Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Life Medical School

2nd Year Rut

I wanted this blog to be real. Honest. No sugar coating it.
Med school sucks sometimes. There I said it.
Its three days into a new semester and I’ve already hit a wall so hard that I can’t even sleep. Usually when I don’t want to study, I can sleep, or at least binge watch something while simultaneously “candy crushing” until sleep finds me. Here I am, though- its 2 AM and I’m Facebook stalking pictures of myself while I was in college, feeling sorry for myself.
Something is off. And it has been for a while.
I feel happy each day. I wake up, I eat, I laugh, I study, I see my friends, I sleep. Even my family is always close by when I need them.
But, after looking at my own pictures on my feed, I see I’m not even the girl I was a year ago. That girl was “pinch me” happy to be in medical school. That girl lived to go into school each day and learn. That girl was running everyday. She loved going out, even on weeknights- regardless of the sleep she’d lose- just to be with her new friends, gain the life experiences.
I loved my first year of medical school. It changed my life in all aspects for the better.
Shortly after first year started, an older gentleman in a restaurant overheard me using “first year” and “second year” terminology and leaned over and said “You must be in law school, using those words.” I smiled and proudly said, “No sir, I’m in medical school.”
“My mistake,” he smiled, “Congratulations then.” My “thank you” to him was heartfelt and beaming with pride. I was passionate that I was finally where I had wanted to get to all these years.
Last year, it was this all-consuming-love-of-my-life and I couldn’t talk about anything else because I was so enthralled.
Now, I’m this 15lb. heavier zombie, dragging my sedentary body around with my arms in front of me growling and yelling “SLEEP!!!! Where is my sleep?” and feeding on any friends and family nearby, sucking them into my darkness whenever possible.
I don’t want anything to do with going to class or shoving any more knowledge into my haggard, feeble, and engorged brain. Hanging out with friends? Forget about it. The first thing I do after class is come home, throw my jeans on the floor and sit in bed. I study when I have to and do anything else besides school that I can find when I don’t have to.
My best friend asks me how school is going “Horrible,” I say. “can we talk about something else?”
 
 
So tell me, which girl do you want to be your doctor in a few years?
 
 
I’m not the type to squander this opportunity. I truly, deeply want you to know that I know I should be more grateful. I know I am extremely privileged to be able to pursue this profession. I just happen to feel like its costing me a lot in this season of my life. I know these feelings are normal too. I know I’m human, but I hate the fact that I am already this burned out and broken down by my medical education. It’s hard, though. Its hard to go back to the honeymoon phase when you’ve seen medical school in the light of day.
When you’ve had to miss birthday parties.
When you’ve had to tell your nieces that you can’t make it to dinner.
When your jaw is throbbing from clenching it when stressed.
When you miss those concerts with your friends.
When you feel 80 years old for wanting to sleep at 7:30 PM and you are only 23.
When you have to start studying for a $600 test 6 months in advance.
When you want to be active and run and play and shop and dance and stay up until 5AM with your girlfriends.
When you want to be sore and tired from all the things you did that day, but instead you are sore from sitting on your leg too long and you have a hand cramp from writing too much and you are tired from straining your eyes.
All for a potential illness you have not yet learned in a future patient you have not met, in a clinic you cannot picture. There’s no such thing as instant gratification in med school. I have only a far off hope that someday, some rewarding case will instantly make it all worth while. Do you see what I mean?
 
 
In undergrad, I was very wary to not use the term burned out whenever I was frustrated because I knew how much longer I had to go.
But this…there is no other word for this than burn-out. I flailed through last semester and faked it til I made it but three days in to my second semester of my second year and I am having some serious trouble.
The worst part is- I don’t have a solution.
I’m struggling. I’m doing my best. I try to find the good. I don’t let comparisons to my awe-inspiring friends and classmates steal my joy. I stay disciplined to my studies. I keep my head down and work. I just keep swimming.
I guess I know I’m doing something right when I wouldn’t trade this crappy 2nd year rut, for any other experience anywhere else.
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Categories
Growing Up Medical School Premed

Long Overdue!

Woah! I sorta fell off of social media unintentionally. Things got crazy the last month of the semester.
But I have made it! We made it. I have finished my first semester of medical school. I had so much help and support. Seriously could not have made it without my classmates. We fought through so much information and talked and argued and learned so much together. I walked out of my last final and seriously did not know what to do. So I waited around for everyone else to finish. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to relish in the moment with those people who got me through. Compared to college where I had my bags packed to head home straight from my last test and didn’t look back; it’s quite a change.
There’s so many feelings surrounding this semester, I don’t even know how to sum it up. I know what I sacrificed personally to make it, but I’m realizing the sacrifices my family has made as well as a result of my being in medical school. Most noticeably, I felt like I wasn’t as available to them. Not that any of my sisters or parents are dependent on me, but I was only able to talk on my schedule, my terms. And I heard the majority about everyone’s lives from bits and pieces talking to my mom. I know it required more effort on their part to stay in touch with me and all my conversations were word vomit about studying and the fast food, sleep deprived delirium I spent my last 5 months in. I know my nieces went without their Aunt Andi a lot more, but they handled it like understanding little pros and I tear up thinking about how gracious they were to me when I missed their school program and studied over Thanksgiving instead of spending time with them.
Basically, a lot went in. More than I expected. More than I thought was possible. I could have done better on my part in so many ways. Still, I had way more support than I would have imagined I had available to me. So thanks to everyone who kept up with me and supported me! I appreciate it!
Over and over during the semester, I would think about how much time I spent in undergrad researching on AMCAS and AAMC and other websites, reading about what medical school is like. I still had no idea. So few people know that “medical school” is for future doctors (not nurses, thank you!). But, no one knows the application process and time it takes to become a doctor better than pre meds, so when in that position, you feel like you have a pretty good grasp on how much time you will spend studying. I remember dreading the vast amounts of studying before me, but seeing it as a necessary evil. I now realize, there’s just no way to accurately assess how much time you spend studying before you’re in the thick of it. Even living with my parents- they saw my hours, they knew my comings and goings; I still don’t feel like they fully understand how much time I studied and how hard it was. nobody understood it, except for my classmates- and we were all delirious!
I had a blast, though. I came in to my own. I grew up. I grew personally, professionally, relationally, and intellectually. I stretched myself physically and mentally. I flipped out, broke down, and gave up at times. There’s nothing light or breezy about going into medicine, and its not just the workload while you’re in training. The world is full of healthcare problems I haven’t yet had the time to fully consider yet and I still feel like sometimes I don’t make the cut to be an excellent doctor that can affect change in the healthcare world. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Walking out of the last final was the most proud of myself I’ve ever been. I felt light and free and yet ready to get back to it, because I know there is still much to learn. I was ready to celebrate with my class and revel in our tiny step forward on a long road ahead.
I’m still sighing big breaths of relief and I’m already well into soaking in the time to myself to be silent or watch tv or run, to color, change clothes just because, lay on the floor, think, watch TED talks, and eat whenever I want, throw my anatomy papers to the wind, take a bath and whatever else the heck I want to do without any “I should be studying” guilt whatsoever. I feel a little like I deserve some “me” time.
Class of 2018, we are 1/8th done! Until residency. LOLZ.
th
 

Categories
Growing Up Life Medical School

Life Lately

I really do think about it as a past life sometimes. My life before 9 (what?!) weeks ago. It’s hard to describe to anyone not going through it, but I feel like a totally different person in some ways. I thought I was busy before, and most people in all walks of life would tell you that they are busy. Still, there’s a difference in not having enough time to do the things you want to do and not having enough time to do the things you NEED to do. Before medical school, I would pretty much agree with the statement “You have time for the things you make time for.” But now, I’m not sure. I ache to be able to run everyday. Believe me, I would make more time if I could. Some days, its just not feasible. More and more I find myself having to choose which “side” of myself to be “good to” that day.
For example, this weekend I made time to be a good aunt- and sacrificed a big chunk of my weekend to hug and hold and celebrate little girls (who are not that little anymore 🙁 ). It was worth it, believe me. Last Thursday I shut the books, and ran and lifted weights instead of eating dinner. I just wish that I was able to do all the things I have to do properly, instead of cutting some things in half or out of each day entirely. I can’t explain to you how exhausting it is to come up with time savers and then carry them out each day so that I can maybe get something else small accomplished. I brush my teeth in the shower while I’m rinsing my hair, or I check my email while I’m peeing, or I watch lectures online while sitting on the floor hanging up my clothes. Its tiring to try and save so much time.
I also used to be quite introspective. I don’t have time for silly things like self-reflection, and I feel like I’ve become a crappier writer because of it. I used to journal privately on paper AND blog. Now I’m lucky if I get to post on here each week. The only time I feel I actually get to reflect on my day and FEEL things is on my drive home, because my brain shuts off pretty quickly from the biological stuff. As with all things in medical school, feelings even have to be expressed in warp speed. It’s less tactful, said more hastily, and also said aloud to anyone that is around instead of to a few select people like I would’ve before. I’ll demand “Give me a hug, Macy!” whereas I would have expressed the emotions that led to me needing a hug. I also would have tried to sound more intelligent instead of juvenile. It’s like I’ve reverted back to that state of emotional frustration in childhood where you had feelings about what was going on, you just didn’t know how to say them.
Relationships in medical school move faster too, and its not a bad thing at all. Where it took me three years to grow into friendships with peers where there was mutual reliability and generosity, medical school classmates have so quickly become people that I not only study with, but people I rely on for support and hugs and food and empathy and commiseration and laughter and help. I would do all these same things for them in a heartbeat, and I am grateful to have this incredible network of the brightest, funniest people I have ever been amongst. A sense of belonging abounds and I guarantee you this whole thing would be approximately 19,000x harder if I didn’t enjoy going to see each and every one of them everyday.
Along with my difficulties in having time to really process all my feelings (not to mention the didactic information), the wind still gets knocked out of me sometimes. Little reminders of people and things I’ve had to leave behind, catch me off guard. Like a wound I thought was healed- a cold wind finds a fresh new facet of raw skin and it begins to sting a little again. It’s a little nostalgic and a little heartbreaking. It’s a lot of emotions to deal with and very few opportunities to have dealt with them. It feels like its been a week and yet it feels like it’s been years. It’s been hard to lose something so suddenly and yet it’s been heartbreakingly easy because of how busy I’m staying. Anytime I would usually pick up the phone, I pick up a PowerPoint copy instead. When I’m dissecting the hand on my cadaver, I think of the hands I used to hold. I’ll catch a glimpse of someone that looks similar, hear a blip of an old song and bam I feel the puncture wound in my heart, still gaping. I immediately stuff the hole with information about all the anatomical triangles in the neck and fetal circulation and move on, wondering when I’ll have time to deal with it. Does ignoring it make it better? No. But does it make it manageable? Yes- and manageable is what I have to work with for now.
I don’t know if you guys know much about elephants- but in captivity, they have certain needs to be met for their overall wellbeing. They need emotional enrichment-companions, offspring, a mate. They need physical enrichment– their diet, space to roam and play- and mental enrichment– toys, hidden treats, ropes, etc.
So obviously I am the elephant in this metaphor. My captivity is medical school, which tends to provide enough mental enrichment to satisfy my needs. (Understatement of the millennium). My physical enrichment is decent- all I ask is soft pretzels, copious amounts of caffeine, and a run to get me by. Emotional enrichment is hard to come by in my captivity. The only people that have a clue what’s going on are just as unstable in that department as me. It’s a struggle, and the general consensus among unmarried, single people in medical school is that we haven’t got a clue what we want and have to suppress everything til we figure it out later. My friend Macy and I joke about how ridiculous it is, but we tell each other to suppress all feelings and unresolved issues until Christmas break. We young medical students are in a fragile place. Capable of imploding at any moment.
The fact is- I’m going to be a doctor. I’m not the only one relying on myself to know this material anymore. The thought is sobering, but my patients need me to learn about their parietal cell Hydrogen pump in the stomach too.
So things have to be sacrificed.
I won’t sacrifice my studies because I worked too hard to get here. This was the dream all along. I’m not learning this to maybe get to do what I want- if I can get in- anymore. I’m in! I’m learning now for all of my future patients.
I’m extremely task driven anyway, so I’m still getting by based on making those “check marks” on my everlasting to do list.
And I won’t sacrifice my physical health. I need sleep and nourishment and running or I will not make it.
So some things are gonna be benched for a while, and sometimes I think its a good thing- to stay busy. Time heals all wounds, right? For right now, that means I’m going to do what I can to keep myself afloat with thoughts about anatomy until I accidentally happen upon the remnants that make me ache a little. I will swallow the lump in my throat and keep going. Old habits die hard, and I’m going to miss some things. Sometimes I think I always will. But I don’t have a choice.
I have to make it through, with or without my past life.
I knew all this was coming, when I started medical school. I knew it would be hard. It really is a rewarding and satisfying kind of hard, though, and I wouldn’t trade my medical school experience for anything. A lot of days I’ll come home at midnight and my dad will ask about the day. Exhausted, I sigh and say, “So so hard” and he says, “So you’re loving it, huh?” And really, it exactly expresses how I feel about all the hard work I do each day. Its hard but I love it. I’m so extremely lucky to be here, to be able to learn, have fun and yes, study all day and all night.
But I miss what I used to love, simply because it was once something that I used to love.

Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Health Life Medicine

Worry

I worry about big things, like about the future. I worry about small things, like about not finishing all the summer reading I wanted. I worried when I was 9 and had no legitimate concerns. I worry now when every decision feels so pertinent. I worry about serious things like the environment. I worry about stupid things like having white teeth.
I worry about my family. I worry for their health and happiness. I worry about about their worries. I worry about their sadness. I worry about their foot fungus. I worry about their flaky patches of skin. I worry about their backs, their diets, their sore throats. I worry about my sisters. I worry about depression returning, looming in the sky like a big thunderhead that just passed over us. I worry about my nieces. I worry for them because its so hard to be a girl. I worry because its so hard to grow up and grow up right. I worry because things go wrong. I worry for them because there are hurts I can’t hide from them. I worry that they will see my worry because I want them to know how blessed they are and I’m worried my worry will make them think otherwise. I worry about them when I start medical school. I worry that they’ll think I won’t have time for them.
I worry about my friends. I worry that I’ll disappoint them. I worry that they won’t get everything they want for their lives. I worry about the hurt they will have to endure if they don’t. I worry about love. I worry that I don’t have a clue. I worry that I won’t have time to have a family. I worry that I’m not good enough. I worry that I’m screwing up. I worry that things won’t work out even though I know they will.
I worry about medical school. I worry that I’ll flunk out. I worry that I won’t make friends or won’t have time to. I worry that I’m not cut out for it. I worry that I’ll be incompetent or embarrass myself. I worry that I won’t like it. That I won’t want to study. I worry that I’ll worry more than I already do. I worry that it won’t be everything I wanted it to be. I worry that I will have done all this for nothing. I worry that I’ve made my non-existent career more important than people.
I worry about cancer. I worry about diabetes. I worry about heart disease. I worry about death and disease. I worry about pregnant women. I worry about babies. I worry about obesity. I worry about families. I worry about women in more dire circumstances than I can even imagine. I worry about our nation’s healthcare system. I worry about mental illness. I worry about people who don’t know better. I worry about people that do know better. I worry about vaccines. I worry about abortion. I even worry about the overuse of antibacterial hand soap. I worry about the food we put in our mouths. I worry about business, ethics, medicine, politics, immigration, gender roles, and society because all these things play into our health. I worry that we won’t be able to fix it all. I worry that I won’t even be able to do my part.
I worry that the worries I have listed here don’t even scratch the surface of what I worry about. I worry that I won’t ever stop worrying. I worry that someday the burdens I have for people, the stress that I feel will shut me down into a deep dark place, like I’ve seen worry do to people before.
But most of all, I worry that someday I won’t worry about these things anymore.

Categories
Growing Up Life Quotes

Things Women Should Quit Doing

I posted this article on Facebook, and I read this one a while back.
I don’t agree with all of them. Women need to apologize for some things just like everyone else. And, being assertive does not mean we can walk all over people to get what we want or be rude. I especially don’t think we should stop telling other people yes and stop telling ourselves no. I think as a whole, twenty-something-year-old women are becoming more and more selfish and self absorbed and should probably commit more to doing for others and less to “pampering” themselves.
It didn’t escape my attention either that the first one, the buzz feed article, is sponsored by Pantene.
Have you guys seen their new ad campaign? I like all the things it makes me feel.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOjNcZvwjxI&w=560&h=315]
I like female empowerment. It’s a big part of why I run. It makes me feel powerful.
I’m not of the crazy feminist variety, but I think women can do a lot more than they are. For me, it’s not all about how many women are in Congress or even about how much women get paid. It’s about expecting more from women, setting women up to not be helpless. Then, it can carry over into women raising strong babies that aren’t helpless, dream big, and set their own standards according to what works best for them. Men have a part in this too. They’ll expect more from us women the more we expect of ourselves. The hope is that it will be less about who stays home with the kids or who makes more money in the household and more about supporting each other.
I think where we get stuck, unfortunately, is when we see other women succeeding at their life goals, whatever those are. As my mom says “Comparison steals your joy.” It happens a lot more often now that you can look on Facebook and see Holly Highschool get that amazing internship in Nashville or Charlie Church girl’s adorable babies’ pinterest worthy photos and we think we are doing something wrong on our own journey and get discouraged. We get overwhelmed with all the things we want and say “Well, I’ll never have that “fill-in-the-blank” and so starts the pity party funk of all we have not accomplished and how life isn’t what we thought it’d be.
If we just realized that encouraging each other is so much better of a way to help other women reach their goals and reach our own goals. Because when it comes down to it, you don’t really want their life, as perfect as it looks on Instagram. You want your life because its the one you’ve been given. And its a good one.
“Though it may feel otherwise, enjoying life is no more dangerous than apprehending it with continuous anxiety and gloom.” -Alain de Botton
So here’s my list of things women should quit doing.
1. Quit comparing their lives to other people- online or in person.
2. Being  ungrateful for what you have.
3. Quit acting like you aren’t strong, because you are.
 
 
 

Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Life

Back from Vacation, Planning Another One

We got back from our camping trip and had a lot of fun. Two things.
1/Everything takes forever with kids.
2/Kids make it more fun.
The sun was hot, the water felt good, and I’m now more thankful for things like toilets, netflix, and chapstick always being close at hand. Those survival reality shows where you strand yourself out in the heat somewhere? Yeah, I wouldn’t make it a day without shade and chapstick.
I had several halfway done projects at home waiting for an empty house (read: no crazy nieces running rampant around here)- so I was sort of preoccupied with getting back to my regular boring life of failed pinterest projects- when I got the following message and realized that my amazing Chicago road trip with Dani is like 5 days away. Woah. I don’t even know what it is in Chicago that I want to do!
Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 11.10.57 PM
 
I did some preliminary research and discovered that I probably should have started doing this months ago. For one thing, our hotel’s parking is $65. Another problem is that pretty quickly I read that driving/parking in downtown is pretty impossible. And…  dun dun dun… everything we are doing is in downtown. Our concert venue and hotel are in walking distance, but there ISN’T ANY WAY IN ANY WORLD THAT I WOULD PAY $65 TO PARK MY CAR. I found some parking apps that give places to park a bit cheaper, but I have no idea how their public transportation works (or if its safe or for poor people like it is here) so I’m sort of freaking. There are a lot of logistics to work out.
It’s weird seeing the difference in family vacations versus now planning my own. When I’m with my family, I do zero planning, zero logistics, I don’t even think I helped cook the food. I’m just this awkward semi-adult floater that doesn’t play like a kid or pitch in like an adult. Oops. Now with my own, I don’t mind getting super prepared, printing all the tickets,  calling ahead for reservations, and figuring out where the heck a girl’s supposed to park. 
You can see it as good or bad. Maybe I’m finding out that I can take care of the details well on my own. Or maybe it means that I’m lazy and only do it when forced and no one else is there to do it for me. Whichever way, I guess we’ll see how this road trip goes and then decide if I’m capable.
Who knows, I may spend all my money on parking and not be able to make it home.
And, speaking of failed pinterest projects… check in tomorrow to see some pics of my graduation party.
Hint… I tried to make thesevbsc
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Categories
Growing Up House Life Medical School

Capstone Essay

My room is mostly finished! Minus some wall art and some diploma[(s) now!] that I haven’t hung up.
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It’s much more subdued, neutral, and calming now, which will be good for medical school in 2 months, 8 days! My favorite part has to be the window area which I added twinkle lights to at the last minute.
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Anyway, my final for my capstone class was to write a reflective essay looking back into our science education. I ended up really liking mine. So, here it is if you want to see how I got through OBU science. I wish I had gone more into my calling to medicine and how I knew all the suffering would be worth it, but I focused mainly on the science instead.
“Some would see my choice to attend a Baptist university as a way to limit my education, my world, and my views, but in fact the opposite has proven true. The last four years have opened my mind to knowledge I did not know I could have, questions I could not fathom, and wonder I didn’t know was possible. Personally, I have grown. My general education classes have taught me a great deal, but it is science where I have learned the most. I think a good objective definition of science is that it is the body of knowledge we have about the natural world through systematic experiments and observation. Science is how the world works. However, being a student of science has taught me so much more than that. For one thing, I’ve learned how vast the world is, and how small I am. Being a science student has strengthened my faith and allowed me to question things about my faith that I had never considered. Four years ago, I blindly accepted my faith in God and blindly accepted the science I was taught as well. Now, I question both, and am able to find the answers; answers that I can flesh out and struggle with and understand better in the end. I am also okay with not knowing the answer, which is something that I do not know I could say as a freshman. Science has become a big part of my belief system and a part of finding my purpose in the world. In order for me to be a part of science, I have to rely on the assumption that science is making the world a better place overall. I want to be a part of the kind of science that does good for people. My favorite lessons in science are the ones that have left me speechless and astounded in awe of my Creator. Some other favorites include those that I have learned from listening to my classmates’ views and opinions.
The biology program at OBU broke me down mentally. I switched my major from undeclared to biology after I had already begun as a freshman. I was only in the department for three years, but it has been grueling. I remember driving home one school night as a sophomore because I couldn’t take it anymore. I was done studying. I considered dropping out or transferring. My friends from freshman year have had nowhere near the workload I have. I spent hours and hours sitting down studying by myself. I hate sitting down, and I would much rather be with other people. Looking back, it was nothing more than a hard adjustment, because the payoff has been so much more than worth it. Then, again in my junior year- I was taking physics and organic with the sophomores- I hit another wall, hard. The workload is ridiculous and my grades were not showing the fruits of my labor. I was flailing. I wanted to quit again, but I relied on what I knew I had already made it through. Though sometimes I hated science, it helped me realize my potential and to continue to face adversity, knowing I could handle it. After I turned in my Organic 2 final, I cried in Dr. Malmberg’s office asking him why he had to make it so hard, and why I studied and studied but my grade was so low. He put it simply.
“So that you realize your dependence on God.”
I am extremely aware of my dependence on God because of science. But I also know now that when I resolve to do something, I can do my best no matter how much it will take out of me.
As a runner, the worst part for me is right before a race, at the starting line. I know what I have to do to hit a personal record, and I am aware that I am going to hurt. My legs will beg me to stop; my lungs will feel like they’re going to burst. I get afraid that I won’t be able to make it and I slow down. Every time. Now, headed into medical school, I am at the starting line of a whole new, rigorous program. Just like if I were running, I should be scared. I should be bracing myself for the “hurt”, but unlike in running, I know that I can make it through. The science program broke me down, but it has built me back up stronger than I was before.
I had never explored science and faith together before my four years here. The two remain separate and non-conflicting. Science is what is physical and natural. God is metaphysical and real but not able to be proven by the methods of science. Still, in my mind, the two feed into each other. My relationship with God is fed by the awe I experience when I learn. The intricacies of cell biology and genetics have changed my life. The volume of activity occurring at the microscopic, even molecular level continually blows me away. It’s so orderly. The amount of things you can learn about one infinitesimally small process in a cell, is completely mind-boggling.
Science’s role in society has become evident to me mostly in this past year. I have realized through capstone, being accepted into medical school and our non-textbook readings in developmental biology, that my science education has a lot of implications for the world around me. One of my favorite memories is a vaccine discussion we had in capstone. As a class, we examined our views from the perceptions of the opposing views, or the views of a layperson, who does not necessarily understand the hard, scientific literature we cite for our own opinions as scientists. I could discuss things like that all day long. I love challenging and discussing ethics, arguments, and science. I am excited to use my unique point of view and scientific education to better understand the people around me and especially what they believe and why. In developmental this past semester, we also spoke about the importance of popular science and writing. The Annie Dillard and Scientific American readings have inspired me to use my writing voice in science somehow. Of course, I also hope my medical education and further scientific endeavors will have some impact on society, even if just within a community.
These four years have taught me so much in terms of sheer knowledge- objective fact. I would be proud of my degree if that was all I had obtained during this time in my life. Perhaps, more than that, I am proud of what has happened to me on this journey. I share a bond with my fellow science students because of what we know we have all lived through. I have had my mind opened wide and want to fill it with all that I can. I am stronger, more assertive, and more sure of myself. I am a scientist now. It is a title, I did not know I wanted. But, I smile every time Dr. Jett refers to my classmates and I as scientists. I will always cherish my time at OBU and forever consider myself a student of science.”

Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Life

Graduation

I have become a college graduate in the time since we last spoke.
I thought that I would feel different afterwards or be sad or overwhelmed the day of. It was a fast-paced day of places to be, family arrivals, and I was also moving out of my apartment to go back home the same day.
It didn’t feel overly surreal and thankfully it was still a fun day with my family despite a 2 hour ceremony in a hot chapel.
I only teared up twice- once because my favorite professor was giving the commencement address and once when my mom found me after the ceremony and started bawling.
I was so glad and proud to have my family there, and my nieces did so good in the audience. Way to go girls!
The rest of the event is best described in pictures. There are no pictures of the actual ceremony because my dad doesn’t know how to focus. Half of everything saved on the SD card is a one second video because he didn’t know how to get back to picture mode. Parents…. sigh.

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My sweet friend Lynnette and I in the staging area

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This picture cracks me up. None of us are ready and it was too bright, apparently!

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Lynnette and I again- I couldn’t have made it through science without her!

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My favorite professor and I

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Some more science girls. Each of them bright, beautiful, and destined for great things!

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My rocks- my mom and dad

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Dear little Jenna and I. We are going to be the cool best friend doctors in the next “Grey’s Anatomy”

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Katie in my cap and gown. She will grow into it before we know it!

Categories
Application Process Growing Up Medical School Medicine

My First Medical School Interview

I mentioned here that I hate interviews.
Applying to medical school is a funny thing because a lot things are very personal, (GPA, MCAT) but everyone wants to know how you’re doing. Vague answers usually get you by- but now that I’m in- knowing that in a lot of ways (test scores) I’m very average and that, in the end, it was enough- I don’t care who knows what. So I might as well maybe help someone know what to expect, or explain more fully to my loved ones what it was like for me.
Now it all feels wimpy because I’ve lived to survive the tale. But when you’re in it, its very scary and it definitely feels like a strange, stressful torture in the weeks, days and minutes leading up to it.
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My interview with the school I’m going to was my first interview and I had it pretty early in the interview season (Nov. 1). In the two week notice I had leading up to it, I somehow got through my classes in a blur because most of my energy was focused on panicking. I had several legitimate panic attacks, spent hours on the internet searching interview questions and their proper answers, and spent even longer awake in bed at night imagining different scenarios in my head instead of sleeping. I asked my family and friends to ask me practice questions, but I would get so worked up that I had to stop practicing a couple of days before I went to the interview. I took a lot of walks to calm down.
Why was it so scary?
Well, first of all, the entire application process is torture. So its all scary. You go into every new wave of premed, slowly going up the ranks, wondering what new form of cruel and unusual punishment awaits you.
Secondly, I heard somewhere that getting an interview means that a spot in the class is “yours to lose”.
Yikes.
Looking back, I was way too worked up. But being a Type A, I had to be doing something to prepare and sometimes thinking about it feels more productive than not thinking about it. It was also extremely scary to think about all my studying, years of work, volunteering, and worrying coming down to a 30 minute conversation. It almost felt insulting that it was all reduced to resting on this one interview.
The night before my interview, I went home, ate a good dinner, shut off my computer, set out my clothes, (complete with knee-high stockings, bleh) and took a Benadryl at 8:30PM. That was the best thing I could have done for myself, honestly. I slept like a baby. I woke up rested and ready to go. Nervous? Yeah. Excited? Yes. Ready for it to finally be over? Definitely.
Once in the building, they escorted me into a conference room where there were beverages and 6 other nervous applicants. They were all boys my age! (ahem, men). I was the only girl. Suddenly, looking at these other guys my age, it occurred to me- I‘M THE SAME AS THEM! They have the same amount of training, we are all equally qualified. Heck, if I went to school with them, I could have easily been friends with them. I guess maybe I was expecting to walk into a room full of intimidating doctors, because that’s how unqualified I felt to be there. So, once that all set in, I realized that I had a right to be there. I deserve to be here, I thought.
The dean of admissions introduced herself and the recruiters and talked for about 30 minutes. I don’t think any of the applicants could tell you what she said. They divided us into three interview sessions, I was in group B at 10:30. So I had to sit there fidgeting and making small talk with the other guys for 2 hours. They let us be, though, and I was grateful for that. I texted my doctor mentor who used to teach there and told him my interviewers names. He assured me that they were both very nice, gave me some encouragement and told me to try to enjoy the experience. Bless that man.
I worked the previous summer in a lab upstairs and my boss came and visited me too. Both of those moments soothed me a lot. I don’t remember much else. Except that my stomach started growling about 15 minutes before my interview and so I choked down a granola bar in my purse because if my stomach growled audibly during my interview, I was certain that I would absolutely just die.
These thoughts I’m having, the events that transpired that day, how many times I peed that morning, none of these things are things that I thought the holy medical student, much less a doctor, would have as they were interviewing to become said doctor. But more and more I’m realizing that I have immortalized the career as unattainable and even other medical students are not as human as I am. Their stomachs don’t growl. They don’t listen to Jesse McCartney or watch Spongebob. Then I pinch myself and realize that I’m one of them. But, I’m just a kid. I don’t have an ever-loving clue. Well America, we are your medical students now! God bless us all.
Anyway, I was introduced to my two interviewers. An older guy that works as a clinical psychologist. And a younger pediatric resident. I shook their hands, told them that yes,”Andi” was preferable to Andrea, “thank you for asking” and sat down.
The resident halted the interview at once and said, “Before we get started, I just wanted to commend you on your personal statement. It was extremely mature, well-written, and unique. I read it twice myself and once to my wife. She liked it too.”
Be still, my heart.
The psychologist then asked me to tell him what I do for fun. Wait, what? “I don’t have fun.” Was my first thought. I told him I run, cook, and I have 5 nieces that I love spending time with.”
The resident piped in a answered half that question for me. He said “It looks like you have a lot of church and volunteer activities too, is that something you do for fun.” I said that yes, I was very happy about all the opportunities I’ve had to help others and travel and it’s become an important point of maintaining perspective from school work I genuinely love it.
It was at this point I realized I did not have control over this interview. My interviewers were charming, kind, genuinely interested, and eloquent. They treated me as an equal and I became all of those things as well. God had this. I never had anything to do with it.
Some other questions they asked:

  • Why do you think being a D.O. is something you want to do?
  • Why do you think OSU is a good fit for you?
  • How do you relieve stress?
  • What would you do if you had a patient that had a problem that you could treat, but was not compliant and would not listen to you?
  • What has been your most meaningful medical experience and why?

It was very conversational, and my interviewers would interject their own thoughts and agree with me or add something to my answer. I felt like I belonged there being colleagues with them. I went 15 minutes over my allotted interview time. A lady had to come in and drag me out. I shook their hands again, they smiled genuinely at me and I smiled genuinely back. I really could have talked to them all day. My boss was waiting for me outside the room again because I was on his floor. He asked me if I threw up on them. I laughed, grateful that he was there, and shared my first breath of relief with a familiar face. It was nice. I was happy.
I’ve been so used to looking like an idiot in front of my professors, that this new-found confidence and equally-yoked conversation about medicine struck my fancy quite well.
The rest of the day, I was much more relaxed. We did a tour. They demonstrated their simulation patients for us, and we had lunch with some medical students. By the end of the day I was tired. I was ready to go home, wipe off my polite poker face and squeal about how well it went to my mom and dad.
Some tips:
1) You’re going to be nervous. Just know that you are going to be nervous and try to learn how to best present “you” when nervous.
2) Prepare for the questions you think they’ll ask. But quit a couple days before because you’ll just freak out about everything you don’t have a perfect answer to.
3) One thing I regret is how private my classmates and I were about our experiences applying. Like I said, for some reason, scores and interview offers are very personal and every individual journey into medical is very different. Perhaps for jealousy or competition reasons but it doesn’t have to be that way. Find someone else going through it to talk about it with! It helps to talk about it. It keeps your worrying thoughts from going to “the dark place” when you can bounce them off of someone else out loud.
4) Sleep good the night before, even if you have to take something.
5) Enjoy the experience! Its not everyday, you get to be considered for something so prestigious.
6) When asked a question, its okay to take a breath. Pausing before answering sounds a lot better than blurting something out or taking several different paths throughout your answer to end up where you wanted.
 
 
 
 
 

Categories
Growing Up Recipes

Endings/ New Things

Endings:
As my list of things to do until I graduate shrinks, my list of things to do to prepare for medical school grows.
I have a small list of final projects and a small list of tests and it seems strange that it’s all coming down to be a once again manageable semester when at first it seemed impossible.
And I really want to thank everyone that has done me favors, brought me food, or simply sat with me while I have slaved over purifying some nematodes‘ godforsaken RNA. As of today, I have a batch in the PCR machine to test its viability. Hopefully, this time it works.
Not only will school as I know it end, these are also my last days in Shawnee. Not saying I will miss it- its $13.99, now $15.99 trash service, or its nasty people and incredulously disgusting Walmart, but its been a pseudo-home for a while.
 
New Things:
I tried steel cut oats overnight for the first time.
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I bought the actual oats off of Amazon since nowhere in Shawnee has them. Steel cut oats look a lot different than the Quaker oats I have been familiar with. They were definitely more chunk-like than wafer thin like rolled oats. And if you look at the actual grain like I did (I know, I’m a nerd) you can sort of see that they really do “roll” them out flat to get the rolled oats I put in my No-Bake Cookies.
Anyway, I didn’t have brown sugar or anything other than Splenda and I didn’t want to get the crock pot out or boil them for an hour. I also didn’t think I would mind eating it cold so this is what I threw in my bowl:
1/2 c oats
2 spoonfuls of chia seeds
2 splashes of milk
3 oz. yogurt drink that I have every morning
for sweetness and fruit flavor
(It looks like this)
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I put it in the fridge overnight. I ate some of it this morning and the rest for a snack later. It was chewy and sweet and slightly strawberry flavored. I liked it cold too. I’m proud of it and will definitely make it again. I’ll probably incorporate peanut butter or chocolate in some way.
I thought it was exciting and new and yay!