I’m All The Way Up!

Hello beautiful people! It’s definitely been a WHILE. I’ll admit I haven’t been the most consistent but so much has happened these past two months – I finished my 2nd semester of MEDPATH, retook the MCAT (as required for the conditional acceptance), went on a 8 day bus hopping trip, and started the summer portion of my program (Anatomy + Immuno). Yep, a lot has certainly happened and to be honest, I’m feeling like,

Nothing can stop me, I’m all the way up!

I’m sure the amazing weather and overall summer vibes has something to do with it. And of course, the fact that there’s just one month, three weeks, and 6 days till my white coat ceremony (Yes, I have a countdown app for this, who gon check me boo!). This song has been my anthem for the past few weeks – can you blame me though? The beat y’all, it’s the beat! What songs are you vibin’ to lately?

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.


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!


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

The Right Medical Specialty For Me Is…

I know it’s most likely too early for me to be thinking about this BUT my future specialty has been on my mind for some time now. It all started with the Myers-Briggs personality test. I’m an ENFJ and I’ve known this for some time. Other famous ENFJs are Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg (author of “Lean in”), Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and Abraham Lincoln. I’ll admit, it’s nice knowing I’m in such great company.


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ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community…They find it natural and easy to communicate with others, especially in person, and their Intuitive (N) trait helps people with the ENFJ personality type to reach every mind, be it through facts and logic or raw emotion. Source

I recently got the bright idea to look up what medical specialties ENFJs go into and discovered we’re often found in:

This was found on the UT School of Medicine in San Antonio’s website, but other sites had similar results. That’s all good and well, except for one thing: my heart is set on Obstetrics and Gynecology (Well, it has been for past 3 years). Heck, even the few career mentors I have are mostly Ob/Gyns at different points in their career. Based on this mismatch in my Myers-Briggs suggested specialty and my current specialty choice, I set about doing my own research. What do my friends in med school think? Without bringing up the results of my Myers-Briggs test, I asked what specialty they could see me in. The results:

  • Internal Medicine (Majority)
  • Family Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry

One friend mentioned they couldn’t see me as an Ob/Gyn based on their encounters with other Ob/Gyns (stark differences in personalities) and another, my “special friend” R. was completely surprised when I said Ob/Gyn, because my interests, according to him, seemed a better fit for Internal Med or Family Med.

Perhaps I’ve had it all wrong. Perhaps Ob/Gyn isn’t the right “fit” for me. I suppose I won’t truly know till my clinical rotations. Another factor to consider is lifestyle – will Ob/Gyn really support the work-life balance I want to have? Just some things I have to consider when the time approaches. I will say that the ENFJ career fit did have something I totally agree with:

The desire to go into academic medicine/ teacher personality

Yessir, spot on.


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Perelman School of Medicine 2015 Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program for URM Students

Hey Y’all! I received an email about this program and I figured I’ld share with my younger readers. You don’t have to be a Penn undergraduate, so if you meet the eligibility criteria, I encourage you to apply! I personally did not do the program, but it definitely seems like a GREAT opportunity. Check out the details below.

Also, if you would like me to post other opportunities like this, do let me know!

The Center of Excellence for Diversity in Health Education and Research of the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine is now accepting applications for the 2015 Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program for Under-represented Minority Students (for undergraduate students).   

The application with all required documents must be received by 5:00 P.M., January 31, 2015.  In addition to the completed application, applicants must also submit two recommendations from faculty members or administrators at their undergraduate institution, on official letterhead.  Letters should comment on the student’s academic performance and potential to apply and be accepted to medical school.


Click to view brochure

 If the student is selected, they will participate in an intensive 10-week training program (end of May to July 2015),  which will include bio-medical research, clinical experiences, classroom instruction, Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) preparation conducted by the Kaplan Educational Centers, and other activities designed to assist students in gaining entry into medical school.  Students are paid a stipend of $3,500  (minus tax) and are provided housing and two meals per day (Monday thru Friday) for the ten-week period at no cost to the student.  This is a great opportunity for students who are serious about becoming a physician.


Click to view brochure

This program is made possible through funds provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Workforce.