My Doctor Reading List

Friday, April 20, 2012

This is a marathon - not a sprint

How true. I'll be honest - I really and truly thought that I'd be able to do what I needed to do in the 9-10 months before the next application cycle, because 9-10 months just seemed like such a long time - at the time when I started.

I naively thought that "all" I needed to do was to do a couple prereqs, the MCAT and throw in a bit more volunteering and I'd be set. Ok, I still thought my chances would be a long shot, but I thought I'd have it all "down" and it would only be a matter of waiting.

But its been hard - especially as a mother and wife - to just get those things done. Maybe all of the above would have been doable if I had been single and with no one to answer to except myself. That's just not the case in my situation and I should have factored in more family incidents that would undoubtedly pop up and take me off course and slow me down.

Take for example, me getting that nasty GI bug. I was pretty much out of commission for over a week. This caused me to have to reschedule my Bio final. And then studying for it started to overlap with my MCAT course. Which I then started to fall behind in. Then Tubes had the visit to the ER that pretty much took up the entire weekend (and caused me to miss two MCAT sessions - more falling behind). Sprinkle in a few more sick kid days, public holidays and just days when I didn't have the energy to study due to having to deal with many errands and other life stuff, its no wonder that I'm NOT ready for the MCAT next week and that I won't be done my prereq's for the one university I wanted to go to the most.

Not to mention the mistakes I made along the way. Registering for the MCAT course while trying to get my first Bio prepreq done. Taking Tubes out of daycare part-time to save money...only to completely lose those days for studying (best decision ever was to put him back in!). Not preparing properly for my MCAT course and letting distractions hold me back.

My advice to anyone who is pursuing medicine as a second career and later on in life, especially if you are a parent, is to prepare for it to be a marathon. Life does not stop just because you want to do something else with your life. Groceries have to be shopped for, meals prepared, houses cleaned, laundry done...your spouse will want to spend time with you, your child will demand your attention...your family and friends will still expect some sort of participation in their lives too...you will get sick and have days when you just don't want to do anything. And that's OK.

So I've decided to take a step back and let life happen without stressing over the consequences. I'm trying to study everyday, but instead of hoping to cram in 8 hours and cover off a bunch of topics, I'm ok if I only manage 2 or 3 and get 1 topic done. At this rate I should be ready for the MCAT in August even if there are days I get precious little done. Because being stressed out is so counter-productive - I lose my focus and don't absorb the material anyway.

So just like in a marathon you might get cramps, sore muscles...you might need to walk in places and stop for a drink. But at the end of the day, what matters is that your crossed that finish line. Who cares how long it took?

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