Sunday, 28 December 2014

Fungus

I voluntarily ate mushrooms. The spring rolls I had for lunch - our one local pho place - are just so damn good that I don't care that they contain evil fungus. 

That lunch was first thing I ate all day. I was sick this morning so I didn't want breakfast, and then I had some imaging at the hospital and had to wait around for the report. Have to go back Friday for more tests. Can't help but feel like I'm wasting their time, all this extra stuff, since I do so hate to be a bother and I spend way too damn much time in the hospital.

Anyway, there's stuff going on medically but I won't be posting exactly what's going on until after a specialist visit next month. It's consuming a lot of my energy right now, which is why my post frequency has decreased. Nothing terribly serious (I'm not dying!) but I am likely to need abdominal surgery with a longish recovery period next summer (I was given a ballpark of how long the delay would be, which may delay my ability to start med school on time if I am accepted. 

I'm looking at my options with respect to deferral or a leave of absence/working from home for the first few weeks, since it probably isn't going to be a grand idea for me to move really far right around that time either, but I don't have enough information at this point to call the schools and ask since I don't know exactly what is going on yet. 

Once I have a complete picture, I'll post an explanation. As for now, I'm just tired and looking forward to the new year. 

If I don't get to post before then, happy new year everyone. 




Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Working Away

I'm working on something exciting but can't say much until next month. Bah. I'll know about interview invites around that time so next month is likely to be very exciting! 

I'm at work, having a brief coffee break, and listening to the sounds of excited children. My work hosts a Christmas party every year and employees bring their kids. My son does not do well in crowds and while I brought him last year, it didn't go well and we hid in my cubicle. So my kids are at daycare and are going on some awesome field trips today. 

Nothing really gets done today. I'm doing some housekeeping work - updating some spreadsheets - and plan to be off early. The daycare closes at 1 today. I am going to go home, make pumpkin pie from my frozen stuff from the summer, and then take a nap because I am very tired. 

To those that celebrate it, merry Christmas. To those that don't, enjoy the day off if you have it. 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Fuzzy Smiles

This is not my cat. She belongs to a friend but is staying with us while her family travels home for the holidays. She's about three months old and insanely cute. My kids are loving having a kitten around. Two of my cats are not. 

Anyway, I've had a rough week. All of my marks were 90 on the dot, except for one and if you've read my recent posts, you should be able to guess why. 

My fifth mark for this term: immunology - 71%. 

That's not a typo. I got 45% on the exam. The class average for this course was 10% below where they would like it. Multiple students have approached the chair about it because the exam was insane and many students feel it wasn't an appropriate assessment. 

I've spent the week trying to figure out what to do. The maximum GPA I can achieve this year is precisely 3.87, which is exactly my pool's cutoff at U of O. If I get a single other course below 90% this year, and by some miracle was accepted to U of O, that acceptance would be rescinded when they receive my final transcripts. I emailed admissions about this - I have to be above the GPA cutoff for my pool FOR THIS YEAR, not just my wGPA calculated with this year included. 

So I'm not sure what to do, whether to withdraw my Ottawa application and avoid wasting the money on an interview, or stick it out, try my damnedest to pull off another 4.0 semester, and hope. Many of us are appealing our grades formally, and I will be doing so as well, so I'm trying not to be hasty. 

I don't know. I've had other things on my mind this week anyway, things I'll get into at a later point once I have more information. For now, I'm still really reeling from that mark and I am very tired. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Ginger

We let the kids stay up later to put together our gingerbread houses this evening. It was fun. 

The solstice is less than a week away, and I'm done the small amount of shopping I was going to do.  Halfway through December already and it barely feels like I even started school this year. 

I haven't posted since before my last exam, so to sum that up, let me say AHHHHHHHHHH! That exam was many degrees harder than my MCAT. I saw students crying. I actually wrote "I have no sweet clue, but here's a rough idea of something I think might be related" beside two questions. It's out of almost 200 points and I only need a 68 on the exam to pull at least 80 in the class, but I honestly don't know if I managed that. Fascinating lecturer who knows everything and super nice guy, but I am not taking  another class of his after that exam. That was terrifying. 

On the plus side, the fact that I'll actually be happy with an 80 in one class is progress! The thought of anything below 85 used to make my heart pound. I'm getting better. 

Three marks in so far, all three are exactly 90%. When I said I was being lazy this semester, I meant it. Two of those classes are complete bird courses, which I took specifically so that I could have a more relaxed semester with less need for studying. I am expecting one mark around 92-93, possibly more, and then immunology is a complete wildcard. 

I did get rather distressing news that my student loan is going to be $4200 lower next month than I was hoping for, $3200 less than I was actually expecting. Considering that my student loan pays my tuition and makes up for the difference between my income and expenses during the school year, this is a VERY big problem, considering that represents $800-$1000/mth less this semester. I'd had those funds as part of my projections since my numbers weren't significantly off, but now I'm scrambling. I am appealing the decision, but I will be lucky to see the funds by the end of the semester if I am successful. 

This is particularly problematic because my employment paperwork for my next term hasn't come in yet, so I'm not likely going to be paid in January or February. I usually count on my loan to tide me over until I get paid, but I am not even getting enough to cover my tuition and fees, let alone anything that would be sent to me for books, day care, or living expenses. This means I am going to have an extremely hard time paying for interviews and may have to ask my parents for money for school or interviews, something I told myself at the start of this that I wouldn't do. But I am not going to let my pride stand in the way of my ability to get into med school, so if I have to, I will ask. I'm not out of options yet, by any means, but the stress is not helping. 



Saturday, 6 December 2014

Rest well little pup

My parents' dachshund got sick a couppe weeks ago. At first, my mother thought it was diabetes (I thought so too.) Then it seemed to be that her kidneys were shutting down.

Then when she got to the vet, my mother found out her pancreas was seriously inflamed and she was in ketoacidosis.

They tried hard to save her, but her little body just couldn't take it anymore. She was put down yesterday morning.



She was a very sweet little dog, and my son was really attached to her. She was the most patient little animal I've ever known, which is uncommon for a small dog. Even when my son was rough with her when he was younger, she would just give him kisses. When he spent the day at my parents' house while sick, she would snuggle him. She was a fantastic companion and the very definition of a good dog.

My son is extremely upset. The only other time I have seen him upset like this was when Freddie died. He doesn't connect very strongly to people, but he connects with animals and it is especially hard to see how hard these losses hit him.

I'm very upset too. We lost a very special little dog, and she was only 6. She was far too young to lose.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Just Rosy


I have a little rosebush in my kitchen which grows cute, tiny roses. That is the one that bloomed a week or so ago. Right after taking this picture, I dropped my iPad. When I went to catch it, I accidentally pulled off the pretty little rose. My daughter was quite sad about this. 

I enjoy these little splashes of colour in the colder months. As it gets darker in December, it's hard to keep my spirits up and stay focused on my goals. December is usually a rough month - matched only by February - so some little bright spots help. The fact that I killed my little rose made me sad too. There's one new bud growing which will probably bloom next month, so I at least have that to look forward to. Right around the time interview invites come out. 

I just wrote my physiology exam and found I actually over prepared. I wasn't expecting that to be the case this semester because I have been, as I've mentioned, lazy.

Immediately after I finished that exam (only took me an hour and a half, when I had three) I had an email from my Imm professor. Our final assignments were ready for pickup. 


Perfect way to wrap up the morning. I only got 78% on the first assignment (these are worth 20% each!) and was really upset. This professor has extremely high standards and a reputation that scares a lot of people away from his courses.  I got 91% on the second assignment and I busted my butt on that one. I have never had to work so hard for a 90%+ before. This is actually an error - I have 170/175, so 97%. 

So getting this one just now, even though I have had 96% and higher many times before made me feel awesome. I have an entire week to study for just this exam, which is on the 11th, so I am REALLY hoping I can pull off at least a 90 on the exam. I need 92.5% on the exam to get a 90 in this course. I don't know how likely that is, considering the reputation he has about exams is really frightening, but I would need to do very poorly on the exam (below 80%) to get less than 85 in this class. I was saying right from the outset I'd be happy to make it out of this class with a 3.9, and it's looking like that will be the case. 






Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Wrap

Well, first semester classes are done. I had my anatomy lab final yesterday.

It's now officially exam season, and my review ramps up as of today. I have physiology on Wednesday, anatomy on Thursday, and immunology on the 11th.

I'm not entirely sure what day I'm going to go full time at work. I'm taking a few days off but am still planning to have at least one full week. As it is, I owe my boss a few hours due to a sick day, so one of the full time days is already gone because I owe it.

Since I work 19h a week right now, the fact that I can only work an extra 18.5 maximum means I won't get a huge amount of extra hours this month. Especially with my exams going so late.

It works out that I'll have work an extra 35.5 hours this month, but I won't get paid for them until sometime in March, probably. It takes months to get paid for extra hours, which is why I typically just 'bank' them to take as time in lieu of. Strictly speaking, I'm not really eligible for that, but pretty much every student does it, and it means less paperwork for everyone, so it's tolerated.

That said, the extra pay should come in right around the time I need it for airfare, which is good. My student loan for this semester will be about $1600 less than it was last year (thanks to my scholarship. Awarded $2000, lost 1600 interest-free provincial loan dollars) so I'll only get enough to pay daycare for part of the semester, not enough to help with my travel costs.

Affording interviews will be a squeeze, but since I at least have the clothing part taken care of, I just have to buy airfare, and pay for food while I'm where I need to be. Having friends all over Ontario is helpful.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Mist and Shadow

I'm watching Return of the King (extended edition, naturally) right now, because I'm on an LOTR kick ahead of next month's final Hobbit film. I just finished a course, so I'm allowing a movie before I do any more work.


I have now finished two courses, squeaking into a 90 in both. When I say I didn't really study this year, I meant it. And by "squeaking into a 90" I mean I actually got 89.5 but our marks round up on our transcripts.

See what I mean about being lazy this semester?

At the moment, I am procrastinating from my final two assignments (one of which is for bonus marks), both of which are almost done and aren't due until Wednesday. My kids were kind enough to share their most recent cold with me, so I feel like crap at the moment, though my morning swim did really help.

Tomorrow, I get to go hand out flyers for the blood clinic on campus during exams. Fortunately, pre-meds are an eager group, so I have others who will help. While it's not a huge campus, there are multiple major inlets of students in the morning.

It doesn't really feel like this is my last week of class. I've been reviewing a little for my exams, but since I only have three, it's not as much as I would typically be studying.

It's only around two months until Ontario invites come out, but December and January usually go very, very fast because it's a transitional period, so it will be interview invite time quite soon. I'm starting to get a little antsy about Ontario interviews. I have a feeling they'll be less relaxed than MUN's was. Many (not all, not even the majority!) of the Ontario applicants I've met are... rather cutthroat. The stereotypical I'll-get-into-med-school-no-matter-how-many-bodies-I-have-to-crawl-over sort. These people terrify me. They're the ones who give me the side eye. The "You don't belong" look.

I don't like those people, but I have a feeling I'm going to meet more of them at the Ontario interviews than I did at MUN. MUN's interview was mostly Newfoundlanders, and the reputation for exceptional kindness is very well-deserved so I felt quite at home. While I had many good years in Ontario, I left it for a reason and I'm not terribly eager to go back if I have any other options.

Time will tell, though. Have to finish my assignments and then curl up with some popcorn and Middle Earth.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Mockingday

My husband and I went out with friends (we have friends to do this with now!) to see Mockingjay Part 1 last night. It was really enjoyable, and I love having friends who are movie buffs like me.

Right now, I'm knees deep in exam review. Since I really only have the one class that I can/must attend, I suddenly have a lot of free time. My last Sociology test is on Monday and it's only on two chapters. I've gotta say, an 80 MC test is really not fun for a topic like sociology which does involve interpretation. I can usually tell what he wants as the answer, but I disagree with it. That's REALLY annoying and really mutes any ability to learn from the content. I won't be taking the second part of the course.

Religious Studies finished two weeks ago, so I don't even have to think about that.

I have an assignment due on Wednesday in immunology, and my bonus question response for physiology. Basically, our prof gave us 3 cases and we have to do a brief write up on the physiology of the cases. It's CBL, essentially, and it's something I love to do.

She gave us our exam essay prompts already, which I think is awesome. We'll have 4 on the final (chosen from the 7 she gave us) and have to write three essays. There will only be like 10 or so MC questions.

Anatomy, I'm not really worried about. I haven't attended class in weeks (partly because I can't - there's only seats for half the class in the new room!) but he posts mostly complete questions online, and it's anatomy... it's something I can learn on my own.







Realistically, I'm expecting my average for this semester to come in around 90-92 at the most. Really good by most standards, but kind of "meh" for me. I have been lazy, and I admit that, but I also really needed it. This semester has been extremely emotionally taxing and after the past few absolutely insane years I have had, the ability to slack off without completely sacrificing my grades has been a sanity-saver. I have needed this more than I can describe.

Especially with next semester looming on the horizon like a dark, terrifying cloud of effort that I will need to expend. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Long Days

It's been rather cold late and for whatever reason, I am exhausted. The season changes usually take it out of me and that seems to be the case. 

My first exam is two weeks from today. The next is two weeks from tomorrow. My phys prof is giving us our essay questions ahead of time so we can prepare our responses. Those are due to go up tonight.

My final immunology assignment is due next week, as is my bonus question for phys. I haven't attended anatomy in almost two weeks. There was a problem with the room that the class was in so the class as moved and, unfortunately, there is only around half as many seats in the new room. I don't really bother going. 

The last immunology lecture was today, so I don't have an 8:30 class for the rest of the semester, conveniently. Since I'm not really attending my 9:30 class either, I have plenty of time to study. The only class I'm really attending is the one at noon. 

I have been REALLY lazy this semester because I can. I'm coasting by, barely studying, and still getting roughly the grades I want. I'm satisfied with low nineties now, I refuse to kill myself trying to get high 90s in everything - the return on that effort invested just isn't worth it. Low 90s, a few high 80s, that's good enough and I will do just fine, I know that now. My application is plenty competitive, I don't need a 4.0. 

It's taken until this year to really accept that, but I also have the advantage of having two years with a fantastic GPA under my belt already so I'm sitting pretty, for the most part. I would have to really, really screw up at this point to completely ruin my chances, and that's not really likely. I can still pull off an 87 in a course without studying. I don't think there's much danger of my suddenly getting 50s or something. 

The course I am likely to do worst in this semester is immunology. He has extremely high expectations and basically expects us to quote the notes on the exam. This is typical of this professor, and I know that going into it. I'm going to basically have to memorize my notes, but I fortunately have about three weeks to do that. 

My sociology course finishes on Monday, and my religious studies course is already done (haven't gotten my grades back yet though.) I only have anatomy, physiology, and immunology to worry about, exam-wise. 

As for tonight, I am going to go to sleep. I'm cold, and tired. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Interview and Flying home

The TaMMI was fun. I did my stations first and then the traditional. Kylie kindly picked me up this morning so I was there with plenty of time. I got to meet Melissa and Kathatine, whose blog you can find linked on the side. Everyone was super nice and very tolerant of my nervousness. 

Obviously I can't talk about interview content, but I think I gave a good impression of myself. I can see areas where I could have improved, which I'll keep in mind for any future interviews. As for MUN, my fate is now sealed. It's all in the adcom's hands now. 



I'm on my flight back to Halifax right now. I'm writing this in offline mode and will post when I get in. I've met a number of other applicants, all of whom seem quite capable and confident. I can see why it takes the adcoms so long to decide - everyone I've met will make a fantastic doctor.

At the airport gate, I encountered a young woman who is interviewing in Halifax tomorrow for her pharmacy residency. Very articulate and passionate person who certainly has a great head on her shoulders and I really hope she gets one of the positions she's interviewing for. The world needs more good pharmacists who know what the hell they are talking about. 

It has been a very pleasant experience and I am glad to have finally had the opportunity to see MUN in person, however briefly. 

I am exhausted and plan to fall asleep as soon as my husband picks me up at the airport (but I'm taking a minute to post this first.)

Done!

I think it went fairly well, but I have no idea how my interviewers felt. 

It was nice to meet Kylie and Katharine and Melissa, and get to know several of my other potential future colleagues. Everyone I met was really nice and the experience was quite enjoyable. 

Most of my MMI stations were really topical - things I had recently discussed with people, or experiences I've had, though obviously I can't get any more specific! I'm currently sitting downtown at second cup and trying to decide where to go for lunch. Yellowbelly was recommended so that I can have some pub food, so I think I'll head over there momentarily. 

I just had a celebratory cupcake, and I plan to do nothing productive for the rest of the day. 

:)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Steep City

Charlottetown is sloped towards the water. The whole city goes down. 

This city is not just sloped, it is steep. You have to lean back while walking. 

I've been walking around downtown for a bit. Currently at the Gypsy Tea Room on Kylie's recommendation for some lunch. I was able to check in early to my B&B so my luggage is safely stowed and my suit is hanging so the wrinkles start working out of it. 

I saw a whole cluster of applicants hanging out just off the ramp when I got off the plane. They were talking about the interviews. I thought of saying hi, but I really just wanted to enjoy my alone time for a bit. 

As expected, it is damp and chilly here. This is apparently pretty common. 

Overall, the vibe of the city so far reminds me of Charlottetown. It's bigger, but seems to have a similar character. The houses with the brightly painted wooden shake look the same as the ones in Charlottetown, the sea air smells the same. There are more hills here, but my home is rather flat compared to most places east of Saskatchewan so that isn't tarribly surprising. 

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. For today, I'll just be one more anonymous tourist wandering around with a stupidly pleased smile on my face. 

On the wing


And by that I mean literally. I'm on the plane that will take me to St John's. My parents were kind enough to pay for a hotel room for us for last night so I am well rested and nice and happy. There are a whole bunch of young people with backpacks on this flight - I've seen at least 10 - so I know there are several other applicants flying with me. 

It is starting to snow as the plane fills up. Soft flakes drifting down and settling on the wings. 

We're about to lift off. On to destiny!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

On the road again


My wonderful husband is in the driver's seat and we're on our way to NS. There is the potential of a snowstorm on the way so we are leaving tonight to ensure there is no way we'll get caught up in it. 

My parents kindly booked us a hotel for tonight so we'll be well rested and breakfasted before I get on the plane. I'm kind of sad my husband isn't coming with me, but it will be nice to just do my own thing for a couple days. 

The last time we did something like this alone was when I was pregnant with our daughter. We went to Moncton for a 3D ultrasound because they wouldn't tell you the sex of the baby here at that time (the policy has since changed. It was terribly paternalistic!)

I'm not sure whether to be terrified or excited. At the moment, I suppose it is a mixture of both. Two days from now, I'll be on the plane back and my fate for MUN will essentially be decided. This is my last chance to make the impression I want to make, and I need to make sure I do just that. 

Deep breaths. A third of us will receive first round offers. Another 30-40 will get waitlist offers. I don't have to be the best, I just have to be very good. 


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday SATURDAY!

My MUN interview is this Saturday. I am alternating between totally confident and so nervous I could be sick.

My husband is taking Friday off to drive me to Halifax.  He'll be staying overnight with my aunt and uncle so that we can drive home Saturday night. He has some stuff he can do in Hali and this really is a way for him to be part of the process since this is largely something I am doing independent of him. 

Kylie (M1 at MUN) has kindly offered to pick me up Saturday morning, and she'll be driving two others (including Della from Oh The Places You'll Go (as a med student)), so I get to arrive at my med school interview with med students - grinning like an idiot, I'm sure. Rub some of your success off on me, 'k?

This IS going to be a bit strange because there are going to be several people I'll be meeting who have read this blog, and as a result know a fair bit about me, but whom I have never actually met and haven't had the opportunity to get to know well. While I am by no means shy, I am not particularly outgoing, but if any of my fellow morning interviewees are reading this, feel free to come say hi.

I'd actually love to get a bunch of interviewees together for supper Friday night, as a way to meet our future colleagues, but there are only a few on PM101 and I think it might be odd to post there.

There are 256 people interviewing Saturday. There are 80 seats, and waitlist movement will be around 30-40, so in the vicinity of half of us interviewing on Saturday will eventually receive offers, and 1/3 of us will make up the class of 2019. 

This is going to be an interesting Saturday!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Knick Knack

If you have not seen The Knick, you need to. It's a fictionalized account of goings on at the Knickerbocker hospital in 1900 and it is AMAZING. 

This evening I went over to my parents' house to show my mother my outfit and get some feedback. She is loaning me a really nice watch to wear and a little portable steamer so I can take out any creases after my flight. Everything is all pretty much ready to go, I just need to get to Halifax on Friday morning and my husband is taking care of that part. 

I'm having a bit of a rough day and tomorrow will be a full day at work and I'm not quite sure if I'm up for it, but that's life. I really just want to curl up and do nothing for a couple of weeks, but that's not an option so I just have to carry on. Really need to make sure I take care of myself this week because I need my mind in top form and my mood light for Saturday. Only six days until the most important interview of my life. 

Must remember to email the rural medicine interest group. Since I'll be done by noon, I want to meet with someone from the group and the invitation card said that can be arranged. 

I am so excited I can't even explain it. 


Friday, 7 November 2014

Annoyance


For reasons that would not really be appropriate to post publicly, I am EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED with someone today and I am really looking forward to my swim today because it's a great way to exhaust myself. I have to cut my swim short, though, because I have a meeting at my son's school and have to be dry and dressed for then. 

I have my first final tomorrow (yes, Saturday) at 8:30am. It's only an hour and a half long - it's a final for my religious studies course. The third (and last) test for my sociology course is in two more weeks and then I'm done that one too. 

I only have a few more days of class after today. One of my classes for today was cancelled and the other I have to miss for the meeting, so I'm thinking of not bothering to attend anatomy. It's not like I get anything from the lectures that I don't get from studying my Atlas app. 

It's really amazing how fast this semester has gone. Next week, I have only one day of class (Monday off, Friday I'll be in NS then Newfoundland) and then two weeks of class after that, three exams, and then work full time for three weeks. After that, it'll be January, time for Ontario interview invites. 

Ten weeks until Mac invites might start coming out! It feels like I was just starting my apps yesterday, but here I am almost halfway through third year!



Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hello, my name is Kay, and I want to be a doctor.

So this is the suit that most people agreed was the most doctorly (it's not as tight around the boobs as this picture makes it look!)


I'll be wearing those shoes (black suede-ish) but a different top underneath - probably black and shiny. Still haven't bought it yet, though.

I figure that while this is just as formal as a black pantsuit, it will stand out, though not startlingly so.

Accessories-wise, I'm going to wear my white gold diamond ring (gift from the husband, it isn't my wedding band but I wear it on that finger,) my HOPE necklace and earrings from Kasia, and possibly a white gold diamond tennis bracelet if my mother will let me borrow hers. I've debated whether to wear pearls instead of the HOPE necklace, since they might add to the mature student look, which is what I want to emphasize.

I'm not entirely sure whether to wear my nose stud or not. I've had it since I was 17 and it isn't terribly noticeable, but I can see that some more conservative sorts might have issues with any facial piercings.

Overall, my preparations for my interview are wrapping up. I had a bad day mentally so I'm just trying to get my head back in the game so I can focus for my anatomy test tomorrow. I only got 90% on the last one so I don't want to repeat that.

Also, sometime today the blog hit 70,000 views. At this rate, it should hit 100,000 sometime just before acceptances come out. :)

Monday, 3 November 2014

That rain looks awfully white...

As I was heading to school this morning, it snowed. I am unimpressed. It's only November 3rd!

That said, I have only NINE days of class left this semester!

Because we have Monday off next week, I don't have class Tuesday/Thursday, and I'll be traveling next Friday, I actually only have nine class days left. My two online courses are almost done, and then I just have three exams to worry about.

My exams are December 3rd (human physiology), December 4th (human anatomy) and December 11th (imm.) Yup, I have a whole week to study for that one exam, which I will need because the professor's reputation as a stickler for detail is not exaggerated. He is nicer than some people have made him out to be, but he really does have exceptionally high standards.

To be honest, I've been somewhat lazy about studying this semester and haven't been obeying my usual rules. It's not that I'm unable to do so, but I planned this semester specifically so that I would have an easy one, and that's precisely what I'm doing - taking things easy. Not so easy that my marks will drop precipitously, but easy enough that I have no reason to stress out. After how the last couple of years have gone, I really needed this and I am feeling a whole lot better for it. This is my 'mental health' semester, which will be topped off by a week off during the holidays (unheard of for me!) for me to do whatever the hell I want before second semester hits me like the ton of bricks it will be.

Next semester, I'm going to be taking:
- Human physics
- Biomedical imaging
- Molecular Biotechnology
- Endocrinology
- Biochemistry

Three of those are fourth year courses. So, yeah, I'm expecting next semester to put me through the wringer, which is part of why I ensured this semester was nice and relaxed. I can't allow myself to end up burned out like I did last year right before med school starts. Undergrad is just the beginning of the marathon. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

<14

Thirteen days until my MUN interview. 

I've decided on a skirt suit. While I do wear sarongs and my flowy, ankle-length skirts in public, this will actually be my first time wearing a skirt this short in public ever (really.) However, it looks the most 'doctorly' according to the people I've asked so I'm going to wear it. The skirt is currently at the tailor's and I'll be picking it up this week sometime. 

It is a below knee-length pencil skirt and it is grey. I figure most people will be wearing black, and I want to stand out a little (not too much, though, since at 5'8", and wearing heels, I'll stand out already) so grey seemed a good choice. I'm going to wear it to work once I pick it up, just to get comfortable in the fit and wearing it around. Fortunately, a suit at work is entirely appropriate, as are jeans. I have mentioned before that I love my job, right?

My husband is taking the 14th off work and he's going to drive me to Halifax and stay overnight with my aunt and uncle in Dartmouth so that he can meet me at he airport Saturday night and we can just come straight home. 

I've rescheduled the test I was going to write on the 14th to the 13th, and I'll be doing the lab for that day on the following Wednesday. Everything is in order and ready for this. I just need to ensure I arrive feeling rested, confident, and happy. This is the school I most want to attend and they are granting me a huge honour just by interviewing me even though I won't have a degree. This is a big deal. It's not just a trial run for whatever other interviews I may get - it's the one I most want to succeed at. 


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Happy Birthday Little Bird


It was my daughter's fourth birthday yesterday. We went out to eat at East Side Mario's, a favourite in our family for birthday meals. I have no idea why (it got really expensive!) but it's almost tradition at this point. 

She will be two months into kindergarten when her next birthday rolls around and I may be in med school. 

I'm feeling better about my interview in a couple weeks. The swim workouts are just what I needed to boost my confidence. I'm feeling stronger and more fit in a general sense and I like that. I swam regularly before now (which I've mentioned before) but I've really ramped up the intensity. Feels awesome. My skin seems to be appreciating it too, though my hair does not. 

Marks-wise, this year has been pretty decent except in imm. That prof is extremely particular about things and we've only had one thing handed back so it's hard to gauge where I am in his course. 

Still, I've been pretty relaxed and things are going really well. I've had a lot of time to focus on myself and to consider the future and things are really looking bright. I'm excited about how the next few months are going to play out. 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Long, wet week

I am *wiped.* 

I go to the pool regularly and have since early this year when I rediscovered my love of swimming. I couldn't over the summer, but I swam at the beach every chance I had and, of course, spent a lot of time outside with the kids. 

Since I received confirmation of my MUN interview, I've ramped up my workouts. From 3 days a week to 5, and more intense than usual. 

The more regular workout is helping me do better with swimming. I require fewer breathing breaks, and my lap time is gradually decreasing. I swam for 30 minutes straight today, did some physio exercises for my knee, then swam a cool-down for 15 more minutes. I am a bit sore because of the intensity change this week, but otherwise feel fantastic and I'm looking forward to Monday when I will be rested and can get back to it. 

But for now I am tired. And I am going to go to bed. I have a big assignment to work on tomorrow. 

On a super awesome note, I received a fantastic gift from Kasia. She sent me some very thoughtful stuff for my interview and I'm so touched. You're awesome!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ottawa

I lived in Ottawa for ten years. I went to high school there, met my husband there, and had my first child there. I was even originally going to go to the University of Ottawa.

I enjoyed living in Ottawa. It's the closest thing to a 'hometown' I have in the list of places my dad was posted, though it's never going to be home as much as the Island is.

So when I heard the news today, and saw those pictures of the National War Memorial, it just made my heart ache. When I was trying to join the military, I would spend time near there, contemplating the Unknown Soldier. The War Memorial is right in the city - it's not off in some park, it's right in the central part of the city, in full view of buildings I worked in, visible for all around. As a reminder that violence is not always off in some foreign place, it can very easily be right where we live, right where we are, and the memory of our fallen and surviving Veterans can't be pushed aside on November 12th. The War Memorial is there, is visible, because we can't forget what it means.

That the events of today unfolded there, in particular, adds to the already-disturbing level of those crimes. Coming from a military family, and working where I do, I can't help but have an attachment to that place and what it represents, and to the members of the Canadian Forces. That's my family. It's hard to explain to people who didn't grow up in the military, but there's a common thread that binds military families, and that doesn't go away when you grow up, or when your parent retires. You're just all part of one community.

My heart is breaking for the family of the fallen soldier and for Ottawa tonight, to be dealing with the fear and the uncertainty that is going to continue to follow in the wake of these events. My friends who were downtown are shaken, and the larger military family that I will always feel a part of is reeling.

I can't quite capture all my thoughts this evening, but I want to wish any of you in Ottawa well, and I hope the coming days are able to provide some answers to the many, many questions today has left unanswered. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Round and round and going nowhere

I am, at this very moment, on the stationary bike in the corner of my dining room. I've been here for fifteen minutes and have another thirty to go. I realize that if I can type I'm not going as intense as I could, but oh well, I'm studying. I swam for 45 minutes this morning too. 

So, my suits arrived. They re gorgeous and clearly worth the $400+ MSRP. I paid nowhere near that. Actually, my MIL paid for these ones. I have another coming in the mail but I'll probably return it since these are perfect. 

The suits are amazing and beautiful but they renewed my sense of "holy crap the med schools are going to laugh at me" because I am tall and broad and scarier when in heels and a black suit. I have linebacker shoulders and women's suits tend to have padded shoulders. I do not require any sort of padding or my shoulders will be sticking up. 

I've picked which one I'm wearing to my interview but the pants are a bit snug which is why I'm sitting on a stationary bike at half past ten at night. I want to look my best for interviews, which requires a lot of work. 

Yes, I'm very insecure about my appearance. Can you tell? Just have to keep at it, I guess. I swim regularly, I bike, I eat pretty decently and I am doing my best. That's going to have to be enough. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

CASPer

Well, that was fun. No, really. I actually thought that was fun!

I type fairly quickly so while I didn't get as much into a few responses as I might have liked, I thought it went fairly well and it was enjoyable. A lot of the scenarios involved things I have faced in my actual life and so I reflected on how I handled them and how I might do differently. 

I won't know for a few months whether I get an interview or not, but if don't feel like my chances have dropped at all and may have gone up. That said, I've never written CASPer before. If I don't get an interview, it will obviously be due to poor CASPer performance since I'm very competitive from a GPA and VR point of view. 

I really did just write whatever I thought about the topic. I didn't try writing what I thought they wanted to hear, but what I actually thought. Some of the stuff was obviously trying to get a particular answer and I have no problem disagreeing with what they are trying to lead me towards. 

People seemed pretty stressed about it beforehand but I really don't think it was that bad. We'll see in January whether my feelings about it mean I did what they wanted. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

This Land

I'm a big fan of Firefly and the title of this post and the picture are references to Wash, my favourite character. 

There's a scene in the movie, Serenity, where he's piloting the nearly out of control ship and he's saying "I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar" over and over. He lands the ship successfully and is promptly impaled by debris. 

I'm feeling a bit like this is how interview season is going to go for me; I can put everything I have into doing things exactly right and just when I think I've pulled it off, I'll be gutted by the unexpected. A successful ending is no guarantee. 

I write CASPER tomorrow and, despite the recommendations of some, I have not done anything to prepare besides reflect on how I have handled ethically sticky situations before. I have a fairly decent understanding of the health care system in Canada already as well as medically related law, so I'm comfortable with that aspect. 

Still a bit stressed about it. My friend is letting me write at her house and she and her family won't be home so it'll be nice and quiet for me to concentrate. 

While I am REALLY hoping that MUN works out for me because I absolutely want to go there, the more schools I interview at, the better my chances of getting in. I can't do anything to change my chance of getting an interview at Ottawa or Queen's right now, but CASPER is a huge part of determining whether I get an interview at Mac - equal to my GPA and VR in importance. So to keep my chances high, I need to do well on it. 

No point stressing, though. 

I am a leaf on the wind...


Friday, 17 October 2014

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So much for my moping!

I HAVE AN INTERVIEW AT MUN!

If anyone there actually reads this blog THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY DAY!

I've booked my flight already (arriving Friday afternoon, leaving Sunday morning. Couldn't get a departing flight for Saturday evening so I need to stay another night.)

I need to figure out accommodations but that's a small thing. I have a test on that Friday and a lab in the afternoon but I'm really hoping my profs will be forgiving because I am NOT going to risk being late to the most important interview of my life!!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Running Sass

My husband's 15 year old cat ran away on Wednesday. He found her yesterday evening hiding in one of the obstacles of the paintball arena in the woods near us. No mean feat, considering she's black and he found her when it was almost dark.

She didn't like me for years, and does not like kids, but this morning she was snuggling my son and purring just because she is so happy to be home. One night in the woods changed her significantly. 

It's funny how quickly things can change. I have spent the entire morning refreshing my email. I woke up at 6:30 and have already half drained my phone's battery. The only time I wasn't refreshing it was when I was driving. 

Several people have already received invitations, including OOP applicants. I haven't yet. As the minutes tick by and I don't have a little blue-dotted new email from MUN, my heart drops a little further. 

But if I get one, it will all turn around in a second and I will be on top of the world. 

I'm not holding my breath, though. I desperately want to get that email, but I know I probably won't. It was a long shot anyway. I hate that I'm so bothered by this and it's not even a sure thing that I'm not being invited yet. 


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Swim Day

Today has been a rough day emotionally. It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Given that I experienced a loss just last month, it's particularly poignant for me this year.

My physiology class was cancelled so I just spent longer at the pool than usual to work off the emotions of the day. My knee - which I screwed up pretty badly last year - was being problematic so I wasn't able to swim as hard as I wanted to. I kept having to take breaks to relax it in the hot tub. Kind of hard to work off your frustration and anger when you have to keep stopping.

Swimming has really become the best stress relief for me over the last year. The four months without regular pool time over the summer really impacted my progress, though. I spent a lot of time at the beach but didn't really do any hard swimming while I was there. Given that I have really bad asthma, the breathing while swimming is the hardest part to learn to control. I keep coming back to the fact that I really should see an expert to help ensure I'm exercising optimally for my limitations, but I never really get around to it. I make sure to get to the pool at least 3 times a week, so at least I'm moving no matter what.

At the moment, I'm just relaxing a bit before bed. I have nothing left to do this evening and am feeling rather bummed, given the day. Didn't hear anything from MUN today, but it doesn't appear anyone else did. People here have received letters a day or two after they were sent from Newfoundland, so I'm hoping that maybe if they sent a physical letter it will be here tomorrow. I'm going to ask MIL to call me if there's anything from MUN in the mail.

I can hope, anyway. MUN interviews are exactly a month from today so I hope I find out soon. My budget's pretty tight and I don't want to be stuck having to buy really expensive airfare, but I'll make it work no matter what.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Thanks

I realize yesterday was thanksgiving but I didn't feel like posting. I made pumpkin apple muffins instead and they were amazing. 

Got my Casper system check all done yesterday. The internet service at my house is absolute crap - 1Mbps is the maximum we get. It's too slow for the videos on Casper. It took me ten minutes to load ONE video. So I'm going to do it at my friend's house which means I needed to do my system test there. 

Today is another day of rabidly refreshing my email, hoping for good news from MUN. I was looking at a map of the campus yesterday and showed it to my husband. It looks like it backs on to a huge green space which is awesome and just what I would love to have in my next school (since I have that here too.) I've never actually been to Newfoundland. It is, in fact, the only province I haven't been to yet. I know lots of people from there and everything I hear about it makes me want to go there. It seems culturally the closest place to my home which is why I want to go there instead of anywhere else since I can't stay home. 

Yesterday was a fantastic day. Bright sun, crisp fall air, just utterly gorgeous. The kids went out to play - they were finding worms - and we finished the day off by cuddling on the couch watching Harry Potter.  Besides going to my parents' house for supper (which we did on Sunday. We made Chinese food, not a turkey supper) we don't do a whole lot for Thanksgiving. We spend time together as a family every day. We eat home cooked food around the supper table every night as we discuss our day. We have extended family living under one roof. The ritual of the turkey supper isn't that big a deal for us. As a family we are forming our own traditions - and ours are a lot more casual in general. 

Sitting with my husband and looking at the map of St John's yesterday made me realize how close we are to really being our own. We have always lived near family, so when we leave it will be the first time that we don't have family nearby. There won't be any going over to their house for special meals. We'll need to carry our new family practices with us, but balance that with ensuring the kids have an appreciation for the longstanding traditions that my and my husband's families have followed for a long time.

I spent most of the day feeling pensive. This is a season of transition as this region shifts into its quieter, colder months. When the land wakes up in the spring, that's when things will get really interesting for us. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

3.14

I made pie:

This is made from scratch from the pumpkins we grew. I made two pies (one for us for today, one for tomorrow) and froze enough pumpkin mush for three more pies. We had an early frost which killed the vines before many of the pumpkins ripened enogh, so we only had five left. Two were claimed by the kids for jack o lanterns. My son got the first slice, of course, because he's been waiting since the spring for the first pie. 

I've been busy this week, but with this nice relaxing week coming up, I expect I'll get caught up on everything and have some time to myself for once. 

With interview season approaching in the next few months, I've started looking at clothes to wear. I found out Macy's carries a bunch of really nice suits for plus sized women (I've made no secret of the fact that I am generously proportioned) so I'm going to order from there. I bought a dress  yesterday but I don't think it is formal enough. I might be able to combine it with a blazer, but I'm not sure that'd be good enough. 

I figure I'll just buy a suit or two that's a size too big and have the one I like best tailored so it fits perfectly. I'll post a picture once I do, since I want opinions before interviews. 

Haven't heard from MUN yet but it doesn't look like anyone else has either, so I'm not worried. They confirmed on Wednesday that invites would be out within two weeks, so it's just a matter of time. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Waiting for a friendly ghost...

The CASPER information is supposed to be emailed out today so I keep refreshing my email.

It's on the 19th (a Sunday) and 22ed (a Wednesday) and we get to specify preferred times. I'm going to go to my friend's house to use her internet during it because my internet at home sucks and it can take ten minutes for a two minute video to load - I don't want to risk anything going wrong with this.

Of the four applications I submitted, the one to McMaster has the highest chances of gaining acceptance. I really doubt I'll get an interview at Queen's at all, and Ottawa... who knows?

My preference list has stayed much the same since I started this process. MUN then Ottawa then Queen's then McMaster. It's not that I don't want to attend Mac, it's just that the other schools have aspects I prefer more. As well, the condensed program at Mac means less time to come home.

I prefer MUN because that's the only school, of the four I applied to, that will really understand what health care is like in Atlantic Canada. It is the only school I applied to that has a program my provincial government has input on. It is my "home" med school. Even though there is one other that does serve my province, I just feel like MUN is the school where I will fit in he best. All the MUN students I talk to, everything I hear and read about it, it feels like the place I really belong. It feels like a place that is looking for students like me.

I might find out this week if I get an interview, since they started coming out October 11 last year. I really, really hope I get one, but I know my chances are pretty slim. If I can just get an interview, I'm sure I can show them what a good fit I will be.

For now, I just have to wait. Wait for my CASPER email, wait for MUN to email, wait for January to hear from the Ontario schools. It's a good thing I have school to distract me or I'd be going mad.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Little Bird goes flying by

It's my daughter's fourth birthday in three and a half weeks. We've called her Little Bird or Birdy as a nickname since she was tiny. Like my birds, she eats constantly, but is still tiny and light-framed.

This time next year, she'll be in kindergarten. If we were in Ontario right now, she'd have started kindergarten last month, because there's two years of it.

I always get a little nostalgic around my kids' birthdays because it reminds me of how much time has passed, and how fast it seems to be going. My little girl will start school next year. She wasn't even 2 when I started working towards medicine, but here I am, waiting for interview invites. And there she is, opinionated and charming and silly and goofy and a feisty little thing ready to get out into the world and start building up her independence.

When I started this blog, I honestly was not sure if I could do it. If I could get good enough grades, do well enough on the MCAT, or build up my applicant profile adequately to be a competitive applicant. I knew I was good at self-directed learning and that I had a fascination with all things science, medical science in particular, but I wasn't sure I could properly translate that to the sorts of grades I would need.

But bit by bit, I have done just that. The time has sped by and I haven't crashed and burned. My lowest mark this year so far is 93%, and I have had around 15 items returned marked (quizzes, tests, and other.) I have a midterm  tomorrow and two midterms on Monday. And then on Sunday, my little bird and I are going window shopping, because I need to figure out what she wants for her birthday. Right now, she seems to be between interests - it's either Hello Kitty or Pokemon, and I'm never quite sure what she prefers day-to-day.

Four years have slipped by me in a whirlwind, and in just a handful of all-too-short months, I will know the outcome of this application cycle. Time keeps on slippin'....

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

That's a Wrap

I submitted my OMSAS application earlier today, before I wrote my second human phys test.

As I was going to submit it, the website gave me an error and wouldn't let me complete the submission. It was throwing an error because I had no courses entered for UOttawa. OMSAS says not to list courses from which you withdrew without penalty. I withdrew from every course I was registered in at UOttawa.

So, halfway in a panic, I called the OMSAS help line and a lovely woman named Karen helped me. She answered my question and even called me back later because she thought it might have caused an issue and she wanted to make sure it hadn't. Fantastic customer service.

Monday, I was contacted by MUN admissions. It's up to my provincial government to decide whether I'm 'officially' a resident of the province. I made sure I fit the posted criteria before I selected this as my official province of residence (the criteria changed this year) on my application, so I know that they won't have a problem with that. However, MUN said because I wasn't born here (I was born in NB and lived there for 3 months before we moved) the provincial government might want more information, so they were proactively requesting additional information from me. I wrote up a letter explaining things and hopefully that'll take care of it.

I'm hoping that the fact that MUN admissions is double checking means that they're interested enough in me that they're really examining my application. Interviews are in 6 weeks and invites should be out within the next couple weeks, so I'm really hoping they are seriously considering my app.

As things stand now, I've got to just put it out of my mind for the next few months (for Ontario apps) or the next couple weeks for MUN. I have one quiz, three midterms, and a huge assignment due between now and Tuesday so I need to buckle down and focus on school for the time being. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

No TO

After discussion with my husband, MIL, and mother, I decided not to apply to Toronto. So I am applying only to four schools this year, and I'm comfortable with my choices. Next year, I'll reconsider, but I imagine I probably won't apply to Toronto at all. 

I really have to consider the feelings of my husband and kids in this decision and my husband was really uncomfortable with the idea of being in/around Toronto for four years. He wasn't going to ask me not to apply, but when I broached the subject the look of relief on his face was clear. 

We aren't city people. Our (few) neighbours include cows and an orchard. The only reason we're considering Ottawa is because my husband grew up there and I spent ten years there. We're comfortable enough with that city. It also doesn't feel as big as it is, which matters to us. 

So, instead of the 6 schools I was originally planning to apply to, I'm applying to only four. My chances at two of them - MUN and Ottawa, my two preferred schools - are pretty small.

But I've made peace with the idea I might not get in this year. If I don't, I don't, and I'll be happy to finish my BSc at my current school, which I love. My chances next year are much, much higher anyway, so if I don't get in this cycle I should be able to for next year. 

As it is now, I'm just feeling sort of whiny and tired and I really want to go swimming, so I might. The kids have lessons at 5, but I could hit the pool for a while before that.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Wrapping Apps

I'm doing the last little bit of work on my OMSAS application right now. I want to have it ready to submit this weekend, but I will submit on Tuesday. All of my letters are in, my verifiers contacted, everything is done except those damn Toronto essays.

I have been weighing whether or not to apply to Toronto. Quite honestly, we don't want to live there. Of the three adults in this household, none of us are overly keen to move to a city that big.

Buuuut... there's the Mississauga Academy of Medicine. I can choose that. Apparently, fewer people choose it as their primary so if I do choose that one, then I would likely be able to go there. It's big, but it's not Toronto, so there's that.

I have been obsessing somewhat about my essays for Toronto. At 250 words, they are paragraphs, not essays, but people are analyzing them to death on the premed boards. It's really quite amazing that people get focused on the tiniest little things in these essays and go absolutely mad with trying to make them perfect.

My essays won't be perfect. The whole point is for the essay to reflect who I am and my thoughts and feelings. I am not a cookie cutter applicant, so I don't want cookie cutter essays. I'm sure admissions committees are tired of reading stuff that sounds like it was lifted from a "How to get into medical school" instruction book.

So I'm going to take a chance on myself and do what *I* think is best. I'm not going to go out of my way, pulling my hair out, over these essays. Everyone who gets to know me tells me what a good doctor I will be. I'm just going to try to get that across in these essays. If I can convince others of my potential, then I can convince adcoms too.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Ommmmmm... Ommmmms.... OMSAS

I've been really, really valuing my scheduled swimming time. I desperately need that time in the pool to relax and centre myself. 

A week from today, my OMSAS application will be done and gone and I will have finished applying for this year. It'll be only about two weeks from MUN interview offers and three weeks from. CASPER for McMaster. 

Once we're through October, next step will be either MUN interview in mid November or waiting for interview offers early next year. No matter what, the next few months are going to be a little crazy. At least this is a fairly quiet semester. 

So far, so good really. No material I've found challenging yet. Anatomy does, of course, require a lot of memorization. Otherwise nothing has been too hard yet. 

At the moment I'm just waiting in my car since I don't have to be at work for another 20 minutes so I just want to have a break. Just had some blood work related to my last post so I'm antsy to hear what the numbers are tomorrow. We'll see. 

Today is going to be a long day. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Loss

I've debated with myself heavily whether I'll include this here, particularly given that I am putting this blog on my applications (I don't imagine they'll read this, but you never know), but it is a subject I have made a point of discussing in my offline life. As this is suppose to be an accurate reflection of the goings-on that lead up to my medical career, I decided to share.

My husband and I have gone back and forth for a long time (years) about whether we would have a third child, eventually agreeing we do want one. Since time is of the essence for me, we decided we'd try for an early summer 2015 baby. Yes, that would mean interviewing while pregnant, and potentially starting med school with a young infant at home. That was fine with us. 

Last week, to my delight, I found out my husband and I had been successful conceiving right on our ideal timeline - I'd have been due in May. But like most of my pregnancies, it's not to be. My hCG isn't going up, it's going down so this is non-viable and will complete soon. I've been down this road several times.


Lots of women don't talk about early losses. Lots of people will say they aren't 'real' pregnancies, or that you can't become attached that fast. Let me tell you, for many women, early losses can hit extremely hard. This is why I do talk about it - because many, many women suffer this heartache but don't feel they can talk about it and I want to bring it out of the shadows. It's hard to even talk to friends or my husband about how much this hurts.

As happy as I am with my two wonderful kids, it does feel like there is someone missing from our family.

Fertility problems suck, they really do. They steal something from you that you don't miss until you desperately want it.

I realize this isn't within the realm of consideration of most premeds, but it is top of my mind right now. If someone you know experiences an early loss, please don't tell them "there was probably something wrong with it" or "at least you weren't further along" or that it was "meant to be." Just express your condolences and listen to them. The grief is no less real. Remember that when you see a woman experiencing an early loss, as you most likely will at some point in your training.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

It has been a long week

I have had a very long, emotionally draining week.

Currently, I'm very upset about something personal that I don't really feel like posting publicly, but it's making me sad and it's draining my productivity completely.

Work has gone nuts the last week and I started my new volunteering position. We've got a new guy to take on the work I had shouldered through the summer. He's nice, but I don't have a whole lot of time to train him and it's eating into my more urgent work which had me stressed out today.

I'm realizing that I am really getting stressed, so I have booked some time off in December. Once this (easy) semester is through, I'll have a week off to recoup a bit, which I really need. I haven't really had time where I've had no obligations for a long, long time. I need it more than I can say.

Fortunately, I have an easy semester at just the right time. So far, the lowest grade I've gotten back has been 95%, so I'm doing well. I'm really hoping to achieve a high enough average so that next semester (when I have some harder courses) I can bring my year average over 95%. That way, if I do end up here for a fourth year, I'll get a $3000 scholarship as opposed to the $2000 I got this year.

Hopefully I can get evened out over the next few weeks and cope with what's bugging me. This is a bad time to be depressed - I have a whole hell of a lot to do.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

And now, to wait.

Look what I just did:



I gave it one last look over and then submitted, with surprisingly little double thinking.

Although now I'm terrified I screwed up SOMETHING and they'll laugh.

Still, it's done, it's unchangeable. Like when I wrote my MCAT, I can no longer affect my chances. It is done and out of my hands.

I'll know in about a month, which is *loads* better than for Ontario, where I won't hear anything until January, at least.

I'm going to progress with things here the way I would if we were staying. I'll register my daughter for kindergarten (holy cow, I can't believe she'll be in school next year!) and plan my gardens and so on, but we'll still be, bit by bit, preparing to move on short notice.

We've actually been doing that a little over the last 6 months. When we are deciding whether to buy something, or keep something when we're reorganizing, we think about whether we'll move it. The logistics of a long distance move are already matters we are considering.

It just got a whole lot more real when I clicked that 'submit' button earlier.

Good luck to my fellow MUN applicants. Hopefully I'll be seeing you on November 15th. :)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Developments

MIL is back in the rehab unit. She's not regaining her strength as quickly this time, and I am concerned she won't regain enough mobility to return here. Our house is not structured in such a way that she could safely move around here with a walker. There's not enough room but also her room is downstairs. This is a rental, we can't exactly put in a stair lift (and they are crazy expensive anyway.)

It's all going to be down to how well she recovers. She's going to be in longer this time, I expect, as they try to get her strength back.

My husband is on the mainland today for a work thing. It's a trade show and they send their guys as an educational thing. I'm sure he'll be coming back with lots of free stuff - that always happens.

Kids and I are just hanging out. I have my first 'real' test on Monday, in human phys. Considering I got 100% on the first mini quiz, and this upcoming test is multiple choice and true/false, I'm REALLY not worried. We have so far only gotten up to the Na+/K+ pump, something I've studied in a ridiculous amount of detail several times in pretty much every biology class I've taken so far except zoology.

At the moment, I'm just straightening up my verifier information on my MUN app to make sure it's all nice and neat and ready to be submitted on Monday. The only document I'm waiting for them to receive is my prof's reference letter. I emailed him yesterday and requested he submit it electronically, since it has to be in before I submit. He said he'll do so today. Once that's done, my MUN app is complete.

I'm very anxious about it. I realize I'm a competitive applicant, but I don't really know that I'm what MUN is looking for under their exception. I'm sure every applicant feels this way sometimes, though.

It's going to be a quiet weekend, I expect. Monday I'll be a ball of nervous energy since I'm going to submit MUN's app Monday evening. Blah.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Almost Done MUN

Two documents were couriered to CaRMS for my MUN app, and showed up today. All I'm waiting on is my professor's letter to be received and then I can submit my application.

I will likely have a mild mini-breakdown and doubt myself a whole lot as soon as I go to submit my application, and will probably briefly reconsider whether I should even bother, etc. But then I'll submit it, and I'll hope for good news in about a month.

As for today, I don't have much in the way of good news. My MIL is back in the hospital having suffered another stroke. My husband took her there this morning. The hospital left her in the waiting room for 2.5 hours, while she was having a stroke not even a month after her last stroke.

I am, to say the least, unimpressed. Her doctor wants to see family tomorrow so I'm going to be missing class to go to the hospital to discuss her needs and whether we can meet them.

My husband is, obviously, very stressed out. Unfortunately, he took up smoking again, despite having successfully quit a couple months ago. I'm very disappointed, but there's not a whole hell of a lot I can really do about it so I'm just avoiding him since I'm really sensitive to the smell now. Blergh.

I'm very tired and am going to hit the hay momentarily. Just have to send my MMI practice group my topic for the week. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Lazy (?) Sundays

I spent the day at work. Six and a half hours today - big meeting tomorrow and my boss needed some documents prepared. I actually really like working on weekends because I'm not getting a dozen emails an hour and my phone isn't ringing constantly. It's ten times as bad for my boss.

My boss wrote my reference letter and has sent it off to MUN and the CAF & letter to OMSAS. If my letter from my prof hasn't show up on eCaRMS (the service MUN uses) by Wednesday, I'll ask him to submit it electronically since MUN will refuse applications that aren't complete on the due date, which is in 9 days. My transcript from my current school got there on Friday, the day after I requested it. Incidentally, CaRMS' application service is based in Ottawa, so I'm not overly worried about them receiving my UOttawa transcript (which is empty, but I still need to send it apparently) but it is within the realm of possibility that it might be pushing the deadline before it arrives.

Invitation emails came out October 11 last year, so it's around one month to when I will know if I get an interview at MUN. Interviews are November 15, which I already have blocked off in my schedule just in case.

I'm not incredibly optimistic, to be honest. Much as I want to attend MUN, I keep feeling like they'll look at my application and laugh.

But I have to try. The worst they can say is no, right?

Last year, around 35 residents of my province applied to MUN. 22 were interviewed. There are 4 spaces, and I know for a fact that at least two people refused their offers to attend Dal, meaning 6 ultimately received offers from MUN. The odds aren't that good... but I am applying with a 3.98 GPA, a 34 MCAT, and life and health care experience, so that does count for something, I hope.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Settle Up

I was in the student services office today to submit with a form to declare the change in my minor. It's still officially Physics, but I need to change it to Biomedical Physics.

The university also owes me $1700. I was registered for six courses, hadn't opted out of health and dental, and  they didn't take my awards into accout when they told NSLSC how much I owed the school, so they were sent almost $2k too much. I used some to buy my books and the rest will be issued to me as a cheque on the 19th. Woo!

My first few days have gone fantastically well. Because two of my five courses are online, I feel like I haven't actually transitioned fully back into school. I work two full days a week and one four hour day. It's a really relaxed schedule, and I have a feeling I'm really going to enjoy this semester.

I had training yesterday for Canadian Blood Services. I'm going to get to type blood to help bring in donors! VERY happy about that! I'll also get to be able to help in the clinic as a hospitality volunteer to help make sure the donors have a good time, can find the snacks, etc.

It's looking like a super place to volunteer and I'm really excited to get started. I'll be doing my first aid training next weekend then I can start.

Tomorrow I'll be doing some Skype MMI practice. This will be my first time doing more formal practice for these questions. It'll be nice to meet with other Premeds to see how they process things.

It's been a very productive week. I'm exhausted and ready for bed. Night!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Stuck

Guess what I'm doing today!



Refuelling after donating blood. Our local donation centre is open today. Yours might be too - go check!

Now that I can donate, I intend to do so regularly. Next appointment is the evening before my daughter's fourth birthday. 

I start volunteering here on Thursday. I'll be doing blood typing training. This place is just a few blocks from work so it's easy enough to run over after a shift. I'm looking forward to it. My husband only just got this new job of his a few months ago so it's my first time since I was a teen that I can actually take part in a scheduled volunteer activity. 

I am debating whether to tell them I'm a premed though. I'm volunteering here because I actually have time, after a decade, that I can donate and this place has a very direct impact on people's' lives. People live or die based on the work done here. I don't want them to think I'm just here to pad my resume, and it might seem like that if I ask them to verify my involvement here. I'll only have 4-10 hours to put on my ABS anyway, but I know lots of people who include things that are less than that. 

We'll see. 

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Go play outside

Three simple words narrated my childhood: go play outside.

Once I got home from school and finished my homework, I was unceremoniously kicked outside until supper, then again until bathtime. Until age six, I stayed on our property, but after could roam e neighbourhood. 

Unfortunately, the obsessively overprotective norms of modern parenting mean that today's kids don't experience that and the parents who DO let their kids play outside unsupervised fear authorities cracking down on them for neglect, just for letting their kids enjoy themselves. Crime agast kids is far lower now than it once was. The irrationally obsessive restriction of children's' freedom has meant that my kids' peers have no idea how to entertain themselves without an adult directing the action. 

At the moment, both of my kids are outside playing. I am in the kitchen. I can hear them, if I stand up I can see them, but I am not with them. I do not know what they are doing at any particular moment. But they know if they dare to leave the property, they will lose this little bit of freedom they have, much as I understood where the restrictions on my wandering were. 

We do not have a fence. There is nothing stopping them from going except that they don't want to risk losing what they now enjoy. 

My daughter, who is nearly four, has run inside every few minutes just to make sure we're still here. My son, more accustomed to this freedom, just yells towards the house if he needs help. 

It's funny, we spent most of the past two summers trying to teach him how to ride his bike without training wheels. There was a lot of frustration and screaming. But now that we've left him to his own devices, with the understanding that his bike will be his vehicle to freedom when we move to a place with more neighbours, he figured out quickly how to ride and now zooms around. 

The best teaching moments I can give my kids involve freeing them to make their own mistakes, because then they learn to fix them. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Crisp

Fall is definitely in the air. The leaves are turning, the school busses are practicing their routes, the kids are complaining, and the pumpkins are almost ripe


Or completely ripe, if they are small enough. If you're wondering, my son likes that his photo appears here. I wouldn't post it otherwise.   

Notice the Beloved Family Dog staring at the pumpkin. She thought it was a ball and wanted him to throw it. We're going to wait a week or so until the next one is ripe, then make some pie for my dad. 

I wrapped up my last full time week at my job until December. IF I get into MUN, I may never end up working there full time again, which makes me rather sad. I adore my boss and I have wonderful coworkers and I really enjoy my job.  

The other day, I was looking over my autobiographical sketch items again and really thinking about my past. I've worked in fast food and retail and manufacturing and call centres and administrative stuff and all these other entry-level jobs that everyone pretty much acknowledges suck (though several of mine were pretty cool.) 

In all likelihood, I will never work in a call centre again. 

It is very unlikely that in will ever work retail or food service or sales again. 

I am very probably done with that sort of work forever. 

That's really quite amazing, when I think about it. Five years ago, it was the only future I saw as possible for me - decades squeaking by, never able to save, never able to get ahead, never able to have any sort of work flexibility. 

And now here I am on the cusp of a great adventure, where I will, for once, have possibilities. Maybe not as many as once would have been the case for doctors, but I will have choices. Choices other than work anywhere that will hire you or starve. 

But I have to remember to not forget the 'before' because it would be way too damn easy to try to forget the tough years. For many of the people I'll interact with, tough years are their only years, and there's no ladder up waiting for them. 

I can't forget how lucky I am to have the opportunities I do. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Wrap Week

I LOVE my job. It is extremely challenging sometimes and there is always something new to be done. I don't know that my manager believes me when I tell her I honestly do really enjoy my job, but it is true.

But I'm now in my last full time week of the summer. My motivation to do much of anything has dropped through the floor and I desperately want to relax before the school year starts. I have taken on more than was anticipated (by a long shot) this summer so it has sapped more energy than expected. I'm cutting down to half time (19 hours a week) as of next week, but for the first few weeks of school I'll probably work the maximum I'm allowed during term.

This evening, we went to the beach. My son was very sick yesterday and is still a bit feverish today, but laying on the sand in some shade can't be any worse than laying on the couch. It was around 30 degrees here today which is ridiculously hot for here, so the beach was considerably more comfortable than the house.

What happens when I ask them to pose. 

The smell of fall is on the air, even on a hot day like today. Our beach days are numbered, as are our days on the Island.

Tomorrow, I meet with my third referee. Another of my professors who has kindly agreed to support my application. Once that's done, all I have to do is finalize my essays then my first applications season will be done with.

Wow.