Topaz Sampson (’15)
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
B.S., Environmental Science, Spelman College
Cheering for my favorite team the Brooklyn Nets, traveling, dancing, reading novels by Octavia E. Butler, playing sports, and watching the movie Bridesmaids
I was born in Guyana, the only English-speaking country on the continent of South America.
Rounding the Corner
I love to express myself and create…but for some reason I’ve never blogged before. I’m an avid tweeter. So I’ve already told myself to imagine this is a just an extension of my iPhone with one twist (there’s always a twist!) of not being constrained to 140 characters (freeeeedommmmm)… so let’s begin this journey together…
It’s the second semester of second year (see what I did there?) and I’m ecstatic, thrilled, anxious, scared, and determined all at once. Just today I was telling my classmate that we’re rounding the corner of the track and I can almost see the finish line. I like to look at med school as 2 parts. The first part is the first 2 years where we do our “book learning” and the latter the “clinical learning.” And boy oh boy can I see the finish line to the “book learning.” But before I make it there is DUM DUM DUMMMMMMMMMMM…the dreaded BOARDS aka Step 1! (insert evil sinister laugh). So let’s go back to my track analogy and I imagine Step 1 like this…(bubble appears over my head and everything in the room gets hazy)…I’m in my Boonshoft School of Medicine green and gold track suit (looking sharp as a tack) running full speed…I can taste the sweet victory about being done with part 1 of med school and all of a sudden this hideous man jumps out of the stands and gets in my way. I’m like “Hey man what are you doing?! I’m trying to finish this race.” The more I try to dodge him the more he darts in front of me and blocks me from my goal. Talk about frustration. That was then (for the most part).
To be honest I was terrified about this year in August when we began, but how I’ve been wrong about everything so far. The moment when all of this changed is when I decided not to think about Step 1. I know that sounds impossible but I decided to just not even allow myself to get worked up about this exam. At least not right now. Some people work well under pressure, but that’s not me. At all. I’m more of a cool vibrations, let’s take one day at a time type of girl. And today is about Respiratory Pathology. And that’s it. If I just focus on that today and tomorrow on whatever tomorrow presents then I’ll maintain my sanity (rule #1: At all times maintain your cool). If there’s nothing I’ve learned best in my past 24 years of life is that I do my best work when I stay calm and collected. So until I’m proven otherwise that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Don’t get me wrong…some days as much as I try to stay calm…my mind wanders to the same scenario on the track…me rounding the corner and this obstacle in my way, but now luckily I guess I’ll have this first post to refer to and laugh about how I just shared my the bizarre inner workings of my mind with all of you good people (aka strangers) lol.
Until next time, Enjoy!
Why Do People Like Roller Coaster Rides?
I absolutely hate roller coasters. I just don’t see the point of scaring myself half to death for the sake of fun. But whenever my friends decide to go to an amusement park I’m right there front and center waiting in the long lines. They’re my friends and I love them…sooo I ride the stinkin’ rollercoasters.
To be clear the part I dislike the most is that awful feeling of the next big drop. The cart goes up the track slowly and ever so tortuously. For a split second it stops at the pinnacle over looking the entire amusement park and you (at least I do) think “What was I thinking…whyyyyyy did I sign up for this?!!?” And then I drop. And then I reach the top and again think “What was I thinking…whyyyyyy did I sign up for this?!!!!!!!!” Turn a winding corner with water or some theatrics splashing up in my face. Repeat those steps several times then its over. The absolute worst! But somehow every summer or so I’m in the long lines hurridly eating a funnel cake, getting powder all over my face, and laughing about something silly with my best friends because I love them. (The things you do for love smh).
Today us MS2’s took our Respiratory Exam. Another class successfully completed and I’m on the cruise part of the roller coaster ride. I forgot to mention the cruise part of the roller coaster ride is my favorite part…if I had to choose one. It’s so short that most people don’t even realize it most of the time. It’s in between the ascent and the big drop. Yup…that little cruise period is my part! For most people I think it goes by too quick to ever notice, but for me it slows down and I thoroughly enjoy it.
During 2nd year our class schedule is a lot more frequent than first year. The classes average 2-3 weeks. And then on to the next. The pace is fast and the course packs are thick. The week or so building up to that Monday is exam is like the ride up the rollercoaster. Nothing short of terrifying, but somehow my classmates and I make it over that drop and are on cruise mode (for a short while).
I chuckled to myself on the drive home after the exam because in three short weeks I’ll be back in the line for “that ride” with my colleagues. This time for our Renal exam. So it seems I must love it. Indeed, I am with the rest of the Boondocs (Class of 2015) as we are affectionately known and I am where I worked so hard to be at Boonshoft School of Medicine. Oh the beauty of life…I don’t like roller coasters but I inadvertently signed up for the monster of them all LOL. At the end of the day, I love learning about medicine and that’s what keeps me coming back…oh and also the fact I already took out and spent loans for this year ;)
Until next time, Enjoy!
March 6, 2013
So many great things are happening! Let’s see where to begin…well before I get to the exciting month of March…there was the end of February that brought a smile to my face.
The Boonshoft School of Medicine chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) hosted a cultural competency event on treating the LGBT patient. Our wonderful VP Jasmin put on the event, which was a follow up to the previous cultural competency talk on treating the Muslim patient. I grew up in a city full of diversity…and when I say diversity I don’t just mean the knee-jerk thought of just race but also religion, sexual preference, ability/or disability, cultures, cuisine, accents…basically name something that makes you unique and NYC provided a great opportunity to interact with that population. The world is diverse and certainly the future patients we’ll interact with will represent almost all of these types of people. So it kind of surprises me that medical education has not instituted this education into our learning experience. Speaking to my colleagues at other schools it doesn’t seem like they’re learning about how to treat diverse patients either. I know in our Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) course we have lectures on “Approach to the Patient w/ Headache” or how to treat the Geriatric patient but what about the Muslim patient or the LGBT patient that has different needs or ways in which best to treat their medical needs. It is my hope that in the next decade standard medical education does evolve to include training on these type of patients that are equally as important as all our other patients. So kudos to the Boonshoft SNMA chapter stepping up and providing a forum that addresses diversity in our patient population!
And now onto the awesome month of March! Only 6 days in and its been a world wind of emotions. March 1 begins my Candidacy for the President-Elect of the SNMA. The elections take place annually at the Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC) and the House of Delegates, composed of representatives from each medical school in the country, will vote for this position as well as other national officers. This year AMEC will be hosted by University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, KY from March 27-31. Nerves and excitement, I am sure, will take over as the date approaches but my classmates and friends have been a great support so far. I’d love if you all checked out my candidate composite to see what some of my ideas and goals for the future of SNMA are at this link:
This has somewhat been a yearlong process for me after attending AMEC in Atlanta, GA last year and being inspired by the mission and leaders of this organization. I hope to report some good news later on this month!
At the start of this year, Boonshoft SOM welcomed its first female Dean of the medical school, Dr. Marjorie Bowman. Earlier this month the there was an official welcome of our new dean held in the atrium of the SOM. Many students, like myself, served as tour volunteers to show off our building to our guests that evening. I was really happy I went because sometimes you only get to see a picture or see an email from certain key people who make decisions that affect your medical education, so seeing them in person and getting to interact was important to me. In fact, I have a bit of a funny story of why it is so important we see these people more often so as NOT to do what I did. During the mingling part of the evening, I made sure to insert myself into a cluster of folks and strike up conversations. One gentleman and I hit it off and I asked him his name and he says David Hopkins…the President of Wright State University. I’m sure at that moment my eyes widened a tad… I was embarrassed but he was so gracious and made sure to not allow me to leave feeling that way…so I was thankful. Nonetheless, the welcome for Dr. Bowman was a success and everyone was happy she is now apart of our community. In her address, she stressed the importance of increasing scholarship for students so I was bought over easily lol. Dr. Bowman was also was very personable which made it very easy to talk to her, which I appreciated. I look forward to her enthusiastic approach to continuing strengthening Boonshoft SOM.
Ok, I know this post is a little bit lengthier than others but that’s just how cool March is. So the last exciting thing is that my birthday is tomorrow! Whoop whoop! :::Tootsie rolls across your screen::: Although I have a quiz on my birthday and a final to study for over the weekend I’m still pumped because right after the final begins our Spring Break. Even better, my best friends from home will be coming into town to help me celebrate. I only get to see them once or maybe twice a year if I’m lucky so I’m super happy they will be able to make it. I don’t know exactly what we’re doing because they’re planning some surprise events…so maybe next post I’ll be able to share exactly what I did for my birthday. For now just know I spent it with my bffs…yep those same people that make me go on roller coasters --__--…but they’re still alright lol.
Until next time, Enjoy!
Spring Break/My 25th Birthday Celebration was superb! Two friends from NY and another from ATL flew into Dayton. My boyfriend drove in from Indy and one of my linesisters (she told me she had an AMA conference and so would be busy…fooled me so well smh lol) who attends OSU COM all surprised me and stayed in my house. Literally, my house was full to the max capacity but it ended up being non-stop fun. The first activity was dinner at De’Lish, then afterward we went out to the club (had an absolute ball!). On Saturday they surprised me with Paintballing! It was exhilarating and nerve wrecking at the same time! By the end of the day I was in so much pain and traumatized, so much so, that I couldn’t complete the last game….my nerves were shot… just couldn’t do it any longer. Neither could the rest of the girls…we readily waved our white flags. Then my friends told me they were surprising me with homemade dinner so they needed my boyfriend to keep me out of my house for about 6 hrs….that wasn’t a typo btw… we had to be gone for 6 hrs…I wasn’t allowed back until about 8:30-9:00pm. I had no idea what Jared and I were to do for so long…but this is what we ended up doing 1. Did laundry from the paintball expedition 2. Had Chipotle 3. Saw ‘Oz: The Great & Powerful’ ( I loved it, Jared hated it lol)…finally it was 9 and we headed back to my house. I ran into my neighbor on the way in and he says, “Hey Topaz, sure have a lot of folks in there”…I’m like huh??? Anyway walk in and SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!! Classmates, linesister, friends…my house decorated with streamers, balloons, signs, homemade food, champagne…all of a sudden I’m toasting…I even had a moment and broke out a tear…I was absolutely overwhelmed with how much work my bff’s put into making my birthday special! That weekend was one for the books!
Spring break ends. Endocrinology class begins. Study. Study. Study.
Then about a 2 weeks later I head to the Student National Medical Association’s (SNMA) Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC) in Louisville, KY, hosted by the University of Louisville SOM. I didn’t know what to expect out of Louisville or this conference as a candidate. First thing Thursday morning, I made my first presentation and addressed questions from the BOD, then later that evening my boyfriend (my helper for the weekend hehe) and I went to each Regional meeting room to present and answer questions. It was truly a test of endurance as we went to all 10 regional meeting rooms located on 2 floors of the Galt House Hotel. Whew! I was exhausted. Here come Friday morning presenting to the House of Delegates, which consists of representatives from each medical school. It was at this time the entire election changed for me as I now had an opponent. Someone was nominated and ran from the floor. The day before I had a few areas I wanted to improve on so I asked God to help me to be able to speak to the HOD with eloquent skill and with purposeful execution. I also prayed to remain calm and to enjoy the moment. Success! I felt I nailed that HOD session and was satisfied with my improved performance. I was also assured that the membership and the HOD of the SNMA would make the right decision and vote for a President-Elect that they believed was best for the job. With that in mind I looked forward to attending sessions and enjoying the rest of AMEC2013. The next evening, on Saturday night at the very end of the Board of Directors Banquet the election decisions were announced….::::drum roll please::::…… and I won! I am officially the 2013-2014 President-Elect of the SNMA and will serve as the 2014-2015 National President. All my hard work paid off and I made sure to enjoy my victorious evening as bright and early the next morning I was attending my first BOD meeting as a bonafide board member.
I would be remiss if I didn’t make you all aware of the tremendous support I received from my school when I informed them of my intent of running for President-Elect. The Dean of Student Affairs gave me his support and instructed me how to move forward with clerkships if I were to be elected. The Office of Advancement at WSU even made 300 flyers detailing my platform for me. Knowing I had the support of my medical school was really a major factor in determining if I would run… so A BIG THANK YOU TO WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY BOONSHOFT SCHOOL OF MEDICINE!
Returned back to Dayton…took the Endocrine final and 2 missed quizzes. PASS! For the record the 2 days of studying on my own without my study buddies was NOT FUN. But with the help of the man upstairs I successfully completed the Endocrine course.
Also when I returned to Dayton I feverishly completed my poster for the WSU Research Symposium, with the help of my research advisor and M3 colleague that brought me on to the project. This was my first opportunity presenting research and I was very excited to begin gaining experience presenting scholarly work. I really do look forward to presenting at next year’s symposium and continuing my research.
This was a long post…I know. That just goes to show how crazily amazing and busy the rest of March was. I’m nothing but smiles and so pumped to complete the last 2 courses of my M2 year and then…dum dum dummmm….Step 1 of the Boards!
Until next time, Enjoy!