Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hell Will Have To Wait

Interviews went very well; one offer for sure; the other one is expected by week's end.

Car is paid.

Rent is paid.

Dogs are fed (thank you, thank you, thank you).

So, hell will have to wait for me because I'm almost done walking through it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Car Repo OR Rent

Le sigh.  4.5 years into pay for car, this year has sucked pretty significantly.  Thought I was moving to a different state to work for an old boss who is CEO of a consulting company; house packed, ready.  Chinese company bought client and my job went poof.  CEO had nothing else lined up.

Kick in the short term gig I had and things were caught up.  Enter in Intel out in CA and a longer term contract there.

Hiring manager wanted me; signed all the contracts, it had to go through a recruiter so we could do Corp-2-Corp (which is how I do things; am insured for $2M, large bond on hand) and I waited.  Recruiter said he was positive this was going through; the recruiter had several vendor IDs with Intel and it was just the procurement manager who was upset because hiring manager hadn't worked through her.


For 2 months, the recruiter kept telling me it was coming through, that he'd often seen things come through after a couple of months because of x-y-z... I asked him to release me internally at his company so that possibly other recruiters could help get me assigned.

He did not.

Thankfully, I kept reaching out to those I knew ... and asked them to discretely look for me.

Last week, the first recruiter called and said Intel was dead.  I asked him how he was feeling about that and he was kind, a little down saying it would have been nice to go through and it was not anything to do with me (Ad2b)... but rather the procurement manager.  The hiring manager, he said, was livid and wanted me on board.

He asked if I had anything lined up.  I said no, I'd been waiting on him and given everything he'd been telling me, "It's coming, just need to get the rest of approvals" to "It's going to happen next week; we're meeting them to present the final terms"...  Then let him know that his lack of releasing me to other recruiters meant:

1)  I was still not under contract 2 months post date of hire

2)  That I had a letter on my desk stating the car that was nearly paid off would be repossessed by the company because I'd gone 30 days past due

So, 3 days before the MCAT I was looking at car repossession despite having paid almost $3000 over the summer to get it caught up before the last contact ended... and having to choose that or rent.

I still don't know what I'm going to do.  If the car is repossessed  I will owe still more on it for they will sell it for pennies and then charge me the difference, let alone what it will do to my credit.

Interviews on Monday and Tuesday next week... good news on the one would mean rent could wait, car could be saved.

I freaking hate this.  At times I give up.  At time I wonder how slowly I could float out to sea... and then quickly realize how stupid that sounds.

Prayers are heaved up for the interview on Monday. If I get it, I will be debt free - completely - in 2 months with money in the bank.  It'd almost be like 2007 again... the year before my life went to hell.

Oh please :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Aug 25, 2016 Test Takers

You have this.  You have worked for this, you have given up parties with friends, you have spent hours in the library looking at graphs, tables, random psych/soc words, reworking passages about things we may never 100% understand.

BUT ...

TOMORROW, this is YOUR day to show WHY you did this.  This is your day to PROVE to YOURSELF WHY you did this...

GO DO THIS - do not fear, don't let anxiety amp you up.

DO.  THIS.  With no regret!!





LET'S GO!  :)

See you on the flip side.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wanting To Give Up

Sometimes, it'd be easier.

Some nights the darkness rolls in, fear enters the spaces in my head.  I tell myself to get to the morning, things always look better in the light (except for me, sometimes :D).

Letters in the mail I can't do anything about.

 This says it all:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Crossing The Finish Line

You're a premed and somehow you've wandered over to my blog about an ultra-non-trad premed who's struggles are well noted all over the blog.  Most of the struggles stem solely and only due to my decision to report my then very public company for fraud.  Unfortunately, as the VP of Internal Audit, I was not protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 because as an executive, the courts ruled that people like me were simply "doing our job" ... and the courts did not care if we were then fired.

And lost everything including... well everything.  The long term affects of that hit every aspect of my, my parents', and that, of course, of my son's lives.  People judge me for having poor credit but don't understand:  the systemic bumbling of everything related to my house, vehicle, and jobs impacted my ability to pay bills; then the bailout of GM bumbled the lawsuit I had against them for the lemon Escalade.  Which then forced me to file for bankruptcy when Chase (also bailed out by Federal Government) came after me for the lien on the vehicle that could not be driven... because it died on the road when I was driving it... the electronic malfunction in my vehicle was one of the first that GM knew about (and failed to disclose because I did not die in it...that's when GM lets the public know about an issue; someone has to die first, then, of course, they deny that for awhile until someone else dies...).

With very poor credit it's almost impossible to get a decent job, especially at the level I was at or any level, for that matter.

Without the ability to get a job, one can't reestablish the credit and if one does, I did, then when a contract ends (because no company wants a full time person with bad credit), the money runs out.  Then bills don't get paid again.

Enter in Obamacare, and I don't have health insurance either.  I did pay the $128/month before ACA kicked in.  I'm healthy, never had a severe anything (ruptured appendix but once that blew, it can't blow again), no addiction issues, no drinking, never smoked, never done drugs.  Under Obamacare, however, that rose to $578/month and I left off paying it.

Credit > healthcare.  Rent > credit and cars.

Through all of this, including the loss of $350,000 in equity on my house (see above), I've maintained a pretty happy stance.  This too shall pass (though I wish it would do so more quickly).  I've focused on the current task at hand (which is still med school - yes, I have a plan to pay for it).  I've been thankful, ever so grateful for the help along the way - most it has been emotional support and a friendly ear while I pressed to overcome - lately it has been much more than that.  Forever thankful.

It's a key point as well all push to cross the finish line of premed and anchor our next path in a medical school somewhere.

Be thankful, be gracious, and finish.  If I can get through all the above, you can finish too.

See you at a white coat!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Unfortunate Drama

Several years ago, I dated a person whom we all now succinctly call, "Satan" because he was hell to live with after his shiny exterior wore off.  I met him at the age of 38 when I was thin, gorgeous and primed to meet a fabulous guy.

Things started off as most relationships do: it was fun, he was hot, he was bigger than life.  But there were little clues along the early path that I should have heeded.

He was jealous of any other man in my vicinity.  A friend of mine, John, has been one of my dearest friends in the world for almost 3 decades and we have always been nothing but friends; but to Satan, John was the enemy who would finally - in Satan's mind at least - woo me.  I never laughed so hard when Satan told me that.  Really?

Then there was Scott.  He was jealous of Scott as well.  Scott married his best friend, Jennifer, in a gorgeous wedding in Anchorage.  I was best woman... and brought my then boyfriend with me but Satan didn't care; he was jealous of Scott too.

There were the temper tantrums Satan threw over menial things: doors left open, soda cans not fully drained; the list goes on and on.

Primarily, people who act like Satan are insecure with themselves and overtly, it become narcissism.  Every one and every thing is a threat.  And the relationship becomes abusive.  Only those that the narcissist trusts (because they are lesser than they are in their eyes) are welcome in the life.  Satan trusted no one - including my own son whom he threatened... and whereupon, found his stuff on my curb.

Abuse knows no limits.  Isolation, judgmental, deprivation.  Satan did all those things to me.  Sabotaging my own self-esteem, denigrating everything I felt true about me to the point where I did not know who I really was anymore... when he got thrown out, I thought peace would come immediately, but it took years.

It took years to realize who I am and what I'm about.  It took years to rid myself of the stench he left behind.  About that time I met the physician who kicked me in the butt to get back to medical school pre-reqs.  While I ended that relationship as well, I'm forever thankful he was in my life for that very reason.  I'm  here today, writing as a medical school applicant because of him.

After I broke things off with him, there was one more person I thought maybe with.  Sir Hawtsalot, I called him.  Wealthy beyond imagination, secure, dignified, reasonable, wicked smart; we played chess and drank wine, we did all sorts of things but his lifestyle was not one that made me think forever partnership as he had to bound like Tigger in Pooh all over the world.  I believe he thought his money and means would keep me but...

I broke up with him too... money can't keep me.  It's the heart that does.  His heart was so scattered that no one person can ever be his only partner... he was a cheat.  He went on to get married and hasn't changed much; he still travels the world at a moment's notice but he does appear to love his wife.  I'm thankful for that - she has something I don't: Patience in relationships and a need for "gold" - she's a digger and he doesn't care.

There's a couple of main points to this whole post that I hope don't get lost:

1.  Abuse starts off as a "you don't understand" type of thing and turns into isolation; been there, won't ever do it again; can see it a million miles away

2.  Dignity is never lost - how you treat your spouse, your spouse's friends and others shows what type of person one is

3.  I am not, and never will be, a gold digger.  My life has been filled with people who are multi-billionaires (they owned a significant portion of ABC, the MN Wild, the precursor to DirecTV, among others); my life has been filled with countless multi-millionaires as well (largest wholesale nursery in the country, to descendants of the Waltons, to overnighters like Sir Hawtsalot).  Those people were welcome in MY life because of who they were inside, not how much resided in their bank accounts; they accepted me for the lack of... and never judged me for it.

For those of you who are reading this know, I am always a friend no matter the time or distance.  Friends don't desert you, or leave you feeling betrayed.  The generosity shown to my son and I during some really dark times will never be forgotten, and neither will you.

My white coat awaits somewhere.  Be you, be blessed, be happy.

Toxic Relationships

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Life's Bumps

Can either break you, shake you, or you can use them to lift you up and push you further.

Life is always going to have bumps.  Do you rise? Or do you fall?

I tend to rise.  Sure, I whine a little, I might even tear up and cry a little.  But I always rise.  Life will not beat me, it will be my partner for whatever decades I left in me.

The premed course is not easy.  The non-traditional premed course can be even more isolating (we don't fit in due to "length of life" as one medical school puts it) OR it can be inclusive (we use our length of life as a means to connect with our younger peers).  My tendency is to fall into the latter.

Right now, many of you are taking the MCAT tomorrow and others still on Saturday.

You're nervous, maybe even scared.  The instant of doubt raising its ugly head too often, if even for a blink of they eye.

When you think you're down, get up.  When you think you don't know the answer, know it's on the screen in front of you.  When you think it's too hard, think about how much harder it would be ON YOU if you quit.  When you think it's too long, think how long life will be if you stop chasing your dream.

And when you finish reading all that, watch this and RISE!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Home - Where The Heart Is

Born in southern Minnesota but raised in Duluth, MN... Duluth has always felt like home.  It's where my memories of childhood reside, the years of both my son's - the one who would be 30, and the one who is 24.  It's where winter skiing, summer at Park Point were spent; the day I moved south to raise my 24 year old, I cried all the way.

Duluth is home to the best hiking, best water sports - people even surf in the waves that come in some can easily get to 10 - 15' in the fall and in the spring.

Friends of mine from elementary school that I have kept in touch with and those that I met in college all agree:

The Big Lake they call Gitche Gumee, always brings us home.

This video was done by a family member of an old friend of mine.  We grew up down the street from each other...

Welcome to: Duluth, MN (Chester Creek, Congdon Creek, Lester River, The Lift Bridge, Park Point: Home)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

To Those Who Don't Believe

I do.

And for everyone else in /2 who likewise remembers this day 2 years ago, my solemn post.

Oh Robin. I wish you knew.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Post Exam Thoughts

Yes, I really did it.

At the age of 51, almost 52, I sat in a room, with a timer and headphones, and watched passages and questions come up.

After about 5.5 hours of actual testing, I left, sat in my truck and pondered life for a second.

See.  The test, or at least my version of the test, was not insurmountable.  It was not a venomous snake with dripping fangs ready to strike, it was more like a green broke mare that needed to be coaxed to give up the right answers.

Remember as you take it:

The AAMC goes to great lengths to make sure you have the right answer right there, on your screen, right in front of you.

There were some questions I had to think about for sure.  Not going to lie and say it was a cake walk but the answer... it was right there in front of me.  All I had to do is pick it, and quit it.  Just like the fine folks at Kaplan taught me to do.

Remember that.  Remember that there is no stupid trick question on the exam.  Yes, they might and will intentionally put 3 wrong answer choices on the question and 2 will be 100% off the wall wrong, leaving you with a 50% chance of getting the right answer.

Seriously.  Something like this (and no, AAMC, I will never break the oath I took when signing into the center - promise):

A black cat walks across the road and sees a chicken sitting on the fence.  A dog runs to the cat and neither tries to play with the chicken and the chicken looks upset.  Why do neither the dog or the cat want to play with the chicken?

a.  the chicken has a beak and talons
b.  the squirrel played with the chicken instead
c.  the dog has a black spot on it's back with a baseball cap
d.  the chicken was eating seed

There you have it my friends.  The MCAT in a nutshell.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

11th Hour - MCAT Final Prep

Or, sort of final prep.

I took the scored last weekend and let's just say my half-arsed way through it is not indicative of my capability but it is indicative of how I'd do on the real thing.

Many ask how to use the AAMC materials specifically after going through the myriad of prep courses from Kaplan, TPR, BR, NS, EK, et al.  What I will suggest is the following.

1)  Do the prep course work first but about midway do the Q-packs from the AAMC as they are a good guide to see where your content knowledge is.  The new MCAT is not a content test it is a critical thinking test but if you don't know the differences between physics equations and variables, or the SI units vs commonly used terms (Newton, for instance, rather than kg * m/s^2), you're going to want to use the Q-packs to find that out.  Use the mistakes there to shore up the content knowledge.

2)  Finish the prep work in the course.  Do all the CARS passages the course gives you, and then find more of them in EK or TPR or old AAMC exams.  If you're actually reading this ;), go to Reddit and search for old AAMC exams.  There is a link there to the material that someone kindly posted not only the exams but the solutions provided and explanations.  Let's face it, sometimes the AAMC's answers of "A is correct because B, C and D are wrong" doesn't really help.  Sorry, AAMC - you fail on that part.

3)  DRAW. I know, everyone who knows this blog is by "me" knows I draw. I draw all the pathways for gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, glycogenolysis, pentose phosphate pathway, hearing, eyesight, brain pathways, neurons, action potentials, etc.  At some point, I promise I will post them here and on Reddit using Google docs so that everyone can use to their advantage or ignore as you will.

4)  Finish the rest of the Section Bank exams - the biochem/biology, psych/soc, and chem/physics.  These are a beast.  Do not underestimate them.  They are hard, they are very research intense along with graphs and Y234D acronyms (that's a tyrosine to aspartic acid mutation at the 234 location, by the way; no one ever seems to explain that).  When doing the SBs, please, please, please - do them on accommodated so you can:

a.  Get the answer immediately
b.  Write down the question, answer and why you got it wrong
c.  DRAW the pathway if it is related to that

It is far more important than you know WHY you got something wrong instead of just the right answer because I'm almost 100% certain, the exact same thing won't be on the real MCAT... that said, it might be just slightly varied so you're still better off and ahead of the game if you follow my tips.

5)  Do the UNSCORED practice test on timed mode.  This is after the Q-packs, after the SBs... time it.  Then go back through and similar to 4.a, 4.b, 4.c - figure out why you got the questions wrong.

If necessary, go back through the SBs and Qpacks to polish the understanding and the content knowledge.  As mentioned above, I will be publishing my notes on all of this when I am officially done slaying this bugger.  You may be wondering how long this takes.  A long time. Give yourself 6- 8 weeks... and remember this:

6)  Take the SCORED AAMC test on timed mode.  Many suggest this the week of the actual exam. I would suggest 2 weeks beforehand because:

a.  if you do poorly, you have a full two weeks to polish up the weak areas
b.  if you do poorly, you have a full two weeks to get your confidence back up because nothing is worse than a crappy scored AAMC practice test to dump your confidence level to near zero
c.  if you do well, you can only get better - you have nothing to lose by doing it earlier :)

7)  If all of that is good, just review your notes and retake the SBs the week of the actual exam every other day.  The day before, obviously, is light review.

Last - go nail this thing!  Do not ever let anyone tell you, you can't, or won't.  Do not let anyone ever tell you, you're too old or too dumb or too slow.

If you got to this point, you are none of the above.

You, my readers, are MCAT Slayers.