Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sometimes I feel old...

I tend to talk about my health a lot.

For one, because when someone says "At least you have your health!" I want to laugh at them. I was born sickly. My body has tried to kill me more than a few times, though fortunately not recently. I am not a shining example of healthfulness, and I'm not afraid of admitting that because it's just the hand I was dealt. Can't outrun genetics.

But I do find my medical history interesting  to poke through.

I react to medications - even some really well-tolerated common ones - in weird ways. My mother does too. I mentioned something to her, and she then ended up spending an entire night giving herself a crash course in pharmacokinetics and she managed to map out the metabolic pathways for all the drugs she's had issues with and find the common point between them. The drugs I've had issues with also cross at that same point. She outlined a possible genetic defect with a particular enzyme that runs in our family and would explain pretty much every weird drug reaction she and I have had. Cool, eh?

See, I got my intense nerdiness and self-study habits from her. Had it not been for the fact that she got injured when she did, I think she'd have made an awesome doctor.

While I don't self diagnose (I develop hypotheses, but I get testing and diagnoses from professionals) I have been pretty good at predicting and consider it a form of practice for actual problem/case-based learning that will be a big part of my education later.

Which, fortunately, isn't too far away now.

Two weeks until decision day!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Final Marks

My final mark is in and it is lower than I expected, but still fine. 

87 in micro. 

Now, I barely studied for that course. Barely. I knew the material well enough going in that I decided to focus my efforts on more intensive courses (by which I mean physiology and neuro.) 

An 87 in a class I barely studied for - and I mean I probably only spent four hours studying for the final and two hours for the midterm - is nothing to sniff at. I prioritized. The 88 in physiology required ten times as much work as the 87 in micro. 

My average for the year is 90.1%, a drop of 4.1% from last year (ouch. Average is 92.15% all years) and my GPA for the year is 3.95. It's that history of bio mark that's dragging things down. 

So I'm applying to med schools with a CGPA of 3.975. My wGPA for Ottawa is 3.967. I'm not sure how the schools/OMSAS round, but these probably round up. 

Very competitive. 

The 90.1% average means I qualify for an automatic $2000 academic excellence award for next year, meaning nearly half my tuition for the year is paid between that and the provincial student award we all get. 

My goal for next year is 4.0 again, which I think I can pull off since my husband won't be working nights and I'll be more used to working while attending schools. 

So this is it; everything is done. My chances are what they will be. 

Bring it on, OMSAS!


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Why am I not including three years of volunteering?

I volunteered somewhere for almost three years - 3 hours a week, hands on with people at a very difficult point in their lives, acting as someone who could help them. I started when I was 17 and kept with it until we moved home.

The reason I am not including it is that I think it is likely to result in my application being thrown in the trash.

The organization I worked for was one that works to help women with unintended pregnancies, but which does not endorse abortion. We NEVER spoke against it, had strict policies about remaining non-political and not dispensing medical advice whatsoever (which included anything about pregnancy or termination thereof) but we also didn't keep abortion information around. If someone asked, we'd direct their questions to their doctor. Our goal was to help women who felt trapped in bad circumstances find ways to make it possible to keep their babies - or help them place - with as little hardship as possible. Our role was purely one of support for material means and to act as a listening ear, not to give advice or tell someone what to do.

However, the organization is lumped in with rabidly prolife organizations that demean women and use scare tactics and false information to coerce women who are in a very difficult place. People did not see our work, only that our mission was to make options other than abortion easier on women because we felt there was a bit of a black hole in that area. How many women's health clinics prepare newborn layettes or provide furniture, car seats, diapers, formula, someone to come with you to talk to your parents, to hold your hand giving birth if you are alone?

The reason I volunteered there is that I wanted to provide hands-on assistance to pregnant women and new mothers in need. My interest was in pregnancy, not in the medicine of it at the time. It was around this time I was considering becoming a midwife, because I so valued the opportunity I had to support these women.

I don't consider myself pro-life, nor do I consider myself pro-choice. I consider myself pro-women. My desire is, and always has been, to make it so that women never feel pushed into something she doesn't want, by partners or parents or circumstance. I want to see women have access to the best contraception, I want to see motherhood-without-poverty supported ferociously, I want to see women have real options, not the choice between surgery or destruction of what she has worked for. I don't feel that it is really a free choice when a woman feels like she must do that or sacrifice her career, or her ability to support herself. I think we deserve better options.

I don't, and will never, work against abortion, nor will I ever attempt to shame or guilt someone who seeks or has had one because it is not my place. I want to work towards something better for women - where contraception is safer, easier, and more effective (1% failure is still a lot of unexpected pregnancies), where emergency contraception is free, where teenagers are properly educated about reproduction, where having a baby doesn't mean being thrown from the brink into the pit of poverty, or being forced by circumstance to remain with an abusive partner - but that doesn't mean I'm ignorant to the fact that the world I hope for isn't the one I live in. I see where it is necessary in our society, but I don't see it as an end goal, only something of a stopgap on the problems facing women.

But none of this is something I can explain on an application. They would see my volunteering there and possibly assume that I am some frothing-at-the-mouth prolifer standing outside clinics with photos of hacked up fetuses (barring the fact that abortions aren't performed in my province so I couldn't even do that if I we're so inclined which I'm not.) That is not what I am. And that isn't a chance I can take.









Saturday, 26 April 2014

Waiting, waiting

Four of my marks are up and I'm just waiting for the last one. They don't technically have to be in until the 30th so I may not see it until next week. The prof for that class was off on sick leave for half the semester, so I don't begrudge him the extra time grading. He may need it since he needs to take it easy. 

Still, I really want my mark. 

For second year, here's my breakdown:
Animal Diversity: 90
Cell bio: 91
History of Bio: 84
Modern Physics: 92
Organic Chem: 91
Physiology: 88
Radiation Detection: 94
Neurobiology: 93
Genetics: 91
Microbiology: expecting ~89-91

The first semester was so much lower because of the fire and because I was adapting to working while  attending school. It's funny how easy it is to see what an effect those two things had on my focus. 

That history if biology mark is frustrating me. I met with the prof to see my exam (which took four months because he kept forgetting to bring it.) Had I had ONE point more on the exam, my mark would have rounded up to 85% which would be a 3.9 instead of a 3.7. There were three points on the exam I wanted to challenge, one that was clearly mis-marked, but when he met with me, he came to the bio lounge and dropped my exam in front of me while other students were there. I was extremely uncomfortable and couldn't express my points properly. 

I was not happy about that. 

Strictly speaking, by his marking scheme, I should have an 85. My mark in the class is exactly 84.05. He ONLY rounds up to the next percentage since he says he'll never take away marks we earned. So I should have an 85 based on his stated policy. 

But he seems annoyed with me for asking to see my exam, so I'm probably just going to suck it up, much as that 3.7 annoys me. It's a point of pride, not a catastrophe. 

There's no way I got lower than 85 in micro, so I know the lowest my GPA can be for this year is 3.95. At best, it'll be 3.96. 

This puts me in a pretty solid position for U of O, GPA-wise. Only about seven of my activities are going to be seen as ECs by them, though, so my chances are hard to say. 

Mac will like me between my VR and GPA. I'm good at thinking on my feet so I'll probably do fine at CAsPer. 

Toronto is hard to say, so is Queen's. 

But this is where I sit, my chances for next year are pretty solid. I'm going to start working on my short essays for Toronto (in case they use the same prompts as last year) and how to write my ECs. 


Friday, 25 April 2014

Conversions

I've noticed that a lot of the pre-vets from last year are not as confident this year. Probably for a variety of reasons. I imagine some must have discovered the tough job market which may have an effect on their career planning.

You may have noticed through my talking about all my pets that I do like animals. Someone like me, with an interest in science and medicine, a history in animal rescue, a small zoo, and who loves animals in general - you may wonder why I am pursuing human medicine instead of veterinary medicine.

For a while, I thought about it. But I don't want my ability to treat my patients hampered by their families' ability to pay. I can think of few things more soul-sucking than having to euthanize beloved, but suffering, family pets because the treatment that could help them costs too much. Or dealing with the people who treat pets as throw-away accessories.

Beyond that, the job market sucks. It's hard to break into clinical veterinary medicine. Research jobs are uncommon outside of major centres. Large animal vets are confined to rural areas. Job mobility is minimal. Remuneration is not great and you spend a long time paying off student loans with little or no external assistance. Tuition is about the same as human medicine, but there's pretty much no forgiveness opportunities for vets. That is not the sort of career I want to be in. I want choices.

As much as I love the idea of it, I don't like the reality of it, at least as much as I can see from the outside looking in, and knowing people in the field.

With medicine, I'm looking at a lot longer in school. Years of walking-death exhaustion. Being unappreciated, over-stressed, untrusted by many, among other things that make it sound likes a hellish career. I have spent a lot of time reading what I can about the negatives of medicine, because I want to know as much as I can about the downsides before I throw myself into it.

Anyone who considers this knows about the upsides; seeing new lives born, helping people transition through difficult stages in life, seeing people get better, making people better. There's also the tangibles; money, prestige, security.

Deciding to go to school and pursue a professional career meant I had to take everything into account, which means I also needed to account for my family's needs. It would not be fair to my kids for me to go to school for a career I like and put us deep into debt which would take years of scraping to pay off.

I'm pursuing human medicine because, even though I can see myself greatly enjoying something like veterinary medicine, the career simply doesn't have a profile that fits what my family needs.

Plus I've wanted to be a human doctor since I was a kid, so there's that too and it is a big part of why I want to do this. The fact that my dream career happens to be one that works out well for my family is what makes it possible. 

All told, though, when deciding on a careers, the one that fulfils a lifelong dream and results in security, mobility, and financial stability for my family is the one that comes out on top.

I think some of the former pre-vets are doing the same sort of mental math and coming to the same conclusions I did years a go.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Student Work

I don't talk a lot about what I do at work here, but I thought I'd give a bit of a rundown. The reason I don't usually discuss it is that the work I do is somewhat outside the scope of what a student would typically do in my department.

A big chunk of what I do is deal with the IT and finance stuff to support the other roles in my unit. My work on the IT stuff is going to expand this summer, as I understand it. I'm being trained in the rest of the systems we use right now. My boss has me help with material that is much more significant than a typical student would face, but which makes more sense since I have previous supervisory and contract experience. My boss has, herself, a lot of flexibility to create my role, so she makes sure I get a lot out of my job.

Some of what I do is perfectly within the scope of what would be expected of a student; researching things management needs to know, putting together reports and summaries, printing, filing, and other office work. That is what I originally expected to get out of this job.

I did not expect to participate in some of the things that I do, nor did I expect to have access to as much information as I learn from. But I do and the amount I am learning is incredible.

The work is heavy. By that I don't mean there is a lot of it (though there is) but that the stuff that makes up my job can be quite emotionally taxing. Part of my department's work is dealing with very sick people who have endured a great deal of suffering. You can't come away unaffected by learning about the strength these people have.

Every day, I am thankful for my boss letting me be part of this work. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do this, to learn so much before I'm on the clinical side of health care. She takes my role as a learner very seriously and ensures I get as much exposure to elements of my future as possible. Everyone deserves a boss like her.

I can honestly say I love my job and I think it is an experience that has really given me a depth of understanding of serious topics I will face as a physician.

All that to say that a lot of the Federal Student Work Experience Program hiring will be going on over the next while for many government departments. If you are a student and looking for a job, go to FSWEP and sign up. The pay is good for student jobs (based on your year, though some managers will push for a higher step) and the work should be based around what your career goals are. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Holy Crap Moment

Last night, I had a 'holy crap' moment.

Holy crap, this is it.

I've literally done everything I can to prepare for my med school application. My ECs won't change between now and the deadline. My exams are done and I'm not taking summer courses so my marks are set. My MCAT is done.

Everything is as it will be for my application. I'm done. This is what I've been working towards for two years. Now I just have to wait for the applications to open in July.

There is literally nothing I can do right now to improve my application. My next chance to increase the possibility of me getting into med schools next year will be at interviews. My chances of an interview now depend on the adcoms.

Kind of terrifying, realizing it's essentially out of my hands now.

Hence the 'holy crap' moment. If I'm going to get into med school for September 2015, everything but the interview is essentially now decided.

And it's another 8-10 months before I find out whether my efforts will bear the fruit of interviews.

 On the plus side, my first mark for the semester came out today.

93% in Neurobiology. That means I got 95% on the exam, which was worth 60% of my mark.

Awesome. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

"Where's your wife?"

My husband's boss seems to be stuck in the 1950s. 

Our kids, like most kids, get sick sometimes. 

There have been a few times - and I mean a few, maybe three or four in the last year - my husband has had to take off work because the kids were sick. Every single time, his boss gives him trouble over it, to the point of asking why I'm not doing it. He's made it rather clear he's of the opinion that 'kid stuff' is my responsibility, not my husband's. 

My dad never once took a sick day to care for my siblings or I. He had family leave, it would have been possible, but he didn't. It was just expected that moms took time off to deal with sick kids. 

Thing is it's 2014. We've finally gotten to the point that moms in the workplace is normal, expected. Most of my friends growing up had stay-at-home moms, as did I for many years. None of my kids' friends do. I'm not knocking it - that works for some families - but we're in a world now where women can have careers, even high-power ones, and most families need two incomes. We need to move on from the expectation that child rearing is "women's work."

Why is it still acceptable for a manager to expect their employees to adhere to outdated gender roles? My husband is my equal in parenting. That means that when the kids are sick, he's just as capable of handling things as I am. That means that my career-in-progress doesn't come second to his job by virtue of him having a Y chromosome.  

That means that when my husband's boss asks "where's your wife?" when my husband asks for the day off, my husband responds "working on becoming a doctor" and stays home, fetching ginger ale and puke buckets, doing laundry, and cooking meals. And when there are days I can stay home, I do the same. 

We are equals.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Achievements for the Weekend

So far this weekend, I've managed to win at 2048 (it's this sliding tile game that is very addictive) and that's pretty much it.

It's only 2° outside, but the kids and I are going to have a picnic lunch in the back yard. We have a picnic table, so we may as well use it. We've been stuck inside almost every day since December, it's about time to get out and have fun. We usually spend a lot of time outside, so this winter has been rough. If it wasn't -30, we had a blizzard. It gets to you after a while.

Even my dog got fat this winter.

Between my knee and the lack of getting outside, I haven't been nearly as active as I like to be. That's already changing. I've been wearing my ugly shoes (FiveFingers - the shoes with the toes. They are incredibly comfortable, more so than any other shoe I've ever owned) out and about because I feel so much more comfortable when I wear them and so I walk faster and more. It makes a difference - I've lost ten pounds of winter weight already, and my knee is really straightening up. Finally.

Walking up six flights of stairs in heavy winter boots is not a recipe for happy feet.

So I'm going to go make some chickens sandwiches and we're going to go have a picnic in winter coats, just because we can.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Procrastination is hard when you don't have anything to do...

For the first time in two years, I don't need to study. Before first year, I needed to bring myself back up to speed on my high school material and I needed to pre-study because I'd been out of the scholastic life for so long.

Last summer, I wrote the MCAT so I had to study the whole time.

So now what?

This weekend is dedicated to doing the cleaning and organizing I've put off. It is lovely out, so my kids are somewhat dismayed that I am requiring us to stay inside and clean. If our yard was fenced, I'd just send them outside on their own to play - at 3.5 and 7, they are old enough to play in a fenced backyard with intermittent supervision - but given that we live on a major road and the yard isn't fenced, it isn't safe to do so.

I guess that will be a perk of moving to a city next year. Most yards are fenced. Here, fenced yards are the exception.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

ONWARD!

Second year is DONE!!!!!!!!!

I just wrote my last exam. I think I did fairly well, but given my poor performance on the first midterm I need a 92% on this final to get 90% in the course. I doubt I pulled that off. However, so long as I pulled off at least 78% on the final, I will have at least 85% which means a 3.9.

I predict two 3.9s this semester. Maybe just one, if I did better than I thought on Neuro. That leaves me with a 3.95 for this year. 3.97 for Ottawa, 3.98 for Toronto, Queen's, and McMaster.WORST case scenario is I did really poorly on this exam and end up with a 3.7 for the course and have a 3.93 for the year. Not really catastrophic.

With those grades going into an application year, I'm hardly going to complain. That, plus my 11P/13V/10B MCAT, I'm a strong applicant.

I'm feeling absolutely awesome right now. Halfway done undergrad, months away from my first med school application cycle.

The time is here! This is my year!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

That was stupid

I completely forgot to finish an assignment. I'd done the first half, but the second half had to wait since I needed other students' input, but I was the first to do the first half.

Then I completely forgot that part, which was worth ~2% of my mark.

Can you say stupid mistake?

Anyway, I noticed the 'due date' online was set to April 20th, which was not what the prof intended.

I went to see the prof and let her know that I had honestly just completely forgotten to do it, but jokingly asked if I could get in under the due date on a tech glitch technicality.

She said okay. I really was joking, since she's known for being fairly rigid about these things, but since she said yes I'm going for it.

Woo!

I spent the day studying in the bio lounge which is near where the biology department offices are. It's amazing how frequently professors stop by to chat. My physics prof came by to tell me about a second run he did for a project we'd done as a class. The result was awesome - better than his previous record. He's seriously one of my favourite professors - very enthusiastic.

The schedule for next year is going to be out tomorrow, so I'll get to start figuring out what I'll do.

Kind of exciting to realize that as of 10pm tomorrow, I'll be done second year. And for the first time in two years, I don't HAVE to study! I CAN DO THINGS I WANT TO DO!

I'm so excited for the summer 'off.' Full time work is going to be so relaxing.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Be careful what you wish for...

We all wanted spring to arrive so badly here. Everyone was hoping we could just wake up and it'd be spring the next day.

Well, that happened.

Unsurprisingly, when it suddenly goes from 0° to 18° in one day when you have had a winter that saw record snow falls, a whole lot of snow melts all at once. Much faster than the ground can absorb it.

We've been in this house for three years. This is the first year we've had water in the basement. We got a sump pump. Today, it couldn't even keep up and the flooring in the playroom - soon to be my mother-in-law's bedroom - is now completely ruined. We're going to have to rip it up and replace it. It's ours, not the landlord's, so it's on us to fix it.

It's not very expensive (cost about $300 for us to put it in) but it will take most of a day. Our days off are already full. We have way too much to do to deal with replacing a floor.

It has to get done, though, so we have to find the time somewhere. Good thing I have a four day weekend coming up. We may rip out the floor and wait for the ground to dry a bit before we replace it, and I think we'll put down tile instead of laminate.

After exams, I'll get right on it.


Monday, 14 April 2014

40,000

At an average of about 2500-2700 views a month (my MCAT month saw 4000 - were people really that anxious to see how I'd do?) I figured I'd hit 40,000 views in April because I hit 30,000 near the end of December and I have, since my view count increases slightly every month. I should hit 50,000 views within a couple days of OMSAS opening.

I find that I'm both amused and confused by how many people read this. I am a good writer, when I want to be, but this is a blog, writing that is not edited or polished in any way. It's just a stream of whatever I happen to be thinking at the time - this is not any sort of example of the sort of creative writing I do.

With apps just a few months away, I'm already working on how I'll write my autobiographical sketch. With only 150 characters, I have to describe my depth of experience in what is essentially a tweet. You may have noticed, but I am not what one would call 'brief and to the point.' I tend to elaborate, because I like explaining things fully with adequate background. I'm sure this will come back to bite me in the ass when I'm writing patient notes, but it definitely helps with exams, like the one I have in four hours (genetics. Not worried.)

I bring that up because I go back and forth on whether to include this blog in my application. It seems kind of like a dumb thing to include, to be honest, but I've built up a bit of a readership, and it does representa significant time investment. Much more than some of the activities I will be including. I'm closing in on 500 posts, probably easily 300,000 words. I've essentially written the equivalent of two novels here, but all about me and my life (how narcissistic does that seem?!)

There are probably things here I wouldn't want an Adcom to take into consideration - like the few swear-filled rants - but overall, I've put it online with the understanding anything I say here could be seen by future colleagues or employers. I do censor myself a little bit because of that, but not much. Given how much detail I give about my life, I'm well aware this isn't anonymous. Anyone who knows me in person, even just superficially, would recognize what I post.

 It's a tough decision. It might seem like a huge reach to add it, and I don't want adcoms to think I'm padding my application. If I added some form of revenue stream (like adsense) then it might make more sense, but I hate ads on blogs so I don't want to do that.

Decisions, decisions. I have three months to figure it out anyway.

As it is, I have to head off shortly to a doctor's appointment then to my exam.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Musings on Vaccines

Here's what confuses me about the anti-vaccine movement. 

Most of them seem to believe that there is a worldwide conspiracy to silence the 'dangers of vaccines.' It comes up in every debate "BUT BIG PHARMA IS EVIL!" Have they not thought this through at all?

That would mean that there are literally millions of people 'in' on the conspiracy and that physicians and tens of thousands of vaccine researchers were too stupid to realize it or too corrupt to do anything about it. Or it would mean they think nearly all doctors and researchers liked to harm children for profit. Can I roll my eyes loudly enough?

A single measles hospitalization (which is a fairly large proportion of infected individuals) costs tens of thousands of dollars, lots of it in drugs. Pharmaceutical companies would make bank off of people not vaccinating - treating illness is a lot more expensive than preventing it.

Vaccines are the single greatest contribution to public health and reduced child mortality, closely followed by clean water. Millions of people a year don't die because of vaccines. 

When people all vaccines 'unnatural' I just can't help but laugh. You know what's unnatural? Having almost all children survive infancy. I'm okay with that, personally. If someone wants to return to child mortality rates from the pre-vaccine era, fine, but get the hell away from my community because people who can't be vaccinated for health reasons, and people for whom the vaccine didn't have a strong effect, don't deserve to die because someone wants to believe in a boogeyman. 

But no, don't let reality get in the way of your conspiracy theorizing!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Forty Percent

My exams are 40% finished. Just three more left.

Physics today wasn't bad. The course is concept-heavy, not very math-based. The exam was all about explaining how things work, or figuring out what you'd see from a particular system. I enjoy that sort of thing. It was probably the most relaxed exam room I've ever been in. All twelve of us were laid back and chatting before we wrote, no one seemed stressed, everyone was upbeat.

The chaplaincy centre at my school has a free chili lunch during the first two days of exams every semester. They always make it with the same recipe and it is tasty except for one problem - it contains mushrooms.

While I enjoy a wide variety of foods, I despise mushrooms. I'll be so childish as to pick them out of my meals. Aside from the mushrooms, the chili is quite good and I look forward to it each semester.


But I was eating across the table from nuns who helped make the meal. I didn't want to insult them, so my delightful, lovely chili lunch included those disgusting slime bundles. Ugh.



Still, exam period is off to a good start, and I'm nearly done second year. This time next week, I'll be done!

Eight months until the first of possible med interviews. Not far away now!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Yay!

Finally picked up my car. I'm very happy with it. 

First exam is tomorrow. Neurobiology. I'm aiming for 91% on the final. I have completely saturated my brain in this material. I'm working my damnedest to do well on this. 

In three of my classes, I'm depending on my exams to bring up my marks so I'm studying heavily which is why my posting is down. 

Neuro tomorrow, physics on Thursday, genetics Monday then phys and micro next Thursday. 

Then I get a fantastic four days off which I am really looking forward to. 

Also, as of the 23rd, I will have third year standing. I'll officially be halfway through my program. And I'll be eligible to apply to med schools! Applications are just three months away. I'm so excited!

I found out today that someone I've been keeping up on (a premed in my community) got one rejection and was waitlisted at the other school she interviewed at. I'm still hoping for her to get in off the wait list. We need more local doctors.




Saturday, 5 April 2014

Out Like a Lamb

Second semester has come and gone. My last three classes were yesterday and I ended second year in a physics research lab.

It's now time for exams and I'm ready to take them on.

This semester has been hard and my grades have dipped a bit. I'm going into exams with three classes where my average is 88 or 89. Only two are above 90, though one far enough it is bringing up my average significantly. Best case scenario, I end this year with an average about 92. Not a huge drop, but still, ouch.

My GPA will take a tiny hit. I expect two classes will be just a sliver under 90. Three will be above. That will bring my GPA for this year to 3.95. cGPA will be 3.975. Ottawa wGPA will be 3.967. I'm not sure if schools round up. If they do, those will be 3.98 and 3.97 respectively.

That's what I'll be applying with. It's no 4.0, but still pretty good. There will be a lot of other applicants with marks like mine, so I have to use my 13 VR and my ECs to my benefit.

I do really well thinking on my feet and explaining my position in a short period of time, so I think I will do pretty well on CASPER. My GPA and VR mean I just have to do fairly well on that to get an interview so I think I can pretty reasonably expect one from Mac.

Ottawa is maybe. Many of my ECs won't count there because they are longer ago than five years. That will hurt my chances there. However, I am bilingual and that might help. My GPA is high, but they are very EC-heavy.

Toronto, who can say. I have no research so that will hurt me there.

Queen's... well, no one knows what the hell Queen's wants. I figure my chances of an interview are low.

We have so far saved $1500 towards my interview expenses. As I'll be working full time in another few weeks, we should be able to put the other $2500 away this summer. It's working well.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A Future In...

I'm very excited about a conference call (hosted by Voices For Vaccines) later this month with Dr Plotkin, a long-time vaccine researcher who literally wrote the book on vaccines.

I mentioned it to my boss because it means I need to take a long lunch to participate. She's fine with it, since it is educational.

She also opined that she doesn't think I'll do family medicine. She thinks I'll do something academic, or at least partly so. Her daughter is apparently in some of my classes and has told my boss very flattering things about me, which I can't really complain about.

She said she thinks I may do something like infectious disease, or some other sub specialty of IM. She said I'm all gung-ho about maintaining long relationships with patients now, but that she thinks I'll tire of that and want the mental stimulation.

Honestly, I can see myself doing that. However, going into anything but family med will make it hard for me to come home, and home is where I belong.  It would also mean another 3+ years of residency.

Infectious disease is incredibly interesting, though. I may be a bit biased towards it because I'm a huge fan of Dr Crislip's blog Rubor, Dolor, Calor, Tumor. I love immunology too. Still, specializing is a long way away.

Right now, I just need to get through exams and into med school!