Pre-med

Upset

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.

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Life

Late Afternoon Thoughts

Hi everyone,

Today’s post will be a little different. There’s something that’s been on my mind lately that I’m hoping some of you out there will be able to help with.

I’ve been struggling this summer a bit. I haven’t gotten back to my volunteering or shadowing, let alone studying the way I wanted to. I feel like I’ve been stuck in this “shame spiral” my neuro professor talked to me about. I can’t bring myself to call anyone to set anything up because I’m afraid to leave my twins home, even if the person watching them is someone I trust (husband, mum, aunt, etc). Studying is difficult because they always need something (like any normal baby) and they like to take turns. By the time they sleep, it’s time for me to sleep so I can get up and take care of them.

I have two semesters left before I graduate, so the classes I’ll be taking are difficult and aren’t offered online. I also need to find a job during the weekends to help support my family. I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep up with everything… Then those thoughts turn to medical school and residency. I know I wouldn’t want to do anything else, so I’ll keep pursuing my dream to be a doctor, but maybe surgery isn’t the way to go. Maybe a specialty that isn’t as demanding would work better for my family. But what if I fall in love with surgery? Would I be able to balance it? I know it’s far enough away and that I shouldn’t worry, especially since I haven’t even gotten into med school, but I guess this is the kinda thing you worry about when you’re a parent or maybe just when you’re me.

To all working parents out there, how do you do it? How do you find balance? If you are a doctor, did you consider what field to go into if you had/have children? I could use some advice.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the rant.

Andrea.

Pre-med

Spring Semester

Hi everyone!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for such a long time. I had to deal with the end of the semester, planning the classes for this semester, and dealing with the high probability of something happening to my sons before they’re born.

I guess I should start with how last semester went. Besides being extremely exhausted and not been able to volunteer (I quit the shelter due to my pregnancy, I haven’t had another hospice patient, and I’m still waiting for another little to mentor), classes went great. I ended up with an B+ on my Stats class and an A in the rest of my classes. I was so thankful to be able to finish the semester; I was worried I was going to have to take Incompletes if my sons had to be delivered at 24 weeks (two weeks before the end of the semester). It might not seem like a big deal, but to me it was a huge accomplishment to finish and to do well.

Spring semester started today. I’m taking all online classes since I’m not allowed to leave the hospital. Although I understand why I’m not allowed to leave, it’s really annoying. I’m stuck taking lower level classes and re-taking a class I didn’t do well on during my first year in college. I can’t move forward with my pre-med classes since the ones I need aren’t being offered online. Even if they were, I’m not sure I would want to take them; I do better when I’m learning from a professor than from a book. I am, however, taking an individualized instruction class with my Neuroscience professor from last semester. I’ve picked a topic and I’ll be researching it and writing a paper on it. If I can gather enough info on the topic I’m hoping to be able to conduct a research project on it. I’m really excited about it, so I hope I do well.

I’ve been currently staying at the hospital since December 26th. Everything has gone well so far, but it is not easy being stuck in a hospital when you feel perfectly fine. The staff is fantastic; all the nurses and CNAs are very nice and attentive and the doctors (I’ve lost count of how many different ones I’ve seen) are very reassuring when it comes to the results of the NSTs (fetal non-stress test) I get twice a day. It’s really interesting to see how the whole healthcare team comes together. You can tell the difference between first year residents from the fourth year residents, and you can definitely tell the difference between the residents and the experienced physicians. The perinatologists and the laborists are very matter-of-fact and more relaxed; they go through their routine questions and throw in some jokes while they talk to you. The fourth year residents are very nice, knowledgeable, and I feel more comfortable with them. I think it’s because they are exactly where I wish to be in the future. The first year residents are also very nice, but they always seem nervous, especially when they ask me if I have questions. I haven’t asked them any so far, but I’m worried that they might pass out if I do.

I think the funniest thing about it is that I’m not their typical patient. Besides having mono/mono twins, I’ve asked them if I can volunteer, shadow, and exercise while I’m here. Everyone seems so surprised when I ask… and they all laugh about it. Usually, patients that stay in the hospital for long periods of time are unable to do much but stay in bed, so the fact that a pregnant woman wants to exercise and do something productive like shadowing is hilarious to them. They’ve all been great though; they’ve found a way to get me gym benefits and they’re all excited to have me shadow them. I have to go talk to the person in charge of students shadowing, but I’m hoping to be able to do that this week. I know that it doesn’t count if we shadow residents, but I think I could use that experience for my personal statement. It will be interesting to see how residents act with their patients vs. how experienced physicians act.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’m not particularly excited to be taking classes that aren’t pre-med related, but it’s better than taking a semester off. I know that it’s going to be a hard few months after the boys are born, but I think I would go crazy if I stopped studying. Being in the hospital as a patient is not fun either, but it gives me insight on how patients feel when they’re here. I think it will help with my bedside manner, and for that I am thankful. You can learn about being in the healthcare industry just by being the patient, which is something I hadn’t considered before.

I know this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. This is not a set back; it’s merely a detour. A crazy, wonderful detour that I know will make me stronger as a person and as an applicant.

Wish me luck!

Andrea.

Pre-med

Life Is a Rollercoaster

Hi everyone!

First of all, I’m terribly sorry for taking so long to write another post. I’ve been extremely sick for the past few weeks and the only thing I’ve been able to do is stay in bed and be miserable. I’m feeling slightly better after going to the doctor, so I hope I’ll be around more often.

School starts on the 25th! I’m not ready for summer to be over yet! I’ll be re-taking O-Chem as well as taking Intro to Neuroscience, Drugs and Behavior (psych class), and Statistics in Psychology. I’m not extremely worried about the neuro and psych classes; they come fairly easily to me, but I’m terrified of O-Chem. It’s not really that hard of a subject, it just requires a lot of time and practice, which I KNOW I didn’t do enough of the first time around, even though I dedicated around 4-5 hours daily to it. I guess it just takes me a little longer to understand concepts completely. I’m actually going against my advisor’s wishes and re-taking it; he told me it’s best not to re-take a class unless you absolutely have to (and you can get an A). I’m not sure if I can get an A, but I’m going to aim for an A-. I’m re-taking it from the same professor, so at least I know what to expect. I just have to come up with a better way to study the material.

As you all know, I want planning on taking the MCAT in May and applying to medical school in June of next year. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I am pushing back my MCAT and medical school application. I have yet to speak to my advisor about it, but when I do, I will let you all know when I will be taking the MCAT. I still plan on graduating on Spring 2016, so I will probably be applying June 2016. If I get accepted, I’ll use the year before medical school to do some research and volunteer. I’m a little discouraged that I have to take even longer than I wanted to, but I’m also relieved; I’ll have more time to finish all my classes and study for the MCAT. At this time I’m afraid I can’t share the reason why I’m postponing it an extra year, but if you wait a few weeks you will find out. 🙂

It’s all about the journey. Sometimes we just have to take a step back and realize it’s okay to slow down. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me, I will get there one day.

Wish me luck!

Andrea.

Life, Pre-med, Volunteering

Change is Hard

Hi everyone!

I wanted to do something different today. I want to tell you guys a little bit about what’s going on for my life. I figured it’s still pre-med related, so I hope you all won’t mind. 🙂

I think I mentioned that I was starting a CNA program. I’m halfway done with it and it’s only been a week! 🙂 My instructor told me I was going through the course really fast, but I feel like I’m behind. I’m excited though; I think it’ll be a great opportunity for me to get some hands on experience with patients. There are a few things I’ve learned about that I’m not sure I’m comfortable with, but I’m sure once I get to do them they won’t be so bad. I’m hoping to start working on a hospital after I get certified, but I’m a little worried about working and going to school. I normally wouldn’t mind, since I’ve done it before, but I’m re-taking O-Chem I and I really don’t want to mess it up again. I guess I’ll have to put that fear aside and just push through it; I know if I concentrate enough and try I can make it work. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

There’s also something that’s been on my mind for a few weeks. I mentioned in my Volunteer post that I’ve been with an animal shelter for four years and that I truly enjoyed what I was doing. It’s recently become very obvious that I cannot keep volunteering with them. They are a wonderful organization and they take care of their animals, but I don’t think they take me very seriously when I say I need help. My volunteer hours have also not been confirmed with my school, which is upsetting. I ultimately want to do what’s better for the cats, but I’m afraid there’s nothing else I can do. It’s a truly heartbreaking decision, but I feel it’s the right one for me at this point. I know I’m not giving you guys the full details of why I’m leaving, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to tell everyone what’s going on with the shelter. I’ve found another animal shelter I want to volunteer at; they have a kitten nursery and I think that would be a lot of fun. I will probably only do it once or twice a month, which will leave me with plenty of time to study while still satisfying my need to help animals.

I also mentioned I was doing volunteer work with a hospice. I enjoy doing it, but I’m going to find a different hospice patient. My current one was okay, but two weeks ago she started hitting me while I was reading to her, and it was kind of scary. I feel kind of guilty for having to tell my volunteer coordinator that I didn’t feel comfortable being around her anymore. The scary part wasn’t the hitting, but the yelling. She has a mental disorder, which made it hard to calm her down. She kept repeating the same words over and over and it scared me because I didn’t know what to do or how to help her. I hope it doesn’t make me a bad person for wanting to volunteer with another patient, and I know I’ll have more patients like this in the future, but at this point in my life I’m not feeling too comfortable with it.

A lot of doors are opening, but a lot of doors are closing. It’s a hard transition for me, but I’m hoping it will work out for the better. Change can be difficult, but that’s what life is all about. All we can really do is hold on, work hard, and keep trying.

Wish me luck!

Andrea.