Who is in your corner? Your circle? Your round? Your squad?
Too many premeds and med students try to go at this all on their own. Year after year, I hear stories from students struggling in school and now trying to find a way to improve their chances at getting into medical school or residency. I personally don’t believe you are ever too late to fix a problem but I just wish more students would seek help from the get-go. A solid way of doing this is by having a mentor, adviser and YOUR SQUAD.
As I discussed in a previous blog, you are 95% more likely to accomplish a goal if you have accountability partners and meet with that person/people periodically to strategize. I don’t think you get that! I said… you are 95% more likely to accomplish a goal! This is where your squad comes in. There are two well-known squads I think have set great examples for URMs while tackling the medical journey. Let me share a little about them.
The Three Doctors
Many of you are familiar with their story from reading their books (The Pact) or watching their film. These 3 brothers come from my birthplace, Dirty Jersey (Newark, NJ). Dr. George Jenkins, Dr. Rameck Hunt, and Dr. Sampson Davis all grew up poor and fatherless. They met in high school and formed a pact with one another that they would all push each other through school all the way to becoming doctors. Their counselor at Seton Hall, Carla Dickson was very instrumental in their journey. She helped solidify the trio’s pact knowing that if one gave up, the other two would likely follow suit. These men have served as role models for so many, letting them know you can make it out of any situation but they exemplify the importance of forming a squad and solid mentorship.
The Pulse of Perseverance
Dr. Max Madhere, Dr. Pierre Johnson and Dr. Joe Semien are another trio with a remarkable story that also may never have come to fruition without the formation of their squad. They showed true perseverance by overcoming extremely tough childhood obstacles before meeting up at Xavier University as premeds. This is where the brotherhood formed. They pushed each other through classes and MCAT struggles, making sure that no man was left behind. That is solid! They now inspire many students by breaking down stereotypes, providing scholarships and speaking. For those of you in the Chicago area, look out for our 2020 Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit where Dr. Pierre Johnson will join us to share his story.
So, who should be in your squad? Ideally, two or three peers who are highly motivated, supportive, trustworthy, serious, students who can and will push you. You should all get along and be able to relate to one another. Jealousy should be rooted out immediately and you should be able to share true feelings with one another. It’s an “all for one” mentality; so even when one has “made it” they’ll be the biggest cheerleader for their partners lagging behind. Every woman or man brings their unique traits to the table. You’ve got to be real with each other and if one isn’t pulling their weight or constantly bringing the team down you may have to eventually cut them loose before the plane crashes. If you feel it would help, you may even give your squad a name, logo, or wrist band to remind you of your team’s goal.
I hope you are all inspired by these two squads. Please share any other squads you know of.
So, who is your squad?
Dr. Daniel is a practicing Endocrinologist, mentor and blogger at www.diversemedicine.com
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