HPREP 2017

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Hi everyone!

Last week I participated in the 2017 Ransdell Family Health Professions Readiness & Enrichment Program at Campbell University. It was one of the most amazing weeks of my life! It’s not only good for pre-med students, they also host pre-pharmacy, pre-nursing, pre-PT, and pre-PA students! Basically, if you’re interested in healthcare, this is for you!

It lasted about 5 days and the great thing about it is that I only had to pay for airfare and snacks, everything else was covered by the program. There were a lot of students from the east coast, and a few of us from the more western states, so you get to meet a lot of new people; if you think about it, you just met the future of healthcare! 🙂

So let’s talk a little bit about what we did; I will try my best to describe it but it’s really one of those things you have to experience to fully grasp what the program was about. We got split up into groups, which were always changing but we had our main mentoring group. Ours was called Gaylord’s Minions, but it turned into Where’s Abraham? He was one of the group members and it seems that we were always asking about where he was. It was a pretty funny week! And for those of you wondering, Gaylord is the name of the school’s mascot. I guess he was named after a baseball player that went to Campbell. You can find out more about that here. Anyway, back to the mentoring group. I was lucky enough to be paired up with a DO student at the school; she was so helpful and answered all my questions about their DO program. I feel like I understand the difference between DOs and MDs a lot better now thanks to her. I’m probably biased, but she was the best mentor and we had the best group!

We had a few guest speakers, which were amazing. They talked about things like diversity and becoming more inclusive, serving others more and making our life be about that, etc. It was a lot of information, and I wish I had taken notes; I was so amazed by being a part of the program that I forgot my notebook! So if you participate in the program in the next few years, definitely take some notes!

We also had workshops where we learned about things like networking, goal setting, and the different programs Campbell had to offer. We got to talk to a lot of the faculty and staff from the school and had a chance to ask them questions. We also toured the main campus, getting to see their Pharmacy buildings and compounding lab. This was mostly the format for the first two days.

The third and fourth days were by far my favorite! We got to tour the medical school and learn about the technology they used to teach their students. We had a “lecture” about OMM, osteopathic manipulative medicine, and we got to try a few things with a partner. Not gonna lie, I’ve been using what I learned on everyone on my family. My husband is pretty tired of it by now! I just fell in love with OMM though; I think I would want to do a residency on it if I get accepted into a DO program. We had the two DO students practicing OMM on some of the faculty the first two nights, and I stayed up until midnight watching them. I absolutely love what they do, and when they’re done and the patient gets up feeling better? Priceless.

We also got to touch a plastinated cadaver and we participated in an emergency and birthing simulation lab; these were very cool because the robots they used could blink, breathe, have someone talk through them, have vitals… It was just a very cool experience. The emergency sim could vomit and you could draw blood from him, but we didn’t get a chance to see. It could get messy, so I don’t blame them for not doing it! Another thing we got to do was test prep! We split up into different groups based on the test we would need, MCAT, GRE, or PCAT, and we had a Kaplan instructor give us an interactive lesson. It was a bit intense, but I’m happy to say that my O-Chem and Psych/Soc knowledge is still pretty fresh. I need to practice/study the other subjects, but I feel a little better about it. We also had, amid a tornado watch, a scavenger hunt in the PT/PA/nursing building. It was four flights of stairs and the most fun I’ve had in a while. It was called Camelpalooza; their mascot is a camel so that’s probably where the name came from. We had clues, run up and down the stairs to get to the correct place, do an activity as a group, and get the next clue before we continued our run.

Finally, our last day was a half day. We got to participate in a service project where we filled paper bags full of food for children in the community. It was the fastest project I’ve ever done; the teamwork from all the groups was truly astounding. It was supposed to last two hours and we got done a little before the hour mark.

Honestly, it’s difficult to describe what an amazing week I had. The feel of the school was that of a big family, the Campbell Family as they like to call it. It felt like home and everyone was incredibly nice. Not to turn it into a sad post, but I found out my grandmother passed away while at the program. Everyone was so sweet offered comforting words and hugs. I’m so thankful to have these new, amazing people in my life. I even had one of the mentors, who was in the pharmacy program, give me some incredible advice, which I will share with you.

She told me that although this was a difficult thing to go through, we have to look at the positive. Not to take away from the experience, but to sort of add to it. She said that I could use this to empathize with my future patients who will go through this. I was very upset and tired at the time, so I don’t remember her exact words, but what I got from it was all that matters. How could I use this experience to make my future patients have an easier time? I can’t take their pain away, and I can empathize, but what else can I do?

My grandmother had dementia. It has been a long time since I had talked to her, and a longer time since she had known who I was. She lived in Peru, so I was never able to go visit her, but I saw pictures of her throughout the years. Although she was well taken care of, I KNOW that not everyone is. As a CNA, I have seen how people treat their patients sometimes. It can get downright inhumane, and there ARE cases of abuse. So, what can I do to make my patients lives better?

In honor of my grandmother, I’m going to find ways to make the quality of life of patients with dementia better. I’m not sure how, but I will figure it out. I want my career to be about bettering the lives of my patients, so what better way than to start here? I will keep you updated with what I’ll be doing with this, and if you have any tips or advice please let me know!

All in all, this experience has taught me that we should always be looking for ways to help others. One of the things a guest speaker talked about was asking, “How can I help you?” This has resonated with me, and now I get up every day and try to find ways to help those around me. I’m by no means perfect, but at least I’m trying. Next week I’ll give you some more insight as to how it has specifically changed the way I do things at the hospital I volunteer at. Stay tuned. 🙂

Overall, I highly recommend this program! Look it over and if it interests you, sign up next year. If you’re like me and live far away, don’t be scared! I know I was terrified to go to the other side of the country, but it worth it! Take a leap, you won’t regret it! You will be EXHAUSTED by the end of the week, but you will have gained so much knowledge about healthcare and about yourself. You won’t regret it! And who knows, maybe they’ll accept me into their MSBS program and I’ll get to be your mentor! If you want more info about this program, click here.

Cheers!

Andrea.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few pictures of my experience. 🙂 First- HPREP 2017 participants and mentors. Second- Yours truly super excited to be at the medical school. Third- Gaylord’s Minions/Where’s Abraham group with Gaylord himself.

Reflecting on the Past Year

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Hi everyone!

It hit me a few hours ago what today was… May 19th, the day I was supposed to take the MCAT. Instead, I ran around getting everything ready for my upcoming trip to a medical school for a program specifically for pre-professional students. I will give a recap of that next week when I get back!

Honestly, I feel a little sad. Today was supposed to be the day I finally tackled the big exam. I was supposed to be done by now, I think, and look forward to my next adventure, which was supposed to be my med school application.

I felt terrible when I decided to put it off again. Like I had failed, like I couldn’t put in the effort to study. I also felt relieved, because I had more time to prepare.

I still feel that way. I know I wouldn’t have been ready on time, and I knew I was putting too much on my plate. How was I going to study 35+ hours a week, go to school part time, and take care of two toddlers? I’m sure there are some amazing people out there that could do it, and I admire you all if you have gone through this. You are incredibly strong and determined! But for me, it just wasn’t going to work out. I needed to put as much study time as I could on my classes, and I was already struggling to give my sons the attention they deserved. I know it’s not gonna be easy, it never will be, but with how little my boys were/are, I knew made the right decision for me and my family.

Do I feel guilty? Yes. Am I at peace with my decision? Not ready, but I believe things happen for a reason. Maybe there is something else I’m supposed to do first. Maybe putting it off and applying to post-baccs was the right decision for me. Maybe improving my GPA and getting a Master’s will benefit my application in the long run.

So yes, I’m a little sad, but the path to medical school isn’t always linear. It’s a marathon, uphill, with many obstacles in the way. It’s okay to take longer than most… Time will pass anyway!

Here’s to another year of growth, and here’s to knowing that I WILL take the MCAT by this time next year.

Never give up!

Andrea.

PS: I applied to four total grad schools. The last two have all my application materials! I’m so excited! The first two still don’t have the letters, but I’ll continue to work on it. Fingers crossed!

Upset

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Hi everyone,

It’s almost the end of the semester! Today’s my last day of lecture, quizzes tomorrow, review the rest of the week, lab finals this week, lecture finals next week, and I’m free for the forseable future!

I can’t wait for summer, my trip to NC for a pre-med thing, and spending more time with my family.

So why is the title of this blog “Upset?” Remember how I applied to two graduate schools a little while ago? I haven’t heard back from either school yet. No phone call, no e-mail, nothing. So I went to check on the status of my application; I have only done it for one school so far, because I have to e-mail admissions from the second school to ask them about it.

Anyway, I go to check and my application is still under review. That’s fine, it will take a little bit of time for me to hear back. Well I kept reading… and my letters of recommendation haven’t been received yet. My heart dropped. My advisor was supposed to send them in at least two weeks ago. It doesn’t take two weeks for letters to arrive… I sent in my transcripts through the mail and they arrived within two days.

I sent my professor an e-mail over the weekend to ask him about it. No response. I’m only slightly freaking out… I didn’t realize how much I DIDN’T want a gap year. I love studying, I love learning, I love the stress… what will I do with a gap year? I have the MCAT to study for, of course, but that won’t help improve my GPA.

So I went through all these worst case scenarios in my head about how I wouldn’t get in anywhere. How if I didn’t improve my GPA I wouldn’t get into med school. Honestly, I’m still really worried about all this… But I never give up. I’m going to digress a little and talk about a speech I gave last week.

It was for this project called Mi Verdad, or My Truth. It was about the struggles/stories of Latino college students. I was lucky enough to be able to participate, and I learned a lot about my culture and myself. My theme was “Hard work,” because it’s taken a lot of it to come back from my low GPA and do relatively well in my classes. I might post my speech after finals so you can have a better idea of what I’m talking about. Anyway, I told the audience that you can do anything you set your mind to, that all you need is to put in the work and it will pay off. So how could I give a sort of inspirational speech and then not take in my own advice?

Back to the problem at hand. I’m scared of a lot of things, but I will not let my fear get the best of me. I will check the status of my application again, this time for both schools, and I will e-mail my advisor one last time to ask when he sent in those letters. I will annoy him if I have to, although I really don’t want to, because I consider myself a nice person. I will make sure my application is complete and wait for the schools to make their decisions.

If I don’t get in, I will be sad. However, I will know that I did everything I could and I will figure out the best way to improve my GPA if I have to take a gap year. I will find ways to strengthen my application, and I will apply to med school June 2018. I can and I will do this.

Wish me luck,

Andrea.