Monday, July 5, 2010

Well, here I am

A little bit about me in this issue to give people some background about me.

I graduated from college in 1997 with a degree in biotechnology. this was the final degree I decided on as during my freshman year I had about 4 majors and they were all in the second semester. When I began college I was a gung-ho premed. I was in biology 101, math, english, the rest of the basic freshman classes except for chemistry because I did not want to bog myself down. I came from a high school where I was in the top 20% of the class (#81/312). I was also very good in the sciences, especially biology. So I was expecting to do really well in biology. However, there was something that I was not prepared for and it was going to come back and haunt me.

I was not prepared for how to manage my time, nor was I prepared to start doing poorly in my classes. I was used to be an A/B student and nothing lower. I would read and understand. Here I am in college and I am struggling. Not only that, but since I never attended a high school party and I was away from my parents or any authority figure I wanted people to know that I was fun to be with so I went out every weekend and got drunk. I would hand out in the campus center or my dorm room but I would not be able to focus. At the same time I was pledging so that took up my time as well. In the end, I did really poorly in my first semester including failing biology. This was my first F in my academic career ever, and I was especially devastated that it was in biology. So I convinced myself that I did not like school and that I would drop premed and try to do something else.

I went ahead and changed my declaration from biology to human ecology to environmental planning and design to Landscape Architecture. I retook my english and math and passed it and registered for Landscape Architecture classes for my sophmore year.

During the fall of my sophmore year, I had a running start. I did well in my exams and really liked what I was doing. I was convinced that this was my real calling. My roommate was a biotechnology major and I saw how he was struggling with organic and thought to myself, am I glad that I do not have to deal with that. This semester turned out better than my last 2 but I had straight C's. The worse part was that I was not accepted to the Landscape Architecture program and ran back to my apartment crying thinking that I should drop out of school.

It was then that an ambulance call came in and as an EMT, with time, I went to station and went on the call. I was back in my element and successfully treated the patient. It was then that I realized that medicine WAS my true calling and it was time I shaped up and got cracking. By this time, it was already the spring of my sophmore year and I immediately went to the Pre-med dean and had a meeting with him. After the meeting the first thing I did was to extend my graduate year by 1 and drop every single one of my classes and register for my pre-reqs. I also dropped every one of my EC's and began.

Over the next few years I took classes over the summer. I retook biology and got a B in it. But there would be a lot of problems. Ths issue was that I still did not know how I needed to study. I had tried many, many different things. The main issue was the I was able to explain things to my roommates but when it came to the exams, I would blank out.

I tried studying in silence, but my mind kept wandering. So I tried studying to Jazz, no good. Classical, no good. In the library, no good. I tried 20 minutes intense reading and 10 minutes off, nothing. Finally, at the end of my junior year I got it right. My girlfriend had a tape of a thunderstorm and I borrowed it. I went to the library and put it on. When I lifted my head for the first time, I was amazed that an hour and a half went by and I remembered everything that I read. It was at this session that I decided to outline the chapter. Finally, I found my niche. However there was something missing.

In the spring of 1996, I signed up for the MCAT. I was planning on taking it and felt that since I was taking organic chemistry and physics that I would already be studying for it, so why should I bother studying extra (I now know that this was very, very foolish but hey, I was young). My parents could not afford kaplan or TPR so they sent me to a small, no name prep course that was horrible. I would up getting a 24 (VR 9, PS 7, BS, 8 VR P).

At the time, I really had not idea what it meant to apply to medical school. It turns out my roommates' girlfriend's mother worked at a medical school and got me a meeting with dean of admissions who suggested I retake the MCAT. So I did and again, did not prepare. I did worse 20 (VR 6, PS 6, BS 8, WS S). I called the dean and she suggested I get a masters degree.

I wound up graduating and starting my life. I figured medical school was a distant memory, but maybe. I finally landed a job in a lab 1.5 years after graduation and it was here that the last peice of my studying puzzle was placed. I taped the lectures of the one class I went to. During my commute to/from work I would listen to the tapes. I would up remembering everything better and did very well on the tests and scored a B+.

Life went on and I got married and had my first kid. I would up getting a job at place where they pay 100% tuition reimbursement and my boss was asking if I would be going for a masters or a PhD. Since I could not find a part time PhD program I setteled for a masters program. I started going to school in 2001. In fact, my first day of class was supposed to be on 9/11. A year and a half later I was a sporting a 4.0 and during a trip to Tampa, Florida I told my wife that I really wanted to go to medical school and she said fine. However, we agreed that we would keep this between us.

I also learned how naive I was at the application process when I was in college in addition to how to properly prepare for the MCAT.

To date, I have a 3.4999 in graduate school with a missing grade due to my thesis, which I should be defending in March. I retook the MCAT in August of 2004 and scored a 22 (VR 7, PS 6, BS 9, VR R). I applied to 14 schools and was rejected by all. I restudied for the MCAT and scored a 29 (VR 9, PS 10, BS 10, WS Q). I reapplied to 9 schools, all DO and was accepted by 2, my top two choices.

Here I am, 3 years later and am about to start my 4th and final year of medical school. One little surprise though, our 4th daughter arrived almost 2 weeks ago. That has added the benefit of having less sleep that I did before but in a good way. Because I can bond with her while either giving her a bottle or changing her and waiting for the bottle to arrive. Either way, we get some Daddy:Amy time.

I hope you enjoy my blog and as I enter my final year of medical school and start the process of looking for a residency position I will write often. So don't be a stranger.



  1. Great start to your blog! I'm sure I will enjoy reading this tremendously.

  2. Thank you sooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had written a lot and it got deleted. I am currently finishing up organic chemistry II and i need to take the MCAT. I will be applying to DO schools and I am hoping to get in one of the schools. I did poorly as an undegrad and I've been trying to make it up now. Any advise would be amazing!! Thank you!