Well, we have been married for a little over four months now and I am just now getting some time to sit down and write about the details of our big day! When I was planning, I loved reading about other peoples ideas and seeing how they came together. I hope this post can be helpful to any future brides out there.

The weekend of the wedding was Fourth of July weekend and with lots of family and friends coming to town we decided to plan a bunch of events to keep everyone busy! It was also nice to have our family and friends meet ahead of the wedding, so when the day came, everyone knew each other.

Thursday, July 4: Fourth of July Party with Big Bad Bob on the BBQ

Friday, July 5: Floated the Guadalupe River and had dinner and drinks at The Oasis on Lake Travis (YES, the Oasis from the song “I Got Friends in Low Places…”). Floating the Guadalupe was a great activity for the whole family, even the kids. You can BYOB. The place I linked usually has discounts as well! The Oasis was very accommodating to our large group and the live band even sang a song dedicated to us and let us have a dance to ourselves.

The Rehearsal Dinner

The night before our wedding day we chose a local restaurant, Casa Garcia, to host our rehearsal dinner. There is several locations around the Austin area and we picked the one in Manor because it has a beautiful, private event room! It was decently priced and they have good food. The manager was easy to work with and was very accommodating to our requests.  We did tacos: chicken, beef and fried shrimp with a few sides.

Here Bobby and I gave all the bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearers, flower girls and parents the gifts we picked out for them (detailed below). After the rehearsal, the guys went out for a night of fun in downtown Austin and the girls and I went back to my Airbnb to hang out in the hot tub and relax. I also finished writing my vows that evening, before I went to bed!

The Swag

Bridesmaids

For the bridesmaids, I got them thermal pajamas for the morning of. I had the same ones in a different color. I linked a similar pair, because they do not have the exact ones at Target anymore. I also got them a robe with their first name initial on it from Pretty Robes, I had someone local embroider their first initial, but I think you can have them personalized online. I also got them matching earrings from Charming Charlie (sorry, it has since closed down). The last gift was an authentic Palestinian kufiya (scarf) that my dad had brought from the Middle East. You can find a similar one here.

Groomsmen

For the groomsmen, we got them monogramed wallets from Shinola Detroit (similar one here) and the same scarves as the bridesmaids.

 

Flower Girls and Ring Bearers

For the kids we got them matching pajamas sets (unicorns for the girls, dinosaurs for the boys), sleep sacs (Trolls for the girls, Jurassic Park for the boys), and then lots of little toys and activities from the Dollar Tree to keep them busy after the ceremony.

We hired two babysitters for our three flower girls and three ring bearers, because we had an adult only reception. After the ceremony, they enjoyed pizza and fun in the bridal suite.

The Moms

We got the moms the same robes as the bridesmaids, but in a light pink color. We also got them a perfume from Victoria Secret and their own jewelry sets.

The Dads

We got the dads custom bowties and socks. My dad’s bowtie was made from an old Palestinian kufiya by the same woman who embroidered the robes. Denzel’s dad’s bowtie was a musical note bowtie.

The Big Day

The morning of, we grabbed coffee from my favorite place, Summer Moon Coffee, on the way to the venue (Quarter Moon latte y’all). The bridesmaids met me there, all dressed up in their matching pajamas. Hair and Makeup started at 9 am since we had 14 hair and make-ups to get done. For breakfast, we did muffins, fruits, coffee and mimosas and for lunch, we catered Potbelly sandwiches and salad. We listened to our favorite songs and enjoyed each others company. I was so thankful for my bridesmaids, a few of them ran to Starbucks to get everyone an afternoon coffee and ran a few errands for me while I finished getting ready.

 

Hair and makeup was done by LoLa beauty (located in both Austin and Denver). There were three stylists total for the 14 of us. The girls all picked their own updo’s and I was conflicted between half-up or just curls and ended up going with just curls. I loved the way the bridesmaids make-up and hair turned out. I wish I would have done an updo looking back, but I was happy with my make up!

The Venue

We chose to have our wedding in beautiful hill country at a venue called Canyonwood Ridge. It is a modern venue with a warm feel. It had an outdoor and indoor ceremony space and an indoor reception area. I loved the outdoor ceremony space that overlooked hill country. It was hot (in the 90s)! The sun was shining right in my eyes! But I think, for the views, it was all worth it. The reception space had these gorgeous, modern chandeliers and a big fireplace at the center with a whole wall of windows looking over the hill.

The bridal suite was snug, but had enough room for all 11 bridesmaids, two moms and I to hang out in the morning of and get ready in.

The grooms suite was also snug, but was fine for the small amount of time the guys hung out in there.

The Dress and Accessories

My bridal shower dress and rehearsal dinner dress was from Lulu’s. I got most of my bridal attire here, I highly recommend looking here for your white-dress needs.

My dress was a Sophia Tolli tulle ballgown that I purchased at Melange Bridal Salon in Austin. It was not at all what I had pictured myself picking, but there was just something about it that I loved when I tried it on. I loved my experience at Melange, they have a variety of dresses that are at all price ranges and for all body types.

The morning of, I had the same pajamas as the bridesmaids but in white. I changed into my long, lace robe from Kim+Ono to get ready in. My shoes were from Davids Bridal and they were a wedge heel in size wide, it is so hard to find heels when you have wide feet. These were not comfortable at all unfortunately, so I changed into sandals for the reception. My jewelry was blue sapphire that was gifted to me by my dad’s family. I loved having a little pop of color. My bouquet was complete with my maternal grandma’s cameo necklace that my florist tied on for me.

The Bridesmaids Dresses

The bridesmaids and mother of the bride dresses were Mori Lee gowns. My maid of honor had a full lace form fitting gown and the bridesmaids had A-Line gowns with different designs, but all with the same lace. The color was a very light gray. My mom’s gown was Navy and had the same lace as well.

The Tuxedos

The groom, groomsmen, and the fathers all wore traditional tuxedos with cummerbunds, suspenders, and black bow ties. Denzel had a black, paisley patterned bow tie. The ushers and the officiant wore black suits with a silver tie. All of these outfits were rented from Men’s Warehouse.

Denzel had a change of outfits for the reception with black tuxedo pants, a black dress shirt, a black bow tie and a white satin patterned suit jacket. His shoes were suede black shoes with rhinestones complete with custom pink socks with Lulu’s face (our cat). His outfit and shoes were all from Macy’s and the socks were a gift.

The Flowers and Décor

The moment we met Kari at The Flower Girl, we knew she understood our vision for the wedding. For the bouquets, I wanted whites, light pinks and greenery. For our centerpieces we had two different concepts in mind: branches and flowers submerged in water. She made both of these ideas come to life. One of my favorite design elements of the wedding was the boxwood wall with giant paper flowers and our giant floral letter G. Both made by Kari and her husband.

   

Our save the dates, invites, and wedding signage were all hand painted and designed by Shannon Sweeney Watson. She is incredible and will custom design almost any art work you could ask for. Check her out on Instagram or her Etsy page.

Our center pieces I made myself. Each table number 1-19 was a picture of Denzel and I at the age corresponding to the number. They were a hit and people got a good laugh out of them.

Our idea for a guest book was to have guests take a polaroid picture of themselves and write a little note on it for us. From the pictures we did collect I made a scrapbook, but I think most people took their polaroid with them! So I would not suggest this method as a guest book. It was a still fun and some of the polaroid’s turned out really cute.

The Food and Deserts

Our caterer, Royal Fig, did the entirety of our food and deserts including the cakes. When we went there for a tasting we were sold, it was so good I wish they had a restaurant. We would be frequent customers.

Our menu:

We had two cakes. The main cake was a hummingbird cake with peach buttercream. I surprised Denzel with his groom’s cake which was a replica of his UT cheer uniform. It was red velvet with cream cheese frosting (his fave). The rest of the desert table was made up of mini deserts including banana cream pudding, chocolate pie and sweet potato pie. We also displayed baklava from our favorite bakery in Dearborn, MI- Masri.

The Entertainment

We wanted to remember our wedding day as a party from start to end. It was only right to surprise our guests throughout the night with different performances to keep the night upbeat. Our ceremony music was performed by a string trio from Sienna Strings. They played a custom set of music for us. I walked down the aisle to You & I by John Legend and we exited to an Arabic song by Fairouz. They played several modern songs throughout the ceremony.

 

The entertainment started right away with the bridesmaid’s and groomsmen’s entrance dance (Level Up by Ciara and Wipe Me Down by Lil Boosie). They were incredible! Thanks to our friend from medical school, Jasmine, who helped choreograph and teach the dance to the bridesmaids.

Our entrance followed which was a huge surprise to everyone including the bridal party and our parents. We hired a local Palestinian dabke performance group, Al Hurriyah Dabke, to lead our entrance. It was important to me to represent my Palestinian heritage in little ways throughout my wedding. We had instructed the bridal party to have their Palestinian scarves nearby and the groomsmen had already had theirs on thanks to my dad. So when the time came, everyone was ready for the entrance. After the first song, the dabke group then did their own performance which was incredible and then invited us, the bridal party and all the guests to join them. It was so cool seeing my family and friends and Denzel’s family and friends, people from all cultures and walks of life, hand in hand dancing a dabke line dance. This was one of my favorite moments of the wedding.

Our first dance followed which was a traditional first dance to Kane Brown’s song Live Forever. The father-daughter dance was to Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. Denzel and his mom surprised me with a mother-son dance that started as a traditional slow dance and quickly changed into a mash up including Woah, Crank That, and Every Little Step. Their choreographed dance was a hit and I was highly impressed. Denzel then pulled out his bass guitar and played a song that his mom wrote and sang that was a song about our love story. She sang about all the places we had gone, the hurricane and persevering and staying strong together. This was another moment I will never forget. In Mrs. Ann fashion, it was upbeat and meaningful.

Shortly after we had the speeches from my dad, my MOH and the best man Jordan (Denzel’s brother). My MOH Bianca literally dropped the mic after her legendary cover of the Fresh Prince Theme Song that described our friendship. This was incredible and I often wonder how I will top that performance one day at her wedding.

We had the BEST. DJ. EVER. Mark the DJ. If you are having an event in Texas, this is the guy. He was an incredible DJ and we enjoyed working with him every step of the way. Mark started the night by playing piano and live singing during cocktail hour and dinner. He serenaded our guests with his Justin Timberlake like voice. He did a great job incorporating our several requests and surprises. We had Arabic songs, Latino songs, Indian jams, a mix of country and hip hop music from today and from back in the day. It was a great mix, we danced the entire night til they kicked us all out. We included some dance floor props including flip flops so people could take their heels off and keep dancing, cat ears (sparkly and patterned), light up glasses, and foam glow sticks.

At the end of the night, while all our guests lined up with sparklers, Denzel and I had a final dance just me and him to Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton. This was a special moment, just him and I taking in the moments of the best night of our lives.

Our exit car (UBER X) awaited us at the end of all our friends and family. We reserved a night at The Line hotel, which is a spunky, modern hotel in downtown Austin with a great view (highly recommend).

The following day we were headed back to Michigan to return to our family medicine rotation. No honeymoon for us just yet, but stay tuned… its in the works!

WEDDING PLANNER: In Her Shoes

PHOTOGRAPHER: Boxing Rose

VIDEOGRAPHER: Toast Entertainment

FLORAL: The Flower Girl

CATERER: Royal Fig

HAIR & MAKEUP: LoLa Beauty

DJ: Mark the DJ Exodus Sound

DABKE GROUP: Al Hurriyah Dabke 

CEREMONY BAND: Sienna Strings

SIGNAGE/INVITATIONS: Shop Shannon Sweeney

 

 

 

 

ATTENTION: this is how I personally studied for semester 4C at RUSM, my study methods may not work for everyone. As such, I advise you to take all advice from me and others with a grain of salt and make sure you tailor it to what works for you! My 4C semester was May-September of 2017, so teachers might have changed.

dominica

Welcome to 4C!

Here is a summary of my advice and recommended outside sources for this semester. This is a HUGE semester. I thought, in the end, 4C was the most work I put in and the most stressful compared to other semesters; however, it was one of my favorite semesters. Just be prepared to work for its entirety. You will see me often reference “SP’s” which are study products made from the lectures given. You can often get pre-made ones passed down from upper semesters or you can make them yourself if it helps with your learning!

CARDIO 2: week 1-2.5, followed by 2.5 week break. I used the break to focus in on cardio, which I thought was worth it. This allowed me to do well on the mini and retain cardio information even after I finished basic sciences.

  • Pathology- I tried Sketchy Path, I didn’t LOVE it because it was too long, but I do think it could be helpful if you put some time into it. Other than that, I used study products (SPs) made from the lectures and I used First Aid to review. I would recommend using pre-made SP’s and filling them in with your own info from lecture, or making your own.
  • Pharm- I used SKETCHY, there is A LOT of drugs. Sketchy is really helpful in retaining all the cardio drugs and even helps with some biochem knowledge (lipid lowering agents).
  • Biochem- I used my SP’s and memorized as much as I could. I thought it was a lot to memorize. He asked questions about the types of lipoproteins and the disorders (KNOW THE LONG NAMES NOT JUST “TYPE I”).
  • Behavioral and Clinical Med- these lectures were a HUGE chunk of the unit and they seemed tedious. I used SP’s, and I USED FIRST AID (good summary of the info)! It was important to know the ECGs and heart sounds (murmurs).
    • A big resource I found and LOVED was Osmosis videos on YouTube. They are free videos and they are relatively short. I also liked to draw out the heart conditions to make sense of them, which Osmosis videos help with.

ross university school of medicine

RENAL 2: you will feel like you should take it easy and study renal after the heme and lymph exam is over. I STRONGLY ADVISE AGAINST THIS. I did this and it was a big mistake. If I could go back, I would use the time I had to study renal to try and really know at least the pathology! Then, every day until my renal exam when I was studying and being tested on heme and lymph, I would watch Loy’s rapid review videos or lab video to keep my mind fresh. (I still use Loy’s rapid review videos to study for Comp and Step!)

  • Pathology- I used SP’s and watched the rapid review videos every single day and I was able to answer his questions
  • Pharm- they asked me a BUNCH of renal drug questions at the level and detail we learned last semester (renal 1). I should have watched the renal pharm Sketchy videos again. I got these wrong, because I figured they would be basic, they ain’t.
  • CM- I used SP’s. I did not freak out about her lecture notes much. It was mostly a repeat from path. I reviewed the  radiology lecture right before the exam, because that was 2 easy points.
  • Micro- I used Sketchy for UTI bacteria’s. I had seen them before and this worked. THE HARDEST THING TO ME IS MASTERING THE ANTIBIOTICS. They asked several questions on my NBME and Ross’ test about them and I just didn’t remember them. I think attacking this early and repeating as often as possible, especially if you use Sketchy, is the best way to finally master them.

ross university school of medicine

HEME AND LYMPH: Go to class! And do not be afraid of this unit. Go in and see Dr. J, she walks you through details that students get wrong a lot. You don’t even have to come with questions.

  • Pathology- these are THE BEST SP’s EVER MADE (made by someone and passed down, they are black and white tables). I used them, and added any random details she emphasized in class, and I tried to know everything in them. I WATCHED HER LECTURES 5-6 TIMES. I watched her lectures so many times, I could hear her saying things during my exam.
  • Pharm- the Sketchy unit for chemo drugs and anti-retroviral drugs is absolutely the best Sketchy videos they have ever put out (well, in my opinion). There are some drugs taught that aren’t in Sketchy, I referred to the pharm charts and First Aid. I memorized these with notecards.
  • Biochem- I created little stories to memorize the inherited metabolic diseases, they barely asked any questions over these on my mini exam, but there were SEVERAL on my NBME final (and they have come back to haunt me through Comp and Step studying). Metabolism of heme, purines, pyrimidines- I did not study enough of this, there were several questions asked about disorders from these lectures. Now, I draw them repeatedly and eventually they stuck.
  • CM- mostly just path review, I would know the PDSA cycle and the radiology!
  • Micro Anatomy- I used the First Aid book, Osmosis YouTube videos and the SP’s for Dr. A stuff. I used Sketchy for malaria, babesiosis, viral hemorrhagic fevers, HIV/Retroviruses, and parasites.

ross university school of medicine

MSK: so this mini exam was RENAL and MSK. It was a stressful week for me to learn it all. I put off MSK and RENAL (as I said, I would learn renal before, that way it is more doable to put MSK mastery off a bit until after heme and lymph mini). Learning both renal and MSK in a week is challenging, but it can be done if necessary. If I had kept up with renal before, this would have been a much easier week!

  • Pathology- I used SP’s, but I had to add a lot to them. I re-watched her lectures a lot.
  • Biochem- I used a concept sheet from the previous exams and found the biochem questions. They were similar on my mini.
  • CM- this was basically a re-do of pathology.
  • Pharm- I used the lectures.

ross university school of medicine

REPRO 2: this unit was a drag for me. I went to class for most of it, but it was just slow and boring in my opinion.

  • Pathology- I used the SP’s and the rapid review video (its LOY!!! Yay!!), I watched it every. Single. Day. And then I watched the pathology lab every. Single. Day. For Dr. Y, I used the SP’s, BUT sometimes his questions were super specific to his lecture. I would add from his lectures, especially the small details, and use the First Aid book too.
  • Microbiology- I used the SP’s, and it was plenty.
  • Pharm- I re-watched the chemo drug Sketchy videos. I memorized the other drugs that were not in sketchy with flashcards, there wasn’t much.
  • CM/Behavioral- this was the biggest slap in the face on the test for me. I loved her lectures during class, but it wasn’t enough to learn everything. She asked abstract questions. I watched Sasso’s lectures (a previous teacher) to supplement, but I would recommend referring to a past concept sheet.
  • Biochem- use the SP’s, Dr. L asked about the topics he liked the most. I used a concept sheet to focus my study. I often used to go in and see him, he is super helpful!

NBME: I used outside sources almost exclusively. I used my checklists for each unit and I watched DIT for each subject. Then, I would read the First Aid chapter and add details from the DIT videos. I re-watched all the Sketchy pharm and micro videos relevant to the semester. I used my SP’s for the CM/Behavioral. I watched Loy’s rapid review videos every day for renal and repro pathology leading up to the test. I re-watched the ABG YouTube video. I reviewed my heme/lymph study products.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you would like access to my study products.

boat miami

Hello there YB to MD fam and welcome to the my very first blog take over. To start this blog off, I want to say thank you for all the love and support you have given Yas and I as we course this journey through life and med school. We are officially able to advance now and continue chasing our dreams. So, no more of those “House Husband?” questions (maybe that is just an inside joke).

Anyways, now its time to talk about my experience dealing with repeated failure and conquering the NBME Comprehensive Exam. I apologize in advanced for how detailed my story may be, but I want to paint y’all a picture- so bear with me.

…Let’s start on Tuesday May 22, 2018 at 6:47 pm EST at the Cinemark movie theater men’s restroom.

Ten minutes prior, Yas came into the movie theater full of joy and tears, I knew that she had just gotten her score and that it was a success. She immediately came up to me and said “Babe I passed, that means we passed…I know you passed, because I passed”. At that moment, a chill came over my body. It was like butterflies, but not the nervous, happy ones you get right before opening the last Christmas present that must contain the gift you have been waiting for. No. This was a feeling of “damn I forgot to do the dishes” and you hear the door opening and you know it’s your mom. Straight fear. Yas asked me to check my email again; it had to be there. I checked it and there was still no email. Nervously waiting for my email, I could no longer focus on the movie. Fast forward eight minutes and I am walking into the men’s restroom. I felt the vibration of my phone and I knew that this must be it. I opened up my inbox and there was the email I had been waiting for. I looked and I looked and I could literally feel my heart drop and there it was the message I felt was coming “We Regret To Inform You…”. I paused and immediately said to myself “this can’t be, how will I tell Yas?”. I walked back into the theater and as I walked up the stairs she could see the disappointment in my walk. She asked “did you get your score?” and I said “yes, I failed”.

nbme comprehensive

On the ride home I felt numb. Was this happening again? I had been studying day in and day out since March. I felt like I deserved to pass. I put so much effort and time into studying and preparation so I could destroy the exam and finally move on, and yet again I had come up short. I was in such disbelief. I called Ross to asked if it would be possible to request a regrade, because I just felt like I knew a lot of information on the exam and that there was no way I didn’t pass this test. I felt inferior. Yas had just passed with an amazing grade and I literally felt like I was a dummy and not capable of passing. I will be honest with y’all, I got a 67. While my score did increase from the last two exams, it was still not enough.

Yas started shooting off ideas about what we could do differently. She talked about how this is not going to stop us from moving on and that whatever I needed she would be there by my side to make sure I had the best environment and space to focus and zone in for my next attempt. While I sat there nodding my head, on the inside I still felt like a complete failure. I felt like I was the one holding us back, like I was messing up all of our plans and our lives together.

Later that night, we got home and Yas started to create a study checklist/calendar that would allow me to cover all the material from First Aid (FA), Pathoma and Sketchy multiple times before my exam. She designed the study plan to focus on my weaknesses (biochem, pharm, cardio and micro). I felt like that is what I was missing from my study process.

THE STRATEGY THAT FAILED ME

First, I want to talk about what my study process was like before and how that held me back from unlocking my true potential and then touch on how I changed my approach to increase my score by almost 10%.

Previously, I would do UWorld questions on tutor mode to start the day off- this would take almost half the day. While this was effective in quickly pin pointing concepts I didn’t understand and potentially use the info on other questions that were similar in the question block, it did not allow me to get the full picture of the concept and what I needed to know to be able to distinguish between the concepts. It was like I was constructing a jigsaw puzzle and I had all of the border pieces matched up, but none of the middle completed. To supplement the UWorld question blocks, I would read about the topics that I got wrong in FA book and annotate my book with in depth info from UWorld. Once again, adding to the puzzle around the border but never filling in the middle void.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt like I knew things; at least, way more than I knew from the time before that. I felt that this process was working, but in the end it didn’t. What was ultimately missing was solid foundation of material and knowledge, what I like to call the meat and potatoes.

THE STRATEGY THAT HELPED ME SUCCEED

So now, for all of those carnivores out there- let’s talk about that meat and potatoes and what I did differently this time that allowed for me to zone in and tap into a knowledge stream that I didn’t know I had.

The key factor was having a study schedule. Thank GOD for Yas, her Microsoft skills and her ability to whoop up an effective schedule in no time (“She da Plug”, if y’all need one, stay tuned). I feel that this made the biggest difference in my approach. My day consisted of waking up around 8 am, eating breakfast while watching a leisurely video or two on YouTube. After that, I would start with a timed block of 40 questions on UWorld. I would review all the questions from the block, referencing FA and annotating in things that were important. I would then switch over to watching Pathoma. My study plan spread each high yield organ system chapter over two-three days depending on the length and amount of detail. Here is an example of what my schedule looked like:

This schedule allowed me to take my time and rewrite things that I hadn’t mastered. There is something about writing things out that allows you to pick up on those little details that you would normally miss when you speed read, or in my case slow speed read. While reading First Aid and writing out the details, I started seeing details that had been asked in previous questions. The most important notes I made were distinguishing physiology and pathology features, even the most minute details, between different diseases. This was key to being able to utilize the process of elimination.

I don’t know about y’all, but Biochemistry and Immunology are my arch enemies. In other words, their colors are maroon and their mascot is an Aggie (for y’all that don’t know, I am a UT Longhorn Alum). Knowing that these two were my weakest subjects, I made up my mind that I was going to master them and the best way to do that was repetition. Biochem, Immunology and Micro were sections in First Aid that got the most attention on my study schedule. The schedule allowed me to get through all the material in First Aid twice and my weakest subjects up to four times.

I also incorporated anatomy concepts from a document called 100 Anatomy USMLE Concepts. Anatomy has always been my strong suite, but adding these concepts into my study schedule allowed me to review the high yield anatomy (like that Colles fracture we all forget about).

Yas suggested creating flashcards by hand for high yield details I missed often and I got hooked (you will be amazed at what can happen when you listen to your fiancé). The last two weeks before my exam, I created flash cards for some of the High-Yield General Principles and pharm I still struggled with. I had never done this before. I would usually just grab someone’s Quizlet deck, add it to my study folder and never use it. The process of putting it in my study folder made me feel like I was learning it (WRONG). I took my flash cards with me everywhere and during any downtime I was reviewing them. This was the first time in my NBME Comp prep career that I was able to recite info, visualize pathways and understand sometimes overlooked concepts. The benefit of this effort started to show when I would do question blocks- I was finally able to differentiate between ALL the answer choices and explain why one is right and the others are wrong.

I was now able to fill in the middle void and complete my puzzle.

Mind you, there were definitely times during my dedicated studying that I took days off to catch up on material that I fell behind on and some half-days that I would just relax. Since this was my last attempt to take the NBME Comp, the most important thing to do was to make sure I wasn’t letting my anxiety overwhelm me. Mental health was crucial. Every Tuesday, Yas and I would go on a date to the discount movies. We would go to Orangetheory Fitness every day of the week except on Tuesdays. After I finished all of my assignments for the day, I would be done for the day. No looking at anything else study related or starting on the next day’s schedule. By the time I was finished, it was already 7:00-8:00 pm and my brain was done anyway. It was pertinent that I kept my physical and mental health a priority, because it would have been easy to fall into a funk where there is doubt and the urge to give up. However, the mental breaks and the study schedule suppressed those negative thoughts and showed me that I have time to get through everything I need to. I began to trust the process!

orangetheory fitness orangetheory fitness

GAME DAY

It is Friday July 27th, 2018 at 2pm EST and I am done with my fourth attempt at the NBME Comp. I don’t feel complete. I got in the truck with Yas and started to go over questions with her and I started to get upset. As I look up some of these questions that I was in-between on, I was seeing that I was missing them. Now I am starting to feel the stress and the worry. In my head I count 20 questions that I know that I got wrong. My rule-of-thumb when it comes to tests is that the amount of questions I think I got wrong is most likely doubled or tripled in reality.

I low key started to panic…

The only way to get my mind off of the questions I missed was to occupy my mind with some other kind of stimulus. What better stimulus is there than Netflix? Over the course of the next three days, Yas and I (and Lulu the cat) binge watched TV shows, movies, cupcake challenges. We enjoyed some comfort food and a few games of 2K. The gloomy, rainy weather made it very easy not leave the house.

 

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH AKA JUDGEMENT DAY

Tuesday finally came. The day I knew would be either a day of cheer and joy, or a day of sadness and dismay. I woke up, showered and while I was showering I had this moment of peace. It was in that moment I said to myself “you passed”. Doubt made its way out the door. After breakfast, Yas and I had planned on going to Starbucks to try and do a UWorld question block and then catch a movie for our traditional discount movie Tuesday date.

As I finished putting away the dishes from breakfast, something told me to check my phone. I opened my email and there it was:

“Congratulations…you passed”

nbme comprehensive

I couldn’t believe it, I had to read the email twice because I didn’t think it was real. I ran to tell Yas and she burst out in tears. We both read the email again to make sure it was saying what we thought it was saying. We then called all the parents and told them that I had passed. Everyone was so relieved and excited to hear the news. We spent the day celebrating by going to some foodie spots in Wynwood and going on a boat tour in Biscayne, and, of course, our Tuesday discount movie date night.

biscayne boat cruise

I can honestly say that the past seven months have been a humbling journey. From taking the Becker course for eight weeks (total bust in my opinion, as Yas has probably discussed), to moving to Miami and staying 5 months longer than anticipated. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I can bounce back. I learned to not compare myself to others and to focus on the end goal. I also learned to never give up, even when faced with failure over and over again. If its something worth having, its worth working for, because that feeling of succeeding is like no other.

WE CAN RELATE…

I want to thank you all for your time and letting me do this blog take over. I hope that this is of help to some of y’all. We both understand the unrelenting pressure that comes with being a Caribbean med student, taking and passing the comprehensive exam with a limited number of attempts, and having no financial stability during the dedicated study period. We to feel the stress and anxiety that has resulted after the hurricane-the constant relocation while still striving to pass. We know how hard it is to try and flourish in a relationship while maintaining the majority of your focus on studying. The purpose of this blog is to connect with people like us by telling our stories honestly.

Do you need help creating an effective study schedule? Do you just need someone to talk to who understands the struggle?

PLEASE REACH OUT TO EITHER YASMINE OR I ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR IN THE CONTACT FORM BELOW

 

July has started out as a fun filled and BUSY month. We spent July 4-9 traveling to Austin for a few days and then to Denver. We were productive, we partied, we planned and we celebrated with all of our family and friends.

Our First Stop- Austin

Departure: 6:20 am Fort Lauderdale- Austin

            Wednesday July 4th– Saturday July 7th

We arrived in Austin on the fourth of July. We have not been in the USA to celebrate the 4th since 2015, because the past two years we were in Dominica. We were so excited to actually have plans with family and friends! We went on a party boat cruising through Lake Travis where we barbecued and partied while watching the fireworks shows all around the lake’s perimeter. We got home pretty late that night since the boat party ended around 12 am. We fell right asleep and had to wake up bright and early for our full day of wedding planning meetings.

Our schedule for the day was back to back appointments with florists, caterers and bakers from 10 am to 6 pm. We brought Jordan (Denzel’s little brother) along and met our wonderful wedding planner, Ally, at the florist appointment. HOLY COW you would not believe how many decisions you have to make at a florist. We have Pinterest-ed our wedding ideas for a while now and honestly, we were not prepared for all the choices we needed to make for our day. In retrospect, I wish I would’ve made individual Pinterest boards for each category of wedding planning to make it simpler when I attended appointments. Anyway, after a long conversation, Denzel and I finally felt like all the pieces we love finally fit together in one cohesive vision. I left feeling excited for what the décor would look like on our wedding day while I think the guys left more excited for our next appointment which was a bakery.

I hate cake. Ill just tell you that now, because trying 5-10 cake flavors and just as many frosting and filling combinations was not as pleasant as it sounds. I did not like any of the cakes or combinations from our first appointment so I was afraid at that point that we would have to end up going for a typical flavor and frosting combo which I did not want to do. Thankfully our next appointment was life changing. Our third appointment was with a caterer that also had a bakery. We tried many different appetizer, entree and cake options to choose a menu for our wedding. Denzel and I had a goal to pick wedding food that was unique and delicious, so we were over the moon with happiness after tasting this caterer’s food. We picked our menu and I even picked a wedding cake that I LOVED (I told you, life changing).

After our tasting, we rolled our stuffed selves out to the car and went and picked our linens for the wedding. That was easy since we just had to channel our colors and the décor we picked with the florist. We then went to an appointment with another florist and at that point we were so exhausted we could barely make it through explaining our entire vision again with a different person. As you meet multiple vendors, you just know when you have met the right one as a couple. Some vendors just get your vibe and personality without having to try too hard. We have been lucky to find vendors we really enjoy and mesh with. Friday we had one more catering appointment. It was very different from the first tasting, even though we chose a similar menu to try.

Overall, after all of the appointments we were 100% certain as to which vendors we would be selecting. We have been planning away for our wedding that is now in less than a year! Can you believe it?! It has honestly been a blast making decisions for our big day. Like many ladies, I have been looking forward to my wedding day since I was young and seeing it all come together has been a blessing.

Friday night we attended the wedding of one of Denzel’s cousins. Denzel was a groomsman so it was an experience seeing him all dressed up standing up by his cousin at the alter. It made me think about what our wedding day will be like. Because of this I, of course, shed quite a few tears through the ceremony. We had a great time dancing the night away with his family.

 

Our Second Stop- Denver

Departure: 6:20 am Austin-Denver

  Saturday July 7th– Monday July 9th

After three days of busy plans and parties, we were depleted. We arrived at 7:30 am in Denver and headed straight to the store to pick up a few things for our engagement party that night. Just after we got home, Nam (my good friend from medical school) arrived at the house. Denzel was so tired he went to take a nap- it ended up being a 5-hour nap!! Nam and I put together the bridesmaid’s proposal boxes for the party. It took us the majority of the day, because we were catching up and had to run to the store one more time. It got closer to party time and we all got ready to go.

When we arrived, my mom had set up the clubhouse with Middle Eastern Themed décor, food, and deserts. It was so cute! Soon after, all of our friends and family started arriving and from there it was just a busy night of hello’s, hugs, happy tears, and picture taking. Denzel got to meet the rest of the family friends he had not met previously. His family also came from Austin and had the chance to meet everyone as well. I “proposed” to my bridesmaids who could attend that day and enjoyed the night with everyone (check out Shop Shannon Sweeney). After the party ended, a group of us went out to Denver and had a blast dancing and singing all night long. We finally got home at 3 am exhausted, but we were all so happy to be spending time together.

The next morning (Sunday), about 14 of our friends, Denzel and I planned to go white water rafting in Idaho Springs which is up close to the mountains. Only three of us had done it before, so everyone was ready to try something new. We split up into a few different rafts, got our lifejackets and helmets on and had a great time rafting down the Upper Clear Creek river. Before we got in the river, the raft guides said “someone’s raft is bound to flip over”. And that raft was ours people. All seven of us toppled on top of each other under the rapids after the biggest fall on the stretch. Paddles and all, it was a pile up of chaos. After the initial shock of falling into the cold water, we swam to the edge of the river and got back into our tube. We walked away with one battle bruise (Yexica y’all), a few scrapes and soaking wet clothes, but mostly with laughs. We boarded back onto our boat, finished the stretch, and had lunch together at Beau Jo’s Pizza.

rafting

When we got home that night, we were exhausted! We looked through all the photos from the weekend and relaxed. Monday we headed back home to Miami in the afternoon, not quite ready to leave our family and friends, but ready to get back to studying.