll let you know how it all goes down.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my career lately. I had a talk with a mentor today, and I’m really appreciative of how honest he was and how willing he is to share his insights with me. It got me thinking.

I’ve attended a lot of talks, seminars, symposiums, presentations, conferences, workshops…. (lol)

and whenever you have a bigwig at the podium they are almost always asked “how did you get involved in _____________.” I rarely hear someone say that it was a straightforward journey, or “oh I knew from _______ age that I was gonna do exactly this.” They often say that they fell into it. Or there was some meandering, tortuous path that they took to get to that point.

Many times they’ll tell the a story that seems too lucky, too serendipitous to be true, and it will be really UN-helpful to the rest of us in the audience who are really just looking for a formula. I mean, for the longest, I’ve been looking for someone to tell me how to be a leader, to tell me how to be successful. Just tell me steps 1-3 and I’ll do it. I mean, that’s how I got into medical school, that’s how I got into college. Someone gave me a formula and I followed it.

But its a little different now. Its not straightforward, and definitely not formulaic. After hearing soooo many speeches and reading as many books, I realize that most of these people just saw an opportunity and went for it. Saw an open door and walked through, saw a crack in the wall and pushed through it. Some of them were looking for it, some of then just happened to glance over at the right time, but either way… it was there and they went for it.

So… for the past few years, I’ve been interested in a certain niche. Its not a niche that’s really popular or common these days… but it was in the past. These days its over-populated and under-funded at the same time. Unfortunately. I’ve been pretty staunch in maintaining my interest in this field. And I would say that I am more well-read, more insightful, and probably more experienced in this area than many of my peers. But its still not enough, because its not my peers that I’m competing against… but people who are really well-known.

However, there’s another niche that’s opening up. One that it seems like I’m oddly and uniquely well-connected in… and there’s an opportunity for me to establish myself in it early, and if all goes to plan, be a leader in the field at a very young age.

Its a conflict for me b/c while I’m interested in the field, its not necessarily where I saw myself working at this point in my life. I saw myself pursuing that area a few years down the road. But here is a very unique and tantalizing opportunity to jump in now, and get training and mentoring from some awesome people in the field who, for whatever reason, seem to like me and believe in me. But I’m afraid I might be turning my back on this other population that I really want to advocate for, and one that I truly care about.

So I don’t know.

I’m afraid that this is a crack in the wall that I’m staring directly at…. and I just walk on past it, I could be missing out on a major opportunity. But I also feel like this population that I really care about, doesn’t have enough bright, well-connected and passionate people going for it…. and that I will be abandoning them like so many others have done.

I don’t know.