Hello! My name is Ajibike and I am finishing up my first year of general pediatrics residency in Philadelphia. For those of you who aren’t well-versed in the medical field: I completed medical school and I am now specializing in pediatrics. Ultimately (this is many years down the line) I hope to combine my interest in global health and oncology and create a career in global health oncology. I’m Nigerian-American and I hope to find a way to decrease the disparities in oncological care in the Global South.
The past few years of medical school and this soon-to-conclude year of residency have not been without challenges. The challenges related to the academic/professional component go without saying: the hours in the library/hospital, the emotional burden as caregiver, the stress of standing at the intersection of life-and-death. The unspoken and less oft mentioned challenge: the guilt associated with efforts to maintain wellness.
Over the past year, I have spent around 80 hours a week in the hospital: advocating for patients, learning from my patients, and walking alongside my patients on their journey to improved health. Unsurprisingly, most days I am less than glamorous - frequently in scrubs or business casual. I typically run home, climb into leggings, and begrudgingly head to the gym in my apartment complex.
On social media (Instagram: @stilettosplusstethoscopes), I frequently share stories when I enter or leave the gym. The time stamps are absolutely absurd. 3:45 AM on days when I anticipate a 6 AM - 8 PM work day or 8:00 PM if I happen to leave the hospital on the earlier end. The response I receive most frequently is not why but how. More specifically, “how do you find the motivation to maintain a regular workout routine during residency.”
The answer is three-fold:
1. In healthcare and other fields where your craft is to prioritize the needs of others, it is incredibly easy to forget your own needs and importance. It is important, dare-I-say essential, to maintain hobbies and interest outside of work that remind you that you are human first and your career second. The four-six scheduled workouts per week serve as a reminder that I matter and that I deserve to have time for myself.
2. I have a long-time relationship with the gym as an ex-varsity athlete. I find the gym to be the best space for me to channel frustration or irritation in an appropriate.
3. The clothes! I swear that a new set of athletic apparel is the ultimate motivation.
I am beyond obsessed with the shirts I received from EnterAction apparel and even more obsessed with the brand’s mantra and positivity. I look forward to continuing to grow my collection and growing stronger, physically, mentally, and emotionally.