Blogtember: Turning Point

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Holy moly, we've caught up to the Blogtember prompts! This is a momentous occasion! ::parade::

Ok, now that that's over, quick life update and then on to the prompt.

So yesterday, another momentous occasion. I sent in my AMCAS application! To those of you who are fortunate enough to not know what that is, it's my med school application for MD schools. I'm only applying to one MD program (because my stats are good, but not super competitive for MD schools) and I think I have a pretty decent shot b/c it's a newer school, it's in-state, and they do a holistic application review that takes things besides grades and scores into account. It's actually my first choice school, so keep your fingers crossed! I'll be submitting my AACOMAS (the DO school application) this weekend or early next week, hopefully, and that is for 11 different programs. After this, I'll be waiting to secondary applications (whoo hoo, more money to spend... blech) and then hopefully interview(s) and acceptance somewhere! Yikes. As Levi said in response to my text message:

In other news, my RA symptoms have been decidedly more annoying and obnoxious this week. I have taken 2 doses of methotrexate, and while I'm not supposed to see any improvement for another 2-4 weeks, I'm getting impatient. My hands have really been bothering me lately, and last night, a few of my knuckles were swollen. Not grossly so, but definitely bigger/puffier than usual. I've been trying to keep heat on them when I can, but it's hard when you have to use your hands, haha. I'm hoping that the methotrexate does help, because I really don't want to go to a higher dose or a more aggressive medication. The other fun thing I've encounter is a bout of costochondritis, which definitely hasn't been fun. Here's to hoping that the methotrexate starts working soon!

I had my first lecture for Immunobiology last night (the semester had started on a Wednesday, and then we were off for Labor Day) and I am so excited. I wasn't originally too thrilled, mainly because it is a three hour lecture and Immunology can be... tedious. I posted mid-lecture that I loved immunology, and Michelle replied, "I'm sorry, but statistically speaking, love for immunology is inversely proportional to the amount of immunology on an exam. It's a well documented phenomenon. Also known as the "holy crap there's too many letters to memorize corollary." And she's right. There are a LOT of letters in immuno, haha. The goods news is that the professor is amazing. There was not a single instance of Powerpoint (AMEN), he lectured in an interesting/narrative fashion, I felt like I learned things, and he was engaging. I wanted to applaud when he was done. I'm not sure when education turned into this thing that is dominated by technology and has to include a dog-and-pony show, but sometimes, you just need someone to tell you things. The professor is not there to entertain you, he/she is there to educate you. Okay, I'm done ranting about that. ::puts away soapbox:: Regardless, I'm sure the class will be my most difficult this semester, but I'm also really looking forward to it.

As far as other classes go, Microbiology is all right. I like the material a lot, and I enjoy being in the lab, but the lectures are boring and I'm not quite sure what we're supposed to take away from them. Histology has good lectures, but they often feel rushed. The best way to learn histo is in the lab, anyway, so I'm glad we are spending a significant chunk of time there. It's just not the most fascinating thing to learn, in my opinion. One of the only good things that came out of my med school experience was that I had a fabulous histology professor (who inadvertently saved my life by making me take a leave of absence) and because she was so amazing, I remember a lot of what I learned that semester. So... hurrah!

Oh and this time next week, I'll either be celebrating or crying, because I should be getting my MCAT scores. ::insert arm flailing::

And now, without further adieu, Day 6 of Blogtember... actually ON DAY 6!

Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

I feel like it's a cop-out to use the whole leaving med school story as not only my fear post but this post as well, so I won't. I will say that if I hadn't left medical school, I wouldn't have met my now-husband (either because I would have actually killed myself, or less morbidly, simply because I wouldn't have moved back to the northeast, where he was located). So that was kind of a big deal.

An equally huge turning point in my life was more recently, and also related to medical school. When I left NSU in 2009, I was whole-heartedly convinced that not only did I not have it in me to become a physician, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to work that hard, I didn't want to live that life, I wanted to do something that would be more conducive to having a family, on and on. I decided that I was going to get my MPH and work in research and live happily ever after doing... whatever it is that people with MPH degrees do in life. I got into all three MPH programs that I applied to, I went to Drexel, I got my MPH, it was relatively painless, and then I got a job (which was magical in and of itself, given the economy). I worked at that job for just under a year, hating that I made next to no money and hating most of the people I worked with (except my boss and like, 2 other people). I loved being in the clinic, I learned the draw blood, and after I got over my fear of sticking a needle into someone, it was my favorite part of the week. (That sounds weird. I swear, I'm not a weirdo.) I decided that hey, maybe I wanted to go back to clinical medicine. 

But I didn't tell anyone.

I didn't want anyone to think that I was insane. I didn't want to be told I couldn't do it. I also figured that Ken wouldn't be on board because hey, medical school is expensive and we were trying to start a life together, so that isn't exactly conducive to, you know, buying a house and settling down. I actually applied to PA school in 2012, interviewed at 2 places and was wait-listed at both places. I was depressed, mainly because I thought that hey, PA school would be a nice alternative to med school. It's shorter and I still get to work with patients, etc. As I was gathering up my life to reapply in 2013, I was talking to my brother about the whole thing. I said that I needed to take some more classes, retake my standardized tests, do some more shadowing, it was all so overwhelming. He replied, "Why don't you just reapply to med school then?" I immediately made up a hundred reasons why I couldn't, and he shot them all down. (That's why I keep him around. He's good people.) He said, "Alison, if you were handed two envelopes, one that said PA school and one that said medical school, which would you pick?" My answer? Med school, every time.

Well, that was pretty striking.

I talked with Ken about it.

Me: So... I think I want to go back to med school.
Ken: That's awesome! You totally should!
Me: ... wait, really? You don't think I'm insane?
Ken: ... why do you always think I'm going to think you're insane??

And from that moment on, I've been in "go to med school mode". It's really changed the direction of my life, for obvious reasons, and I'm simultaneously terrified and REALLY excited. 

I'll keep you posted, surely. :)

- A

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