Tuesday, May 24, 2011

finding my limits

I graduated with a 2.67 in high school. Right in the middle of my class. I didn't apply myself. It was easier to fail without trying than it was to try and fail anyways. At least that's what I thought. My junior year I did better, pushed myself, did well, got into college. After I got in to college, I was done tho, and thus, the 2.67.

I didn't adjust well to college right after high school. After a semester I left. At which point I got distracted by sex, drugs, and rock & roll. After a baby, a husband, and a house, I went back to college again. It went better this time, but once the divorce started, I had to stop again.

Fast forward five more years, and I'm back in college for a third time. And? Third time's a charm. I did brilliantly. I was shaky at first, thinking that I was pulling a fast one with every 'A' I earned, somehow fooling the university into believing I was smart. It was sometime during my sophomore year that I realized I wasn't pulling a fast one, maybe I was just smart.

Scholarships, accolades, awards, ceremonies, honors fraternities, speaking engagements, more A's, more 4.0's, more scholarships, endless success. There was nothing I could not do. Working full time, pulling 6 credits, then 7, then 9... plus social activities, mothering, wife-ing, hobbying, all of it.

So when I decided to go to med school, and I decided to finish all the pre-req's in a year, I figured it would be hard work, but I figured that I would just put my head down, work hard, focus, and it would all work out just as it always had. Brilliantly.

Chemistry 2 and Calculus. In six weeks. At the same time. Difficult? Sure, but it's either easy, or it's impossible. I was in the business of impossible. Can't and won't weren't in my vocabulary. The first day of Calculus, he casually mentions sin and cos and that we better be familiar with them. I wasn't.

I ordered a solutions manual. I read the textbook. I went for help. I got tutoring. I spent hours and hours pouring over material I didn't understand. I worked through problems, I met with other students. I devoted everything to Calculus. And it didn't work.

Yesterday I failed a chemistry exam. Not in the "oh, you got a B, and that's failing for you, isn't it?" way, but in the 49% failing kind of way. This morning I withdrew from calculus. And I visited my chemistry professor. And I took a nap. And a walk. And watched some tv. And did some chemistry homework.

I can't do everything all at once. I have limits. So I take algebra in the fall, trig in the spring, and pre-calc next summer. And then I try calc again. I'm not giving up, but I'm going to stop trying to climb up the front of the empire state building and maybe take the stairs instead. I'll earn it when I get to the top. Even if it takes me longer than I thought it might.

It ain't about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. And you know what? This makes a great story for "overcoming obstacles" for those med school interviews.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

and having a life too

I woke up this morning and realized that I need to find a way to fit some exercise back into my life. I'm toying with the couch to five k plan, but last time I tried that I wound up with a whole new batch of aches and pains, and really, the goal is to eliminate those. I have an elliptical machine, but it needs taken apart and put back together because something is wrong with it, but I don't know what. And it's raining.

In addition, I think it's just been laziness that keeps me from doing anything health-wise. I use the excuse that I'm always studying, or busy, or in class. I don't remember where I read it, but there was a list of questions about going into medicine that was trying to determine how badly you wanted it. One of the questions was: Are you willing to get fat?

Sure, I'm willing to get fat, but I'd like to avoid that if I can. I really want to become a runner, because you really don't need any special equipment for that (unless it's raining apparently) and... well, it seems cool. It also seems like something you can bang out in 20 minutes and be done with, and that fits into my hectic schedule.

Speaking of hectic schedule, my first sciency term is over. Bio 1 and Chem 1 with labs are over, under my belt, and on to the next adventure. This summer is Chem 2, Calculus (for the first time), and Bio 2. Bio and Chem with labs. Calc with apprehension.

I'm waiting on the grade on my Chem final, which was so bad, I immediately went to the bar and started drinking at two-o-clock in the afternoon. Thank goodness I had a friend with me because it somehow mitigated the eyebrow raising quality of the act.

I figured out how to pay bills and go to school at the same time this week, so that's a major accomplishment. I'm also extremely thankful that I didn't have to take any loans up until this point in my college career because now I get to live on those loans I didn't take. I actually feel good about this decision because it seems more manageable and more likely to keep me on the path. Not that I had doubts before...

iTunes emailed me this morning to tell me all about the Business books they have on sale. And my stomach turned. See, at one point in my life, I was all about going into business. I would own my own business, wear power suits, and plan mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. But it seemed somehow false and wrong, and as the years wore on, tedious.

This doesn't feel like that. This feels like every day is an adventure, a step closer to the ultimate goal, a cherished part of my life that fills me with immeasurable joy. And I'm fairly certain scrubs are more comfortable than power suits anyways...