Posts Tagged ‘family’

Thoughts as a Future Career Woman

In medicine, Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 11:15 pm

As many random questions as I regularly am asked pertaining to my interest in and foresight into a career in medicine, the one that seems to throw me the most is, “How do you think you will handle being a female in a male-dominated profession?”

I guess it throws me the most because it’s an issue I’ve never really had to deal with in life.  Growing up, while I couldn’t stand getting dirty, I definitely wasn’t a girly girl. In fact, until I started undergrad, throughout the years, my best friends had always been guys.  I was usually the only girl in my group of friends, and it was something I was fine with or even preferred. Furthermore, whether it was in the classroom or on the playground or in rehearsals, I always gave the boys a run for the money. I’ve always liked the challenge of competing with guys – let’s face it, they tend to be more competitive (at least overtly), while refraining from cattiness. That’s definitely a good push for bettering yourself.

When I look at my time in college, I don’t recall ever feeling intimidated by the guys in my classes, so it’s not something I foresee changing in the near future – not for medical school, not for residency, never. However, I have always been in a position where the guy:girl ration was nearly even. And while I know medical school admissions programs have progressed a long way since the 70s, let’s face it, on some level medicine is still considered a “male profession”…especially in certain specialties (Think, all those male-dominated med school classes graduated in the 60s, 70s, and 80s are still in practice, so it’s still skewed).

I remember on one of my interview days, sitting in a room full or current M4s interviewing for Ortho residency positions. You guessed it, there was not one female in the group. In fact, aside from one Black male, the whole group was comprised of one demographic – white male. Certainly, this is not 100% representative of this specialty, however I think it is roughly representative in that Ortho (and I’m sure a few other specialties) are generally considered “male-only areas.” And not that women cannot wiggle into these unchartered territories and make a name for themselves, but it is certainly a difficult course to navigate.  I recall working in the Emergency Department at a certain hospital and sitting in the nurses station people watching as I do. So often, the male doctors and techs and nurses would babble away about sports or cars (cars = something I cannot for the life of me “get into”) or some other typically male topic of conversation.  I was so irritated sitting there day after day listening to them talking about the same mundane gibberish like it was sound profound discovery (I guess it’s their version of gossip?) – not so sure I would want to deal with that daily for my entire career.  But have no fear, I will be called doctor one day, and it will be said with respect, regardless of the composition of my peers, seniors, and subordinates.

And, think about it – when using the gender ambiguous term “doctor,” why is it that most people reply with “he” and not “she”? This can most likely be attributed to the residual, underlying sentiments that it is a “male profession.”  From a social standpoint, it’s true that at first glimpse who in their right mind would say that such a demanding profession that nearly consumes your life is a workplace suited for a woman desiring to make a family.

However, this view ascribes to the pre-women’s revolutionary view that women belonged in the home, raising the kids and keeping house. [Thank God along came feminism!] Clearly, many still chose to do this, but in the new millennium, we like to
think we’ve progressed from those caveman ideologies, where this is now a chose, not a contractual obligation.  However, even good ol’ progressive me still has a few hidden reservations.  Well, I’ll call them second-guesses – something I do not like to acknowledge I possess. But in all honesty, looking forward, it does seem daunting – the idea of juggling one of the most demanding careers out there with a possible family that includes children who need their mother. And I know me, as much as I want to be a career woman, I know that if I were to have kids, initially it would break my heart to be away from them and miss many of the key moments in their development.

Lucky for me, at the moment I’m at the point where I interact with enough bad kids on the regular to know I don’t want any…or at least not any time soon (thank you, substitute teaching at a Charter School! smh).  I have faith my kids will be well-behaved, however there is a sea of children out their with no value on life, and that makes a scary world to raise kids in. But, I digress…

The point is I’m the type of person who doesn’t try to plan things too far into the future.  Shoot, who’s to even say I’m going to get married? And even still, how do I know if my future spouse or I are able to conceive? Even still, who knows if I’ll ever come around to wanting kids of my own? No, too many unanswerable questions for me to waste my energy entertaining. I’d rather live life in the present and enjoy it now, and see what the future unfolds as I go out and live. If I don’t get married, I’d be fine with that. If I do get married, I’ll be fine with that and will work through those issues when they get here. Furthermore, if we do have kids, I will make a way for raising them to co-exist peacefully with the career I’ve worked for. Can I be greedy? Can I have my cake and eat it too? Why can’t I be both mother and doctor? I am fortunate enough to have a loving mother and support network who I know would be more than happy to lend a helping hand and be a daily part of my and my future children’s lives. Having Grandma & Co around to help with the kiddies would sure lighten the stress of the situation. I guess there is an added benefit to being both an only child and an only grandchild – help is literally only a phone call away 🙂  I admit, Iprobably cannot do it on my own, and I have no desire to.  My hard work plus God’s leading and protection plus support from family and friends will enable me to achieve anything I desire. Me, I want what’s coming to me…the world, chico, and everything in it. And if all else fails, I can always be a cougar! lol, I kid, I kid! Shoot – If Michelle Obama can do it, I can do it too – she’s my motivation 🙂


In applying to med school, medical school on October 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know I’m failing, but I swear I’ll do better to make a conscientious effort to blog more frequently.  Anywho, the main reason I did not update you this past week was that it was the dreaded, highly anticipated, Decision Week 2009.  For those unfamiliar with the med school application process, October 15th is the earliest date schools can officially notify applicants of acceptances.  In other words, it is one of the most anxiety-ridden days…that is if you were an applicant blessed with an early interview or two.  I, like many of my fellow SDNers and pre-med applicants, was a nervous wreck leading up the 15th.  I had heard rumors that last year there had been a glitch in computers and emails about CBCs (criminal background checks) had accidentally been sent to those who had been accepted to schools, but had yet to be notified.  This year, I do believe CBCs won’t be conducted until the first of the new year, however that did not stop me from increasing my compulsive e-mail checking in the days leading up to the 15th.

Unfortunately, I did not received any news (good or bad) on the 15th.  Nothing but emptiness filled my inbox 😦  However, I did receive great news on the morning of the 16th – I was accepted to a school I absolutely loved!!!  That’s right folks, I am going to be a Medical Doctor!!!  Woooo-Hooo!!!!  I tried to predict how I would respond to an early acceptance.  My original guess was that I would pass out, wake up and run around the block beaming from ear-to-ear, call my mom, post the good news on twitter, facebook, and AIM, send mass text messages, and then part-tay!  My real reaction wasn’t too far from this.  I had actually just gotten off the phone with moms when I found the lovely little present from God sitting in my inbox.  I immediately hit redial and shared the good news with her.  From there, I’m not 100% sure what happened.  It was a mixture of being unable to breathe, a few tears were shed, I think I almost passed out, and in the middle of all this I managed to simultaneously electronically post and text messages about the great news.  When I got off the phone with mom, I ran around the house in circles, like a dog chasing its tail.  When I finally tired myself out, I sat on the big leather sofa, stretched out my arms, looked up towards heaven and repeatedly exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus. Praise you God!” Rinse and repeat until I was light-headed and out of breath.

Really, this was all in Divine timing.  My grandmother just so happened to be visiting from down South and I was able to share the good news with her in person.  I am her only grandchild, the last of the bloodline, if you will.  My grandmother has suffered numerous bodily ailments since as far back as I can remember, and since I started down this road to the M.D., my mom has been praying that my grandmother would live to see the day when her only grandchild would become a doctor.  Through all the pain she lives in, the news made her spring out of her seat and hug me – not an easy task for someone with scar tissue wrapped around her spine and arthritis all over the place.  Of course, more tears were shed and the rest of the family was immediately notified.  Everyone on both sides of the family said, “I never thought I’d see the day when we would have a doctor in the family!”  Really, I never thought it was that big of a deal.  I am just following my heart, my passions, and where God leads.  When I said this to my mom, she responded with, “Are you kidding me?!?  You have no idea what an inspiration our story has been to other single mothers…”  I guess she’s right and I have slightly underestimated how monumental of an achievement this is for my family and my situation.  In the past few days, it has slowly been sinking in.  All I can do is smile and praise God!

I must say, I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders, for I know that no matter what happens during this long, tiring cycle, at the end of the day, I will begin training to become a medical doctor at an institution I absolutely love!  What an AMAZING, INDESCRIBABLE feeling!!!  Just the thought makes me beam.  Now, I’m not a smiler.  Actually, I have been told that my neutral face looks on the mean, cold, standoffish side of the spectrum – good thing I’m usually laughing 😉  But, I’ve been smiling ever since the good news was delivered.  God is beyond good!  I’m still eagerly waiting on the acceptance packet to arrive in the mail (and a little nauseous at the thought of having to come up with the deposit money in my current financial situation…oh, the sacrifices I make), at which point I’ll probably get that great adrenaline surge again 🙂 

Now comes the debate on whether I should withdraw my application from some schools or just leave them alone and see what happens.  But, more on this topic later…

To everyone out there – Keep the faith!  As a friend of mine put it, I am the poster-child for re-applicants everywhere!