× Women in Medicine Blogs & Diaries

Starting the Journey at 40 - "Keep your eye on the prize"

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11 years 3 months ago #69736 by texas40chickmd
Thinking about the entire timeline today and how to plan everything just right. I'm a Saggitarian, so that means I really prefer to "fly by the seat of my pants". Unfortunately a plan is a very important part of obtaining a goal. I met up with a really nice fellow pre-med student who is attending UTSA in San Antonio and present in our forum. It was great to talk face to face with someone who understands the struggles and hurdles that women pre-meds face. Is there a resource out there just for female non-traditionals? I would love to read it!

The biggest thing I have been working on is a family budget for next year when I go back to school full-time in Spring 2009. We really need to sell our house and move closer to our daughter's private school and the university. This would help in housing costs and GAS. I really feel for any family that was already struggling before the gas crisis started. Now all of us are paying double the cost of gas in our monthly budgets. My husband is frightened and I'm just trying to figure it all out. I have faith that we will survive and succeed. As a team, WE ROCK!

Keeping my eye on the prize!

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11 years 2 months ago #69737 by texas40chickmd
I had the most interesting news today. I work for big company that is in the process of selling my division - we have 5 different educational products around assessments. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, it looks like I may be laid off in the next year. My husband started to panic, but I was excited... This means that if I play my cards right, I'll be going to school full time for 2009-2010. We are saving any extra that we can squeeze from the budget right now and then I'll get a severance package when or if this happens. Anyhow - I think this could be the moment that I find freedom to make the change. Planning, organization and timing seem to be very important in finding success.

Keeping my eye on the prize!

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11 years 1 month ago #69738 by texas40chickmd
Whoo hoo!! I love being in Chemistry... stepping forward on my journey... :hyper: I had my first class meeting last week, and I am pumped! It has been a crazy start, however...

My one pre-requisite (starting slow) is Gen Chem I. I have a degree in Bio and Eng, so I have lots of hours there. My boss is REALLY supportive :D , so I am able to take my class at 8-9:15 on T/Th then head into work. We live 40 miles from my workplace and my daughter's private school, so driving long distances each day are already part of the menu. The university is only 5 -6 miles from my office but the traffic is HORRENDOUS. We have to leave our house by 6:20 to get my daughter to school by 7:20 to then get me to the parking lot for the LONG walk up the HUGE hill to my class (the glutes are getting a good workout, though!).

The class is HUGE (like 200) for lecture, but I absolutely love the prof. SHE is down-to-earth, uses real examples, and makes Chemistry make sense. So far our schedule is working out. I have Chem Lab on Tuesday night, so my husband is picking up our daughter on Tues/Thurs afternoons to allow me to go to class and to schedule study/homework time. He is VERY supportive - I'm hoping this will last. I'm doing everything I can to foster this good working relationship. I know he should feel committed and dedicated to the entire project, but we all know how men are - dedicated at the beginning, but they have lousy follow-through. I know him and our relationship well enough to know how to provide the right support for him and me.

So - that's the first week - awesome!!

Keeping my eye on the prize!

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11 years 1 week ago #69739 by texas40chickmd
Wow! I can't believe it has been a whole month! I am trucking along in Gen Chem I and got an 80 on my first test (16/20). I was proud that I worked every problem and the only ones I missed were the very ones I had difficulty with. I'm doing very well with the homework (100 ave) so that should help. The lab is a little more difficult athough I've got a high average so far. The mid-term is next week.

Funny story... My lab partner is a 17 year-old, Asian boy freshman who placed out of a lot of math courses (taking Calculus II his freshman year!). He is very shy and reserved and METHODICAL when it comes to performing labs. This is really important, because I have worked a lifetime at being more efficient, multi-tasking and applying multiple steps. I keep him going faster and he slows me down. We make a good team. Anyhow, he asked me about the spring and whether I would be taking classes then. I can understand his question since I am an 40-YEAR OLD pre-med student and it can be confusing. I told him I planned on taking the classes needed to complete the course work as soon as I could. He said, "Don't you feel a little awkward back at school?" I replied, "We should be learning all of our lives and should be able to do it side by side regardles of our age. It doesn't bother me at all." He looked a little perplexed.

I think that my younger classmates tend to feel more awkward than I do. Heck, I'm 40, so I have permission to no longer CARE what anyone thinks - hence my reason for going back to the university to gain my pre-reqs for MED SCHOOL!

To me, my experience and wisdom are what give me a HUGE advantage over others that are younger than me. As a teacher/coach/instructional leader, I learned early on how to play the people games and get them to perform. As a doctor, I'm assuming I will be using those same skills - guiding my patients to doing the right things for their bodies.

Update on plan... I had an interview with the University Hospital for a volunteer position. I have to pass the background check and medical check before I can start. The coordinator is talking about placing me in the "Express Medicine" Clinic. This is right next to the ER and this is where they take on those cases that don't really warrant the ER. The patient still gets treatment that matches their level of need. I am SO EXCITED!!!! Thursday nights for 4 hours. I will work with the drs and nurses of this clinic for the next 2 years 1/2 years. I am hoping that I will gain the experience and knowledge I need to influence my personal statement, my experience, and my letters of recommendation. I am ready to do WHATEVER is needed to support the clinic! I can't WAIT!!!

Keeping my eye on the prize!

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11 years 4 days ago #69740 by texas40chickmd
Lots of action this week! I applied for a volunteer program at the University Hospital and completed the health screening today. I had to get a tetnus shot, but I already may friends with the Director and two nurses in the hospital through this experience. I go to orientation this Saturday and will start next week. I am SO excited. I will have about 2 to 2 1/2 years to volunteer before I apply, so that should be beneficial. The director is planning to place me in the "Express Med Clinic" which is an outpatient urgent care type clinic right next to the ER. Most of the patients actually come from the ER after screening. Our plan is to have me work with this group for 6 months to a year then move me into the ER for the experience. I am THRILLED!!!! Not only will the experience be very beneficial (consistent 4 hours every thursday night), but I will build relationships with people that can provide recommendations in a clinical situation to compliment my recommendations in the academic world.

I cannot explain the feeling and experience that washed over me after walking out of the hospital - a feeling of BELONGING, of coming home.... With each item I cross off of my long list on my journey, I feel empowered to continue.

I took my Gen Chem Lab mid-term on Tuesday and feel pretty good about it. I knew what I was doing on each question and had plenty of time. I have another test coming up next week in the lecture. Although Chem is NOT my favorite subject, I'm doing okay. I also met with the Health Occupations Advisor who helped me plan out the rest of my classes. I found out that since I was planning to go to a Texas school, I did not have to take Calculus. It is on its way out! Yeah!!! I'll be taking Statistics for Bioscience instead which makes a hell of a lot more sense AND I will be happier with. Sooo... things are looking up. The advisor was VERY happy with the amount of research and preparation I have done.

So, job-wise, everything is looking DOWN. I'm probably going to be laid off at the end of the year. My boss said it is an 80% chance right now, so I'm trying to be prepared. We are putting our house on the market next month (like that is going to help...) and are starting to really work within a strict budget to get prepared. Unfortunately, with me being laid off, we will be taking a 50% cut in pay... whew!

Life is about to get interesting... :D

Keeping my eye on the prize!

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10 years 11 months ago #69741 by texas40chickmd
The plot thickens... Still expecting to get laid off by the end of the year. My daughter's private school has a half-time position available in January that I am looking at taking. My educator degree will help with some income there. This would also allow me to take more hours, so it may be a blessing in disguise. I'm doing my best to think positively about it.

Good news! I got a 90 on my 2nd Chemistry I test - only missing two questions! I was so pumped and excited. The prof handed out all of the "A" grades and shook our hands. That was THE most wonderful feeling. I truly believe that I have what it takes and will be pushing my self harder and harder...

Keeping my eye on the prize!

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