November has been a whirlwind of angst and excitement for me. It began with cramming for my final USMLE board exam. After sitting for the two-day test, I flew directly to Chicago, where I attended my first AHA Scientific Sessions and presented a poster on bystander AED use at the Resuscitation Science Symposium. Upon returning home to Atlanta, I pored over the list of fellowship interviews I had attended in the last two months and agonized over last-minute adjustments to my rank list. Such is the life of a third-year internal medicine resident.
This Wednesday, I stumbled home after a 24-hour hospital shift and opened my email account. That’s when I found out I had not only passed my board exam but also matched at Emory, my home institution and top fellowship choice. In spite of my exhaustion, I was so elated that it was hard to fall asleep.
Reflecting back on the month, I’m reminded of Dr. Ivor Benjamin’s address at the AHA Presidential Session. He waxed poetic about his circuitous journey–growing up in Guyana, traveling to the U.S., and training at several premiere academic medical centers. He spoke about fortuitous relationships with key mentors that propelled his career as a basic science researcher.
Listening to Dr. Benjamin’s narrative was a delight and an inspiration. His account echoed the stories of many impressive residents and fellows I met at AHA. It was also a reminder of my own humble roots—born in Shanghai, growing up in the rural Midwest, and studying at Vanderbilt and Emory. For each of us, medical training is long, and it is transformative. I look forward to the next stage, and I hope to return for Scientific Sessions in 2019. By then I will be a cardiologist in the making.