Friday, May 11, 2012

Any Regrets?

The Angry Medic - a Londoner (Cambridge at that!  Go Darwin!) posted some articles starting with the speech internationally renown Dr. Sanjay Gupta gave at U-Mich, and his own asking, "Any regrets?"

As I ponder the last 4 years since I really started down this path (again), and as I look and wonder what the next phase of my life will look like, I ask myself that question.

Do I, Ad2b, have any regrets that I gave up everything to try and become a doc?  And if so, what are they?

I have thoroughly enjoyed every day I was in school - pounding headache and all.  Every day walking through a hallway with the scent only a large university can house, I was happy.  Every day I had a classmate who I wanted to drop kick on the floor was better than any day I ever spent in the business world as an executive.  Every day I pushed myself harder and faster to be the best student I could be, under the circumstances given was better than the day before when I did quite the same.

Each time I took a test, no matter how stressed or worried about blacking out, or thinking I was stupid was better than any day I simply did. not. try.

Each time I did homework on the 4th floor of the bio-med library was better than any day I spent playing WoW or watching TV.  Was it better than a round of golf, or a good day spent playing volleyball?

No!  haha - but I did like school.  Immensely!!

I loved learning new therapies, and the biochemistry behind them.  I loved learning about enzyme mechanisms, and quite frankly, about organic chemistry mechanisms too.  I found it fascinating that electrons - tiny little things - can create so very much.

I loved the invigorating atmosphere that can only be created by people who are decades younger than me.  Their innocence and zest for life, their sharing of the friendship and time with me, motivated me to keep up with them and try to out-do them as well.  More often than not, I was able.  NOT because I'm smarter, for surely, I am not.  I was able to because my singular focus was med school admission.

What I regret is that as a mother I have had to rely on my son to help keep things afloat when my job ended and we looked at living in the dark.  Literally. My son has stepped up to the plate in ways that I never imagined he would have to and he has done so without question, without a whimper.  But I regret that he had to in the first place.

What I regret is that I was unable to focus on school this past semester because so much of my life was once again focused on trying to find a job.  My mind split in two different directions, it became too much.

And, my grades show it.

I believe I will get another "B" this semester (along with an "A") and that ... this path of mine will end.  I know the Caribbean schools will take me but... with a great dane and a golden retriever I'm unwilling to part with, the Caribbean schools are not amenable to me.

What I regret is not that I chose this path and to give it everything I had; what I regret is that it took me so damn long to get here.

If I had the same choices would I do it over again?

Hell ya!

I started this path off saying that if I hit 50 and did not try, I would wonder for the rest of my life if I should have.

I will be 50 and I gave it everything I had... and came up short.  Oh well.

Along the way I've made some awesome friends who I hope will be there with me for as long as we live.  Along the way I've learned how to not run away when things look bleak but dig a little deeper and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

In March when my contract ended (far shorter than the "all the way through med school" I'd been told by the placing company), I thought about quitting school then.  I did not.

Earlier this month when I knew I was stopping, I could have easily just not taken the final as my "B" is solid and I could have quit.  I did not.

Earlier this month when I knew my paper was due and the final in that class was in 8 hours, I could have chosen to just not try and just turn in "something".  I did not do that either.  I gave it everything I had to do the best I could.

I'm okay with all of that.

As I told a good friend of mine tonight:

I hate being poor. I hate being so stressed out over keeping the basic requirements of life going (electricity on, heat on, water supply, let alone gas for the truck and food).  I hate not know if, or when, I will be able to work again.  I hate worrying about all of that... and then, on top of that, school.

I hate that more than I loved being in school.  Because the former leads to poor performance in the latter, I am done.

I'll get a "B" in biochem; my "A" in biology is already on the books.  I head to Galapagos (already on my tuition bill before my contract ended and non-refundable) and will enjoy.  Craigslist is helping with that!  :D

Do I have any regrets?  No.  Yes, there are minor ones but when I look back on my life in another 20 years, trying to do the unthinkable at 44 (now I'm 47) I will be thankful I tried.  And the pain I feel now, will be long gone.

No doubt I will keep writing.  I think it is important for people to know that once the pre-med journey ends, life goes on.

It's all part of life's most excellent adventure.  I hope you'll stay tuned!!

Make it a great day!


Red Stethoscope said...

This is just my personal experience, having been a post-bacc program, but getting a B or two doesn't mean that you're out of the game. What med. schools are looking for is diversity, hard work, and someone with a good story. I don't remember how many "Bs" I had, but I do know that I got a B- in Orgo. I. Yes, a B-! I pulled through with an A on Orgo II, but I did get questioned at every med. school interview. I told the truth: I was a full-time working adult, work was out of hand, and I had personal struggles keeping up, and that's that. Obviously, I still got into med. school (several actually).

So, as long as you're doing the best that you can and have an explanation, that's the most important part. I think you should still try to crush your MCATs and see what happens with applying. Admissions committees realize that older adults have to work and don't have the benefit of studying all the time like their counterparts. What it shows is that you're capable of multi-tasking and handling a lot of varied demands without falling apart. And THAT is a skill that every med. school wants their students to have!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Red.

If you have decided that you no longer want to go down the road of medical school, then there is nothing wrong with that. But a B in a premed course is not something that will bar you from medical school. And even if allopathic schools looked down on you somehow, osteopathic schools would snatch you up in a heartbeat.

Don't put your dream in your rearview, just because you don't have the same GPA that a one-dimensional premed has.

A Doc 2 Be said...

TY Red and MSO!

My stopping has little to do with the "B" in biochem (that I've not verified even exists yet).

What is causing my pause is the instability in my life and because of that, my inability to get the grades I know I'm capable of.

Without having financially stabilized my life, there is no sense to continue... at this point. I fear, that as I get more stabilized, my age may "really" factor in and I'm uninterested in D.O.

Thank you for your support - it means a lot!!