Monday, March 31, 2008

In the begining...

It all has to start somewhere. I just happened to become a junkie of the sciences when I turned an apartment living room into a surgical suite for one lucky amphibian. Sitting on the basement stairs of my grandparents home in Chicago's western suburbs, I ran past the creature so many times and always wondered why it sat there, untouched for so many years. Only eight or nine, I learned that my dad and his siblings purchased it when they were my age and that they were too afraid to perform the dissection themselves. With all the fascination a young child could have, I procured a book from the local library, a scalpel, forceps and other tools needed to perform the operation of a lifetime. Once home and multiple decades later, my amphibian friend came to realize the purpose for which he was preserved, lighting my mind with discovery and intrigue.

Since then I've gone the way of most students finishing high school and trying to earn the honors necessary to one day prove competency in a collegiate setting. In 1999 I graduated from Glenbard East High School and was accepted to Brigham Young University in Provo, UT where I would earn my bachelor's degree. It was a long road, finally coming to an end in December of 2007. Always knowing I wanted to practice medicine, just not knowing fully in what capacity, I chose to follow the Exercise Science curriculum as it satisfied the prerequisites for premed students.

For a long time I considered and promoted the idea of being a physician's assistant not fully believing that I could pass as a physician myself. It didn't take long for my wife to change my thinking and medical school became a feasible option. With all the necessary classes taken or registered for, I prepared to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and started the rigorous application process.

In my spare time, if I was not volunteering at the hospital, volunteering as an EMT, or working on chemical research, I would be filling out various applications for a chance to pass the primary applications. All while attending school full time. Unfortunately, I applied and sat for the MCAT very late in the cycle which meant I would receive my scores even later. When the optimal time to apply to schools is in the summer, my applications did not get submitted until late fall and even some in the winter.

In all I processed nearly 20 primary applications, 10 secondary applications, took the MCAT twice, applying to both M.D. (Medical Doctor) and D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) programs. By the first of 2008, I was playing the waiting game. A college grad now, I was fortunate enough to have obtained a great job in the local emergency department as a full time employee gaining a significant amount of clinical experience.

Each month I would receive word from one or two schools as to my status either rejected or wait-listed. It looked as though I would have to go through the whole process again only to wait one more year. But then it happened, I received a letter from Touro University- Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUNCOM). They invited me to interview mid-March for a seat in the upcoming class that was slated to graduate in 2012.

I attended the interview and was fortunate to have family in the region with whom I could stay, somewhat buffering the expenses incurred. All prepared and ready to sell myself after months and even years of preparation, I attended the interview. Walking away, I felt horrible, that all had failed and been for naught. My answers didn't flow smoothly, I felt as though I had not shown my best self and returned home to wait a week for the committee's decision. Well, I had better start thinking about other options as this was not looking too promising.

To my surprise, I received a letter of acceptance which set my future rolling once again. My wife and I can now plan the next few months and years as we have somewhere to go. The housing hunt has begun and my initial deposit of $3000 for tuition will match the $3000 I spent simply applying to all these schools in the first place. I'm already cringing to think of what my financial situation will be in the coming years.

In this vein, I have elected to start this blog as a journal of the events as they happen. My initial intent is to make a weekly addition so that friends, family and anyone interested can get a glimpse of what life as a medical student is like. Should you have questions, please make them known and I'll do what I can to answer. As for right now, I'm still basking in the fact that I've been accepted!

Subscribe to Life as a Medical Student