One, Five, Ten

Friday, March 7, 2014

As a blogger, I never thought I'd hear this statement come out of my mouth, but seriously... I am tired of writing about myself. Not in the blogging sense, though! For those of you who are fortunate enough to know nothing about the medical school application process, it is a process. A long, painful, obnoxious, expensive, process. Not only do you have take all of the right classes (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, labs, physics, math, and a plethora of "recommended" elective science courses) and take (and do well) on the MCAT (which costs money), you have to write a personal statement. Then you get to write even more essays about various things and how awesome you are for your secondary applications (which cost more money!)

By the time I finished this application cycle, I think I wrote a total of 21 different essays about why I want to be a doctor, challenges I've faced, lives I've changed, decisions I've made, what sets me apart from other applicants, number of orphans I've saved... whatever. I hate writing about myself for exercises like that. It feels forced and canned, and there's always some inane word or character count limitation. Who can write anything meaningful in 250 words or less? Especially with prompts like, "Noting the mission and objectives of the Osteopathic profession and (school name) , please describe your personal characteristics that demonstrate your interest in this field. Include an example of an event in which your actions directly influenced the life of another person and relate this to your goal of becoming a DO." In 250 words. You got it.

Surprisingly, I only had to write essay about where I saw myself in ten years. I thought that was interesting, as one would think that an admissions committee would like to at least have some idea of where their graduates think they're headed. It was for a school that had an huge emphasis on community service and under-served medicine, so I guess they also wanted to know whether that kind of thing fit into their applicant's future career goals. It was one of the less-painful essays to compose and I felt like I could really express myself in it. Of course, this doesn't come as a surprise to me because I spend most of my waking hours thinking about the future and and what kind of plans I can make. This can often be a problem because I end up not living "in the moment" ever and as soon as I accomplish one thing, I take approximately 3 seconds to celebrate it and then I'm moving on to the next thing to be tackled. I'm forever on a treadmill of "I'll be happy when..." and it's something I work on in therapy and on my own a lot.

There's a lot to say about plans. There's, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, Gang aft agley," (who doesn't love some Scots poetry on a Tuesday afternoon?) Or there's always, "Life is what happens when we're making other plans," or the Yiddish proverb, "Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht" (Man plans and God laughs). Plans are some of my favorite things. I'm a self-professed control freak, and plans mean control... in my delusional brain, anyway. I make contingency plans for my contingency plans. It's kind of a problem... but hey, it's worked to get me where I am thus far, so I'm going to go with it. (This line of thought... not fully endorsed by my therapist. Hm.) Anyway, Bon over at The Life of Bon posted a link-up yesterday about where we thought we'd be 1, 5, and 10 years out of high school. Like Bon, my 10 year high school reunion is this year (what the hell?) and I am definitely not where I thought I'd be at this point... but I'm also definitely okay with that.

Senior Prom!
That's my date (and boyfriend at the time and for another 4 years after that), one of my best friends, Mike, and his then-girlfriend, Jen.

I'm pretty sure this was the last day of senior year in our AP Genetics class. Still friends with Kris, in the blue!

Year: 2004
Where I Thought I'd Be One Year Later:
I thought that I would be loving the hell out of being away at college at Wittenberg University in Ohio, finally away from my mom (who at that point, was like, THE WORST ::teenage angst::) and having lots of fun with my then-boyfriend, who was also going away to college in Ohio. I thought I'd be best friends FOREVER with my high school best friend and that the guy in the photo up there would be the great love of my life.

Where I Was: Turns out that going away to school is HARD, man, and when you're one of the only people who isn't from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, or Kentucky, it's you and the international students hanging out in the dorms on many weekends. I loved my classes, things with the boyfriend were pretty good, and I had met THE BEST girls ever, but I missed my mom like crazy (funny, she was actually not the worst) and missed my cats and I missed my bed and I hated having to share a bathroom with 30 girls. At the end of my first year of college, I actually transferred to Drexel because being in Ohio was too hard. Also, I have approximately 0 digital photos from freshman year because I had a flip phone and no digital camera.

Sarah (AKA: LF - Little Friend) and me, our freshman year of college. She is my favorite!

A not-so-focused photo of my roomie (to my right) me, and some other fabulous ladies at... some kind of fancy dress-party during my freshman year.

The morning after an all-nighter before our cell bio exam...
Rockin' the Drexel sweatshirt and failing at using the blender.

I was in an all-girls acapella group. This was a show at Halloween. Yeah...

Marielle, Victoria, and I performing, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" my senior year in Naturally Sharp, the vocal jazz ensemble. We were the freakin' Andrews' sister, I'm telling you.
Somehow, David and I survived being bio majors and we both got accepted to med school and we graduated from Drexel in 2008.

Year: 2009

Where I Thought I'd Be 5 Years After High School:
I had such grand dreams, haha. In 2009, I planned to be in my first year of med school, married to that guy from the picture up there (my date, not Mike), and living the dream... or a reasonable approximation thereof... whatever that meant. I had no idea where I'd be going to med school, but I knew I was going.

Where I Was: Well, at the start of 2009, I was in the worst depression of my life to date. The guy I had been seeing in med school unceremoniously dumped me, I was failing 2 classes, I was homesick, and in February of that year, I had a complete breakdown, left medical school, and (voluntarily) spent 4 days in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. I moved back to NJ, stayed in bed for a few weeks, then eventually got my job as a unit secretary back. I started reconnecting with some of my friends and started dating a new guy. (Spoiler alert: That new guy is now my husband. Life is funny.) I was convinced I would never go back to med school and I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. Later that year, I started my MPH at Drexel University and was living at home, dating a guy who lived in Long Island, and spent my weekends driving up and down the turnpike to see him. It wasn't all bad (although I still hate the Belt Parkway!) I figured maybe I'd be an epidemiologist and work for the government. Who knows. At that point, I was glad to be alive since earlier that year, that proposition had been dicey.

My mom and me at the white coat ceremony... back before med school sucked my soul out.

Cats! I had to include this because Luna is an adorable kitten and Gersh crammed himself in a tiny box.

John and me at his rehearsal dinner. I was his "best man!"

Emily, Sarah, and me in Sarah's house the day after I was in John's wedding.
The first summer after Ken and I started dating we had dinner at Levi's... and I was really excited about this tomato sauce. I believe the caption to this photo was, "SAUCE-SOME!" Yeah, we went there.

My friend Constance, her then-boyfriend (now-husband) Paul, Ken and I went to Key West in December. SO fun!

Year: 2014

Where I Thought I'd Be 10 Years After High School: Obviously, I would be a doctor. A pediatrician. Possibly a neonatologist. I would be married and maybe thinking about kids. I didn't know where I would be living, but I figured it would definitely, absolutely, NOT be New Jersey. I would be successful and have money and be able to take vacations and would know what the hell I was doing with my life.

Where I Am: Well. I am not a doctor, but I'm going to start working on that in June (!!!). I still want to be a pediatrician. Maybe a neonatologist... or an oncologist... or a rheumatologist... or an emergency medicine physician. I'm living in NJ with my husband (who is NOT the original guy from my high school photos, but is the love of my life and one of the best people I know on this planet) and we're actually thinking of settling here and buying a house and raising our future children here. So much for definitely not living in NJ, right? 

By someone's measure, I guess I'm successful...? I have an advanced degree (that I'm not really using), I have a job (that doesn't pay what I'm worth), and I don't live with my mom anymore (although I did until 2011). I have enough money to pay my bills and even do some fun things, but please, let's not even talk about the mountain of educational debt I've acquired. Ken and I have taken a couple of vacations, including our amazing honeymoon, and we'll probably continue to at least get away for a few days every once in awhile. 

As for knowing what the hell is going on? I have no clue. I definitely know less than I thought I would by now, seeing as I figured that at 28, I would firmly feel "adult" and I do not. However, the more people I talk to, the more I'm finding out that none of us ever really know what's going on. We're all just faking it and some people are better at looking like they know what they're doing than others. What do I know?

I have the best friends in the world and an amazing husband. My family loves me and will be there for me no matter what, even if sometimes they make me crazy. I know how to work hard and I know that eventually, it gets me where I want to be. I know that I want to be a doctor and now, I'm going to med school and I couldn't be more excited. I know that life isn't fair and that's okay. And in the end, I know that I'll be okay, too. So will you.


Are you where you thought you'd be 10 years after high school? Is anything completely different than you thought it would be? Let me know in the comments, and have a great weekend!

- A


  1. Lol, so when I graduated high school, I was going to do pre-med in college, and then go on to med school and become a pediatrician. I also thought I'd get married shortly after I graduated college, and that I'd have one or two kids by the time I was 30. So uhh . . . NONE of that happened, hahaha. I changed my major by the end of sophomore year, because I realized I didn't actually like the bio classes all that much, and the required chemistry was killing me. I didn't get married until I was 26, and obviously, have not produced any spawn yet, and I'll be 30 in 4 months. I don't think I really knew where I wanted to end up living, but I guarantee you that Canada was not in my 18-year-old plans! :p It's okay, though; I don't think I really had any concept of what would be good for me when I finished high school. Things haven't always gone the way I wanted or planned for them to, but I'm generally pretty content with my life as it is (minus the whole impending divorce thing, but you know).

    1. I think a lot of us have no concept of what is good for us when we're finishing high school... or college... or... ever, on some occasions, haha. I think you'll be just fine. (And it was SO good to see you yesterday!!!)

  2. When I graduated, I planned on getting married at 19 (check), having at least 2 kids starting immediately (check), graduating college and, if possible, doing it early (check, check)....this is where is all turns....going on to med school (nope), getting my own house (still waiting on that one), becoming a rural family doctor (still nope), going on medical mission trip occasionally while having my own practice (nope), and vacationing at Disney World sometimes (still waiting on that too). I didn't know where I was going to live, but Iowa was never a place that crossed my mind and I didn't plan on homeschooling my kids, though now I can't imagine not. I love my life of helping diagnose children's learning difficulties and form a plan of study so they can have an excellent education at home and I love being my kid's teacher and always home for them and Andy. I really, really want a house, my student loans paid off, and that trip to Disney, but I'm happy with my life even though it took a drastic turn that I never expected. I had such a great track record at first for my plans. lol Life really has its bends huh. I'm glad things are going better for you now. I always enjoyed spending time with you in lab. :-) Also, I think I have a pic with David at graduation that looks just like that. haha ~Rebekah Hight

    1. That is so great! And yeah, life is nuts... I love seeing pictures of you, Andy, and the girls, and it's good to know that Iowa isn't a completely desolate wasteland, haha. We will always have fond memories of dissecting that cat though, huh? :)


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