When I decided three years ago to change my career I felt lost. Deciding not to pursue medical school was hard, especially since my family had really pushed me to do so for so long. I felt I was disappointing them but after working in the ED, being a medical assistant and a scribe for so long, it lost its appeal and glamour. Being a doctor is anything but glamorous and although romanticized, its hard work. Unless you’re very passionate about medicine it a lot of long hours with little reward all while working against a system that seems to over work you.
I married one-a doctor, and he actually loves what he does which is why he is able to endure the 87 hour-long weeks. He is passionate about helping others, loves neurology and went into medicine for all the right reasons. Some other physicians I’ve met are miserable, went into it for the wrong reasons and hate their lives. This is what I realized three years ago when I finally decided to close the door on pursuing medicine. I kept putting off applying, either because I felt I wasn’t ready or that I needed to retake my MCAT, it was always something and I instead hid myself by working and telling myself that I was getting experience and that when I was ready I would apply. The reality was that I wasn’t happy with the work I was doing in the medical field and I was watching first hand the truth of being a physician, I spend most of my day trailing behind the doctor while we saw patients all day. I decided to soul search and really look for something I was passionate about and for the first time in my life I had someone who supported me and encouraged such growth without boundaries or refrain, my husband. He was really the first person that told me I should follow my heart and that if I didn’t want to go to medical school it was okay, that it didn’t mean I was a failure. For so long I had been scared of what others would think, why didn’t she just apply, why didn’t she want to be a doctor, doesn’t everyone want to be a physician? Are you a doctor? lol it seems like being a doctor makes you some kind of protegé, society really romanticized a job that is very tough, demanding and doesn’t reward those who dedicate their lives to helping others.
Then one day while you know, searching the internet for jobs, I stumbled upon speech language pathology. It had never even crossed my mind but it included all the things I was passionate about, neurology, research, clinical work, language..I could go on. I decided that I would apply to a post bacc program and get my pre-reqs. We moved to baltimore-where my husband matched to residency and while working full-time attended night school.I worked my ass off, made all A’s and if you’ve read my previous blog, was straight up rejected the first time I applied.
For about eight years now I’ve felt like I’ve been in this black hole, with this cloud hovering over me that was constantly telling me, get your shit together. I am going to be thirty this year, and I know that it’s not supposed to be a big deal and it doesn’t feel like it but its hard when I look at my peers and they all seem to be excelling in their careers. When I learned that I was accepted at one of the top 10% SLP programs in the country, I felt this great sense of relief. I’ve been on cloud nine since then. All my insecurities and feelings of not being good enough have melted away but I also realize that it just didn’t happen for me, I worked hard and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices, including not having children, these sort of things, moving away from home, sacrificing having a full time job-I am a part-time nanny. It was hard-working forty hours and doing night school, it was hard working part time and doing research and its been hard to keep myself motivated while being rejected to my face. It’s really a testament to endurance and setting goals. But most importantly to the thought that we should follow our hearts, I knew while doing pre-med in undergrad that it didn’t seem like it was the right thing for me, but I let others influence me and made it feel like it was my choice. I also let the burden of disappointing others get in the way of my own happiness. I can’t change anything but if I could tell my younger self something it would be like, ” its okay to make mistakes and be afraid but you just have to try” or ” step out of your comfort zone and speak up for yourself, you’ll be okay .
I am not nervous about starting grad school because I feel like this is what I love and this is what I want and who I am supposed to be. I haven’t felt to certain and motivated about something ever, well something that wasn’t food at least.
I’ve made it and now I will have more relevant things to talk about, which puts me over the moon. I can change my name from aspiring graduate student to actual grad student. *Jaw drop.
*shrieks and that goal I’ve been writing in my journal for the past three years that read -get into grad school can finally be crossed off. I’ve moved onto a new goals-getting a graduate assistantship, presenting at ASHA and getting into the cultural and linguistic diversity program. Cheers to the next three years.
For those who stumble across my blog to find my stats for being admitted to UMD: GPA: 3.8 Post Bacc from Loyola Maryland, GRE: 157V, 152 Q, 4.5 W, have eight years of clinical experience, 3 years of research experience including the last year doing research with Dr. Gordon-Salant at UMD, Bilingual with an emphasis on diversity within the field.