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.