Archive for March, 2014

5 Reflections from a First Year Medical StudentAs I am winding down my first year in medical school I finally have a little time to sit back and reflect at what this roller coaster of a ride has taught me. Medical school to this point has been one of the most trying and rewarding times of my life in a way that I have never experienced. My life has been consumed with living inside the confines of the classroom and library. It is extremely easy to get caught up in the everyday monotony of lecture PowerPoints and memorization that you forget some of the most important things in life. Here is what medical school has taught me as of yet:

Make time for your family and friends

Once I began medical school keeping in contact with family and friends was very difficult. I was so preoccupied with school and studying that I felt out of the loop with everyone that was important in my life.  It is very easy to get caught up in everything that is going on and neglect to stay in contact with the very people that love you the most. Make an effort to keep in contact with your family and friends. Though they might not know exactly what you are going through they care for you and want to know what is going on in your life.

Recharge yourself

What do you do with your iPhone when the battery is low? You recharge it. The same thing goes for you.  You have to allow yourself to recharge.  One of the best ways to recharge is to get sleep. A lot of people will sacrifice sleep to get more things done, but over time the lack of sleep will be more detrimental than helpful. Another way to recharge is to spend some time completely unplugged. I try to spend 15 minutes each morning before I start my day and 15 minutes to finish up my day away from my computer and lecture slides to read and pray. This time spent quiet and away from everything puts the day in perspective and keeps you focused on the bigger picture.

Make time for exercise

One of the biggest things that has gotten me through this first year with some type of sanity is the fact that I put a huge basis on exercise. I try to participate in some type of athletics and go to the gym a few times a week. I have made it a habit to go everyday before I have a test. Exercise is great for combating stress and helping to take your mind off those stresses. Not only will it help relieve stress, but it will leave you feeling refreshed and give you much more energy.

Take it one day at a time

How do you get from the base of the mountain to the peak? One step at a time. If you look at what you have coming up in the days ahead it will only stress you out. It is very easy to get bogged down when concentrating on everything you have to do in the days ahead of you. If you concentrate only on what you have to do today it will seem way more manageable. Then before you know it those small steps will add up and what you were stressing about days before will be behind you.

Keep your eyes on the end goal

This seems very counter-intuitive with my previous point, but taking one step at a time with your eyes on the end goal will keep you from straying from the path. One of the hardest things in the first two years of medical school is that you are stuck in the classroom getting information thrown at you at a million miles per hour.  If feels like you will never get to the end and is very easy to lose track of your goal when it is far off in the distance.  Taking the time to look up and at your end goal will only help you to remember the real reason you are going through your current situation.

Now, I wrote this from my experiences with my first year of medical school, but I truly believe that this equates to just about any experience you can go through. One thing I always tell myself when I start questioning my decision for going down this path is, “IF IT WAS EASY EVERYONE WOULD DO IT” and “IF IT DOESN’T CAUSE A LITTLE PAIN THEN IT’S NOT WORTH IT.”

What’s Your Platform?

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Faith
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Soccer AgainstiOne of the most talked/blogged about parts of Christianity is how and when you can affect others and lead them towards Jesus. Every time you go to the grocery store you have an opportunity to impact someone in a good or bad way. In a situation as simple as that your actions could show someone just what they have been searching for and you wouldn’t even know it. One of my favorite quotes is by Pope St. Francis and it says, “preach the gospel and when necessary use words.” You never know who is watching and who could be influenced by your actions.

Here are a couple of things I use to enhance my platform:

1. Wrist Band – Could be a WWJD bracelet or any kind of bracelet/band that displays your faith. I know for me I wear a wrist band with “OMA” on it commemorating a young man and a family that was involved in a bible study that I led. Every time someone asks me about what the initials on my wrist mean I get to tell them about Mills and it is an opportunity to share my faith and the story behind it.

2. T-shirt – A t-shirt is the equivalent to a walking billboard for people. Every morning you make a decision on what brand, product, or team to display for the entire day. We have made up a few Againstiflow t-shirts and I have had multiple people come up to me at the gym, church, or just out and about and look at me funny, try to read “Againstiflow”, and then ask me what the heck it means. I was playing basketball a couple of weekends ago and I had a young man that was in the 9th grade ask me what Againstiflow meant. I explained to him what it was and the conversation took off from that point. He is a good little basketball player and his goal is to play division one basketball in college. He then told me that he would never make it because he was way too small. I was able to encourage him and share my story of playing college soccer. I was just like him in that I was a late bloomer and didn’t hit my growth spurt until junior year of high school. I guarantee you that he left that conversation with a boost of confidence. We later got connected on Instagram and he got to see Againstiflow for himself. Every time someone asks me about the shirt it’s an opportunity to use it as a platform for sharing our story.

I have been trying to be more intentional in thinking of different ways that I can let people know about me and my faith. I have been wearing my “OMA” wrist band every day and wearing my Againstiflow shirt as much as possible. Having just moved to Atlanta and not knowing very many people it gives me an opportunity to share my story with people that hardly know me.

What are ways that you display your faith?

Bumper sticker? Music you listen to with friends in your car? Necklace? Sports?

Comment or tweet @againstiflow with what you use as your platform?

Throughout your life things will happen that are simply out of your control. During those times you can either feel sorry for yourself or you can search for the good in that situation. How can you turn the death of a family member or friend into a positive? You just got fired from your job. What are you going to do? I had the privilege to hear the amazing story of Penny and her son Nate. To start it off I want to share a quote with everyone by Chuck Swindoll:

“…We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

I love that quote and if it is put in to action you will recover from those tough moments in your life and move on to do bigger and better things because of them.

Penny’s son Nate was born on March 7th, 2012 at 32 weeks and weighed 3 lbs 6oz and was 15.5 inches long. A baby born that early is susceptible to many complications and Penny was aware that the next minutes, hours, and days ahead were going to be long ones. Nate was admitted to the NICU unit in the Greenville Memorial Hospital where he was to remain while he fought to grow stronger. He was diagnosed with Chylothorax which causes fluid to build up in the pleural cavity located in the lungs. It is a rare disease and a fix-all treatment has yet to be discovered. With tubes all over his body to help him breathe, give him nutrients, and extract fluid from his lungs; Nate was fighting for his life. Everyday Penny would be in the NICU doing whatever she could to show her son love. Holding him and talking to him; as many of us know there is something about your mother’s voice that calms you down. Penny’s daughter was right by Nate’s side as well and would often read her brother a story before she went to bed. On April 4th, 2012 Penny had to say goodbye to her son Nate. She had spent almost an entire month by his side and now the battle had to end.

When Penny was telling her story the thing that really struck me was the attitude she decided to take after something this devastating had happened in her life. Instead of continuing to mourn and hiding in a shell she decided to celebrate Nate’s life. She decided to celebrate the precious moments she and her daughter spent by Nate’s side. She chose joy when she very easily could have chosen sadness. It is now February 2014 and Nate’s story is still affecting people’s lives and being used to save countless others through the March of Dimes foundation. Joy was not Penny’s immediate reaction. There was a lot of sadness during this tough time and there is still some sadness to this day. But Penny is not asking for anyone to feel sorry for her. Her faith remained strong and she knows that Nate’s time here on earth was for a purpose. Her faith led her to a place where she could use her situation and her platform to reach out and lift up other people. She didn’t try to hide what had happened and keep all of her emotions and feelings inside. She stepped up when God was calling her and she is showing His love to others in a way that only she can. Her situation, although very unfortunate, has allowed her to connect with people she would not have been able to connect with before…all because she chose joy and celebration. Just think about the impact her reaction is having on her daughter. Her daughter is watching her every move and the way she responded to this situation will help impact the direction of her daughter’s life…I have no doubt about that. When you choose to let a bad situation dictate the rest of your life in a negative manner you are not only affecting yourself, but everyone else around you. Tough situations are opportunities for forgiveness, opportunities for growth, and opportunities for you to show others what it is like to have faith in something that is greater than this life here on earth.

Hearing Penny’s story was inspiring and I think within her story we all can relate to a time in our life where we had a choice to make; joy or sadness?

10 Things To Live By

Posted: March 3, 2014 in Faith
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A very respected and wise man at my church once shared this list and I wanted to pass it on to everyone else. Throughout his life these are 10 things he has learned along the way and done his best to live by. I don’t think it would hurt for us to learn from them also. Thanks Chuck Simmons!

  1. Regularly be in God’s word. Study it, hear it, talk about it. Let it impact how you live your life. You live what you believe.
  2. Pray. Jesus did it. We need to do it.
  3. Life’s not about me being “good enough” to earn God”s love. He already loves me. It’s about being so grateful for His love that I spend my life loving Him, trusting Him and living for Him.
  4. Struggles bring strength. Am I willing to trust Him in hard times?
  5. Find and pursue mentors.
  6. Don’t fail by succeeding in something that ultimately doesn’t matter. Money, status and popularity never bring contentment; they just leave us wanting more.
  7. Get involved in a small group.
  8. Invest your life in something Kingdom-focused. God has designed and equipped us for His good works
  9. Pray with and for your spouse and your children.
  10. Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Sometimes we need to say “no” to some good things to say “yes” to God’s best things. Take time to prioritize.