I thought I’d explain a bit about myself, where I’ve come from, my education and why I started the blog. To start, I’m 21 years old and just graduating from university with my Undergraduate General BA degree in Communications. In high school, I loved the sciences – biology and chemistry fascinated me, and coming from a family of physicians, it made sense to head down a health oriented path. However, by the time senior year rolled around, the struggle to focus more intensely on school instead of my social life became increasingly difficult, and I decided that spending the next 4 years in the sciences was not something worth losing my “butterfly status” over (classic 17yr old). Instead, I decided to pursue another of my passions – literature and writing. I was accepted into one of Canada’s best journalism/communications programs and took the plunge by moving 3000 miles away from home at age 17 to start my real “life”.
The first two years went by incredibly fast. While I struggled to make friends for the first several months (people just didn’t seem as friendly compared to home), I eventually found my niche. I sincerely enjoyed learning about artsy cultural topics; modern media technologies, the impact of the Internet on society, and the power of language were all subjects that I had a passion for learning. As time moved forward however, I began to feel pangs of nostalgia for the good old days of high school biology. About half way through my 3rd year, I decided to take a break from school and really figure out if my future lay in the Arts…or in the sciences.
After working at a PR company at home for the next six months, I knew that the field of communications was certainly a place where I excelled professionally, socially, and intellectually. Despite this, my desire to make a difference in the personal lives of those around me was a tad deprived, and I realized that my path was slowly turning back towards the world of health. Without hesitation, I decided to apply for medicine, seeing that it would be a waste of almost 4 years to pick up and change programs so far into my degree.
This is where people get thrown off. “You applied to med school without a background in science?” YES! “You didn’t worry about studying for the MCAT?” No! Well, sort of. The thing that American and Canadian students forget is that north american education does not set the standard for global education. Several international med schools around the world provide the same type of medical education to its students without dragging them under what I like to call the Academic Weed Wacker – a process of eliminating 1000s of valuable, potentially brilliant candidates because schools can’t afford to teach the masses. It makes sense that this is the case in north america because, well, our population is HUGE, and thusly, the number of individuals applying for medicine reflects that. Medical administrations simply can’t afford to accept every keen science kid hoping to save some lives.
With this at the back of my mind – I did lots of research on the subject! – I started googling international med schools that qualify students to write the American USMLEs and Canadian MCCEEs. Thankfully, I know two women studying medicine at a school in Poland, and had many important questions answered by them. In the end, my mom was the one who forwarded me a link to the medical school that would eventually accept me, which was in the Carribean. I applied without delay, despite being 2 semesters short of credits and critically low on the optimism front. But, with the help of a great advisor, parents in the field, my ex-boss and a professor, I managed to write a wonderful essay, get 2 fantastic reference letters, and carry out a successful phone interview with the administrations. Conveniently, providing MCAT scores to this university was optional. By February, 2014, I had been accepted into medicine for the coming Fall! (The day I received my acceptance call was, by far, the best day of my life)
That brings us almost up to date. It’s summer time, and I’m finally in the last stretch of my undergrad, completing two credits that my acceptance was conditional upon – Neuroscience and Anatomy/Physiology. The learning curve has been rough, jumping from the arts into the sciences is no easy feat, but it’s amazing how quickly the brain can adapt when forced. I’ve been able to memorize a hundred times more than I’d ever imagined, with multiple mental break downs along the way. I’m sure there will be many, many more mental and emotional breakdowns throughout the next 4 years, but I’m banking on my desire to help people and make a difference in local and global health to carry me through. My plan is to specialize in psychiatry, but who knows what experiences will change my mind? All I know is that I have something to offer the world, and even if my contributions are small, or not what I initially expect them to be, they will be conducted with sincerity, positivity, and a true passion for helping those around me.