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Diane

From Half-assed Medical Student To Worldclass Cardiologist

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About me:

I was born in Burundi but because of war when I was 8 we moved to Italy and that's where I grew up and currently live (so English is not my first language neither my second.. ;)).

I always was kind of a good little girl, behaving well and getting good grades at school. Today I know that at least part of that was due to a very deep desire to be liked by others because of the need to belong to something. I felt so different and strange everywhere I went that I desperately needed to fit in no matter the cost. Lucky for me I didn't end up joining bad companies so I went on being a people pleaser without too much external damages. ^_^

After high school I decided to study medicine because I saw it (and still consider it) as an excellent means to help others. For some reasons I didn't put in it all the efforts I was capable of, I knew I could excel but I settled for mediocrity. I guess I though I was some kind of talented genius just because I had passed the entrance exam with a quite good positioning and therefore I could afford not working that hard. So the years went on and I internalized my being a mediocre student to the point that I gave up my initial passion for Cardiology because there were other classmates who wanted to become cardiologists too and had better grades than me. Long story short it took me 8 years instead of 6 to finish medicine and I graduated with a thesis in General Surgery.

The turning point for me was last February when I was one exam far from graduation. It was internal medicine, everything I had learned until then concentrated in one single exam. As quite always I found myself studying last minute and the month before I crammed for the exam drinking tons of coffee and therefore barely sleeping and eating. I managed to pass the written and practical parts but I didn't pass the oral part. I'm grateful for that now but at the time it was literally the end of the world to me, I had given everything I had to that exam and I was left with nothing, mentally and physically. The most compelling reason I had to pass that exam was that if I didn't I would have to pay all the tuition fees for that academic year (in Italy there is no such things as student loans...).

Fortunately my dad accepted to pay the fees (we don't have a good relationship but he values education very much) and there I was, trying to repair the damage. I remember crying while re-reading the books I had to study...

The good thing was that I suddenly had a lot of time to think. One of the reasons I hadn't passed the oral examination was my lack of confidence, the professor had become more and more angry because I was talking so low he couldn't hear me. So I decided to work on my communication skills and I found Leo's video on communication. God bless that day!!! :) That's how I started my journey into the self-development world.

I also started seeing a psychologist (God bless her too!!!) because of a problem with anxiety I kind of always had had but wich had become paralyzing in the last few years.

I had to repeat the exam four times but finally I made it!! It was a life-changing experience for me, also because I finally realized I still could become a cardiologist even if I wasn't the best medical student of my class.

Fast forward to now, I'm currently preparing for the bar exam (an internship of three months followed by a written examination) that will start in April. I'm also doing a voluntary internship in Cardiology at our local hospital.

My goal for this journal is to document the process of becoming the wordclass cardiologist I am now determined to become.

My biggest difficulty right now is following through with what I plan to do every day, from the routines I want to implement to the number of hours I want to be studying. I believe keeping this journal will help me achieve my ultimate goal and my everyday goals too so thank you @Leo Gura for creating this forum!!! :):):) 

Edited by Diane
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@Diane Welcome.  It's so nice to meet you.

You have an amazing story.  Congratulations on overcoming so much to realize your personal dreams!  I am very happy to set this intention with you for you to use this journal as a tool to maintain consistent with your own focus.  

Good Luck and keep us posted on how you do on the bar exam, please.  :)

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On 12/2/2016 at 6:22 PM, Kelley White said:

@Diane Welcome.  It's so nice to meet you.

You have an amazing story.  Congratulations on overcoming so much to realize your personal dreams!  I am very happy to set this intention with you for you to use this journal as a tool to maintain consistent with your own focus.  

Good Luck and keep us posted on how you do on the bar exam, please.  :)

Thank you Kelley!! I definitely will keep you in the loop!! :)

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A messy week

It was a really messy week, that's another reason why I want to update this journal daily.

I didn't go to the hospital because I had a cold, nothing too serious but I decided to stay home so that I could focus more on studying. I ended up doing a whole bunch of things (Ramit Sethi and Commander Mark Divine's "Hell week", Kate Northrup's "Money Love Challenge", seeing friends, listening to self-help audiobooks etc) and studying just a little bit. I made a bit of a mess also with my morning and evening routines, wich for the record are:

  • Morning: my top 10 values (personal growth, passion, professionalism, honesty, optimism, learning, friendship, contribution, travel and beauty) contemplation; 20 min meditation; breakfast; shower; misogi; ECG.
  • Evening: organizing the following day; gratitude journal; reading and now updating this journal.

So my goal for next week is to be more mindful of how I occupy my time and to learn to prioritize in the right way the things I put in my to-do list. I also want to be kinder to myself!! :)

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Fit body fit mind fit spirit

Yesterday I did almost everything I had planned to do until the evening: I was so tired I wasn't able to do my evening routine. My first guess was that I expect too much from myself but Commander Mark Divine told me I can do and be 20 times more and better than my mind thinks so I definitely could have done all the things I had intended to do. I then found the missing piece: the "fit body" component!

Last week I didn't run even if I wasn't so sick that I couldn't work out in one way or another. Running is already in my daily schedule so maybe from the next few days I'll be more energetic. In addition to that I want to become physically stronger, I don't know how yet but I'm sure my subconscious will find a way. :)

 

Edited by Diane
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@Diane, you are very welcome.  Thank you, that is very kind of you. 

Good for you!  I heard that you recognized you were expecting too much of yourself.  I can relate to that. :)

Self care, I am working on that one.   I like actualization because its all about little steps.  Set your focus, I agree, somehow the way seems to open before us.  Just an observation.  So I'm happy to support your focus there.   Good luck and remember, its not always a linear process, so be kind to you if you don't get something accomplished.   ;)

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@Kelley White, I totally agree with you, it's all about embracing the old paradox of working to maximize our potential while accepting ourselves the way we are right now. As I always say and try to remember, mindfulness is the answer to everything!! :)

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Alignment

Talking about setting our focus and then trusting the universe, today a cardiologist I wanted to get in touch with called me and we agreed to meet saturday morning!!

Shortly after returning to the dream of becoming a cardiologist, I started hearing more and more about this cardiolologist coming from Congo who had studied and specialized at the same university I went to. I googled him but couldn't find anything to contact him. After a while a family friend told me she worked at the same hospital where he works. She offered to give him my number and today he actually called me!!! I don't think anything similar would have happened if I hadn't aligned with my true path... :)

Edited by Diane
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Willpower battery

I love the fact of being on a self-actualization journey because it makes me aware of things that I would otherwise overlook.

Yesterday afternoon after the first 90min pomodoro of studying I got caught up in a lot of urgent/unimportant stuff until it was too late and I was too tired to reopen a book. Similarly today I decided to give myself a 30min power nap and ended up sleeping for two hours, during the afternoon again.

I'm now more conscious about the fact that following plan A is more and more difficult as the hours pass so I have to be mindful of that too.

Or I'll just start taking willpower naps instead of just power naps!! xD

Edited by Diane
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Nice story @Diane , very inspiring!

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”It is better to do your own path imperfectly, than another’s perfectly.” --- Krsna

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Overwhelmed with happiness

I'm so happy right now, there's no particular reason, I just feel so grateful for all that I have in my life I can't quite take it all.

I used to think I had to earn a posteriori all the beautiful things that happened to me. Now I know that no matter how hard I try I'll never be able to catch up with how lucky I am, I can only be grateful and continue living a good life. :x

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New day new format

I decided to make this journal a little more pragmatic instead of just writing the thought of/about the day. Two of the questions I'm going to be answering at are inspired by the Five minute Journal (http://www.fiveminutejournal.com/). Thank you Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas!! :)

So about yesterday...

Amazing things that happened:

  • My mum bought us a new notebook so that when my brother leaves we're still going to have one (I have two brothers, one is 26 and the other is 14. The older one is about to move into his own apartment, wich is great but it also means that his notebook is leaving too.. I don't know why but I never owned a computer wich was only mine..);
  • While at the Cardiology Clinic I had the courage to expose myself asking the resident who was there if he was one of my ex classmates' boyfriend after I saw her photo on his phone (this meant revealing him how much it took me to finish medicine...);
  • I found out I already had the two bus tickets I needed. Yeeee!!! :D

Ways I could have made the day better:

  • Actually studying instead of just planning to;
  • Being more focused on long term goals instead of just on the short term ones;
  • Being more flexible (I kind of overcame my people pleasing tendencies but now I sometimes find myself not going out of my way to do simple but helpful things because "it's not my job"..).

Ways I got closer to becoming a wordclass Cardiologist:

  • Going to the Cardiology clinic and actively participating at the work there.

What I've learnt:

  • I can't rely on being able to take a nap after dinner, the only realistic choices are: surrender or resist (sometimes the two can mean the same thing now that I think about it.. Lovely!! ^_^);
  • To embrace the suck. I prefer this expression to "going out of the comfort zone" even if they mean the same thing. "Embrace the suck" is much more complelling to me. Again, thank you Ramit Sethi and Commander Mark Divine!! :)
Edited by Diane
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I have to write it down until it's still fresh in my mind!!!

So I just came back from one hour and a half of talking with the Cardiologist I had an appointment with today.

One hour and a half, can you believe it?!?! I'm so honoured and grateful!!!:x:x:x

I treated the meeting as if it were an informational interview so I started asking him some questions about him and his career and only by that he gave me so many suggestions and advices for my own career that when he finished the only question I still had to ask him was his opinion on whether to specialize here in Italy or somewhere else. Despite what the majority of people I talked with till now, he said he was totally into the idea of remaining in Italy...

Coming to his suggestions and advices, it was nothing I didn't already know but it was so nice seeing live what actually one becomes when living by values like humility, spirit of initiative, self-esteem and excellence. As we were taking a coffee we ran into one of his patients, he was so nice to her!!! :x:x:x

The only thing left to do for me is study study and always aim to the first place!!!

 

P.S: special thanks to Ramit Sethi's video on informational interviews and tips on how to approach successful people (I'll send him an email too...)!!! Here are the specific links:

 http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/c/inbox-zero-bundle/youre-in/9-Word-for-Word-Scripts.pdf

 

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My body is telling me something...

I'm starting to get a second cold in less than three weeks. It reminds me of the period I got pink eyes three times in a row because I was too much at the computer while collecting data for my thesis...

Anyway..

Amazing things that happened today:

  • I met the Cardiologist I want to become!! He also said that one of the reasons he has always put a lot of effort in his work is to make the path easier for future generations of foreign doctors in Italy and that he is committed to help changing how blacks are seen here. He then mentioned the fact that everyone has his/her own path of growth and some lessons are better learnt the hard way than the easy way (Amen brother!!! :D);
  • My boyfriend bought me a beautiful new pair of stilettos as a gift ^_^;
  • I'm about to finish the life purpose course.

Ways I could have made the day better:

  • Following trough on my morning routine even if it wasn't such an ordinary day (I now have to re-restart my month of top 10 values contemplation and meditation.. Skipping my daily routines on "special days" is a pattern of mine I definitely want to break);

Ways I got closer to becoming a wordclass Cardiologist:

  • Preparing for and then acing the meeting with the Cardiologist I want to become. 

What I've learnt:

  • I am enough;
  • It's ok to partly sacrifice personal life to achieve ones goals;
  • Kindness and humility are powerful weapons not only to be liked by others (wich in itself is not a bad thing) but also to get help from others, learn new things and make dreams come true.
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Slow progression is still progression

Last week I set the goal to be more mindful about how I spend my days. I certainly could have done better and more than I actually did. Anyway, I choose to focus on the fact that I'm constantly improving myself and getting closer to what I can and want to be. :)

Amazing things that happened today:

  • I spent a wonderful morning and lunch with my fiancé;
  • I had the opportunity to read a reading in Mass (I love public speaking, I've descoverd it the day of my dissertation..);
  • I ran.

Ways I could have made today better:

  • Studying and reading.

Ways I got closer to becoming a wordclass Cardiologist:

  • Writing a thank you note to the Cardiologist I met yesterday.

What I've learnt:

  • By focusing on one task at a time each task requires less time to finish;
  • Day by day, in every way I'm getting better and better. (Commander Mark Divine)
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Missing balance

Recently life tends to "happen" too much and it's quite sad knowing that the only thing I have control on is what I do with my time.. I definitely need to re-watch Leo's videos on mindfulness. Also, my mom just bought a book on mindfulness, I'll give it a look too. :)

Amazing things that happened today:

  • It didn't rain so I went to the hospital in bike for the first time after a week of going in bus (during this internship I discovered my love for cycling when it's cold...);
  • I had the possibility of chatting with a patient. I really love talking to patients!! :)
  • I managed to go to the hospital and be present all morning even if I had slept less than 4 hours.

Ways I could have made today better:

  • Again being more focused on long term goals rather than just on short term ones.

Ways I got closer to becoming a wordclass Cardiologist:

  • Going to the Cardiology Clinic and participating to the activity there.

What I've learnt:

  • If I want it bad enough I can always find a way, there is no tired, hungry or anything else.
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