End of Residency

So that’s that, the end of residency. There’s no one word that can describe the last three years. Residency had been challenging, no doubt, with a steep learning curve, long work hours, and long board exams to study for. Throw two kids in the mix, balancing work and family life has made the experience a little more interesting.

However, there was no time that I felt unsupported. I am thankful for my attendings and colleagues who have welcomed me to this residency program, believed in my potential, and guided me to reach my goals. Not only do they have super smart brains to pick, but also lots of collective years of experience and wisdom to guide us in our career as family physicians.

Receiving my graduation recognition from my attendings.

Receiving my graduation recognition from my attendings at my program.

Our team finally won the Benjamin cup this year!

Our team finally won the Benjamin cup this year!

Our class thanking our program director and coordinators. We couldn't have made it without them!

Our class thanking our program director and coordinators. We couldn’t have made it without them!

Receiving the Shellenberg Award. Didn't expect that!

Receiving the Shellenberg Award. Didn’t expect that!

I am thankful to have co-residents who have made all those night floats and 24 hour calls as smooth as anyone can hope for, and even a pleasant experience. We step up to cover each other when we get sick or have family matters to attend to. My co-residents have been our friends, and the first people we call whenever we want to hang out, have dinner or get-togethers, have kids play dates,  or a work-out partner. We include each other in our weddings, baby showers, and other important life events. I will truly miss the individuals I have grown a relationship with during the last three years.

The graduating class

The graduating class

My family has been my core support, and a big reason why I am here today in Macon, as a family physician. Living five minutes from my parents have been amazing. Prior to residency, I had lived away from home for 12 years, my educational journey taking me from St. Louis for undergrad, to Athens (Georgia) for post-bacc and research, and St. Maarten, Miami, New York, Gainesville (Florida), and the United Kingdom for medical school. Now, with my parents just down the street, my daughters can grow up having a relationship with their grandparents. Irene’s parents are not too far either, in Valdosta, just 2 hours from here. And Irene’s sister, with her two kids, are just an hour north in Atlanta. My dad, as a physician, has also been a part of Irene’s and my growth in medicine. My mom provides us with childrearing tips and of course, fresh vegetables from her garden. And then of course my wife Irene has been the best partner in crime I can ever have, and has made this journey even more meaningful.

Celebrating with my family after finding out I passed the Family Medicine Board Exam

Celebrating with my family after finding out I passed the Family Medicine Board Exam

A drink with dad

A drink with dad

My graduation was a great excuse for Irene and my families to come together from all over.

My graduation was a great excuse for Irene and my families to come together from all over.

Could not have done it without my partner in crime!

Could not have done it without my partner in crime!

And not to forget, there are my patients, who had been the brick and mortar in my training to become a family physician. I have patients who I have delivered, advised on important health decisions, and given comfort at the end of life. I have given good news, and I have given bad news. I have grown a lot, not only in my medical knowledge or clinical skills, but in my ability to treat the whole person and not just the disease.

Lots of things have happened in the last three years. When we first started off intern year, Irene and I were new parents, and Lyra was just 2 months old. We rented an apartment in North Macon. I had just graduated from medical school at AUC. I was 195 lbs and had a head with a decent amount of hair. Today, Irene and I are now parents of two daughters – Lyra is now 3 years old and running all over the place, and ordering us to do things; and Aria is 9 months old and growing teeth and will eat anything if you are not paying attention. I’ve lost about 20 lbs and part of that is from my balding hair. I passed USMLE step 3 on the first try. I got my Georgia license, my DEA, and got to moonlight during residency. I passed my ABFM family medicine board exam prior to finishing residency and graduated on time with my fellow residents. I can’t ask for more during these three years.

My daughter Lyra came up stage to bring me flowers

My daughter Lyra came up stage to bring me flowers

So sweet.

So sweet.

What’s the next chapter in the Gung-Ho story? Irene and I will be starting our own private outpatient family practice in Macon. My dad will be retiring from outpatient pediatrics and we will be taking over his practice and changing it to family medicine. We are grateful to him for this. We will see both kids and adults. I’m looking forward to working with Irene and starting this venture together. More to come!

Irene threw me a graduation party - lots of yummy food.

Irene threw me a graduation party – lots of yummy food.

and carrot cake!

and carrot cake!

Me and all my nieces and nephews.

Me and all my nieces and nephews.

The Ho bros

The Ho bros

Sometime between the first and last day, I decided to ditch the white coat... I was never good at ironing that thing anyway...

Sometime between the first and last day, I decided to ditch the white coat… I was never good at ironing that thing anyway…

Graduation photos courtesy of Navicent Health.

Staying Fit in Medical School

2017-03-20 15.49.30 A few months back, I received a question from a blog reader concerning staying fit during medical school. Jonathan writes: “Benji, I have some questions regarding maintaining overall health and fitness during medical school, something which you obviously appear to have done. What did you personally do and what advice would you give to incoming students? Was there a specific training…

Happy to Announce…

Our first photo together as a family of four A little over a week ago, I wanted to give yall an update that I have just been granted my full license to practice medicine in Georgia by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. I was going to talk about how licensure was a lengthy process that requires successful completion of all three United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE), as well as…

About the USMLE

Prometric Center where I took the USMLE Step 3 What is the USMLE? In order to apply for licensure to practice medicine in the states, one must complete the United States Medical Licensing Exam, also known as the USMLE. The USMLE is not one exam, but several, taken as a series of exams over the course of med school and residency.  There are four exams, divided into…

Beginning of the End

Ho Family And just like that, there goes another year of residency. Every July 1, all around the US, hospitals start seeing a new set of faces taking care of patients, working with the rest of the staff. They are the new doctors, the interns. That same day, the previous interns also take their role as the new second-year residents, and the…

An Exciting Day

AUC Benji_0244 Do you remember when you were a kid and wondered what you will be when you grew up? Well, today is that special day when many of my medical colleagues find out. It’s Match Day! Congratulations to all those who matched this year. I am truly impressed by the matches AUC graduates have placed this year. Going through my Facebook, I…

Why Family Medicine?

IMG_2915.JPG My Family Why Family Medicine? It is a very satisfying field, particularly if you love building relationships with patients and their families. I’ve gotten to treat both parents and their kids. I’ve even got to take care of a pregnant woman, deliver her baby, then take care of both her newborn and herself post-partum. The range of practice is wide,…

End of Intern Year

IMG_7213 High Falls, Georgia with my co-residents. So it’s come to this day, the end of internship year. There’s no doubt that there were some rough days and sleepless nights during the past 365 days, but there were also many days when I came home with a smile knowing I did something significant for someone else. As for my co-residents, I have really…

Return to the Caribbean

Our ship The last time I saw the Caribbean was the day I hauled my bags to the airport and flew away from St. Maarten where I had been living for two years for Basic Sciences, to move back to the states to start my clinical rotations. That was in the fall of 2011. It wasn’t until nearly four years later, this past month,…

Dos and Don’ts for Residency Application and Interview

MCCG_Main_Tower_300_225.JPG It’s that time of the year again… interview season. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was interviewing here and meeting my current colleagues for the first time. Today, I find myself on the other side of the dinner table, interviewing candidates who I will potentially work with next year. I’ve gotten to read many applications, and met many interviewees, and…

Hobby

IMG_5746-0.JPG Hey folks, I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I am still here, surviving my intern year. Residency has been pretty busy thus far, but there hasn’t been a day gone by where I haven’t come home feeling I’ve had a productive day. My intern experience thus far has been pretty inpatient-heavy. I’ve had two months of internal medicine…

45 Thoughts Running Through My Head During Match Season

IMG_2667 It’s that time of year again, when all medical students who are transitioning into doctors go through a rite of passage called the Match season. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I went through mine. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been on this side of the Match, and already,  I will be interviewing applicants like…

How to Dress for a Residency Interview

Business Professional During the residency interview, it’s important to dress to impress. While you can act and speak professionally, wearing jeans or a mini skirt to an interview can ruin the program’s impression of you. For every interview you go to, it’s important to bring two types of outfits:
  • Business Casual – to wear to the dinner with residents the night before interview.
  • Back Burner

    Dr. and PA Ho With rounds, daily progress notes, grand rounds, afternoon clinics, day calls, night calls, morning reports, presentations, and teaching sessions, there are several things that had to be put on the back burner these past two months into residency, and blogging happened to be one of them, as you’ve probably noticed from my hiatus. Morning after a night call The other…

    Learning Curve

    View from the Medical Center There’s so much I wanted to write about, like my experience during orientation, my first day of residency, Lyra’s 3rd month “birthday,” my first overnight on-call shift as a resident physician, my first paracentesis, and my struggles finding my way around the hospital system. However, it’s been 4 weeks since I started orientation and 2 weeks since I starting seeing patients,…

    New Home, New Family, New Career

    10483920_10100889962460353_228427512_n So we packed up the U-Haul, buckled Lyra into her carseat, and made the move north to my hometown of Macon where I am starting my new career as a family medicine resident physician. Seeing where all my other classmates have matched for residency, this 2.5 hour move from Irene’s hometown of Valdosta to Macon is a relatively easy one I’d say. Getting…

    Friendship

    Chris, Arif, and me at High Falls. Me, Chris, and Arif as Anatomy TAs at AUC in 2010. Earlier this month, my good friends from med school, Arif and Chris, drove down to visit Irene, Lyra, and me here in Georgia. Chris was coming from  his pathology residency up in Pennsylvania and Arif was coming from his surgery program up in New York, so it was a lot of driving on their…

    2014 Commencement Ceremony

    Congratulations to the class of 2010!! There are more than 150 graduates this year. This picture shows the new graduates who attended the second session. This year’s graduation ceremony is finally here and I’ve waited a long time for this. This is the time when we all celebrate the culmination of the last four years and the beginning of our career in medicine. We recite the Hippocratic Oath (or at least the modern version that does not reference Apollo), and profess ourselves to do no harm.…

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    IMG_3055 I remember when we were pre-med students, we looked up to those who were already in med school and thought that their life was smooth sailing. Then once we proudly got into med school, we became “firsties” and looked up admirably to the fifth semester honor students as they walked across the stage during white coat ceremony, having their words of…

    Three Mothers and Their Children

    Three mothers and their children - L to R - April, Leah, and Irene Ho. Three mothers and their children – L to R – April, Leah, and Irene Ho. Dear Mom,
    Ever since I became a parent, I appreciate more than ever the patience, dedication, and sacrifice that you made in your life to raise us to become the individuals we are today. Being a mom is not easy, especially to four boys. You taught us…
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