Thursday, April 9, 2009

How much do I REALLY want to become an MD?

These days the answer to that question is obviously not that much. Sure, I'm willing to put my family through having me be preoccupied for most of the next 5 or so years, but at this point I'm still simply NOT willing to relocate (despite full support from my husband). Why? I think it would be too much on my kid and if you've been reading my blog over the years, you know that it was no easy task to get her to Honor Roll/Gifted and Talented in Middle School from going up against 7 teachers/counselors from her elementary school who were hell bent on placing her in special education classes for being "slow". My personal feeling is that moving now would be great for my career, but perhaps not so much for hers, and now over the nest year, I'm going to go back and forth trying to decide if I moving a kid about the enter high school is a good idea or not.

Having said that, things are looking questionable for me staying in the Metro DC area for a post-bacc/5 year MD, and because I haven't talked to any of my contacts yet, much of the reason why at this point is speculation on my part. But given the competitive nature of this particular program (with an acceptance rate 1/2 of that for regular MD admissions = 25%) I wouldn't be surprised what happens.

First off, while I did have a 4.0 GPA last year in a graduate Pharma program and finsihed my first MS in Chemistry with a 3.75 GPA, my overall AMCAS graduate GPA is 0.5 points LOWER than I though it would be thanks to 4 "B-" and 2 dreaded "C's", earned in 2 programs I started but didn't finish 4 years ago and 15 years ago, respectively. THAT looks REAL bad and I don't need anyone to tell me that. Unfortunately, doing well in medical school courses kinda gets lost in the meritocracy of my overall graduate GPA unless you know to look for it.

Second and I mentioned this before, I found errors on my application which I blame on having to turn in an application in person when my original one got lost. Unfortunately, it's quite likely I turned in a draft of my app instead of the final copy because I was rushed and in a TON of pain the day I turned it in in person. Of course, I procrastinated in the name of rereading my essay over and over which delayed me turning it in earlier in the first place and this may come back to bite me in the arse (and distractions/excuses like having surgery and getting fired in the interim just do NOT fly). Bottom line and I know this from experience, you absolutely MUST get your stuff turned in ASAP that way if issues come up, you won't be as pressed as I was/am. The idea that I was at this medical school the day I was discharged from the hospital turning in another application is simply ridiculous even if I had been calling for the past week and no one answered the phone to confirm receipt of my materials. Getting my app in 5 weeks earlier could have prevented that headache because surely in that 5 previous weeks, someone one would have had to answer the phone. I also had a last minute issue with LOR which were turned in during the first week apps were due however I didn't find out I needed another one until one week before the deadline. Again, NO LAST MINUTE TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS!!!

Man, I'm so mad at myself right now but I have to get over it and make some decisions about my future. Do I stay in the area and mainly focus again on this same program next year? I still think this is the best program for me but this is my LAST year placing my mental eggs in one basket as far as schools are concerned. There are about 8 schools in the "area" so at this point, pretty much ALL of them are in my mental "egg basket" now. At this point, no matter how good your connections and academics are, there are no sure bets until you get that acceptance letter and the reason why I'm not a basket case right now, is because I never once let myself forget. Keeping me "sane" is the realization that my plans and God's plan for my life haven't always been in sync throughout my life and I've have to be OK with that because there's a HUGE difference between to no, not now, and never!

Back to what I'm going to do now, I'm already planning for when AMCAS opens for the 2010 class and will get my transcripts in and my app verified by June 31, 2009. I'm again looking at essentially the same list of schools I've always been interested in, schools that have post-bacc with linkage programs and strong pathology departments. Including metro DC schools, that's about 10 schools in 7 different states. I will also reapply if need be, to the post-bacc/5 year MD program I'm referring to in this post, keeping in mind that as many as 40% of the students in the program applied at least twice to get in (and I know of one person who applied 3X).

In the meantime, on a personal level I'm going to continue my volunteer work with breast cancer organizations, while focusing my professional life in infectious disease/public health preparedness/bioterrorism. I'm also going to to continue to attend Pathology conference and sit in on sign out with Resident and Attending Pathologists (which I'll get to do quite regularly until I find another gig). In other words, I'm STILL blessed and life must go on......................................................

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