Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Biochem Coming Up

Had to attend at meeting at school today about spring semester related to my testing, yada yada.  I still take propranolol for test anxiety and to prevent the subsequent blackouts.  We also discussed the adult ADHD, or in my case, ADD.  Typically, I do not exhibit the lack of impulse control as the doctor said, so the H is left off.    He mentioned that in "all likelihood, the testing you do next week will show what you've suspected for years" adding that he will be very surprised if my ADD test results do not come back positive.  The doc asked more questions about social situations and if that makes me nervous, asked about "catastrophic thinking" and I looked at him.

"You mean, like when I got a B in ochem, I was thinking there's no way a med school would ever consider me?"

"Yes, like that" and then smiled.  "Does that happen often?"

"Every time I get a B."

We talked some more, and then we got to the general anxiety questions.  Most likely I have some outside of tests, I think most highly productive people have some amount of anxiety as that is what propels them to succeed, but it doesn't interfere with work or social situations.  I'd fall into that category.



"I reviewed your notes from two years ago.  Were you medicated during that time?"


"Is that all done now?"

"Yes." and then I paused for a second, "is it bad, that it seems like a different life to me now?  or that, I'm looking at buying a new home this summer?"

"No.  It's just unfortunate you think a B in ochem means you should quit.  I," and then he paused, "got a C+."

My eyes watered.

Harvard hangs on his wall.

He said there's no doubt he can write my documentation for me, there's no doubt, he said, that I will succeed and that he's there for MCAT testing and USMLE.

"I have to get to that point first..."

"You will.  You've already proven how resilient you are.  Those skills will come in handy in med school."

I left to meet my biochem professor.  The same one from two years ago.  There's John Paul II and then there's just Paul.  My biochem prof is awesome!!

I apologized for running late adding that my first appt ran long. He didn't care.  Then we sat down to talk about amino acids.  I showed him my first drawings and asked if the creation of them started by cleaving a formic acid with H2/Pd-C; he just smiled.

"You can forget all about that now."

"I got a B."  My head hung a little lower.  Embarrassed to tell this man that I so respect, I had failed to live up to his expectations.

"Many doctors did not get an A in organic.  Overcome that with an A in my course."

I looked at him as if he'd just laid the eff-bomb out there.

"I'm not only expecting you to get an A in my course, I want you to get an A in my course. Not just a 90.0 perfect A, but... I want you to get a 95% A in my class" and then he paused to let that sink in.  "Not only do I believe you are bright enough to get that 95% A, I believe in you."

He asked about my fall courses and the A in bio, which I relayed meant the world to me.  It was a solid A with many points to give before falling out of the A range.  It was a grade based solely on how I performed, not a grade based upon a professor feeling sorry for me, or the class, or... I earned every damn point to get that A.

"How'd that feel?"

"I sobbed.  Like a little girl.  Legitimized, validated, hopeful."

"Go get that 95 in my class.  Show me what you got.  MCAT in July?"

"Let's get through spring first."

"No, go nail spring."

With that he gave me the entire semester's lecture slides to be given to the class, then he taught me the easy way to start memorizing and drawing the amino acids.  When I asked a question, he smiled.  Somethings never change.  I always ask questions, "Why, how, where?"

"I hope I won't disappoint you, or let you down."


I heard echos of the "Batman Begins" movie quote there.

Leaving, my eyes beamed.  Excited.  Scared.

I'm 47, and this well decorated, tenured faculty member has faith in me.

Maybe it's time I did too!


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Uh... Yeah !~! Maybe you oughtta have a little faith in yourself; we have faith in you. I keep coming back to read so I have faith in you and I have never even met you, altho it was a personal email you sent me :) (i'm still here)

Your perfectionist streak sings harmony with mine; a B in Comp one fall brought me to my knees and when asking A&P prof if I should take it over, he responded, "Harvard takes B, Lynda."

You have shown me again thirty years later that they do in fact take grades other than As. Thanks.

Solitary Diner said...

Having confidence in yourself can be a difficult thing (I struggle with it all the bloody time), but you have a lot of reasons to believe in yourself. Most of the people in my medical school class didn't get A's in organic chemistry; I know a lot of people with C and even D marks who are great physicians. Being a great doctor is multifactorial and takes a lot more than the ability to write tests well.

Best of luck with biochem and with all the other amazing things the new year holds for you. I'll be looking forward to hearing about your acceptance into medical school.


A Doc 2 Be said...

@ Lynda - thank you for writing me back! I checked my followers to see who had dumped me and thought it was you (whom I would be really sad to see leave!!) and thank you for continuing to read - even though you don't know me, it helps validate

@ Solitary - you rock... you just rock! I think what I love about your own blog is that when you write, pieces resonate within me, and then I see that you ARE a doc... and it helps to remind me to keep going.

Slamdunk said...

You deserve it. I think this will be a rewarding semester for you.

Betsy said...

Found your blog through a comment you left on another. I admire your determination! I get a kick out of your enthusiasm for organic. I teach organic at a small liberal arts college and would love to infuse my students with your work ethic. Best of luck as you tackle the spring!

A Doc 2 Be said...

@ Betsy - organic was fun; I liked doing the problems; it is very logical, very almost therapeutic to see the puzzle-making, the ... yep, I really loved organic.

What I hated about it, I've already describe. But those new found skills will serve me well!

Thanks for dropping by!

And my best to you as a teacher :)