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Medical Journey

At 1:10 AM I should focus magnificently on my biology texts, but I can’t. I’m alone, sitting in front of a dull wall, and I feel a gaseous buildup in my intestines.

It’s important to have support because we are human and relational. I enjoy studying alone, and if I am with the right person, I love to study with others (but probably no more than three others). It’s also nice to study with people who don’t necessarily grasp the content very well; for if you can explain what you are learning, then you have mastered the material.

I’m in a pickly predicament though. I’m burrowing through biology, and it is definitely my weakest link. There is a voluminous tray of information, and it’s hard to put everything together. These topics all connect somehow, but I can’t see it. I jump from speciation to phylogeny, and then can see no difference in cladistics. It’s terrible because I’m only seeing it from my perspective. I need another set of eyes.

That’s why I yearn for a friend that is academically motivated in the same sense that I am. I wish I had a friend that studied ferociously because he or she knew that perfection is attainable. Striving for perfection will propel us to be perfect. And if we strive to be perfect, then we will become perfect because perfection is attained in the process.

Edith Piaf sang, “je vois la vie en rose,” which means, “I see the world through rose colored glasses” or “rosy hues” — to see blissfully. Sometimes it’s nice to see life that way. But allow me to sing back, Edith: I need another pair of eye glasses — not rose colored this time, just a different prescription.

Excuse my tangent, but I’d love a pair of Rec Specs. How incredibly dorky. I believe, though, I would look quite smashing.

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I love chemistry. I had three years of it in high school in anticipation of its challenges. ((1 year general chem, 1 year organic, 1 year AP.)) I think I like it so much because of it’s mathematical nature. I love math too, so it makes sense that I would love chemistry. I also love to take standardized tests. The ACT was hot stuff, and I’m salivating the udders of my salivary glands for the MCAT; they are oozing.

It’s important to know that some of the things we love we aren’t great at. I’m not phenomenal at either math, chemistry, nor standardized tests, but I love them. And if you love something, then you possess enough coal to churn your engine; you’ll have enough drive to succeed.

Last Friday was my first college exam. The content assessed was relatively easy ((Basic concepts, mole concept, and stoichiometry.)), and I didn’t stress over preparing. Then came Thursday night, and with each passing hour my anxiety grew exponentially. I began to second-guess my meager preparation: I don’t know the formulas. I don’t know what the atomic symbol Tl represents. I don’t know more than I should know.

Despite my worries, the exam was thrilling. I worked every problem meticulously because I knew I was so capable of receiving a very near to perfect mark. I was proud of my work, and handed in my exam confidently.

On Sunday I checked my grades, and it read that I scored an 84 on my exam. To borrow from Marvin the Martian, “how very disappointing”. ((I’m not sure if Marvin ever said that, but I can imagine him saying that.)) For real, though! I thought I rocked that exam.

I’ll be attending office hours this week. Firstly, because I’m hoping to see a copy of the exam. Secondly, because I love my chemistry professor. He’s an amiable old fellow, and I hope he doesn’t retire (or pass away) within three years; I want him to write me a LOR.

Time to hike up the pants, not shave for weeks, and sleep on and with my books and lecture notes. An 84 is nowhere near what I know I can achieve, nor is it anywhere near what I want.

Love the success of being the top score. You’re a gladiator my friend, and every time you enter that lecture hall, you be prepared to get blood on your hands and know how to take a few blows. With your pen as your weapon, never give up. College is all a game in the end. It does not test your knowledge, but your ability to adapt to a system. Kiss ass, but never show brown on your nose. But most importantly, help your fellow student every chance you get, for teaching someone the material means you have mastered it. Good luck.

Man. Have you ever heard college described in a more inspiring manner? That’s exactly how I felt during the summer term before my freshman year in college — like a gladiator. Perhaps this is the more nerdy side of me, but I don’t think so. This is the adult in me finally grasping what I dreamt as a child. This is where I turn my goals into achievements. This is where perfection is no longer a standard, but my norm. I don’t have a potential; I am unlimitedly capable.

We’re all meant for great things. We only differ in when we discover what we will become great at — our life purpose. Starting at Marquette University, I think I’ve merely begun to tap into my greatness. Winston Churchill: History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

I am so ready for college (five days left!). College is a power source. Haven’t you heard? Knowledge is power.

My name is Will and I got a 45R on the MCAT. I currently have a 4.0 undergrad, 4.0 master’s GPA, and a 4.0 in my PhD GPA. In my free time I raise 2 abandoned children, volunteer 15 hours a week in a hospital, and spend every summer in South Africa working medical missions. Am I competitive for med school?

I found this sarcastic bit on the Student Doctor Network forums. It was under a topic in which the author invited guesses on whether he was competitive for medical school. I especially chuckled at the part that talks about raising two abandoned children in his free time. That always gets me.

For the future, I’ve decided to include a medical perspective to my blog. It’ll document anything pertaining to my admission to medical school while I am in college. Then when I am studying at medical school (( This would be huge, and hopefully it will be at Yale’s School of Medicine.)) I’ll document my studies and exposures there. Hopefully it will be an exciting course of events. I know I’ll be enticed. After all, this is what I want to do with my life.

This summer, before moving into Marquette University, I wanted to shadow my family doctor for a few days. I never proceeded to contact him or his office about that. Part of the reason was because I was lazy, but I think a larger part of the reason was because I only had about a two week window to fit it in. But now in thinking about it, I think I could have squeezed in a shadow visit, and I was only too lazy to work to squeeze one in.

Then let me provide an abstract on how I prepared for my medical career in high school:

  1. Attended a Medical Explorers meeting in which an anesthesiologist spoke.
  2. Applied to volunteer at the local hospital. Spoke to the coordinator and picked up required papers and received a required shot at the local hospital. Called the coordinator and left three messages ((The messages were never returned.)) that I had completed the required shot at the local hospital. Never heard from the local hospital. Went back about a month later to check back with the coordinator, but she wasn’t in the office, so I didn’t want to volunteer anymore at the local hospital.
  3. Spent many hours reading about the medical journey and life of doctors online through networks, blogs, and advice websites. Examples: Student Doctor Network, Best Premed, Med School Ready, Jeffrey MD, Missionary Doc in the Making, Vitum Medicinus, websites of my prospective medical schools (dominantly the Yale SOM website).
  4. Built a strong core in my sciences during high school — particularly in chemistry: Two years of chemistry (mainly inorganic — regular and AP), one year of organic chemistry, one year of honors physics, ((Worst class of my life, yet I still appreciate it. My teacher was incredibly smart, but I don’t think her style worked with me.)) and two years of biology (honors and AP).
  5. Applied for a leadership conference that concentrated on the medical professions, but did not follow through because of cost.

Now, I need to work on my clinical experience. I literally have none, and the bulk of the blame can be loaded onto my local hospital. I should have been more persistent ((As if calling three times isn’t enough.)), but seriously — it is very uncomfortable to leave three messages and not receive an answer from any of them. It’s like asking the girl you like to the prom — three times — and then being rejected — three times. Marquette is in an urban area, and I’m almost positive there will be opulent opportunities for me to volunteer and gain experience. I want to put an emphasis on any research I can do while in undergrad, too. Yale is very research oriented, and I’m almost positive that a significant amount of research is required to be admitted. And oh baby, I want to be admitted.

So research experience, and volunteer/clinical experience. I feel those are the two things I really need for to finish my medical school applications. There is, of course, the MCAT, but that can be taken care of with a strong work ethic. The same goes for the undergraduate GPA. ((I never wanted a 4.0 in high school, but I want one so bad now. There are two reasons why: 1) It’s college, and most of my studies will be directed towards theology. I love theology, and when you love something you love spending time in/with it. 2) Medical schools are known to look at the undergraduate GPA as part of the admissions process; sometimes a certain GPA is used to screen out the first wave of applicants. Therefore, in light and anticipation of Yale’s SOM being selective and using the GPA screening, I want to earn a 4.0 GPA.)) Most medical schools like to see that you are a rounded individual and have asserted or held leadership positions. This is what I’m planning to do in college outside of academia: Orchestra, Big Brothers Big Sisters, an intramural sport, Intervarsity or some other religious organization. I’m sure there will be other things too, but I feel that if I stick to what I mentioned in that list, I should be in decent standing with most medical schools. I am learning, though, that being decent isn’t chill with most pre-meds.

That’s all for now. I’ll be taking biology and chemistry this fall, and then hopefully following up with biology and chemistry in the fall too. That’ll be two courses down for most medical school pre-requisites. ((Two years of chemistry (inorganic and organic), a year of biology, a year of physics, and a year of calculus is recommended.)) This is going to be a fabulous ride like the rollercoaster — of love. Yeah, baby.

One more thing: I don’t want to be a cocky, brown-nosing, grade sucking pre-med; I want to transcend the pre-med stereotype. I want to work and earn what I worked for — and I know I am so capable of working for a 4.0. That’s my fire to aspire for perfection, baby. Yeah.