My Doctor Reading List

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A+!

I just got my final mark for my Chemistry course and...its an A+! Its  the highest mark I can possibly get and I'm so stoked about it. I must have done really well on my final! I was well prepared for it but of course I looked back on some questions and wondered...

This made my day - I've been super uncomfortable with my pregnancy (now 37.5 weeks in) and in general in a somber mood because of some upsetting family news this past weekend.

I'm so excited to apply to the medical program now. I'm so proud of myself.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Grateful

Just to take a short break from my last day of studying, I thought I'd reflect on something that I've been grateful for.

Today, its been my husband. He has been amazingly supportive of this decision to attempt medical school again and has proven it by actions and not just words.

Not only has he actively encouraged me to study, he has come up with ways to make sure I get quiet time to do so. He has driven me to class, he takes his responsibility as a father and equal partner in our house and he does it without being asked.

The last few days he has completely taken over the childcare. I know it shouldn't be a big deal when a dad does what he is supposed to do, but I KNOW there are many, many men out there who really do think its the "woman's" job to do certain things (childcare, kid's activities, cleaning, laundry, etc) even if the wife works or is sick or whatever. So I'm incredibly grateful that mine really doesn't see it that way. I'm grateful that in spite of working over 50 hours a week on average, he was happy to do everything so I could go to the library and study. Happy to organize outings for the kids so I can study in quiet at home once the library closed. Organized dinner. Did the laundry.

I got married very young - I was 22. My husband was 23. We had been together since high school, went to the same university together and got married immediately afterwards. Now, in many, many ways I think that we are incredibly lucky to have made it this far and to be so happy. I wouldn't actually recommend getting married so young to most people because you change so much as a person from that time of being young and newly independent to mature adult. It could have been a disaster, but luckily we were always on the same wavelength in terms of what we wanted and have always been supportive of each other. But we also have had some tough times, some not so perfect moments in our marriage (though I've come to realize that this is basically ALL successful marriages)  and we don't always agree on everything.

Still, just scratching the surface of what it will take to have a successful career in medicine has made me realize there is NO WAY I'd be able to do this if my husband weren't the type of person that he is and if I didn't have his backing the way I do. Because this is the first of many moments to come and I'm so grateful that he has proven to me that he has my back and I can do this.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Frustrated

I'm studying for my final exam, which is on Monday afternoon.

I have to admit, I dropped the ball a bit in the preparation for it. We finally moved into our new house and even though we didn't really have that much stuff, setting it all up, unpacking etc took much more time (and energy) than I anticipated. I go around to actually start studying a full 5 days after I had originally planned to.

And, as always with studying, I feel behind in where I was hoping to be.

One thing that I wanted to do though was do at least 3-4 of the previous years' exams as a way to gauge my understanding and pin-point my weaknesses. I started to skim through them when I realized that there were NO answers posted on the website for my course.

This frustrates me to no end. What is the point of posting the prior year exams with no answer guide? I mean, yes, they will be mildly useful to know what kinds of questions to expect but no answer key at all kind of defeats the purpose.

I emailed the prof for the course and she was like "oh we don't have the answer key...I might be able to throw something together but probably not before the exam." Um, ok? So I asked if I could at least do one and send it to her to mark and she said sure. By why don't they have the answer key? Surely one was developed when it was being written in the first place.

Ugh. I'm just super grumpy now after reading the email from the professor - and it came at a bad time (as I was reviewing all the organic chemistry stuff - I really know nothing except the nomenclature and how to draw the molecules...).




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Changes

It hit me today that I have just one week of lectures left.

Spring is in the air in New Zealand (so weird when to me October is usually the first real month of fall) and students are getting ready to finish up another year (perhaps their last ever?) of university.

 I have to admit, I'm looking forward to being done my course even though I've thoroughly enjoyed it. The pregnancy is starting to tire me out and the 2.5 hour round trip commute is starting to be more uncomfortable than not.

BUT I'm in a great place mentally - I feel very motivated to study and do as well as I can on the final. On Monday I got my results back from our lab test and recent group report (that I wrote). I got 100% on both and was especially proud of the test, as I was one of only two people to get the perfect score (the other was my lab partner!).

The final is worth 60% of my grade though, so I do need to do very well on it even though I'll be going into it with a 96% average. Still, I think its totally doable!

One thing that I'm starting to realize - and it both excites and scares me - is that I actually have the ability to do this. A part of me really wondered if I have what it takes to do well in science. In high school, I was good at biology and did well in physics but my real strengths were in the social sciences. My IB courses focused on English, History, Economics and French. I always took a backseat in the sciences because they didn't come as easily to me.

I'm excited though, because if I do well on this final - and there is no reason for me not to if I study appropriately - then my gamble of taking this course will have paid off. I'll be able to apply to the program and show the admissions committee that while, yes my background is in business I can ALSO science. And hopefully, taking this course will allow me to lessen my course load in that first year of health science courses.

I'm scared, on the other hand, because of what it means if I have a real shot of getting in, that I will get in and the changes that it will bring. It will mean uprooting and moving my kids again. It will mean moving away from extended family again - but this to a place where there is no support. It will mean pressure to do well at school and hold it together on the family front. It will mean taking on debt and it will mean several years of not contributing financially.

However the reason I'm pushing for it is because the alternative is just coasting. Sure, being a mom is awesome and keeps me busy. But soon it will no longer be enough. I don't think I would be satisfied if my life's long term focus was just my kids. As it is I spend way too much time engaging in debates about GMO's, vaccines, gun control, alternative medicine etc online just to scratch that itch to use my brain. I want and need a bigger challenge.








Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hard time

I've been having a bit of a hard time in my personal life.

The move, being away from close family and friends (and realizing that I'm "out of sight, out of mind" for some), being pregnant, not getting as much exercise as I used to and being overall a bit bored created a perfect storm of low feelings recently.

Things came to a head a couple weeks ago when my husband left for a two week long business trip back to Canada (I was so jealous!) which also coincided with a two week break from my course. I was very lonely and bored and all those feelings which I'd been keeping at bay just started to overwhelm me. I would get sad and cry for no reason, I started to sleep poorly and just felt like I was in a bad mood all of the time.

I decided to take my midwife's advice and sought some counselling. The counsellor was a very kind and sympathetic person but got me a bit worried when she decided to refer me to a psychiatrist for further assessment.  Luckily he told me that he really didn't think I was clinically depressed and that all that sadness was a result of a perfect storm of what I've been through recently plus being pregnant. I was actually incredibly relieved to hear him say that because I know that being depressed is not healthy for the baby and because I was nervous about being put on anti-depressants.

He was also very encouraging about me applying for medical school and even made a follow-up appointment with me in a months time specifically to talk about it and to share some advice on what to do to get it.

One thing though, that is always in the back of my mind is what I'm going to do if I don't get into medicine. Right now its the force driving me forward and gives me hope and motivation...I do worry about what I'll do if I don't have that any more. The doctor told me that I'm a high functioning person who needs a lot of stimulation and that is part of the reason I was feeling so low - because of a lack of it.

Ugh. Life is not easy eh?

Monday, August 24, 2015

First grade is back

So I got my first "real" grade back.

What I mean by "real" is that it was real test of my knowledge via a proctored test. I've had online quizzes and labs, but the online quizzes are a guaranteed 100% since we are allowed to do them as often as we like and they will take your highest grade. They said the whole point of them is to encourage people to keep trying and that there is a direct correlation between the number of attempts and grades (so even if you got 100% of an attempt, they encourage you to take it again for study purposes).

So, so far I've been able to post a 100% on the first 3 of my 8 quizzes. They are worth a total of 10% of the whole grade, so no insignificant but still not a real test of my understanding or knowledge - since I can have my notes and take my time.

For labs we pretty much get full marks for attending and doing the lab right. Again, I'm averaging 100% on those (also worth 10%).

But my test, worth 15% was a REAL test and I got 89%. I was a bit disappointed because I know exactly where I lost marks - I left the test knowing that I got at least 87% but I remember blanking on something easy and of course remembered just after I left the test and was a bit confused about the instructions on another question (it was easy but I was a bit uncertain about what exactly they meant). Since the test was out of 30 marks, losing just one mark affects the percentage.

Anyway, all in all, not a bad mark for my first foray back into school and since the test was only worth 15%, my 89% is like 13.7/15 so I lose a whopping 1.3% off my total mark. It was also way above the class average, so that makes me happy too.

Mostly I'm just happy that I still *know* what to do to get a decent grade and that I'll have to make sure I do the same thing when it comes to the final exam (which is worth 60%!).


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Patience and Impatience

Wanting to go to medical school requires a ton of patience.

Even if you go the traditional route, it requires so much patience.

When you want to go as a mature student or a non-trad, it requires even more.

Today I had a bit of a meltdown. My toddler has a bad cold and yesterday my husband and I agreed we would keep him home from daycare today - my husband would take care of him while I went to class. Except my husband (who works from home) was on a work call that was taking forever and it forced me to be late for my lecture. I couldn't just dump a sick two year old in front of the TV because when tried, he would freak out and cling to me (hello mommy guilt) and I couldn't obviously take him with me. In the end I did stick him in front of the TV with some chocolate to buy me the time to sneak out and my husband to finish his call.

I hate being late so this put me in a bad mood. I was actually angry at my husband for not making my class a priority for him. Its silly I know, since he is earning all the money now and can't just hang up the phone on his boss because *I* need to leave - and I'm doing this for myself more than anything.

But I'm mostly just feeling so impatient with the process. I've given up a lot to move to New Zealand but one of the trade offs was that I'd have another chance at medical school. But its not a guarantee that I'll get in. I'm doing what I can within my limits to get in and its a major balancing act with two kids, a baby on the way and navigating a lot of uncertainty in general. I wish I could look into the future and KNOW what's going to happen so that it would be easier for me to be patient. I'm actually borderline terrified of what I'm going to do if I don't get in.

Anyway, vent over, time to hit the books. First exam is a week away!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

3 Advantages to starting Med School later

I love reading doctors' and medical blogs and books, both fiction and nonfiction. I feel like it gives me a good insight into the good and the bad, the rewarding and the ugly sides of medicine.

One thing that I've definitely realized from reading these blogs is that even though I'm going down the med-school path a bit later than most, I feel like I have some advantages or at least, there are some benefits to doing medical school later. I never really thought about there being any positives to starting later - I always focused on the negatives (more responsibilities to attend to than just my studies, less time to get in, being older than my classmates and all that comes with being older in general...).

But I do have some advantages:

1. I'll be done having kids before I start medical school. I never really thought about this as a positive thing, but I've seen more than one mom doctor mention that having a kid during medical school is a terrible idea and having one during residency is very, very hard to manage and stressful. I believe that, because kids, and especially babies, require SO MUCH attention. That being said, I also understand that biologically and logistically, women only have a certain window of time to have children and that happens to fall during the med school/residency years and they can't afford to be picky. Not to mention that many students/residents aren't in serious relationships or married during this time, adding even more time and uncertainty to the process. And as someone who has suffered from multiple miscarriages and have seen friends suffer from infertility, I know that not everyone can depend of being able to plan exactly when to have their kids even if they are in a relationship and ready to have kids. So I feel lucky that I get to experience the joy of parenthood for sure because I'll already be a parent when starting and it's something I won't have to worry about missing out on. And bonus is that I got to stay home with them all, at least for the first year of their lives, and have that experience. I think that would be almost impossible to do in med school, residency or even as a full-fledged physician. I'm very grateful to have had that opportunity.

The flip side is that I'll have kids while in medical school that will need attention, but at least my youngest will be 7 years old by the time I'm in residency, which is when I'll be the most crunched for time. Hopefully if I am able to treat med school like a full time job, I'll be able to get away with being a med student during the traditional "work" hours and a mom during the traditional "home" hours - which wouldn't make life for my kids any different than if I were working as an accountant for a big firm.

2. I'm financially stable. I'm incredibly lucky to have a solid financial foundation. My family will be able to afford for me to not work for the entire time that I'm in medical school because a) my husband makes good money and has a good amount of work experience in his field under his belt (so we aren't living on the low starting salaries that many young couples do at the beginning), b) we have a bit of savings and equity already which I won't even have to drain to attend school and c) I discovered that I'll be able to qualify for the student loans for the entire time I'm in school, which will be another burden off my family's coffers and because I won't have to be paying off living expenses as well, the amount of debt at the end won't be crushing like for many traditional students who not only have med school debt, but also undergrad debt and the cost of living debt. I won't have to "post-pone" my life like many med students have to - when starting med school, I'll already have a house, car, family, travel...

Flip side is that I won't be making any money and in a sense, holding my family back. Luckily neither my husband or I are particularly materialistic, so it doesn't bug me if I have to drive a KIA when some of my other friends are driving Audis.

3. I'll have some decent amount of relevant life experience under my belt. I've lived on three continents, I've worked in a profession with responsibility, I've suffered miscarriages, I've had babies, I've experienced death and cancer in my family as an adult. I know that many traditional med students may have also had some of these experiences, but less likely to the same extent. I've been pooped on, vomited on and yelled at for messing up. I've had to deal with bad or worrying news myself. I've had to support myself and have learned how to multi-task (though this is something I can definitely improve on!). Its made me more understanding and less judgemental. This may not necessarily make me a better med student in a classroom setting but I think it will in a patient setting.

Flip side is that I've realized that medical school and becoming a doctor isn't the be-all and end-all of life and that may take away some of that drive and determination to succeed. But I guess time will tell!

So I'm glad that there are some positives to this path. But anyway, must get back to studying :)


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

So it begins again

Right now I'm sitting in the library of the university that I am taking a Chemistry course.

Its so cool to be a student again and I'm glad that the things I'm learning are starting to click. And its nice to see that I'm not nearly the oldest student in the class - there is a woman in my class that has to be in her 40s and even brings her kid along to class!

 I'm also so excited to officially be on the medical school path again. The desire to become a doctor has not gone away.

My goal with this course is to get as close to 100% as possible. I only have this one course and I'm determined to prove to the admissions board that I have the academic potential to do well in the medical course. And if I get a least one class credited, then my work load will be that much easier in the first year (when I would need to do the first year Health Sciences courses required by all students).

And I've set myself up for success.

My oldest son is in school (poor kid - we left Canada just as school was finishing up for the summer only to enrol him in school mid-year in New Zealand!). Luckily, he loves it (he is actually on a two-week school holiday).

My toddler has been enrolled in daycare full time. I felt a bit guilty about this but even if I hadn't been taking this course, both my hubby and I feel that its good for him to learn that independence and the social skills that come with attending daycare. And he's been doing very well (apart from some crying at drop off, the teachers tell me that he calms down very quickly and is awesome until we pick him up).

My course is 4 days a week, which is a bit of a bummer because the commute is an hour away from where I'm living some days I only have class for an hour. On Wednesdays though, I have a lecture at 11AM and then a tutorial at 5PM and even though attendance at either is not mandatory, I plan on attending every single one. However, this is the day that I plan to get a lot of my studying done since I have that huge gap of time to kill and will have no excuses being on campus and with access to the library etc.

Next I need to find some sort of volunteering opportunity. Fridays I have no classes or labs, so this will be the perfect time.




Monday, June 8, 2015

Because its already crazy

Life has been incredibly hectic and busy. We are now 10 days away from leaving to New Zealand and I've had zero opportunity/energy to blog about my progress. I've decided to write a quick update now since I find myself with 20 minutes before I have to pick my oldest up from school, which isn't enough time to really accomplish anything else I have set for the day. So blog it is.

My main thing is getting accepted to do the chemistry program that I want to do so I have at least ONE pre-requisite done for the medical program I want to get into. However that has also proven to be a pain, since the school requires pretty much everything single piece of ID I have and it all has to be notarized by a notary public. Luckily a good friend of mine is a lawyer and notary and was able to do it for me, but it was a huge hassle. Especially since they didn't mention one document which I then had to send at a later date - as a result, I STILL don't have an offer of admission from them! And the silly thing is that since I'm over 25 they have NO reason to reject me because its just a single course. Not to mention that I meet all the criteria even if I was younger than 25. Ah well. Nice to see that bureaucracy is consistently annoying all over the world.

However, to add to the craziness, I'm also now officially 12 weeks pregnant with baby #3. While this was totally, 100% planned, sometimes I wonder what I've taken on more than I can handle. We decided to do this because if I DO get into medical school, the process will take 6 years. I'll be done when I'm 38/39 and that is too old for me to have a baby, especially when I consider that my oldest will be 16 then! Plus I want to be able to focus on my career and have the infant/baby days behind me. And I've always wanted to have 3 kids. Both my husband and I come from families of 3 and it just seems like the right number to complete our family. I remember discussing this with him when I decided to try again with medicine and asked him if I'm crazy to consider it. And he said "Well, its already crazy, so why not?" So we went for it and on the first month of trying, boom. Positive test. Even if I don't get into med school, well we wanted to have 3 anyway, so its not a big deal either.

Unfortunately I forgot how awful the first trimester is. I'm exhausted, hormonal and constantly nauseous. Throw in a sub-chorionic hemorrhage and partial bedrest, the whole experience so far has really stressed me out - especially with all that needed to get done before our move. I'll admit I had moments where I thought that if I lost this pregnancy, it would almost be a relief (but only on bad days - most days I feel incredibly blessed).

But I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The dog will be off tomorrow (importing a dog into New Zealand is probably one of the craziest and most expensives things I've ever done), the house is rented out to awesome (seeming) tenants and our car is sold. On Wednesday the movers will get the things we've decided to take with us and then Friday we move out of our house and into my parents house where we will stay until we leave.

Hopefully now that the university has all my documents I'll get my offer of admission and will be able to start my course in July. Next I'll need to find a great volunteer opportunity to get myself immersed into the New Zealand community and show my commitment to being in New Zealand. Ideas of what a pregnant woman would be useful for?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Congrats Birdy!

Today I found out that another pre-med hopeful, mother of two and online friend of mine has realized her dream, and has been accepted into medical school!

I'm so proud of her. Anyone who knows anything about how incredibly difficult it is to get into medical school will know what an amazing accomplishment this is.

Hopefully I'll be able to post this sort of great news one day as well. In the meantime, I'm going to live vicariously through her.

Well done, Kay - though I must say, I didn't doubt for a moment that you would make it. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Quickly approaching

My move to New Zealand is just over a month away. On one hand I'm super excited, on the other nervous and anxious as hell. We just have SO MUCH to do still before we go and I worry that it won't get done in time.

I'm excited to start my chemistry class, though am a bit nervous as to why I haven't heard back from admissions yet. The more I think about a career in medicine, the more excited about it I become.

There is a lot of other stuff going on too - hopefully I'll have time to update soon!



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On Immunity

I started reading this book  "On Immunity: An Inoculation" by Eula Biss recently and I love it. It does such a great job of delving into the fears and perception of risk we have in society especially when it comes to medical interventions. Plus the author writes so well, I don't feel like I'm reading a heavy scientific text but almost like a magazine op-ed.

I've been a vaccine advocate ever since I realized that there are people that I KNOW who are totally against vaccines and it totally baffled me.

I mean, I always knew there were people who are on the fringe of everything and believe in crazy conspiracy theories, like that the earth is flat, that 9/11 never happened, that the government is controlled by aliens or whatever and thought that people who were against vaccines belonged to that group.

But when a friend on Facebook posted a stupid article stating that the HPV vaccine causes young girls to become infertile, after reading the article and realizing that the whole article was based on one instance in Australia of a young girl who did start early-onset menopause a few weeks after getting the vaccine and her doctor wasn't sure what caused it, I pointed it out to her that one instance (of an unproven complication) does not mean that its unsafe, thinking that maybe I'd calm her fears.

However, she responded saying that she strongly believes that vaccines are bad and none of her three children have been vaccinated - for ANYTHING.

I was baffled and wanted to know more so I asked her about why she thought that (very politely) and she responded with the usual (that long term effects of vaccines are unknown, probably cause authism/cancer/autoimmune diseases) and said she believes that the organic, whole food diet that she gives her kids will ensure their immune systems are strong enough to beat any of those diseases and that she KNOWS this because she attended a seminar by Dr. Palevsky.

I was dumbfounded. But as a just another parent and with no real authority to tell her she was wrong, it did get me thinking that this is another reason that I NEED to keep pursuing medicine. And having immersed myself afterwards in the world of the anti-vaccinators, I feel like I'm getting a real insight into why they believe what they believe and how to try and change their minds - or at least, SOME of their minds.



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Visa - APPROVED!

Yesterday I finally got word that my NZ permanent resident visa was approved! A big item is now checked off my list.

I was starting to get a teeny bit worried about the timing because I've decided to try and do one course (or "paper" as they are called in New Zealand) from the first year Health Science course list completed beforehand at a university close to where we will be living when we first arrive in New Zealand. As the next semester starts mid-July this means we NEED to physically be in New Zealand before this date.

As it is, I hope I can actually register for the course prior to actually landing in NZ because the deadline to register is in May and the earliest we will get there is mid-June.

I had decided to try and take a course or two in the year before starting medical school (if I get in, of course) for two reasons. One is that I'll be able to show commitment to a career change (and taking a risk, since if I do badly it won't reflect well) and two is to make my first year, the pre-med year, easier. There are seven required courses and they are no joke. Luckily IF I get in, from what I'm reading all I'd need is a 70% average but being new to science and getting back to student mode may require a bit of adjusting. So if I can get just one course out of the way, it will allow me to focus more on getting the best grades possible in the other courses.

I found only two of the seven courses have equivalents at the local university, however I'll only be able to take one because one of them is only offered in the first semester (and in NZ, the school year runs from February to November), so I won't be able to take it. Luckily the course that IS available AND equivalent is Chemistry, which is apparently one of the toughest courses in the pre-med year and which is the subject I'm most scared of.

At first I was a bit bummed that I will only be able to get the one course out of the way, but my hubby thinks that its better to take just the one course and focus on getting the best grades possible and not overwhelm myself. Which is a good idea, since I also want to get some solid volunteering in when we move and want to have time for that (not to mention that I still have a family that will need some of my time).



Sunday, March 15, 2015

In the saddle again

So.

I'm sure many people reading this blog have reached my most recent post and thought, yup, she's done.

MD or bust? Looks like it was BUST.

BUT.

For a while I did put the dream on a back burner. At times I even forgot about it. But it was still there, slowly simmering away. And it didn't go BUST.

Because, my friends, I am  NOT done. Not yet. I have a new opportunity to make this dream of medical school a reality.

Looking back over my journey, I made a lot of mistakes. My main mistake was rushing things. I had a degree and my grades were ok. I had decent life and volunteering experience. I was so close that I thought it would be ok to skimp on a few things and thats where I went wrong. Taking a distance study course, MCAT prep course, volunteering, running my home was a lot to take on in just one year before applying.

What I should have done:
1. Enrolled into a BSc program and made it my job.
2. Waited to take the MCAT. People, the MCAT is a relative exam - that means that you are being compared to everyone who is writing it - mostly people who have been studying the topics for at least a year or two - and I don't know how I thought taking a prep course (with NO science background) would enable me to get a decent score.
3. Realized that at 27 (when I started) - I was still SO YOUNG and had time. Who cares if it would have taken me a couple extra years via doing an actual BSc degree? I'm 30 today and if I had taken my time, I could have been 30 and a BSc. One day I'm going to be 40. The question is, am I'm going to be 40 and a doctor or just 40?

Ah, hindsight.

Anyway, back to my new opportunity. My husband is from New Zealand and he has been desperately wanting to move back there. He hasn't lived there as an adult and wanted to try to see what its like. He has been working very hard and his company love him - enough to let him move (crazy, eh?!) and keep paying him to work remotely.

At first, I was hesitant - my life (and my family and many of my friends) are HERE, in Toronto. But then he held out an irresistible tidbit - he said that by moving to NZ, maybe I could go to med school there? I had done some research on NZ medical schools in the past but was turned off because they were six year programs (1 year of Health Science then if your grades were good enough, 5 years of medical school). However, I realized its either six years of schooling and becoming a doctor or six years and....well, just six years of whatever else I'd be doing. And I still haven't found anything that I have passion for remotely like I have a passion for medicine.

So I started looking into the programs more closely and I found one which, when I read about it, I actually felt faint. Because it was like it was a program made JUST FOR ME.

Basically, one of the medical schools has an "Other" entry category. Its for people who have a degree that was received at least three years ago (CHECK!) or from an international university (CHECK!), have a 70%+ average (CHECK!), someone who is a NZ citizen or permanent resident (CHECK!) and who wants - get this - a career change (CHECK!!!!). So to apply, all I need is a greater than 70% average (mine is way higher), my CV and a personal statement on why I want to be a doctor to see if I get an interview. Then, its  pretty much how well I do on the interview that counts (explanation of why I want a career change and why medical school, understanding of the NZ medical system/medical issues) and the panels impression on my academic potential (do I have what it takes to succeed in medicine).

From my preliminary research and visiting of NZ medical school forums, it seems that the most important part is my life experience and how I do on the interview and from explaining my situation and background, most students who have applied successfully through that category think that I am a text book example of an successful applicant from that category. Obviously, I am by no means considering this a slam dunk. But I do think I have a real, fighting chance (1 in 5 people who apply get an interview and 50% of the people interviewed get in - when I compare that to Canada...).

There are is a "catch" though - it is that you get ONE shot at this category. You can only apply via this category one time and that is it (personally, I think this is a great strategy). Also, if you get accepted, you may need to do the 1st year of the Health Science program and pass with a 70% average to continue on to the medical program (which I would most definitely have to do, and am ok with).

The only "issue" is that I wouldn't actually be getting an MD but an MBChB, which is the title (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) that I would get from completing medical school and training in New Zealand. So the title of this blog won't make as much sense...but...haha, of course that it doesn't matter!

So....what's next? Well, I'm currently waiting for my NZ permanent resident VISA to come in (any day now!) and then we will start planning our move (probably in June/July of this year). Then I plan to enrol in some of the 1st year health science courses at a university close to where we will be living initially to be able to hit the ground running (and show my commitment to this) and do some volunteering in NZ before applying in April 2016.