Year in Review: 50 Questions to Reflect, Appreciate and Get Excited for 2015

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” 
― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Now that the fireworks have been lit, and all Junkanoo groups got to show their stuff as they made their one lap around Bay and Shirley Streets, the New Year has begun! I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday with friends and family.

I found the following questions at Barefoot Whispers and decided to reflect on my year and to relive some of the moments for a while.

A Look at 2014

1. What one big event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? 
Earlier in the year, I experienced just about every emotion possible, and was tried during that second semester or medical school. I would say that during that time, I learned the importance of prayer and saw God answer the simplest of prayers I prayed. So I would definitely tell them about the power and importance of prayer not just when things are bad or you're being tried, but when things are right as well. 

2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be? 
Trials, tears and prayers

3. What new things did you discover about yourself?
I realized that I can't function fully if my surroundings are in a mess. I could be in the room, at my desk studying, but because I saw the kitchen with dishes in the sink that need to be cleaned (and it could be 1 cup), I wouldn't concentrate on my work until it was cleaned. I didn't realize how emotional I've become either, there were many times that I found myself overwhelmed with joy especially when a friend sent me a care package filled with all sorts of goodies. 

4. What single achievement are you most proud of?
After the trials of last semester and the summer, I can say that I got more consistent with my academic studies and I read my Bible daily.

5. What was the best news you received?
Well, there were multiple but the two that stand out most are 1. learning that I would advance to second year of med and 2. that I won the Step 1 Question Based Integration Live Online course simply by attending a webinar. That was great news as their courses aren't cheap but are worth every penny!

6. What was your favorite place that you visited in 2014?
Mt. St. Benedict. This is also when I realized that in order to stay sane, I need to take short day-trips of sorts exploring nature and reconnecting with God and resetting my mind, otherwise I can be quite the grouch. This place was simply stunning. The view of Trinidad from the mount allowed me to realize that every so often we all need to take a step back and examine the bigger picture.

7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? 
My determination.

8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
Can it be more than 1? Well during the semester it was definitely my two Bahamian friends Ms. Freeport and Ms. Andros, during the summer it was a friend of mine who motivated me and encouraged me who could relate to what I was going through Ms. India, and through everything it was teampena for sure.

9. Which new skills did you learn? 
How to prioritize and how to weigh pros and cons and needs and wants.

10. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
I'm thankful for the Lord and answering my prayers this year and providing for my family and just opening doors that I couldn't even fathom. Also for relationships formed throughout the semester and for friends who I was able to stay connected to via What's app. I mean where would we be without What'sapp? 

11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else? 
Oh boy! It probably would have started off as a love story with a little suspense throughout.

12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?
That obstacles, doubters, room for mistakes to occur and for improvement but with hard work, dedication and prayer, all things are possible.

13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
Making excuses, getting things done regardless of the state of my dresser drawer and maintaining a positive attitude as much as possible because if you allow negativity to grow it wipes away all forms of joy that you may possess.

14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? 
Well once upon a time this would be easy peasy to answer, however my crowd has gotten smaller, and whenever we're together it's always amazing. I would definitely say Ms. Monique and Mrs. S via What'sapp and Mrs. M also via what'sapp and teampena.

15. What was your biggest break-through moment career wise?
That a-ha moment when I was studying for CNS and the spinal tracts made sense, I literally screamed in excitement. I just can't wait until the lesions all come together like that. 

16. How did your relationship to your family evolve? 
Our communication improved. Since I'm heavily dependent upon my family now that I've returned to school, I had to learn how to discuss things that would affect my finances etc with them. So now openly communicating with them has improved and is still a work in progress.

17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? 
I haven't read too much or watched a lot of new movies but what has really impacted me in 2014 was:

Book: The book of Job. I must have reflected on how he was tested and how everything was taken away and yet he still had faith! I want to have faith as strong as Job. 

Movie: The Fault in our Stars. Such a tear-jerker! I won't say anything more. Go watch it and have a box of Kleenex handy. 

18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year? I don't pay particular attention to compliments, I can't really recall any favorite compliments but a day ago it did make my day when I was able to discuss a case and hear the difference in lung sounds of a patient we saw. It made me happy to know that the Dr. I was shadowing was pleased to know that I was actively learning and not simply shadowing just because. 

19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Morning devotions, my trips to Rituals for a cup of chai latte, making dinner for teampena, grocery shopping, Sabbath's and listening to the praise team sing, studying with my 8tracks playlist in the background, my what'sapp messages from friends, daily emails from Ms. Monique, and teampena's hugs.

20. What cool things did you create this year? 
I started painting and made 3 paintings all for friends although only one actually received theirs, made a really nice banana bread (this recipe is a keeper for sure) and a face mask that made my face extra soft and gave me a little glow.

21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
Confused. There were too many times when I just didn't know what was going on or how to feel. 

22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? 
I started my blog! 

23. What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
Eating pizza, fried eggplant with chutney and washing it down with water and ensure and trying to study for spotter.

24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
Being more involved as a student, and I was able to sign up for a mentor and volunteer during the summer at church with VBS which allowed me to become more familiar with the members of the church. 

25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
My housing situation.

26. What experience would you love to do all over again? 
Learning how to make Trinidadian dishes from teampena's mom and aunt and just being surrounded by their dialect and being able to comprehend 75% of what was being said since their accent is quite strong. 

27. What was the best gift you received? 
I got quite a few gifts, and I consider them all good...the care package was expected and very thoughtful and came in handy and allowed me to pamper myself which I don't really do often, teampena treated me to a haircut and treatment (he picked up on my cries for a treatment apparently), my little study tortoise I got for my b/day, and the voucher I won from Crysande's Spa and Salon. 

28. How did your overall outlook evolve? 
Well, I became more honest with myself about my goals and my studying and as a result, I was able to change some things and improve a bit. 

29. What was the biggest problem you solved?
Roommates and challenges I've faced with them throughout the year and why. It all boils down to the fact that I expect shared spaces to be clean and left clean for the enjoyment of others and I believe that should go without saying. I was able to learn that not everyone thinks that way and therefore I shouldn't expect things without voicing my expectations.

30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
Teampena's muscle man poses whenever he comes from the gym. Oh the monkey capers!

31. What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? 
My pair of leggings and cheap oxfords!

32. What one thing would you do differently and why? 
Structured my studying differently and procrastinated less with working on my PBL problems. Maybe if I didn't procrastinated on PBL I could have investigated the problem differently and came up with differential diagnoses that would have made my studying more beneficial. When studying material that wasn't covered in lecture just PBL,I found myself having to work twice as hard because I didn't comprehend as much on the problems where I didn't prepare properly and it made it harder to put things together. 

33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for? 
For making an more honest effort to improve academically and to continue to help others without expecting anything in return. 

34. What activities made you lose track of time? 
Pinterest and Facebook.

35. What did you think about more than anything else?
How to stick to a routine and get in some exercise time.

36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Respiration. It was covered in about 5 weeks, but it's so intricate and vital and easily bypassed. 

37. What new habits did you cultivate? 
Making breakfast that consisted of 4 egg whites, 1 egg yolk, toast and chai, setting time aside to blog and checking in via what'sapp with my friends. 

38. What advice would you give your early 2014 self if you could? 
Do your best to stick to your "to-do" list as you will get it all done and if you don't you'll end up distracted and wasting precious time. Continue to learn to say no when you know that you really can't take on anything else, and learn that people will come up with an alternative way of getting things done. 

39. Did any parts of yourself or your life do a complete 180 this year? 
I didn't work out as much once summer rolled around, so I got really sluggish and I don't like that at all, but I got to work on new study techniques.

40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? 
My brother and Ms. Monique and Mrs. S! These folks kept it real and maintained positive even when I just kept on complaining. 

Now to 2015

41. What do you want the overaching theme for your 2015 to be?
Persistence. Persistence in my learning, my spiritual, physical, mental and emotional growth, to persist on improving my relationships with others and my encounters with my peers and learning how to be slow to speak, swift to listen and slow to anger.

42. What do you want to see, discover, explore?

See: Asa Wright Nature Centre

Discover: The hype of going "down the islands"

Explore: The history that can be found in the National Museum, Trinidad

43. Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?

44. What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

Learn: Watercolor painting

Improve: Calligraphy, history taking and Cardiovascular and Abdominal Examination

Master: Effective communication with peers and patients.

45. Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? 

46. What do you want your everyday life to be like? 
Balanced! I was craving for balance last year and I would like for there to be a balance between school life, love life, volunteer life and family life. 

47. Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?  
I'd like to cultivate a habit of consistency in everything that I do and annihilate that habit of procrastination and doubt. 

48. What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I'd like for my independent skills review group to improve and to accomplish everything we set out to do in a review session, to actively learn and to ask more questions that would foster the habit of investigative learning and digging below the surface of lecture notes and reading assignments. 

49. How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? 
I want it to be the year where I limits were pushed, academically I achieved and learned a lot and I quite making excuses and experienced life without the strings. 

50. What is your number one goal for 2015?
In everything that I put my hand to do, to be so good, that I can't and won't be ignored. 

How was 2014 for you? What are your goals for 2015? I'd love to hear your answers to the above questions and read more about your year. 

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