operationMD

Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Anticipation

In medical school, Rants on April 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Got back the other day from my last second look and it’s nice to be able to finally say I definitively know where I’ll be attending school for the 2010-2011 school year! Whoop-wooooo! While applicants have until May 15th to decide where they’re going and then a few months left to relax, I find myself already packing and itching to leave.  I’ll be leaving home for the last time the last week or so of May. That’s approximately 5 weeks lefts of freedom.  I’ve never been one to enjoy free time…oddly enough, it gets my antsy.  It’s too much time to sit around and think and plan, and while forming a game plan ahead of time is good, it can lend way to worry.  This is where I am.

First off, I’m tired. But it’s not a physical tiredness, but more like a psychological slash energy of my being fatigue.  It’s hard to explain. I’m tired not in the traditional sense of “Oh, I need rest,” but more in the sense of I need stimulation – a jolt of energy.  In a way, I’m jaded with my situation for the next few weeks. Ever since I’ve been back, I just feel blah, because now, I feel like I’m just sitting and waiting for my real life to pick up again.  I have always hated being bored. I hate it!  Even as an only child, I found many times where I was bored and would do any and everything to entertain myself.  Now, not so much.  Oddly enough, as jittery as I get when I’m bored, I’ve been quitting jobs left and right! Illogical? Slightly. I mean, I still have two jobs left, so it’s not like I’m not generating income, but you’d think that someone who wants to stay occupied would jump at staying busy with work.  Probably has something to do with the mundane jobs I have (the ones I’ve quit)…boring is boring, and I’m cutting as much boredom out my life as possible.  I find myself with ample free time to sit around and think.  And we all know that too much of anything is not a good thing – thought included.

I am starting to panic about what I’ve just signed up for.  After all these years of hard work, the vast amount of money poured into this career path, and time and energy spent working to get in, I find myself not even able to rejoice in this good news.  Shoot, I’ve been accepted since October and every time I tell someone I’m going to med school they respond with “Congrats! Shouldn’t you sound happier about it though?” And a part of me is ecstatic. But that happiness is muted by fears of inadequacy coupled with anticipated years of debt. I’ve talked to many friends throughout the past years who are currently in med school, following their progress and asking for advice along the way. The most common advice I’ve received is, “Run while you can!”  – said half jokingly, but still… We’ve all heard the analogy of the amount of information covered in medical school is akin to trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. I’ve also heard it described as academic bulimia…neither images are particularly appealing. I find myself wandering over to the allopathic threads on SDN, and coming across multiple posts about academic probation or failing or feeling overwhelmed…to be honest, the immediate future does NOT look bright.  I’m starting to fear what awaits me in a few months.  Added to this crazy workload, I am being overly ambitious and pursuing an MD/MPH program to be completed within the traditional four-year medical program.

At times, I think I just might be a masochist. Maybe I quietly like a little (or a lot of pain).  I look back at my post-bacc experience, and I realize that, on the low, I enjoyed being a bit of a nerd. I liked my strict study schedule I made for myself, and the hours I spent studying for my courses.  Even more so, I enjoyed seeing the fruits (i.e. A’s) of my labor. I like being smart and I like being a hard worker and I like actively putting work into my future. Shoot, I even like rote memorization! Sounds like I might like med school…might.  I find solace in a few things. 1) I had intense course loads for my post-bacc (not quite med school intense, but certainly more so than undergrad) and I excelled with ample free time to enjoy life. 2) I approach this upcoming obstacle with the mentality of Yeah, it’s hard, BUT if just one other person has done it before, surely I can do it too. Other advice I received form some friends was to not concern myself with how or what my classmates were studying, but to stay on my schedule and use my own methods, because whatever I did that was good enough to get me here will carry me on.  While I think there will be room for adjustment in my methods, I firmly believe if I stick to this, I can and will succeed. 3) Finally, and most importantly, since this is what God has called me to be, I will be it, I will not fail.

Financial Aid Woes

In applying to med school, Finances, medical school on March 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Thanks to some pressing from my mom, I went ahead and filled out the much dreaded FAFSA last night.  Eyes got crossed a few times flipping through the pages of lines on the forms for my mom and me (yes, she makes me do hers instead of her filling it out).  Finished that sucker relatively fast (haven’t completed one in about 2 years, but I swear it took ages before to do) and submitted last night.  I’m happy to say that it’s already been processed and sent out to the designated schools – one step closer to becoming an official medical student 🙂

Then, something told me to go look at the financial aid websites for the designated schools to see what was due next.  Good thing I looked too, as some have forms due on the 15th (as in Monday!) if you want to be considered for need-based money…and who doesn’t want some of that?  So, I opened my Word document and created a nice little color-coordinated timeline (yes, I have a slight obsession with color-coordinated items) of what’s due for each school and when, with links included where pertinent.  Then, I started reviewing suggested budgets for each school. That’s right about the time I felt my heart sink a little, then stop completely, then rapidly recharge to a pulse far exceeding my normal resting rate.  The schools range in price from about $56k (in-state) to $70k (private). Personally, I feel swindled that our in-state price is that much, for a crappy and dangerous city to live in too. Why can’t we all be like Texas? What’s their tuition, like $8k per year – absolutely ridiculous and unfair…that needs to be regulated or mimicked. Seriously, what is that state doing so well that they can provide professional education for that price. Perhaps other states need to start modeling their system…

Anyways, back to my lovely little state.  Supposedly, state-wide budget cuts are hitting our state school system hard. Librarians are being fired, libraries are being “closed” and restructured into “media rooms” literally the size of a room. Rumor has it that the licensure people came around this week and weren’t too happy with what they saw.  Now, I will state that this is just hearsay and, as of yet, as no truth to it. However, I think it says something that this rumor has sustainability because of the status of the state and it’s medical schools.  Not a good look, Jersey…puts at least one little check under the cons column for your list in my book.

I went into this process stating that money would not be a consideration. In retrospect, maybe I went into this process a bit wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was all about “fit with the school” and “personality of the student body” rationalizing that since I lacked undergrad student loans, I had a little room for give in terms of financial aid. Now…as I stare down that long, dark, barrel of debt, I’m wavering a bit in my stance.  I don’t think it helps that somehow I am just now realizing how much my 12 month post-bacc program cost, smh. When I factor in the price of obtaining an MPH as well…I get slightly overwhelmed and start getting so nervous that I reach the point where I embrace debt and do not care anymore.  I pray that God will work a financial miracle in this situation.  I pray that the financial aid offices will take pity on my soul, and award me a very nice package. I would also love some scholarships – I know they’re hard to come by, but a girl can ask and pray, right?

Actually, when I started receiving acceptances, I prayed that God would show me the school he wants me at based on their financial aid offers. Now that the time is approaching for those packages to be unwrapped, all I can say is, “Yikes!!!” While I still stick by that, I am nervous and am anxiously waiting to see what happens in these upcoming weeks. Keep me in your prayers!