Month: January 2016

I should be studying, but I’m excited!

I really need to study and analyze some data–seriously, “Analytical Chemistry” should just be called “Applied Statistics” because that’s what I’m pretty sure it is–damn, I’ve digressed already–but I’m excited, and I feel like writing about it.

My whole life, I’ve never really had a “thing.” I’ve never had one clear vision or dream, though I have had plenty of goals, and even accomplished a number of them. I’m not speaking only of career plans or the sorts of things on a bucket list. I’m also talking about hobbies. Some years I follow the NHL, and other years I follow MLB. I might run for exercise for several years, then do yoga for a number of months, then devote myself to weight training for the next year. In many things and in many ways, I do feel that “variety is the spice of life.”

Now I will say that running would be more of a constant in my life if it weren’t for injuries derailing my training big time, but besides that… I’ve never really gotten obsessed with anything. Even my favorite books and movies and shows come from a wide variety of genres. About every other week I ask myself the question, “Is Thai food my fave? Or Mexican?” That’s me.

So it’s not surprising to anyone who knows me that I’ve taken a wide variety of classes in both high school and college. It’s not surprising that it took me until age 25 or 26 to decide on the right major–or that I still fantasize about minoring in basically everything!

In a way, it’s hard having options. I remember when I was a teenager being terribly frustrated about having no clue what to do with my life. I asked my mother about a thousand times what she wished I would do because I felt that I could pursue anything if I felt like I had a reason to–and yes, pleasing Mom is a reason. My mom wouldn’t even narrow it down for me. She gave me ZERO ideas or suggestions. Flat out refused, and insisted she wanted me to find what made me happy.

Yeah, well, five+ years later, I started to strategize. Process of elimination, baby! I’ve volunteered here and there, did a teaching internship, and generally gotten to know myself better. I won’t detail these experiences, but interestingly–now, anyway–is that very early on, I eliminated healthcare professions from my mind, with the exception of public health and/or epidemiology.

I eliminated that on the grounds of my queasiness. I was never squeamish as a kid or teen, but during my early twenties I slowly became more and more sensitive to certain things. I nearly fainted a few times. I made a few nurses on the bloodmobile look really nervous over my pallor. I hated doing first aid training on my ship (fake guts hanging out and all that). I have some ideas about why and how this happened, but that’s not important.

But it changed a few months ago when I had to have a suspicious mole excised from my back. The nurse practitioner who did the procedure conversed with me to ease the quease if you will, and I asked her how she’d gotten into her field. I explained to her, basically, the paragraph before this one. Then she told me, “I used to be like that, but I really wanted to be a nurse. So I went to nursing school. I must’ve fainted about a dozen times before I didn’t anymore.”

My mind was blown… blown open to the possibility that I could train myself not to feel faint. Not long after, I made my first blood donation in several years, and it was wonderfully uneventful! (I did feel a little fainty just at the end when the needle was removed from my arm, but I got over it quickly!)

Now a variety of things have influenced me, made me wonder about becoming a physician. I’m not going to write about all of these things. But in keeping with my strategy of, “Try to get a taste before you spend a lot of time working toward entering a profession,” I attended a conference for premedical students today.

It was fantastic.

During the ultrasound lab, I did have to pretend to leave for the restroom for a minute to sit and sip water due to faintiness–but I got right back in there, and looked at organs, and talked about what could go wrong… and enjoyed myself and was fascinated and felt good about it. It was unlike my teaching experience where although it felt 110% worthwhile, I would still summarize it as “uncomfortable” if I had only one word. It wasn’t really uncomfortable, even though I kind of expected it to be; after all, I’d never rubbed a bunch of gel over a stranger’s naked chest and then looked at their insides before. As I was looking for my test patient’s heart, gall bladder, and some other stuff I don’t know about as I’ve yet to take anatomy and physiology, I really just felt good. I felt ignorant, but I felt good. I felt like I wanted more.

There was much more to the day. I had gone to the conference sort of hoping to be convinced that medicine wasn’t for me, like I was convinced that teaching isn’t really for me, or that cooking in a big kitchen isn’t. But that’s not what happened. I mean who wants to want to do something that requires so much damn school? You gotta finish undergrad with a good GPA, score well on an all-day test of topics like physics and organic chemistry, complete a bunch of other courses (if you’re not a bio major, which I’m not), network with people who actually want to recommend you, volunteer, yada, yada, yada, all so you can go to school for another four years, with residency after that. Yeah, I don’t want to want this, but I do. I’ve never felt this way about a potential profession before. This isn’t a “I could do that.” This is a “I wanna do that.”

So maybe now I have a whole new sense of purpose in school. On that note, and since my lab partner texted me–back to “Determination of Seawater Chlorinity and Fluoride Content Using Fajan’s Titration and Ion Selective Electrode”–my juicy lab report.