Saturday, June 11, 2016

Oh Robin -

Many years ago now, life was really handing me some brutally difficult times.  I have often said that 2010 was the 2nd worst year of my life only the to the year my son died.

Without belaboring the muck again there were flashlights moving between my house and the guest house (yes, I was pretty wealthy back then), I hid under my desk.  Playing World of Warcraft.  On my druid.

Trade chat is often times a wide open troll with those who are good keeping the conversation going into the abyss that is trolling and then there was one.

He was spectacular.  Witty, sharp tongued, almost nasty.  He started in on me.  While I hid under my desk.  I begged him to stop in private.  He and I started talking.  Those conversations lasted years.

He'd often told me he'd help, that he had some money, that'd he'd been successful in LA.

I didn't believe him because - you know - everyone is 6'6" and 220 lbs on the internet, right?

Well, shortly before Robin passed away, those conversations stopped.  I never knew it was him, never knew he played on our server.  Until, that is, after he passed.

I think the anonymity of players is why many celebrities play.  They can be who they are without anyone ever knowing.  As it was... with Robin.

Robin - I wish you knew... as you wanted me to be.


Miss you greatly my human priest friend.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tonight. AMCAS Opened.

Tears came easily at 11:50 PM on June 7, 2016.

Tears of relief.  Tears of regret.  Tears.

Make no mistake, the path to medical school is hell AND I've loved every single, stinking, harsh, not-an-A moment.

I've loved note taking, pushing to learn new science, getting up at 4 AM to study before another exam after having been up until midnight the same day.

I've loved reading research articles to get ready for the MCAT.

I've loved learning new ways of looking at things (thanks physics!), (thanks biochem!).

But what I really loved?  Made my heart just leap?  Made me believe that just maybe?

Was clicking "Submit" and seeing this:

And then reaching for a kleenex.

30 years of regret just soaked into a tissue.

30 years of self-beratement and chastising gone into a kleenex

This path is not for the faint of heart no matter your age.  This path is a roller coaster of emotions, and mental gyrations - even outside of physics.  This path constantly makes one wonder if one should stop.  Or go.  This path... is like none other.  And I'm so proud of myself for having gotten this far.

Tonight, on day 1 of the 2017 application cycle, I'm officially:

A Medical School Applicant (2nd oldest ever, thank you very much!)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Personal Statements - Tips & Tricks

While the post could be about everything that has been written everywhere else (tell a story to show how a shadowing opportunity affected you and inspired you to become a doctor; explain a bit about why you got such poor grades so long ago - required for non-trads carrying baggage from years, if not decades prior to now).

I'm avoiding that here.  That info is well versed on many forums, websites, blogs, reddit, SDN, among others.  I think even my twitter feed has the info tagged to retweet automatically.

What you should know is this:

1.  People who offer their time to edit your PS are doing so of their own free will and are not paid for it.  PLEASE don't monopolize that or demand.

For the past 2 months, I've been reading and editing PS's.  Most of them are pretty well written, one was superb.  I thought mine was pretty stellar and then I read that one.  All I could do was bow and salute.  Here's to you hopeful pilot - you got this!  Can't wait to high-five you next year when we BOTH start!

Overall, I've read close to 100 of these personal stories, letters, vignettes of lives.  It has been an amazing honor to do so.  Privileged that people - especially the hyper competitive lot that comprised 100% of premeds - trust me with their material.

Everyone of those who sent me their life story was polite, gracious and kind.

Then I got another one AFTER I posted that I was not taking any further PS's for review.  I simply do not have the time.  With a client that I work 50+ hours for, physics 2, and MCAT prep - I'm buried.  Sleep evades me most nights and often, I run on 5 - 6 hours at most.

PLEASE, if someone states they are NOT able to take any more PS's for review, don't waste their time asking.  It's another intrusion into their lives.

FOR THOSE OF YOU who were in first, and I offered to review subsequent editions, that doesn't apply to you.  It only applies to those who I've never spoken, written or responded to.

2.  My opinion is just that.  It was free.  You get what you pay for.  While yes, I was a nationally published editor at one point in my life, that doesn't mean that whatever I write is gospel.  It's simply my opinion.

So don't be offended, don't write me back with snotty remarks, don't PM me that you think I suck.  Pretty sure that advice goes for everyone who reviews PS's.  Just like you guys talk amongst yourself at who is a good editor, we editors do too.  Think about that.  :)

Each PS takes me about an hour to go through.  I take my time.  I rearrange sentence structure so the PS flows, change grammar and often times, substitute more suitable words.

There's an old saying: take what you like and leave the rest.  At the end of the day, I edit like I do to HELP YOU because the end game is the same for all of us: Med School admission.  Right?

Am I tough?  Yes.  Am I good?  Probably.  Am I perfect?  No.  (Hell no, actually!)

3.  Know that on average, the adcoms spend less than 30 second gleaning every little morsel they can from the PS.  It stinks that we spend hours if not days and months worrying about this little thing that describes "WHY MEDICINE" and they spend 30 seconds on it but do we care?

No.  Again, the end game is the next hoop in our journey to hopeful med school admission.

Finally, go nail this application cycle which opens in less than 3 days.

LETS GO! And good luck to all of you!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Research Articles - MCAT Prep

Largely, the new MCAT is similar to the old one in that the questions stem from passages.  It is probably only in that vein that they are similar.  In every other way, they are different exams.

Hence the 528 scale vs 45.

My own prep is including research articles published at any time over the past 20 years that include graphs, diagrams, data tables, and other types of non-verbiage information.  Things likely to be seen on the MCAT, in other words.

Below you will find links to articles that I found on reddit.  The goal is to read the published research, come to my own conclusions and then see how that matches to the researchers themselves.  In a way, this should mimic to a small degree how the new MCAT is tested.

3 Functional Classes of Transcriptional Activation Domains

SNF1/AMPK pathways in yeast

Recognition of Trimethylated Histone H3 Lysine 4

Rat1 in Coupling mRNA

Control of Somatic Tissue Differentiation

Will add more as I find them; waiting on links to genetic predisposition of behavioral issues.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Wow. Just Wow.

Often having spoken about hope, it just keeps coming back to me.

Again.  And again.  And again.

It did again today.

Michael Jackson once wrote:

"In my darkest hour,
In my deepest despair,
Will you still care?
Will you still be there?

In my trials
In my tribulations
Through my doubts
And frustrations

In my violence
In my turbulence
Through my fear
And my confessions

In my anguish and my pain
Through my joy and my sorrow
In the promise of another tomorrow

I'll never let you part,
For you're always in my heart"

Many don't really understand the begin of the demise of the Great Recession.  It didn't start in 2010, it started in 2008... for me, at least.

$675,000 home, owned 50% of it as appraised
$180,000 in stock @ Lehman
$120,000 in autos in driveway, 90% paid off
$50,000 in the bank
$17,000/month income

Life was good.  I was good to the people I hired, always protecting, always having their back.

Then life threw me a curve ball.  Or 9.  Wells Fargo stole my house, sold it to someone in a short-arm transaction leaving me without my $350,000 in equity.  Lehman filed for bankruptcy and I watched my $183,000 portfolio drop in a matter of days to less than $3,000.  General Motors had claimed they'd repurchase my lemon Escalade ESV, the one that died on the road when I drove as it had been declared a lemon by both the State of MN and GM itself... but GM filed for bankruptcy protection and it was repossessed in the middle of the night by Chase, who was then bailed out by the Federal government.  And finally, there was the tiny little lawsuit of mine - a whistleblower lawsuit - that I settled to keep my then physician boyfriend out of the press.  He'd done nothing wrong other than be by my side.  But opposing counsel threatened him.

But through it all... I had hope.  Hope that somehow, someday, I would be okay, things would be okay.  I had hope that someday people would know the truth about how the scumbags of Wall Street and Texas and Florida got away with theft and deceit and fraud.

I had hope that my path to medical school would not be for naught.  Through all of 2009 and 2010 while I watched in anguish as my life fell apart, there were two professors who stood by me, listened with pained eyes, as I told them what was going on in my life.

They stood by me.  Offered support, guidance, links to help for paying for school; told me not to give up.  Told me often, I had it all inside... that good would come again.

Today, I came home to find a fancy letter in my mailbox.  A letter from the great state of Minnesota.  Home.  Ad2b, come home, type letter.

The entire escrow that was fraudulently placed on my home, the escrow that pushed me into foreclosure when I'd just filed the whistleblower lawsuit... well, it came home today.

In my mailbox.

Last week, the dogs had been eating home cooked rice and oatmeal with boiled 6-month old turkey and carrots.  My son was starving, I'd not eaten for two days.

Tonight, we ate.

Hope never left me.  I knew that things would turn around.  I knew that someday, things would be okay.  I never lost hope. I hoped that I'd have enough money to register for the MCAT before the dates were booked.  I hoped I'd have enough money to pay for my last prereq course (physics 2).  I hoped ... and then I hoped some more.

Tonight... hope shown brightly once again.

Never give up hope.  Ever.  MCAT registered for 7/8/16.

And tonight, I wrote both of those professors and said, "Hope never left me.  Guess what?!?!"

From this ocean bordered state to that land of snow and ice, I can see them smiling.  They've had the same hope for me all along.