Woman doctor looking at her accomplishments

Changing Roles: Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

Last updated: May 2023

As of April 22, 2023, around 11:53 am, my life forever changed. I went from being Halimat Shadia Owolobi Olaniyan – author, philanthropist, sickle cell warrior and all-around pretty cool person – to being Dr. Halimat Shadia-Owolobi Olaniyan, M.D. Wow. I am still processing the weight of those 2 little letters and adjusting to having people call me Doctor.

The new, old me

Weirdly enough, I don’t feel any different. I still feel like me. It doesn’t feel like my life has drastically changed or like I just actualized a dream over a decade in the making. It feels like just another day in this beautiful, incredible life I am blessed to live.

But sometimes, this wave of elation hits me. It’s like my body becomes overwhelmed with emotion, mainly excitement, and I have to release it. So here I am, declaring myself as Dr. Halimat Olaniyan, M.D. And yes, I am still me but this new title comes with a new responsibility to uphold myself as deserving of this privilege. My friends and family have nothing but faith in me that I will be a great doctor. I know that I will do my best and try so hard for my patients. But what do I do for the sickle cell community?

What does the future hold?

I feel I owe them so much just for having made it this far. I wonder how I will use my new title and the privileges it affords to further advance my work for the sickle cell community. I’m not yet sure what that looks like. For now, it’s still a lot of writing and advocacy through the various groups I am part of.

The unknown

But how will that translate into my job? I’m not sure. I have yet to fully grasp or begin to understand the scope of what it means to be a physician or a pathologist. I know that will come with time. I hope as people begin to expect more and different things from me, they’ll give me grace and patience as I learn to meet – and hopefully exceed – their expectations.

Long road

It's surreal when dreams come true. When I got into medical school, 5 years ago, I thought – wow I made it. A dream actualized and all I had to do was finish, of course sickle cell and med school made this harder than anticipated. But I did it. And now I have the degree and the letters. So, what’s next? I think I’ll have to come up with new dreams. I mean of course I have dreams outside of medicine and sickle cell that I’m still working on. I really don’t know what’s next, but I am just going to take things one step at of time.

Excited for my future

I am beyond excited for this new chapter of my life. It’s crazy to think that around this time last year, things had gotten so hard I almost felt like giving up. But, like most sickle cell warriors, giving up is just not in my nature. So, I manifested that 2023 would be the best year of my life, and wow has it. And we’re not even halfway through this incredible year! I cannot wait to see what else is in store for this new doctor.

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