Thursday, October 20, 2011


Yesterday.  In the past.  A day specifically filled with lots of activities so that I could forget the day - the anniversary of a death, and the anniversary of a life.  A birthday.  A 56th birthday to be exact.  A birthday I really needed to forget as much as possible.

So, I went to the professor's office.  Two years ago, he had me as a student in his lower level biochem class.  The one that I dropped.  Rejoined.  And dropped again on the last day of classes for fall term.  Humiliated, embarrassed, humbled.  The meeting had been set up, he welcomed it; I was not sure what to think.

And honestly, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking the "topper" of the day would be to have this man that I so respect, tell me to ... you know, politely leave med school behind (he's on the adcom).  You know, the "topper" of all that was sad about yesterday would be that.

Instead, he asked to see my transcript.  Said he could pull it up online if I gave him permission.

"You know it's really bad, right?  Embarrassing?"  My head was bowed in humiliation.

For the record, it is a cumulative 2.196.  Cumulative.  All courses taken to date, the ones prior to closing out my transcript, plus the ones now and I'm cumulatively at a 2.196.  Let the medical schools beat themselves up trying to get me to accept there, eh!?

I waited for him to say forget the dream. I waited for him to say ... something far more polite than "You're a loser" but in that same vein.  Something that would tie in to how hard yesterday was for me.  Something that would reiterate all the messages I've received for 47 years: loser, outcast, ostracized, misfit.

Instead, what I got was entirely different.

"Clearly, that is a different person than the one sitting in my office today" he remarked.  "Clearly, you are not that person.  If I am seeing it, so will the admissions committees.  What are you getting now?" 

Clearly, he could see my eyes were a little misty (damn allergies anyway :P).

"3.97, I think" my reply.

And the conversation from there went to when I will apply.  What my plan B is.

"Obviously, after talking more with you, the only plan B is for you to reapply.  If that happens, and I doubt it will if your grades remain where they are, I will send you to the dean of admissions, we'll figure out what you need to improve and redo for the following year.  YOU need to be a doc" he said.

"Would you be okay if I took your upper division biochem class?" I hesitantly asked.  Again, waiting for the shoe to drop, for him to tell me there are other good instructors, or otherwise, politely shuffle me aside.

"I'd be honored to have you as a student again."

What was discussed for the better part of an hour after that was how to get me to applications in less than 8 months.

8 months. 

Less than a pregnancy.

Less time than has passed in 2011.

As I drove home last night, I realized the dream that I've talked about for so long, the dream that I've been chasing for the better part of 3 years, the hopes and failures and trips and falls and hopes and stumbles and ... will come to fruition next year.

My 4th grade teacher, Mr. Ranthum, set these wheels in motion 37 years ago.  My college chancellor Dr. Heller kept reiterating I needed to find a way.

And yesterday, a man I'm leaving unnamed, gave me the lift I needed.

With dust in my eye, I drove home last night remembering how hard things have been, how tragic things have turned out, and how happy I am to have a last chance to prove I'm none of the things I "hear" in my head.

Thanks, Dr. S.  Yesterday is gone, and *tomorrow* - I will be a doc.


Solitary Diner said...

Sounds like a fabulous and caring professor. If it's any consolation, one of my good friends had a terrible time when she started university (adjustment, illness, no one guiding her to voluntarily withdraw after weeks in the hospital) and ended up with a really bad GPA in her first three years. When she applied to vet school, her grades were so bad that the school sent her a letter firmly suggesting that she give up her dream and not apply again. Two years later, after busting her ass to bring her grades up, she squeaked her way through with the lowest pre-interview score accepted for an interview. She then received the highest interview score and was accepted into vet school.

(All that to say that it is possible to overcome bad grades, so don't give up hope!)

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

May your path be filled with mentors and teachers and guides who see the “current and future you”. I know you will make it, too.

A Doc 2 Be said...

@ SD: Thank you for the story! My cumulative GPA is from 1989; 22 years ago... I hope I can sustain my current GPA at 3.7+ and make that 2.196 seem like a complete anomaly.

@ Lynda, thank you, yet again for your support!!!

Mi said...

I love how optimistic this post is.

Slamdunk said...

Here here for someone who is able to see the big picture and not focus on one experience.

I am happy for you Doc.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you SD, and Mi!

I'm... excited to see this next year transpire and see my applications get submitted.