Ah, yes, the wonderful serenity that comes with being on summer break.

Ah, yes, the wonderful serenity that comes with being on summer break. For the past week, I haven’t had to wake up to an alarm clock. Summer break is the best!!! So, what have I been doing thus far? The answer to that is a pretty good amount. Even though school ended last Friday, I’m still in Huntsville helping NAPS pack for their mission trip to India. My girlfriend is one of the NAPS members that is going to India, so helping them pack serves a dual purpose, because I get to see her alittle bit longer. This past Sunday, we were building a NAPS mission retreat center, and of course, since it’s a retreat center, the site isn’t accessible by cars, so all the materials have to be brought by foot…YIPPIE, lol. So yeah, and couple of weeks ago, we carried ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY 80 lb. bags down to the retreat center. And last Sunday, we carried about ONE THOUGHSAND 40 lb. concrete blocks. My muscles are sore to say the least, but it was a good work out. Other than that, I’ve been labeling the bins that NAPS takes on their missions. This mission they are taking about 50 bins, filled with generators, stuff for children, stuff for the evangelistic meeting, stuff to build schools, etc. Its going to be a great mission, and I really wish I could go, but my little sister is graduating from high school, and I wouldn’t be back in time if I went. So yeah, I’m helping until Thursday, and then I’m leaving early Friday to get back to Maryland in time for Mother’s Day. Yesterday was a sad day for my school. Our school chaplain, Elder Humphries dropped dead from a heart attack. If you ever met this man, you would instantly feel comfortable; that’s just how he made you feel. His love for Jesus was also an aspect of him that couldn’t be ignored. He was a pastor for many years, and came back to Oakwood to serve as a chaplain. He wasn’t that old, I think around 53, and he left behind a wife and 2 little boys. Please pray for his family. His passing was a great loss to the school, but I know he was a man of God, so I know I will see him again. You know, it truly baffles me why people who think that I’m arrogant still read my posts. If I don’t like someone, I usually try to stay away from them. Maybe my true personality can’t be understood through mere words in a diary, and that is something I can understand. But regardless of what the diarist’s personality is like, why do people leave comments about it. Do they think that comments of random people on the internet will really change someone’s personality. It really is all funny to me, but yeah, like I said before, I won’t be responding to them anymore. As for the substance of my posts, when I first found out about SDN, the first diary I read was that of Brian Hartman. I really liked the way he wrote his diaries. He was detailed about his social life, and he also posted the grades he made on different tests and classes in med school. When I was given the opportunity to be a diarist, I mimicked his style. If that style is arrogant, then I guess that is what it is. But its not changing, so stop wasting your time. Most of my grades have been posted, and I’m not too pleased about some of them. Now before I talk about my grades, realize that I’m a grades whore. I love A’s, and I aspire for them all the time. It’s a part of my personality that I’m trying to work on, but for now, that’s how I am. Here are my grades:
Genetics (3 hours):A
Organic Chemistry (3 hours): A
Organic Chemistry Lab (1 hour): A-
U.S. History (3 hours): A
Volleyball (1 hour): B+
Health Principles (2 hours): A
General Physics (4 hours): A

Overall, I’m pretty happy about my grades for this semester. Genetics was a class that upper classmen had told me to fear. They told me that almost no one gets an A in Dr. Durant’s Genetics class, but this class taught me a serious lesson. Always approach a class with the mindset that you can do well, because if you come into the class with anxiety due to what other people said, you will already have the mindset of failure. I definitely felt a tinge of fear taking her class, because of what the other students said, but when I finally took that class, I realized that it wasn’t so bad after all, and those students must just have not known how to study for her class.

I got an A in Organic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt like that ACS exam had ripped me a new one, but I guess it went alright. The Lord truly came through in this class.

Volleyball, my freaking GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the grade that almost made me go postal. I got the first B on my transcript in VOLLEYBALL????? The reason why I’m pissed is because I truly don’t deserve this grade. First of all, the teacher NEVER gave us a syllabus, so we had no idea how we were being graded. Second, we only had 3 gradeable assignments!!! We had two skills tests, and one take home test the WHOLE SEMESTER!!! I’m pretty sure I did well on those things, but I can’t be sure since he never gave us back anything. Now I truly worked hard in Volleyball. I had never really played before, but I ended up being picked usually for the good team. I tried all semester to find out how I was doing in the class, and he kept telling me that, “I’d find out when the class is over.” I knew this grade had to be wrong, or if it wasn’t, I wanted him to justify how I received that grade. So I went to the PE department, and of course he wasn’t there. I’ve been there everyday this week, and he hasn’t been there. I went to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs, but he told me to see the chair of the PE department first. So I went there, and he was very helpful. He gave me Coach Roddy’s home phone number, and told me how to get to his house. As I was talking to him, the secretary brought in Coach Roddy’s gradebook. The chair, Dr. Shaw, looked at the grade book and shook his head in disbelief. All Roddy had in his gradebook was attendance. Coach Roddy didn’t even have the 3 assignments we did that semester in his gradebook. The chair told me to call him when I get a chance, and if things aren’t resolved, then I could go to Academic Affairs. I usually don’t raise hell, but I was truly wronged. My mom told me try to get it changed, but if I can’t don’t worry about it. She is kind of right, even though I don’t want to admit it. A B+ in a 1 credit class brings my GPA down like .01%, but it’s the principle of the matter. I didn’t earn a B+, I earned an A. Anyway, I’ll keep yall posted on what happens with that.

I deserved the A- in Organic Lab, but I’m not happy about it. The teacher changed the grading scale without telling us. Last semester, an A was a 90, and I got a 90.1%, so I got an A. This semester, an A is a 94%, and I got a 93%, so I got a A-. I just wish she would have told us, so I could have tried to work harder. Meh, whatever.

Health Principles was a breeze. That God for the A thought.

I got an A in Physics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you all read in my previous entries about how I was struggling in that class due to one bad test. During finals week, I was really freaking out about the Physics test. I knew that I had to get a perfect on the final to squeeze out an A, and with the Lord’s help, I got a 102% on the final!!! It was a pretty serious exam, but I studied and prayed like there was no tomorrow, and everything worked out.

So yeah, all in all, it was a pretty good semester. On to stuff that is more interesting, I had a serious battle with diarrhea the other day. You all are going to be doctors, so I can share this with you. It started off early in the morning, and ended an hour or two later. I crapped so much that I thought my heart would be the next thing coming out of my hole. Eventually, I crapped so much that there were no more solids coming out anymore, it was just pure liquid. It truly felt like Niagara Falls was pouring out of me. Lol, I hope I wasn’t too real with you all.

A little while ago, I e-mailed the doctors that I shadowed this past summer to see how they were doing. Here are their replies; the first reply is from Donn. He’s a 5th year surgery resident:

Hey DoctaJay what’s up man! Great to hear from you. Congrats on what sounds like a successful year. Glad the fat whip didn’t corrupt the master plan. It definitely looked pretty tight in the picture. I assume you still have it? And your girl….ha,ha…given the attention that likely came with it.

It’s funny that I was just talking about you and the NAPS organization with a friend of mine the other day. I am on the board of an organization called Vilage Life Outreach that does medical brigades to Tanzania. They are organizing their second annual trip this Oct. and wanted to hire camera people to help document things on video. I told them about the video you showed me and how the power of the message and the mission can transcend the technicalities of amateur photography. To spend the money on a camera crew at this early stage would siphon much needed funds from the principal objective which is to provide service to people in desperate need. Unfourtunately I won’t be able to go with them again this year because of my schedule but I hope to make it next year. In fact I would love to do a NAPS trip too one day.

As for work…I am days away from finishing my last month ever of the trauma team. Johannigman offered me a spot to stay on as the fellow next year which was very cool. Although the thought crossed my mind when he said it, the reality is that I was really more honored than anything else. Truthfully I find trauma to be pretty depressing. I did another ED thoracotomy on Sunday. It was my 4th one total and you know what? Each patient looked exactly the same. -Just like you and I. The amount of inhumanity that goes on every day in our society is really sad. I am planning to do a Laparoscopic surgery fellowship when I get out of here and then likely go in to some variation of private practice. (i.e some teaching but not at a University).

I think Kaplan test prep is a good idea. I took it when I came through. I wasn’t too impressed by the actual classes but the books and testing resources did the trick. It also helps provide additional focus/discipline during the summer months. The goal would be to take the test one time and knock it out. Part of attaining that goal is learning the in’s and out’s of the test itself. Kaplan will give you that. Hopefully you got a scholarship because I remember it being pretty expensive. It’s a worthwhile investment regardless. With your GPA and extracurriculars, a bangin’ MCAT score will put you anywhere you want to be. Just remember that as you keep grindin’ away.

Keep in touch and let me know how things are going. I’m looking forward to big things from you. As you enter into finals just remember grades are just hoops that we are forced to jump through. Knowledge is power. These are the 4 A’s that really matter.

1) Always balance hard work with hard play. 2)Appreciate the good people around you because they will strengthen you. 3)Atttitude (yours)is the only thing in this world that you can always control at all times.4)All things are attainable with God as your plan.

Later
-Donn

Of course we can’t forget my med school mantra : Perserverance and endurance ensure success.

I really admire Donn, so of course I jumped like a giddy school girl when I got his e-mail. A couple of things he said jumped out at me. First that fact that he found Trauma to be pretty depressing kind of saddened me. I want to be a Trauma surgeon because of the experiences I had shadowing him, but I guess it all can’t be great. When I was shadowing, Donn did at least 3 ED thorachotomies, and they were all on black guys, under 25 years old. I can see how it gets sad after while, but I think that I’d actually be happy, but I’m serving a role in helping these guys in at least one aspect of their lives. Another thing that jumped out at me was when he told me that grades are just hoops that we are forced to jump through, but knowledge is power. I guess I honestly hadn’t focused so much on knowledge as I did grades. I mean, I certainly do have knowledge of what I’ve studied thus far, but I would probably fret much less about grades, if I was confident that I knew the material. Anyway, there’s some good advice in his e-mail, that’s why I posted it.

The next e-mail is from brian. He is a 3rd year emergency medicine resident:

what’s up big man??
nice to hear from you and nice to hear all is well on your end. as for myself, i’m currently on vacation so things are obviously going well on my end. work has been extremely busy as expected, but as rewarding as ever. so you got the ol’ MCAT coming up fairly soon huh? for me, this was the most stressful part about the whole medical school process.
i have several tips for you. first, try your absolute hardest to take this thing only once. if you can buck up, study your head off for one big test, you will get in the right mindset on your end that you have to (and will) do well. also, medical schools like the fact you won’t have taken it several times.

second, this is the most important thing i can tell you, is do as many questions/practice tests, etc. as you can!! believe me when i tell you that. you obviously have to study to increase your knowledge base, but as you start to do practice tests and questions you will learn that there is only a certain amount of ways that they can ask you questions. what i did was to study very hard, increasing my knowledge base, and then started doing questions. to continue, speed is important. if you feel rushed, you don’t think as well and will not do as well.

tips to increase your speed- 1) know how to take the test. this will come natural as you do questions and practice tests 2) even when you’re not studying for the MCAT, try to read anything and consciously try to remember the gist of it. example, if you’re just sitting around reading the paper, a magazine, etc. FINISH the article and soak it in. this may sound weird, but the more you read, the quicker you get, that’s all 3) when taking the actual MCAT don’t waste time by doing a question then bubbling in the answers individually. finish an entire question section, then mark all of those down at once. this saves several minutes. 4) when it is getting closer to the test, when you are doing questions, time them and try to mimic the actual test conditions from a time standpoint. this way, you will know if you need to speed up, and once again will become better at test-taking.

to continue, don’t waste anytime studying for the written section. unless things have changed since i took the test, medical schools really don’t care a bit about it. i literally did nothing to prepare for it, and got the second highest score possible.

well, i can’t think of too much more to tell you. keep me posted, and let me know how things are going. good luck to you man. you should do fine.

keep livin’ the dream,

B

Brian gave me a wealth of MCAT advice, so that is why I posted it.

I think I’m addicted to that show on ABC, Grey’s Anatomy . First off, the main character is pretty cute, and its about surgery residents, which is what I want to do. Anyway, this show has eclipsed my other favorite doctor shows like ER, Scrubs, and House. Do you all like it as much as I do?

I think that that is all I have to say today. I’ll keep yall posted if anything else happens.

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