Monday, June 14, 2010

The Doctor will not be seeing you today...

I've wanted to be a Doctor for a good long time now. It started after I got mixed up into the Med Tech field, which was about a month before I was supposed to graduate with my Biology degree. Regardless, once I got going in the lab my fascination with medicine kind of starting running.

However it took me 3 years of college to actually buckle down and study. Before that I was a C student or so. The first two years I was kind of bored with my classes and didn't try all that much. Then the 3rd year of college I made my glorious come back to baseball. That was a lot of fun however school was put on the backburner and my grades suffered because of it. Only at the start of my 4th year did a light come on. Maybe it was the classes got more specialized or maybe I just matured some. Regardless, I pretty much did a 180 and aced most of my classes. As I dove more into Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Anatomy and Phys, and Biochem, I realized that my passion wasn't all about Micro. It was getting more into the body, and what can go wrong and how do we fix it. The idea of being a Doctor starting blipping on my radar.

But then I sat back and truly looked. Yes I was getting good grades and living up to the potential student wise that I should be. But let's face it: I pissed away 3 years of school and even if I got straight A's, the GPA wouldn't be where it needs to be. Also, I was almost done with school, I was recently married, and I was looking forward to getting out of the classroom and getting a job and making some money and not flipping textbooks. My job as a Med Tech looked stable and promising, and I was able to push the whole Dr. bit back into the recesses of thought.

Or so I thought.

The more I worked in the lab, and then even more so when I went into the BB full time and started dealing more personally with surgery and what not, the more the fascination with medicine built up. I would see new procedures I never heard of before on the surgery schedule and look up all kinds of things about it until I had a firm grasp on what the basic principle behind it was. If a patient was admitted with some sort of disease I didn't hear about, I looked that up too. It all fueled the fascination until last October I couldn't keep denying the thought of going to Med School. So I announced shortly thereafter to Elli that I wanted to take an MCAT prep course, take the MCAT, and see what happens. I had read that Med Schools like the Med Tech degree, and couple that with my work experience, good letters of recommendations, and a strong MCAT score I could make up for the lower than average GPA and put together a competitive application. The MCAT score was my key I thought, so I wanted to prepare as best as I could. Therefore I thought the MCAT class was needed to guide me to the promised land.

The course did help a lot. My brain remembered lots of stuff, it was just a matter of pulling back up to the surface. I improved each week, studied hard, and saw my practice test scores reflect the hours of putting my nose to the grindstone. As the date got closer to the test, I got less and less worried. "I know this stuff" I thought. I worked harder at Organic Chem and Biology to make up the slack that I would have from Gen Chem and Physics. I even took a whole week off of work so that I could do lots of review and tie up loose ends. The date was nearly here and I felt good and prepared.

Test day came one Saturday. I opted for the afternoon session which started at 1:30pm. I got to the testing center around noon. I found a place to eat and tried to remain calm. I went into it feeling great. During the test I was good and focused, and thought that I paced myself well. I had about 5 minutes left after each section so I was right on the mark with that regard. When it was all over, I couldn't get a read on how I did. I told people I either did really well, or bombed it big time. But I honestly thought it was the first scenario, in that I did really well.

I needed to score slightly above average in order to make a competitive bid. The scores weren't gonna be released for about 3 weeks, so I just tried to go about my business until that time.

When the day finally came, I was checking about every hour or so for a score. And at 2:30pm on May 11th, my score was finally released.

And my dream of being a Doctor was instantly shattered.

I haven't told anyone my score except Elli. I needed slightly above average. I didn't even come close to average. I have no idea what happened. When I saw the score, I was in nothing more than shock. I remember swearing out loud and struggling to wrap my mind around the number I was looking at. Life sucker punched me. Bigtime. When I went home and told Elli, I remember saying to her that I felt like I let everyone down. Lots of people were rooting for me and saying what a great addition I would be to the field, and even though I joked that this was all for not I truly believed I would at least be able to be in contention. With the score I received though, it wasn't even worth doing the application.

I was at rock bottom morale wise, but Elli quickly started picking me back up that night by looking me in the eyes and telling me that I didn't let anyone down and to never say that again. She wasn't the only one. Throughout this journey all of my friends have rallied behind me and encouraged me to go for it. They all asked how the class was going, and after I took the test they were on me every day asking me if I heard anything yet. And when word started getting out that I bombed the test big time, I was instantly flooded with the same people telling me to keep my chin up. No matter what the test number was, it means nothing as far as what type of person I am I was told. I was reminded to take stock of what I had: a very supportive and loving wife, a healthy and spirited little boy, a great network of friends and family, and a stable job that allows me to provide for all of it.

I consider the whole experience a success. Yes I wish I would've at least been able to get to an interview for Med School. However this situation really let me see the big picture. Life delivered one hell of a sucker punch, and it floored me. I struggled to get up from it, but then I was offered a whole bunch of hands to help me back up. These same hands then dusted me off and pointed me back in the right direction to look at life right in the eyes and ask it, "Is that all you got?"

If you are reading this, chances are you were one of those hands. And for that, I sincerely thank you. What's next for me? I'm not sure yet. I'm kicking a few ideas around but nothing big and exciting. Mostly for now I want to sit back and put in hours at work and be a good family man. With Elli graduated from Nursing School, this is the first time in our 11 years together one of us hasn't been in school. So we're looking forward to slowing things down and having a little bit of peace and quiet.

Although that won't last long if at all. We have a toddler son who turned two last March and knows only running as his speed.

And Elli is due with our second in January.

1 comment:

  1. We are soo proud of you Jake. We know how hard you worked and there is a reason why it didn't work out now! I'm guessing it's that little one that you will see next winter!!! Hope to see you guys again soon!



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