2019 Year In Review

2019 had its challenges but it has been the best year of my life yet. I accomplished everything I wanted to, and then some. I pushed myself and had a lot of “wow, can’t believe I did that” moments. It was an amazing year of growth, risk-taking and change. Adventures from Elle turns three today too and 2019 has also been my blog’s best year ever, tripling last year’s views and engagement. πŸŽ‰ I’m all for reflecting at the end of the year so read on for a succinct recap of our 2019.

January

loversleap-adventuresfromelle
Lovers’ Leap. Show me where the sea ends and the sky starts.

I began 2019 at home with my family, grateful that I’ve made it to another year, one which promised to be challenging but exciting. I had my first ghostwriting gig, a short but exciting project which involved a chauffeured trip to St. Elizabeth. I managed patients for the first time on my own in an inner-city community clinic on my community health rotation. I also began the year with a rewarding three-week social media cleanse (was to be four weeks, but life happened).

YS Falls
YS Falls
loversleap-sunsetting
Lovers’ Leap

February

Sagicor sigma run 2019
Start line at the Sigma 5K

I began my final medical school clerkship. It stood between me and sitting the MBBS exams (exit exams for medical schools in Britain and the Commonwealth). I enjoyed that clerkship (senior surgery) immensely. However, it was some time here that my burnout began and it peaked in subsequent months. On a brighter note, I signed up for and completed the Caribbean’s largest race, the Sagicor SIGMA 5.5K. My goal is to run a 5K in under 30 minutes one day, but those extra 500m weren’t helping to make this dream possible.

March

20190316_232603
Buju Banton at the LWTF concert in Kingston, March 16

My boyfriend won us 2 VIP tickets to Long Walk to Freedom, Buju Banton’s first concert in a decade! This was the most anticipated event in Kingston for 2019. It was definitely something for the history books and ranks high in my top ten 2019 experiences. It was my first time seeing Chronixx perform live too and I’m a huge fan. You can read the concert recap here.

20190316_224235

I visited Jamaica’s second city for the first time. The reason was educational since I was rotating at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, but I made time for exploring. I even discovered an empty free beach across from the Falmouth Hospital one evening.

I had a great Nigerian roommate in Montego Bay whose jollof rice I still remember. πŸ˜‹ I bought the Adventures from Elle domain this month too and made some site upgrades. πŸŽ‰ However, I was constantly stressed, anxious, exhausted and comfort eating to cope (again πŸ˜”). I was a mess but only those closest to me knew and felt the effects of my emotional lability. I went ahead and did a proper workup for my symptoms but all came back normal. The doctor from my university health centre told me what I was afraid to hear: burnout, and there’s only one cure for that– not something a student less than two months away from finals at the end of 5 years in medical school wants to hear. What was scary is I scarcely had any motivation left to study and my attention span was dwindling.

montego bay civic centre
Finding this place & the Due West art exhibit unexpectedly on my way home from school brought such great joy!
elle at national museum west

April

20190414_163150
An afternoon’s break from studying at Hope Botanical Gardens

The dreaded MBBS exams loomed closer. In retrospect, they weren’t really that bad– everything we learnt in the five years was preparing us for this final test. Most of the stress just comes from the high stakes, plus thinking and talking under pressure before a panel is nervewracking. Failing means minimum 6 months till you have a shot of resitting and becoming a doctor, even though you’ve already completed all the required courses. You’re also only allowed to sit MBBS three times. Ever.

May

May 6 arrived and the month-long exams began. I probably prayed more in this month and next than any other month of the year. I prayed for the questions I left blank and to forget the mistakes I made so I could move on and prepare for the next challenge. However, I took some time off to enjoy an all-you-can-eat family brunch on Mother’s Day. The food was excellent and Mom was happy.

June

boston beach portland
Boston Beach

Now this is a month to talk about! Exams ended on June 4. They stretch on that long because my university is a regional one and the same panel of examiners moves across our 4 campuses to ensure quality control of the objectively structured clinical exams (OSCE). I literally felt a weight come off my shoulders and that persistent fatigue and intermittent sadness since around March just vanished. I’m so grateful I was able to push till the finish line. I was ready to get back to enjoying life, going to an after-party put on by our medical association, then a trip to Boston Beach and Reach Falls the day after. It was my first time having jerk at Boston, the mecca of Jamaican jerk centres. I’m still so thrilled by this adventure!

I had a great family trip to Puerto Seco Beach as well before the nerve-wracking results day. But guess what? Your girl passed everything and she did with honours in obstetrics and gynaecology! While it may not be a future career path, I’m just so happy to have received honours in a MBBS exam.

IMG_20190614_213223_612

The world had better be ready for Dr. Knight!

The high from realizing this childhood dream and closing a 5 year chapter of my life soon wore off as I had to get ready for internship, my first real job. A lot of adulting took place in 2 weeks and led me all over the place running errands and sorting out paperwork. My hospital placement involved a move and doing adult things like getting an electricity meter. I still squeezed in time for one last day trip though through Portland, got to try some fruits which only grow in this altitude of the country and really had a blast. I’d bottle the Blue Mountain air and breathe it every day of my life if I could. I also got my first sports medal ever! Err.. it might have been a medal for participation in a 5K but that counts. πŸ™ƒ

July

20191106_173854

July 1 marks the start of my internship. I had the same knowledge as a final year student but with newfound responsibility and expectations. Things were rough in week one but I surprised myself by how quickly my confidence, skills and knowledge grew. You have to project more confidence and assertiveness than you actually have initially. And man, not even the best of medical schools can prepare you for the things being a doctor will throw at you. Lack of sleep and hunger became constant companions as ten to twelve 32 and 48 hour shifts per month became the norm, but I really had a great team which made my first three months bearable. (Internship has four 3-month rotations). I also paid my first utility bills and bought my first home appliance. How adult!

August

Fertility spirit UWI
Fertility Spirit, a large welded sculpture on my university campus I’d never noticed before.

I went ziplining for the first time this month and it was great. My blog set a new record this month with 7,521 views and 4,930 visitors! I also wrote a blog post which took time to research and is one I’m pretty proud of and passionate about. It got mixed reviews but became August’s most read article. Besides that, August was pretty uneventful.

September

Birthday weekend 2019
My birthday weekend

I turned 24 this month and if you think I spent the day at a waterfall or beach somewhere, you thought wrong. I took the day off work, got my first ever professional facial (great experience, 10/10 recommend), had lunch at one of my favourite restaurants then spent the rest of the day relaxing and reflecting on all the growth I made in a year. That’s exactly how I wanted it. Life has been really chaotic so it was great to have a day of doing nothing.

Slowing down is important.

My boyfriend gifted me a weekend at Holiday Inn, a family-friendly resort which is great for couples too, and just like LWTF in March, this ranks among my year’s top five experiences. We went sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and consumed our weight in food, rum punches and cocktails. I also had a girls’ day out with one of my close friends, exploring more of Jamaica’s south coast.

October

Raw vegan pizza
Raw vegan pizza from Wright Life Eatery, Devon House

October was unremarkable. The most interesting parts were a solo night out at a trendy spot in my new town and this delicious raw food vegan pizza I got for a deal with Gustazo’s at Wright Life Eatery by Devon House.

November

img_20191103_090914_702.jpg

Elle graduates! From I knew myself I wanted to be a doctor and I couldn’t be more thankful that the stars aligned so perfectly to make this possible. I’m the first college graduate in my immediate family, first medical doctor in my entire family and my journey to get here hasn’t been easy, but I’ve certainly been blessed. My country invested US$140,000 into my medical education, having received a coveted government scholarship. Working in the public health sector can be depressing though, but I try to remind myself of the sacrifices it took to get here. Deep down inside it’s a joy to serve my people. I attended Meet Street from the Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (JFDF2019) courtesy of two free tickets won from up-and-coming Jamaican food blogger @WongaGyal. (Check her out guys, she’s amazing). I had a good time at Restaurant Week, went to Negril for the first time, went parasailing and stayed for the sunset. Also, my blog went (sort of πŸ˜…) viral this month with more than 3,000 reads of this article in one week and 90+ shares on Facebook. November was good to me!

20191102_213913
Trying the Red Stripe watermelon flavour which debuted at JFDF2019
20191111_195751
Isn’t this calamari wonton appetizer from OMG Restaurant & CafΓ© the cutest? 😍
screenshot_20191113-121824
fly high parasailing

December

20191130_153029

December is my favourite month and it has been lovely so far. I spent precious time with my family and as we speak, I’m in Trinidad! It’s the first I’ve left Jamaica since I was 12 years old and I’m so proud that I could buy myself a whole plane ticket (Alexa play ‘Trending Gyal’ Shenseea). This trip was probably largely motivated by my boyfriend, but I’m really happy to see his country, meet more of his family and start accomplishing a dream of mine to see more of the Caribbean. Look out for some Trini posts soon. P.S. For any Trinis reading… Do drop suggestions for what to do in Trinidad on my short trip.❀

20191227_200227
20191227_163215

2020 Goals

  1. Completing internship in one piece.
  2. Visiting Hanover (Jamaica’s only parish I’ve yet to visit), half a dozen more local waterfalls, Luminous Lagoon and doing more hiking.
  3. Improving my fitness once again.
  4. Hopefully visiting a new country.

That’s A Wrap

I’m grateful to have made it to the brink of a New Year once more. 2019 has been great to me and I hope it has been good to you also. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog this year. I hope to see even more of you in 2020. Leave me a comment. Let me know how your year went, what you liked about my 2019 year in review or my articles this year, what you didn’t like or what you’d like to see more of this coming year.

Best wishes for 2020.

Sending love and warm sea breezes, Rochelle. 😘

Last post of 2019! ‘Til next year. ✌🏽


Until then, keep up with Elle on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

Published by

Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. Also a budget travel blog, Adventures from Elle is written by Rochelle Knight, a junior doctor who began this blog as a student & wants to see the world, starting with her own country. She frequents off-the-beaten-path waterfalls, beaches and places with interesting history. Join her in Jamaica!

33 thoughts on “2019 Year In Review

Enjoyed this post? Add your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s