A Day in the Life of a PGY-1 Resident
My parents moved to the U.S. from the land presently known as Nigeria and after an appropriately short stint in Iowa (no offense to readers from Iowa!), they gave birth to me and my twin brother in south Florida and raised us along with my older and younger sisters in Miami. I was brought up around people with diasporic ties quite literally all over the world, namely the Caribbean, the Americas, Africa, and folx whose knowledge of their roots seemingly begin in the United States due to colonialism and the institution of slavery. Every day of my younger life served as evidence that monoliths were things of fairytales and deployed by people with harmful intentions to divide and limit humanity’s ability to love one another. Growing up I would also bear witness to the structurally disproportionate mental and physical health assaults Black people and other minoritized individuals faced and from a young age I always wanted to help ameliorate that. Charging through years of schooling and being radicalized by life along the way, I arrived at psychiatry late in medical school after dramatically leaving surgery. Although psychiatry, like the rest of western medicine, is FAR from perfect, through it I saw the most optimal space for me to continue to bear witness to injustice’s harrowing effects on one’s mind and personhood. Through it I could also facilitate love-centered healing for individuals while advocating for a better and more loving world for humanity as a collective.
Why I Chose Yale
When it became time to apply to residency, I longed for a space where I could build community with friends and colleagues who were also deeply invested in imagining, creating, and participating in whole-person as well as community healing and many of the residents at Yale Psychiatry were on that same wave. I also wanted a space that gave me the time and flexibility to think about and begin to operationalize being a physician-healer which is where the uniqueness of PREP, CASE, and flexibility of third and especially fourth year come in. Lastly, Yale Psychiatry is also a space with a diverse, tightly knit, and passionate group of psychiatry residents and as a Black person I really wanted to be in a space where I got to train and be in community with other Black people as well as folx from all walks of life and identity. Don’t get it twisted though, representation alone is not liberation but the group of residents here are truly special and for me have quickly become lifelong friends and coconspirators.
I’m about halfway through intern year and have done two months each in internal medicine, neurology, and adolescent psychiatry. Right now, I’m on my 3-month adult psychiatry rotation at the West Haven VA. I’m a morning person and emerging habits guy so typically I wake up early enough to journal, meditate, hit the morning skin care routine, and make breakfast. After that, I’ll get dressed for work, hop in my car to pick up my good friend and co-resident Terrance Embry, and ride out to get to the VA by 8AM. We’ll get sign-out on our patients, follow-up with each of them, and/or see any new patients who are being admitted to our unit. Throughout the day we touch base with the attendings on the unit to discuss our patients’ care as well as call to speak with and update loved ones, make consults, attend supervision, and work with the interdisciplinary staff on the unit. We also meet for lunch every other week with our diversity chiefs to discuss and address our needs as well as just kick it and enjoy a free meal from one of the local restaurants in town! The day ends around 4PM and after signing-out my patients to the evening providers, I head home to read, write, chef it up, hit the gym, kick it with my plants, hangout with friends, or spontaneously ride out to a concert or fun event. As interns we have 11 psych ED short-call shifts from 5:30-9:30 pm spread out during our 5 months of clinical psychiatry rotations so if I have one of those, I head to Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) to evaluate 1-2 patients in the ED after work.
Where I Live
I live in a plant-, food-, and music-filled apartment on the edge of downtown and across the street from Wooster Square. A solid location because YNHH and the Yale Psychiatric Hospital are a 15-minute walk away (10 minutes for me because I walk at a New Yorker pace and have ridiculously long legs), and it is close to popular restaurants, bars, and the train in case you want a quick getaway. My co-residents live in different parts of town and all of them also are happy in their spaces so if it looks like New Haven will soon be your new place of residence, definitely explore your options and be sure to ask around!
My Favorite Things to do In/Around New Haven
I won’t lie, growing up in Miami and then spending the last five years in New York City, I was a pretty wary about making the move to the much smaller city of New Haven but so far it has exceeded my expectations! What truly makes it for me are the people; ranging from my super dope co-residents to the other wonderful Yale- and non-Yale-affiliated folx I have met. You’ll hear plenty about pizza, so I’ll save you another power ranking (*whispers: the honeypot at Da Legna at Nolo is A1*), but I really appreciate the nature (beaches, trails, hikes), Elm City Sounds which has probably one of the best record collections I’ve seen, and the solid food, drink, and dancing spots around town. I’m slowly getting plugged into some community organizing spaces with co-residents as well. My favorite community space is a local Black-owned bookstore called People Get Ready which also hosts several events for folx in the New Haven community. Lastly, I’m still a city boy through and through though so from time to time you can catch me taking the super convenient metro north train down to NYC solo or with some of my New Haven homies to go to concerts or events in the city. Even as an intern I feel like there’s plenty of time to be well rested, on top of clinical responsibilities, and being “outside” (fully vaxxed, boosted, and COVID negative, of course) as the kids these days say.
The ~Match~ can be very stressful so just do the best you can, have honest conversations, and try to enjoy the time before residency as much as possible. While I’m rooting for you to join me and homies here in New Haven, there are really so many wonderful places to learn psychiatry and I’m hyped that you’re joining the best field. Please hit my line if you have any more questions about Yale!