Life after college

Summer Vacation Over

Hi Everyone! It’s certainly been a while since I’ve written; you could say I took a Summer hiatus. But no more! I realize it’s time to get my head back in the game and stay focused on this journey of mine. So much has happened since my last post in May. Realizing this was my last “real” summer – after all MS1 summer is spent on research and every other summer after that is nonexistent – I was determined to make the most of it.

enjoying PR

In June I traveled to Puerto Rico. Absolutely amazing time! It was a gift to myself on gaining a med school acceptance as well as a celebration for my significant other who took (and passed!) his USMLE Step 1 board exam for med school.

SPARTAN BLOG

Look it’s the photographer!

July rolled around and like the previous 2 years, I competed in another Spartan Race. This was my 3rd Spartan Race and my 2nd time at this course – still however, it felt more physically and mentally challenging than any race I had ever done. Finishing was certainly an accomplishment! It took me 2 hours and 36 minutes of pain, sweat, moments of discouragement, fun, and finally VICTORY. At this point, I’m ready to call this a tradition. Looking forward to my 4th Spartan Race, hopefully next year!

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All dressed up for the wedding

Also in July, was a friend’s wedding and my 3rd wedding of the summer – side note: there has been more weddings and engagements this year than I’ve ever seen, I’m convinced there’s something in the water LOL. The wedding was in Florida, so it was cool to check out the state for the first time (although it rained most of the time we were there).

Finally, the month ended with a bang when I made that 8 hour drive/ move to good ole Ohio.

I enjoyed my summer, definitely made the most of it, now it’s time to get back in the grind. It’s funny, crazy, slightly frustrating, but no matter what season you’re in, where you are in your journey, there’s always going to be some obstacles.

Yea.

I already had a curveball tossed my way since I’ve moved, but God is crazy faithful and so clutch for always having my back 😀

I’m very excited to share about the awesomeness that is OSU (Go Buckeyes!), my program and more. The journey continues!

BRUTUS

Source

The Beginning of the End

The countdown till I move to Ohio is ON.

In the midst of looking for an apartment, a possible car to buy (because Philadelphia and Columbus are NOT the same when it comes to public transportation), I’ve also being making it a point to spend time with family and friends. Each weekend has brought on new adventures and memories.

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Enjoying the sun this past weekend

For the first time since graduating from college 2 years ago, I’m not taking any classes while working full-time, not studying for any exam after working 8-9 hrs (death to MCAT!), not writing essays for med school apps during my weekends, not working a second job (coaching high school track/ cross country), I am completely FREE. Well, free meaning I’m just working my full-time 9-5pm. Nothing extra. It’s a great feeling and I am absolutely LIVING IT UP.

I traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa last month (April) for my cousin's wedding

I traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa last month (April) for my cousin’s wedding

I’m looking forward to a summer full of fun, travels, memories, and weddings.

Oh. So. Many. Weddings.

Last month: Johannesburg, South Africa

In Johannesburg, South Africa last month (April). I was a bridesmaid!

It’s the beginning of the end. The end of one chapter and the start of an equally exciting one. One full of its own challenges, curve balls, excitements and victories. Soon I’ll be on that med school grind and this summer will just be a memory.

The BEST doggone memories.

Conquer Your Obstacles: BE A SPARTAN!

I love obstacle races. There’s something about being able to push my limits, to really test my strength, to challenge my physical and mental endurance, that just gets me GOING. It’s no wonder “GRIT” is a characteristic and concept I value (see previous blog post here). I’ve competed in the Spartan Race for the past two years, this July will be my third year and I am freaking excited! The Spartan Race is a series of obstacles races, ranging from a 3+ mile obstacle race (Spartan Sprint) to a marathon length obstacle race (the Ultra beast). There are usually 15+ obstacles in each race – a fire jump, barbed wire crawl, wall climb, tire flip, rope climb, and the list goes on. It’s AMAZING. I honestly leave each race feeling like I can take on anything life throws at me. That’s what it feels like to be a SPARTAN.

I challenge you all to try this race. Give it a shot and test your physical and mental endurance in a way never done before. I’ll be doing a giveaway for a FREE TICKET to any Spartan Race. A few upcoming ones are the ones in Charlotte, in New Jersey, and the Tri-State race. To participate in this giveaway, all you have to do is:

  1. Like my Fitness Facebook page: Fit and Fine with Dee
  2. Follower my Fitness Instagram: @fitandfine_withdee
  3. Comment on either my Facebook page or Instagram on what it personally means to you to “challenge yourself.”

It begins today and will end on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST. I’ll do a random drawing and will announce the winner on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 1:00PM EST

I also have a DISCOUNT CODE for any race as well. Simply use:

SPARTANBLOGGER

To get 10% off ANY race.

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As you can see in this picture, despite a challenging race, I felt so ACCOMPLISHED, I couldn’t stop smiling. Looking forward to conquering another race in July! And if you’re still not convinced, check out these two videos below:

VIDEO 2:

AROOOOO!!!

IT IS FINISHED – The Easter Experience

Category: Spiritual Life – My Musings

Today is Good Friday. As a Christian this is something that’s important to me – acknowledging the day Christ was crucified. It’s also a season of celebration, because a few days later (Sunday), we celebrate Easter – His resurrection! For anyone in the Philadelphia area, I’m part of the drama ministry at my church and we’re putting on a play tomorrow, Saturday, April 4th called, “It is Finished.” The choir will also be singing and there will also be a ministration by a praise dance team. It’s going to be a GREAT time. Check out the flyer below!

IT IS FINISHED

  • Date: Saturday, April 4, 2015
  • Location: RCCG LSMC, 5807 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139
  • Time: 6:00 P.M.

Who Moved My Cheese?! – Reminiscing on Unexpected Changes

A few weeks ago, I was reflecting on my med school journey (as I often do), but this time getting frustrated. Why was my journey so different than I imagined it would be 6 years ago? In a matter of seconds, two words came to mind – curve balls. Yes, Derin, life is always going to throw some curve balls your way and you’ve got to roll with the punches. Hence why I created this blog in the first place.

Who Moved My Cheese Quotes (4)

Image Source

I’ve certainly had my share of unexpected changes in the past, and reflecting on them, I’m amazed at how God works – those changes have always been for the BEST. Let me share a few examples with you:

Case 1:

Moving in the middle of my sophomore year of High school. I moved to another state in the middle of my 2nd semester. Besides the challenge of making new friends, the curriculum was different (semester classes vs my previous year-round classes), which was disruptive to my education. This change however turned out to be one of the GREATEST blessings. Prior to moving, I googled my new school and found a short article on a former student who was a recipient of the Questbridge National College Match Scholarship. I was amazed and promptly bookmarked it for future reference. A year and a half later, I applied to that same scholarship and not only became a finalist but a recipient! This was huge for me. As a rising high school senior, paying for college was something I was highly concerned about. I immigrated to the U.S. with my family just 7 years earlier, had no college savings/ any saving really, and was strongly considering the Army Reserve to finance my education (my parents and I even met with a recruiter!). The move and unexpected change, turned out to be a wonderful blessing.

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Throwback to my acceptance: Source here

Case 2:

Fast forward to my college graduation. I was super excited as one can imagine, but also looking forward to a paid summer internship in Ghana. I would be working with high school kids at an innovation academy. Having tried for the past 2 years to attain an internship in Ghana, I was thrilled my dream was finally coming true. Even better, my flight was being paid for! Since I had this post-college plan, I stopped looking for jobs and decided to post-pone the search till my return to the U.S. Well, 2 weeks before I was set to leave the country, the internship was cancelled due to funding. My heart sunk. WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?! It was certainly an unexpected change and before I could let the disappointment fully sink in, I began applying for full-time jobs – literally less than 12 hours after receiving the news. Reality sunk in, I was a college graduate with no immediate plans. I was in panic mode. One of the jobs I applied to during that frenzy is the job I currently have. Funny enough, the position had been recently posted. When I saw the description, I was like what? Could it be? Research “capturing contextual and socio-cultural factors that contribute to health disparities” within a clinical setting and at one of the country’s top health systems. Whoa! This is exactly why I majored in Sociology of Health and Medicine! Well, I got the job and the rest as you all know is history. I love what I do!

All this to say, unexpected changes can TRULY be a good thing. Thinking about my med school journey, I’ve certainly had my share of unexpected changes. Sometimes it can be difficult to deal with, but one just has to keep chugging along. Just roll on out with the punches. As I wrote in an interview, a re-direction can be a good thing! See interview here.

For anyone that has difficulty dealing with change, do check out this book: “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. I first read it when I was 14 years old and loved it. As someone who has dealt with quite a bit of change, I highly recommend it!

WHO MOVED

How do you deal with change? Drop a comment below!

Get Fit and Fine with Dee!

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my fitness endeavors but I’ve certainly been busy! This past weekend, I had the opportunity of speaking at an event, the “Be Empowered: Live Workshop and Network Event” hosted by On-Point Eventz. I spoke on embracing your passion and getting paid for it, and used my fitness experience as a case study. I’m still budding and growing but last year brought an exponential growth for me in this area. I started my Instagram page, created  my Afrobeat workout video (now at 8500+ views!), joined a small start-up: Sweat University, a faith based health organization, led boot camps, led Afrobeat workouts at a local gym, led a preceptorial at my Alma mater’s New Student Orientation on staying fit and avoiding the freshman 15, and coached high school cross country for the first time. All this to say, I’m definitely BIG on health and fitness and welcome any opportunity to further this passion of mine.

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Hey it’s me!

The event on Saturday was a great turnout! I was one of two speakers and was able to connect with local entrepreneurs in the area. I learned a lot and enjoyed it all – a Saturday well spent!

be empowered

The wonderful attendees. A huge thank you to On-Point Eventz for having me!

Part of this growing process is expanding my reach. I finally launched my Facebook page, “Fit and Fine with Dee” and I encourage you to like the page! I post workout videos, fitness tips, health tips, and nutritional information on there. I’m all about promoting a healthier, physically active community. So like the page, follow me on Instagram, and join me in living a healthier lifestyle!

Facebook.com/fitandfinewithdee

fitandfinewithdee

“I’ll Get Healthy If You Pay Me”

My eyes glistened with excitement when I read last line:

“If you complete both the biometric screening and the online Health Assessment by the campaign deadlines, you’ll receive a $100 cash incentive award.”

Yes, bolded just like that. As if the writer imagined I might miss those magic words – incentive award. It almost seemed too good to be true. According to my employer, all I needed was 20 minutes to get my blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels tested and BOOM! I’ld get paid for it. As you can imagine, I was all over this like white on rice. I scheduled the screening and began daydreaming of the true happiness that $100 might bring. Perhaps, I’ld go shopping or better yet, buy groceries. Regardless of how I decided to use the money, I knew it would be valuable. The day finally arrived. I went during my lunch break to get my biometric screening. There was a short wait, but I was seen very quickly and it was all over. A few months later, I completed the required online assessment and became $100 richer. This was April 2014.

Man chasing money on treadmill

Image via source

Two months ago, I received the same email, and as you can imagine, I was like, Yes, bring on the money! Today, I was reminded of this experience because of a few things:

1. A class I started today at the Wharton School. I decided to entertain my curiosity and sign up for a health care management course called “Clinical Issues in Health Care Management- Doctors, Patients, and Managers in Modern Society.” To be honest, I am VERY excited about the course. One of the articles we had to read for today was: “Incentivize Your Way to Good Health in 2011.” My heart did a flip!

2.  An online-first piece was published last week in JAMA: “Wearable Devices as Facilitators, Not Drivers, of Health Behavior Change.” I received a new release about the paper this morning and was reminded of the saga with my bootleg pedometer aka my iPhone.

3. An article published yesterday on KevinMD: “What a medical student learned from using a fitness band.” I read this and couldn’t help shaking my head, preach on sir!


From my perspective, it seems a no brainer. Sure, I’ll get healthy if you pay me! It might be an inconvenience as my professor pointed out, but I believe the money is worth the inconvenience in time and effort. For me, it was a $100! That was the main focus. I’ll say it again, that was the main focus. 

And therein lies the problem.

It would be nice to know what my cholesterol levels were but to be frank, I didn’t care about my health numbers. I knew I was moderately healthy and even if some numbers ended up being at risk, it couldn’t be THAT bad. I simply cared about the money.

Early last year, I received another email. If I enrolled in a study with a few other individuals and formed a team, we would get paid to (1) enroll in the study, (2) stay in the study for a certain period of time, and (3) if we reached a certain number of steps a day, individually and as a team, we could win more money via lottery. And yet again, I was like FREE MONEYYYY! I rounded up my coworkers and we enrolled in the study. I thought it would be easy, but boy was I wrong. Using a device – an iPhone or android phone, meant each of us had to have one or the other. It also meant we had to REMEMBER to have it on our body each and every moment to accurately count our steps. Lastly, it meant the app had to be on at AT ALL times. This was a problem. We’re talking battery drain. Major battery drain.

My team and I didn’t last long. Once we got our money, we checked out.

Therein lines a key problem with behavioral economics. Staying motivated. I like the idea of it. Although, I completely understand the opposing views. Ordinarily an individual should care about their health without the promise of financial incentives, but alas, as we can see from our country’s state of health, a significant part of the population do not. When I counted my steps, I was motivated. At one point, I even forgot about the money. I just wanted to meet my goal each day – 7,000 steps. This was however short-lived; the combination of battery drain, making sure my team stayed motivated, and having to carry my phone everywhere I went, slowly decreased my interest. Once I received the money for staying in the program for a period of time, I checked out. Changing health behaviors is hard. I’ll admit, I’m speaking as a healthy, and physically active individual, but from my interactions with others, it IS hard.

Incentives can be a great catalyst towards that healthy change. However, from my experience, it cannot sustain a behavioral change. What can keep that momentum going are “nudges.” Constant reminders and feedback that “hey, you’re on target to reach your goal.” It helps if you’re on a “team” or have a few other friends with similar health goals and it definitely helps if your wearable device isn’t bulky and doesn’t need a lot of battery life.

So yes, I’ll get healthy if you pay me, but I’ll stay healthy if I have the right tools.

The Dilemma: Dr. Maiden Name or Dr. Husband’s Name

The Harvard Medical Student Review published an article in their January 2015 issue, “Dr. Maiden Name Will Now See You Now” which highlights the decision female doctors make once married – to adopt their husband’s name or to keep their maiden name. The article includes the results of a survey taken by women in the second-year class at Harvard Medical School as well as commentary from two nationally renowned doctors, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel and Dr. Ardis Hoven.

hms graph

Source: Seventy-four women in the HMS Class of 2017 responded to surveys. The majority of the women wanted to keep their maiden names after marriage.

My friends – students and professionals in the health field, discussed this article at length, including the pros and cons of each decision. In the article, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, the President of Brigham and Women’s Health Care, discussed her reasons for taking her husband’s name despite an already established professional career. Some of these included: the difficulty in pronouncing her maiden name and the desire to embrace her husband’s background and culture. In contrast, Dr. Ardis Hoven, the previous president of the American Medical Association, explained that keeping her maiden name was a choice she made based on her proud heritage, her established professional career, and more.

My female friends and I have different views on this. Some proudly confessed they would be keeping their maiden name, while another brought up the possibility of keeping their maiden name as their middle name and taking on the husband’s last name.

My personal choice? Hyphenating.

I’ve thought about this long and hard in the past and my conclusion has remained to hyphenate it: Dr. Maiden Name – X. One major reason is the cultural roots for me. The prefix in my last name has a big significance in my family; it means a lot to me as a Yoruba girl hailing from Osun state in southwest Nigeria and I wouldn’t want to lose it. If I married another individual with the same prefix, I most likely wouldn’t hyphen it. At the same time, I personally choose not to keep just my maiden name because I view marriage is a union, a unity of two different families, two different backgrounds, traditions, and more. I would like my last name to reflect that. To me hyphenating doesn’t mean letting go of my identity. It’s the happy medium. 

I went searching through the internet for why the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, chose to hyphenate hers. As mentioned in a previous post, she is someone that I truly admire. I found two articles where she addresses this:

Doctors and Money: A Doctor’s Dual Missionby Carol Ann Campbell published December 18, 2008

Lavizzo-Mourey knows her double-barreled name is a mouthful — and was a lot for her son and daughter, now adults, to learn to spell in kindergarten.

“Seventeen characters, almost the entire alphabet,” she sighs. But it was important for her children to carry her family name as well as the name of her husband. She says she and Robert wanted to stress the strengths and histories of both sides of the family.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation chief combines drive, dedication and a warm heartby Peggy McGlone published Jan. 06, 2013

When [Risa and Robert Mourey] married in 1975, they changed their names to Lavizzo-Mourey, a statement that their union was a true partnership. “We were both committed to having a dual career relationship and family,” she says.


I also went searching for a related post on this issue on Reflections of a Grady Doctor, a blog authored by Dr. Kimberly D. Manning, whom I also admire. I found such a post. Here is an excerpt:

Say My Name by Dr. Kimberly D. Manning published July 9, 2012

When I first returned to Grady after my wedding and honeymoon back in 2004, quite a few people were surprised when I announced that I had a new last name. ‘Dr. Manning,’ I said without flinching. Not hyphenated. Not optional. This was my new name. And let me be clear: I think taking your husband’s name is a highly personal choice. I do not knock those who don’t one single bit. Especially because the vast majority of these individuals are grown women who should be able to do whatever the heck they want to do with their last names.

But me? I chose to become Kimberly Manning…So I’ll never forget it. I walked into Grady that Monday and one of the first people I saw was one of my favorite senior faculty members, Dr. Michael L. He scowled at me and said, “What’s this I hear about you changing your name? You’ve been here for three years! My brain is too old for new names.”

“You’ll adjust.”…And you know what? Despite his attempts otherwise, eventually he did. He adjusted. As did everyone else around me.

For whatever reason, it was important to me for those around me to respect my decision to take a new name enough to use it. Just as it’s equally important to respect those who choose to keep their maiden names and NOT assign them the name of “Mrs. So-and-So.” I was firm on that. So that meant that I quickly corrected accidental hyphenations and even those who persistently got it wrong. Never did I give in and simply say, “No big deal, Draper is fine.” And for that reason and that reason alone, I feel sure that everyone began to see me as Kimberly Manning.


So my conclusion is that it all comes down to personal preference. I’m all about hyphenating, other prefers to keep their maiden name, and a few others change it. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with either choice and choosing one or the other does not make you “less than” or mean that you’ve tossed your identity to the side or consider your career greater than your family. No, it doesn’t. But these are just my thoughts. What are yours?

Do share. Ciao!

**Image via “Dr. Maiden Name Will See You Now” published January 2015**

Reflecting on 2014: A Year of Greater

It’s that time of the year when I sit and reflect on the year – the highlights, the lessons learned, the challenges, and the celebratory moments. To do this, I use my journal and scan through the many months of writing, laughing, “oOoo’ing” and “Awww’ing” all through the exercise. It is in this moment I realize how much I accomplished this year, the lessons learned along the way, and how much of an impact certain events had on my life. In the beginning of 2014, I sought to embody my church’s theme for the year: “2014: Year of Greater.” Below is an excerpt from my January 2nd, 2014 journal entry:

Words can’t begin to describe how excited I am for this year. Like forreal. This is my year of greater favor, greater blessings, greater miracles. I mean God is seriously about to work in my life.

And God did work. In a mighty way

Here are a just few highlights from the year:

January
I launched my fitness instagram: @fitandfine_withdee which promotes fitness, health, and nutrition.

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February
I created my Afrobeat cardio video which now has 6000+ views on YouTube. Never would have thought!

March
I felt extremely overwhelmed and exhausted working full-time and taking classes in the evening. Taking Immunobiology may not have been the smartest idea.

I also joined my church choir 😀

April
I felt exhausted for most of the month. A lot of late nights, not much sleep. I was working 40 hour weeks and taking two classes in the evenings (I also took Biochemistry during my gap year by the way). My plan was to take advantage of the tuition benefit at my job – taking up to 2 classes for free. Lesson learned for those thinking of working full-time and taking classes to boost your med school application: I should have stuck with one.

May
Traveled to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. Awesome time!

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June
Started blogging again! Turned in my med school application (AMCAS) early – oh yeaaa!!

Led a month long boot camp as an instructor for SweatU

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Also published my first med student spotlight. It was on Naya, a second year med student. The post received a lot of positive feedback and has become the second highest viewed post on my blog at 548 views (as of today).

My cousin visited me from South Africa – awesome time!

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July
Wrote a lot of secondaries for med schools

Got my braces installed – I am now team metal mouth 😛

Competed in my second Spartan Obstacle race

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August
Took my MCAT again – no more!

Taught my first college seminar (preceptorial): “Say NO to the Freshman 15!

September
Invited to be a campaign manager for Memunatu Magazine’s Indiegogo campaign

Accepted high school cross country coaching position!

Got my first med school interview invite!!!

Presented at a conference on research I’ve been working on at my job (I was a co-presenter)

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October
My birthday! Had a blast ALL week

Med school interview!

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November
Got into a relationship with the most awesome guy 🙂

I attended the RWJF Scholars Forum and SMDEP Alumni Summit – great time!

My first radio appearance!

December
I published my post: “#WhiteCoats4BlackLives: Acknowledging The Political Determinants of Health” which became the most viewed post on my site. In just less than a month, it has 1,122 views!

My post on the national white coat die-in gets published on “The health Care Blog.” This was a major accomplishment for me!! You can check it out here.

I get a promotion at my job!


All this to say, this year has certainly been a year of greater. I challenged myself more than I had done in the past and definitely pushed through several obstacles. I am thankful for an AMAZING year and very thankful to you, my readers, for reading each post, sharing them, and accompanying me on this journey. I am extremely excited for what 2015 has in store.

Cheers and Happy New Year Folks!