By Dawood Findakly, MD
While I am writing this, I’m looking through the window of the plane taking me to my new destination. The view from the small window is veiled. I can’t see through the clouds, but the light blue sky is pure and clear. My view was initially full of buildings, then lands varied from the desert—with its sweet gold fur covering the horizon—to green forests, blue rivers, and mountain peaks. As I fly over these beautiful landscapes, I begin to think about my residency journey.
Today marks the day when I graduate from my internal medicine residency program. Memories of conversations between my colleagues and I regarding our shared interests, curiosities, and deliberation of our passions for the future are playing live in my thoughts.
My first memory in residency was when I met Dr. Shannon E. Skinner who, from the first moment, was very welcoming, honest, genuine, humble, fair, easy-going, supportive, and always there to help.
As an internal medicine resident, I enjoyed learning, working, supporting, and helping patients alongside my colleagues; all these factors softened the long journey to finish training, on top of being on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
My memories also drift to the time when I first made an appointment to visit with Dr. Jue Wang. Upon arriving in his office looking for guidance, I was welcomed and immediately felt supported and encouraged.
I also had the honor of receiving the Outstanding Scholar of the Year Award from my residency program, which recognized my efforts and hard work through my years of training (pictured to the right).
As I walked out of the hospital hallway for the very last time, I felt overwhelmed by the emotions that built up inside of me. Saying goodbye to everyone made me feel grateful for all the education, support, and help they gave me to move one step further in my career. I will cherish every moment I spent with my attendings, colleagues, and staff in the program.
Life has endless avenues. You can do what you love if set your mind to it and complement it with passion and perseverance. It might amaze you what you can achieve. The entire process enabled me to meet so many talented and dedicated people along the way. The secret behind success is to try to learn from people you meet, keep chasing your dreams, and never give up.
As I write this new chapter in my life, the eagerness and excitement will mark every page in my journey to be a hematology/oncology specialist.
I wanted to share the following tips that will help incoming residents as they start their training:
- Be yourself and stay focused.
- Listen to your patients.
- Follow through with tasks and take them step-by-step.
- Learn as you train and have resources handy.
- Set your goals, be motivated, take initiative and get ready to seize the opportunity.
- Honesty and reliability lead to trust.
- Be appreciative, courteous, and kind.
- Be positive and enthusiastic as it is contagious!
- Be professional and compassionate.
- Last, but not least, do your best to excel in your area and showcase what makes you special.
Embrace the ride and enjoy it!
My forever thanks and gratitude to all the wonderful people who guided me and taught me not only about medicine, but many invaluable life lessons. Many thanks to my amazing chairman, David B. Wisinger MD, my program director, Jaya M. Raj MD, my associate PD, Shannon E. Skinner MD, my fabulous mentor, Jue Wang MD, and my faculty, colleagues, and friends. Also, I'd especially like to thank my beautiful family for all their enormous support during my residency training.
Dr. Findakly is a first-year hematology-oncology fellow at Louisiana State University (Shreveport) Program. Follow him on Twitter @dawood_findakly. Disclosure.
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