My Doctor Reading List

Friday, September 30, 2011

The count down begins!

Yay! As of today I have only 10 business days left of "real" work!

So excited to finally be able to focus studying (and wearing Lululemon everyday)!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thankful

Its been a slow week in some ways. Since my parents' generous offer last weekend, I've been living in a whirlwind of decisions and plans for my next steps to get into medical school.

Except that I haven't actually done anything tangible - I've been so emotionally drained since my decision to leave the firm and in general so busy, the closest thing I've done that's medically related is watch the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy (and its the first time I've sat down and watched something on TV since the last season of Biggest Loser). And I haven't seen Grey's Anatomy since that season where Izzy had cancer so I was really lost. But still it was nice to just watch TV and lose myself in something. But I digress.

I'm so relieved that I won't have to keep working and doing all I need to do to get into medical school at the same time. And I'm also so thankful that I have the support of so many people in my life - my closest friends cheering me on, my parents providing the financial and moral support, my sisters so excited for me and mostly importantly, Jordan just respecting me and my decision to pursue this. Everything I read, everyone I talk to who has any idea of what it takes to become a doctor says that its vital to have a good support network and I'm so thankful to have one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I QUIT!

So yesterday I unofficially told my bosses that I've decided to resign. It took 2.5 hours and to be honest, I was so drained afterwards I didn't even have the energy to write about it, even though it felt wonderful to finally do it.

The funny thing is that I didn't intend to tell them yesterday - I was planning on doing it on Friday because I have been nervous about how to broach the subject with them. And in the end, when they asked me, pointe-blanc if something is wrong, I figured I owed them the truth. I told them how disappointed I was with the role not being anything like they promised - I'm a Chartered Accountant not a personal assistant or secretary. I said that I've reached a point in my life where I expect more from my job on all levels. The senior manager tried to see if there was anything she could do to make me change my mind but I said no. Or rather I gave them some conditions which I knew they wouldn't be able to promise (which were basically what I was promised when I took the job) and they accepted it. I was surprised because the senior manager actually seemed to understand and just apologized to me about how unfairly I've been treated - which I wasn't expecting. The other manager though, I think, is just pissed at me.

Anyway, long story short, I'm just glad its over. I'm going to hand in my resignation letter tomorrow to make it official. October 14th will be my last day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I`ve been handed the moon

So...something amazing has happened and its taken some time to sink in.

My parents announced to me on Saturday that they`ve been thinking about it and said that if this is truly what I want, they will give me the equivalent of my net salary so that I can quit my job and focus on doing what I need to do to get in. They said its absolutely unconditional and that its a gift from them to pursue my dream without worrying about how my family will be affected financially.

When they first told me, I felt a bit like Anne, in Anne of Avonlea when Marilla tells her she can go to college to pursue her BA - she`s so surprised to hear that she can go, when asked how she felt she said ``I feel as though someone's handed me the moon... and I don't exactly know what to do with it.``

I was so overwhelmed that besides stuttering out a ``thank you`` all I could say was that I`d think about it. But think about it I did. To be honest, for a moment I was a bit scared. Because although this gift is an amazing opportunity, it also means that I have no excuses...I won`t be able to say ``Well, I want to but....(not enough money, don`t have time to volunteer, no time for MCAT prep etc, etc etc).`` It really confronted me with myself and forced me to really ask myself if this is what I want.

Once it sunk in, and after a few more chats with my parents, I realized that it really is. Not only do I feel incredibly excited but I feel like some tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I called them yesterday and told them that I will be taking them up for it. And that I`ll be doing it soon.

I do have to explain one thing that made me hesitate at first and indeed, is the main reason I really had to think about whether I wanted to take it. I feel a bit guilty because I feel like I`m an adult now and should be doing this on my own. Sure, I`ve been supporting myself for the last 5 years, but my parents did already pay for all my undergrad school and living expenses...they lent Jordan and I money to buy our condo, and told us not to worry about paying them back any time soon. And I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I have been known to rag on people I know who are completely supported or at least, heavily subsidized by their parents.

But I realized that if this is what I want, then something like this would just be an excuse and reason not to do it. Especially when I ran it by some friends - everyone said, without hesitation, OMG DO IT! Plus my parents said, that I am after all their child and that they want to help me, that this is what they worked for - to give me (and my sisters) these kinds of opportunities. And really, when I take the perspective of a parent, I know I would want to do the same for my son.

So...here we have it. This journey just got a LOT more exciting! Next up...drafting my resignation letter!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

This is gonna be hard...

What I think hit it home to me that this journey was going to be hard was realizing what the MCAT really was. I'll be honest, all I knew about it was that it was a standardized test and figured, whatever I'll just study.

So I bought a study guide for the MCAT and started to read it. And realized I didn't know ANYTHING. Seriously the guide I bought was review of the main concepts in organic chemistry, biology and physical sciences and I didn't understand any of it. This was when I decided that I need to sign up for a course just to think about having a chance at doing well at it.

Most people who write the MCAT write it after their second or third year of a science undergrad and will likely have it fresh in their minds and since its a relative test, I'm going to be pretty screwed.

While the MCAT isn't required for every Canadian med school, its still a flag for UofT and a portion of it (the verbal reasoning score) is factored into the requirements for McMaster (the two schools I'm most interested in at the moment, though to be honest, any school that wants me will be where I want to go!)

So wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whew! One thing I was relieved to discover...

The other day while procrastinating at work, I decided to calculate my GPA. Now, since your GPA is probably the single most important factor in determining whether you'll be considered for an interview, you'd think that I'd have checked if I even have the required grades to even think about applying. But this definitely was not something I even considered when I decided this is something I'm determined to pursue.

To be honest, I kind of assumed my GPA was good enough. I did very well in university and graduated with distincition from a tough honors program. With this assumption, I started making plans for things that I actually need to have in order to apply, such as registering for some prerequisites for certain programs, brainstorming organizations to volunteer for and wondering who I could ask for a letter of recommendation.

But as I was reading this great book ("So you want to be a doctor, eh?" by Dr. Anne Berndl), the author really put a LOT of emphasis on grades in undergrad and had listed the minimum required GPAs for all Canadian medical schools, all on a 4.0 scale and I started to wonder...hmmm, am I really sure I even HAVE the grades for medical school? Because if not, doing all the other stuff will be a huge waste of time.

So I quickly logged on to my UWO website and downloaded my grades. Then I prorated them to be on a 4.0 scale. AND FROZE when I looked at my average GPA. It was about 3.4 and for the first UofT, the first university I looked at the minimum required was 3.6. FUCK.

BUT....then I read the fine print. The GPA is based on the OMSAS scale and I thought, ok maybe I just calculated it wrong. And luckily, I was right! Based on my OMSAS GPA, I actually have a GPA of 3.7, if you take the straight average. However all medical schools have different methods of calculating the GPA (i.e some take a straight average, some take the best 2 years, some let you knock off your lowest mark every year, some only take the average of years where you did full time study etc). So, still using UofT as my test, I recalculated based on the UofT method and my GPA went up again to over 3.8!

This was a huge relief but also a major lesson to not just assume. Because honestly, even though my GPA is good and gives me the chance, its still not exceptional and will definitely not give me an edge.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."--Chinese Proverb

After dealing with a bit of a crisis at the beginning of this summer (which I will touch on at a later date), I realized how unhappy I was with a large chunk of my life, namely, with my job and the career path I was on as I blogged about as a guest poster on Mothers in Medicine.

However, I realized that I'm NOT too old to pursue medicine and really started to believe that being happy is the best thing I can do for my family (even if it means pursuing a career in something thats so demanding of time and emotion such as medicine). And for me, having a fulfilling career is an incrediblely important component of my happiness. I only get one shot at life and don't want to look back in 10, 20 years regretting not even trying.

So I've decided to chronicle this journey - the first step, deciding to do this, I've taken. Now I'm in the process of taking the next steps. I've signed up for my first prerequisite course (Biology!)via a correspondence program and I've started to study for it. I'm planning on signing up for an MCAT course in January and hope to take the MCAT in April.

I know it will be hard and I know at times I'll really question whether I'm making the right choice by pursuing this. I also know that I may fail. I may not get into medical school despite doing everything I can. But I'm going to try and if you are reading this and have been there, please send me some words of encouragement!