2016: THE YEAR OF JAMES NORTON

With 2016 nearly over, I now take it upon myself to share the highlights from this crazy year. In 2016, the impossible became possible for better or worse. I don’t remember if it was the year of the cat or dragon, but it certainly has been the year of James Norton.

I FINISHED MY SECOND YEAR OF MEDICAL SCHOOL. This now seems much less exciting as this was months ago, but it’s amazing to think how much I knew of brainstem anatomy about a year ago. I was stressing about tests and examinations, and I can really tell you, med school is no joke. Happy to be done with the first half, and waiting patiently in the suspended animation that is a research year for the journey to continue.

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I SPOKE AT FOOD FOR THE SOUL ON RACIAL AWARENESS & IDENTITY IN AMERICA. You can read more about it in my older posts, The Stuff in the Basement and The Day I Became Black. 

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Photo Credit: Randy Blackford

2016 WAS THE YEAR OF JAMES NORTON. From War & Peace to Happy Valley to Grantchester, 2016 was the year of James Norton for me and many others. Also it inspired me to read Tolstoy for the first time. I suppose I do have time now at days… This actor is one to watch! How can one person play a dashing Russian prince, a sadistic ex-con, and vicar all so convincingly? Well done, sir! Oh and I highly recommend Poldark with Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson. It has definitely taken over my life and a lot of my emotional energy. Please join me in both obsessing and commiserating. As you can see, I LOVE period dramas.

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I GOT THE HHMI MED FELLOWS AWARD! I have since been on a very excellent adventure in Boston. I talked more about my road to this opportunity in an older post.  Check it out if you are considering a research year.

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I WENT TO THE COLOSSEUM AND RUSSELL CROWE WASN’T THERE. All jokes aside, traveling to Italy was amazing. I share more photos from my April adventure here. The trip was too short, and that is just fine. It just means I have to return once again.

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Colosseum!!

THE DIVERSITY FOCUS GROUP WAS BEST GRADUATE SCHOOL ORGANIZATION. I was so proud of the group I co-led last year for all of our efforts.

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“The group selected has provided and exemplified an inclusive, involved, impactful organization that has committed to the difficult work of pushing institutions and peers to hold themselves to a higher standard. In 2014, this group created the White Coat Die-In, an event to demonstrate solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and speaking out against structural racism and bias in medicine. They brought the program back in 2015 to again, stand together and call for increased access to medical care for all people, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, economic status, or sexual orientation. They have also sponsored potluck events and lunches to encourage students from all backgrounds to come together and talk about how to make Case Western School of Medicine a more welcoming place and finally they have implemented several reforms to the first-year medical student curriculum. It is my pleasure to award the The Diversity Focus Group from the School of Medicine as the 2016 Outstanding Graduate Student Organization.”

I WENT INTO AN UNDERGROUND BUNKER TO STUDY FOR STEP 1. It was pretty miserable except for study buddies and Game of Thrones. This was a dark time. Not much more to be said on this front.

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I MOVED TO BOSTON. STOOD IN THE OCEAN AND MADE A LOT OF NEW FRIENDS. This is ongoing. 

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HOME. 

I ROLL AROUND MEETING HEMATOLOGY CELEBRITIES. Everyday in Boston I am constantly challenged not to fan-girl.

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THE OLYMPICS WERE THE BRIGHTEST SPOT OF THIS VERY DARK YEAR. My inner 7 year old and external 24 year old were filled with pride after watching all the black excellence at the Olympics. Note to self: Simone is a great name for a girl…

I HELPED COORDINATE AN HHMI KICK-OFF MEETING. Perhaps a bit more stressful than fun, but undoubtedly very rewarding to be a part of such an amazing community.

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I LIVE IN THE SAME STATE AS HANA ERKOU AND TOLANI CAME TO VISIT ME. Let it be known that my blood relatives still haven’t visited me in Boston…

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Few things are as wonderful as reuniting with dear friends. 
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Lovely ladies in the North End. 

SICKLE CELL DISEASE WAS A KEY FEATURE OF ASH, AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. This meeting was dope. Can I just be a hematologist already?

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I PLAYED SANTA WITH MY COMMUNITY. My housemates and neighbors pooled our resources to get gifts for a low income family in Boston that struggles to meet their basic needs. Sometimes I really get fed-up with the angst of buying presents for people who don’t really need them and white elephants and gift exchanges. It really was awesome to instead get things for people who really need them/cannot afford to get much. Hopefully this can be come a tradition for my community as well as yours. Learn more here about Action for Boston Community Development. 

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Delivering presents has never been so much fun. 

2016 has been a year of broken hearts and dreams and also mended and new ones. Go Cavs!! Ugh, go Cubs (I know I was like the only person cheering for the Indians). THE SIMONES. The election…ALL THE PEOPLE WHO DIED. #RIPCarrieFisher

How I feel when people say, “Ghetto” inappropriately.

In this year, the Year of 2016, the most important lesson I have re-realized is that I cannot control the choices others make. The more I do this, the more miserable I am inclined to feel. I am responsible for what I choose, how I live, and what I can do with myself while I am adventuring on planet earth. This world can be so nasty, but instead of complaining with no action, I can do something about it. Sure, let’s lament over the things that stink. That is healthy. But, let’s be brave enough to choose what is right for ourselves instead of waiting for others to do it for us.

The world collectively mourns the trials of 2016…from Haiti earthquakes (can that island catch a break, Lord?) to the election…to the continued unrest in Syria. But, what makes us think 2017 will be even better? I cannot know this.

But what I know is that I can make choices for myself to better the world I live in.

Has your heart been broken in 2016? It will mend with time.

Have your dreams been yet to been realized? Keep pushing on. 2017 may be the year. And who knows, maybe there will be better dreams.

 

 

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