Monday, December 14, 2015

Choosen: Set Apart: Appointed

Months ago my pastor spoke on "Find God's Purpose for your Life" and he stated "Before you were born, I set you apart for special work."

For the longest I've struggled with the infamous question "Why do you want to be a Doctor". There are no medical professionals, physicians etc. in my immediate family (or even distant) that I could look up to and/or that I aspired to be like. I am not from an affluent family, background or area, that would have provided me with exposure to various esteemed professions. I never really considered any of my families medical histories to be overly traumatic and there was no profound moments that showed me, "Wow this doctor just really saved my/their life".

I simply have had this vision, for as far as my memory will go, that I wanted to be a doctor. I don't know where it came from but I can list and describe encounters, feeling, statements and what have you, that I have experienced in my life both directly and indirectly through family and friends, that has strengthened my interest and it has been like a burning sensation in the pit of my stomach, that I cannot get rid of. And, for the longest I struggled with fact that whenever I came across that question, (Why do you want to be a Doctor), my answer was never the same, or it didn't sound as nice or as moving as others I've come across.

I would become flustered because I couldn't decide if my defining "Why Medicine Moment" was:
  • My grandmothers CHF (Congestive Heart Failure), End Stage CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease), or her COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) 
  • OR was my my Aunts' leg amputation due to diabetes and a series of strokes, that has left her barely functional and wheel chair bound
  • OR My mom's recent diagnose of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) ..... 
  • And the list can go on and on
Which then lead me to question if this was really my purpose in life. And, if so then why in the heck was it so hard for me the answer this questions, "Why do you want to be a Doctor"??

I've had moments during shadowing or working in healthcare in some capacity or another and even with family, that have been completely amazing, from conversations with patients that remind me of my Granddad's witty mouth, to some interactions that were so meaningful that I got butterflies, because the patients saw me in the same light that I always envisioned myself, as someone's doctor, someone's educator, someone's confident, someone's leader, and someone's inspiration.

Then I think about my family and their medical tragedies and triumphs and the battles we are still fighting. While, I initially thought that their stories were "Average", these moment were actually very profound and were indeed what lead me down this path. And, I discovered that it's OK that I cannot pin point just one moment, because I have a series of defining moments. It's ok that my journey it not like yours, his, or her's!

At 4 years old instead saying I wanted to be a princess, unicorn or singer when I grew up, I said I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to help the world and fix everyone's boo boos.  And despite saying this some 20 odd years ago, I knew in my spirit then, what I have grown to realize through life experiences what I know now. God makes no mistakes, the passion and vision he places in your life, whether it was a vision given to you at 4 or 40, he makes no mistakes. We just have to find our path in life and this may not be easy but it is definitely a worthy pursuit!

 "Before you were born, I set you apart for special work."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Interview Season : Mental Prep!!

Outside of finding the perfect outfit, dressing to impress and reviewing interview questions, you have to prepare your mind and spirit for the interview process. Being confident and free of anxiety is very important because if you're anything like me, you may find interviews to be a bit overwhelming and a definite source of stress.

Here are some bible verses that I have used in the past and will use this year to ease my mind and address thoughts of inadequacy and fear. Whether you are religious/spiritual or not; hopefully the words will resonate with you and are able to help you as much as they have helped me!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Interview Season: Dress to Impress!

Interview season is well underway. And, here are some of the ways I am preparing: participating in mock interviews (formal and informal), self practice with questions I have found online, and shopping for interview attire.

I have a few suits at home, but they have been worn quite often, not so much the blazers but I use the pants for work, church and any other outing, and the blazers do have signs of wear also. With that being said I opted to purchase a new suit.

A good business suit is definitely an investment and of course you want look very professional during your interview(s). I tend to sway more towards black in general, so I chose to purchase a black suit as well. In general most people recommend that women wear a black suit, but I have seen interviewees in Navy and Gray suits as well. However, your interview day is not the time to be overly fashionable or to stand out (for the wrong reasons), so safe is better than edgy or "Vogue".

In 2014 I was frantic, very very low on funds and the thrift stores in my area did not have any nice gently used suits (yes I said thrift store, some of them are very nice and have items that people have not even worn, if you don't have the funds for one reason or another and no one can provide you with financial assistance, this is an option.) So I purchased my suit from JCPenny it was Worthington brand. I believe I paid $75-85. Over all it was a nice suit, however I felt the material collected more lent than I would have liked. I would say though, the pants I purchased from them were great I went back and purchased 2 more, they were very clean looking and durable. I also wore the suit in the spring, it was a black pant suit with a lavender button down with a collar.

This year after doing a few online searches for something I could pick up locally at a retail store and then visiting a few stores, I decided on Macy's. I purchased a black (one button) Calvin Klein pant suit (Pants $60, Blazer $90 :-/) I originally purchased a two button version of the suit however after taking it home I was not comfortable with the length of the blazer (it was too short) so I exchanged it for a longer one button blazer in black as well (pictured immediately below). I purchased a pair of 2 inch heels because I knew I would be doing a lot of walking. A very comfortable brand was Corso Cosmo (1st choice but they were higher than I wanted to pay, luckily they didn't have my size lol) and INC (the shoes I purchased) I still have blouse shopping to do and this year I plan to go with a cream or white blouse, no color and I may get a different pair of shoes, if I can find a better deal.


Here are a few images I came across online of Do's and Dont's 

Soft Gray tones, stay away from shiny/metallic grays
Dont- No open toe shoes, loud colored accessories, or  mix match suit separates :-(
Image result for african american women in business attire
Dont- No open toe shoes,. Stick with black, navy or gray suits, and skirts should be a modest professional length  :-(
Image result for african american women in business attire
Dont- No open toe shoes, no stilettos, and no big showy accessories :-(

Monday, November 23, 2015

Free At Last :-)

"Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last"

I can say with pure joy that I have written my last secondary essay of the application cycle. I have probably written well over 10k words, 30k characters, paraphrased my already paraphrased experiences,  drowned readers with why I want to be a physician, and what makes me unique, in over 15 secondary applications.

As a re-applicant with previous interview experience I have learned a thing or too about the application cycle, most of which you may have already heard before but definitely worth reiterating.


This is a no brainer. If the primary application opens in June, please submit within 2-3 weeks at the latest. Keep in mind during peak periods verification can take up to 6 or 8 weeks. This means if you need to take the MCAT, determine the best study methods for you, then prep, prep, prep (that could be hardcore studying, hardcore practice test, etc.) and test during the prior fall months, January or at the latest April. Because when the application opens you need to be ready to submit, meaning having the score you want and all of your supplemental material ready to forward.


Tons of schools say they have a "Holistic" approach. And, while this sounds all good and dandy, it's not 100% true because if this was the case then schools that make this claim would not also have GPA/MCAT minimums. Competence matters and one major way schools gauge the academic capability of an applicant that they only know from an electronic application (until interviews start of course), is through measurements of academic performance such as the cumulative GPA and MCAT scores.
This is why applying early is so important, especially if your stats are not as competitive as they should be.
In 2013-2014 I was verified by mid/late July but I didn't get my first two (and only two) interview invites until Feb (I interviewed in March and April). In 2014-2015 with pretty much similar stats, yet more healthcare exposure and volunteer experiences, after being verified in mid/late September I did not interview at all. This is just one example, I am sure there are tons more, just remember timing matters and what you have to bring to the table matters also.


One thing that feels worst than missing a schools deadline, is paying to apply to a school you don't qualify for. Primary applications are expensive, and while receiving FAP (Fee Assistance Program) is a blessing, you shouldn't squander away even one slot and the chance to apply to schools that fit your interest, needs and qualifications.  I have done this before and it was a pure error on my part because I did not do my due diligence and do a complete "Investigation of the schools". Some schools will say flat out we only accept in state applicants, whether they are state funded or it is just there preference, don't waste time and energy applying. If a school says you need a minimum MCAT and/or GPA to receive a secondary application, don't waste time applying if you do not meet those minimums. Now mind you if a school says "Our average accepted MCAT/GPA is...." then that is a completely different thing. Another example is lifestyle preference, I had a classmate mistakenly apply to a school that had very strict and pronounced policies on LGBT behavior on campus due to their strong religious foundation, and this applicant identified with the LGBT community.


No matter what the "Stated" secondary deadline is always submit your application within 2 weeks of the receipt date. (Of course if the deadline is less than 2 weeks, submit sooner)
A medical profession (MD), who is also an alumni from my college, as well as the director of the Health Careers Department at my alma mater said "Submitting your secondary application within 2 weeks, is the rule of thumb, it's a behind the scenes way of judging students on their efficiency, desire to attend the school, and professionalism."

That's it for now I will share more tips in future post. In addition, I will create a post dedicated to how I am preparing for interviews (wardrobe, accommodations, "How to formally accept the invite", mock interviews and so forth). 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall and Spring Pre-Med Conferences

Interested in attending a pre-med/medical student conference this fall or spring check out this post

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Year 1

I have been so caught up with work, home life, my NP and the 2016 application cycle that I completely forgot that September marks a full year of blogging for me! Thanks to everyone that has read my blog, I appreciate your comments and views!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Greetings everyone!

I am going to try and keep this post short and sweet. I took my test Sept 3 ,2015. My scores were released yesterday afternoon 10-6-15. Up until this point I had done a pretty good job of not worrying too much about the outcome of this test, I knew I tried my best, I knew I changed quite a few right answers to wrong choices (how did I know this, why of course I looked up the questions/answers after the test LOL, something that I do not suggest unless you want to increase your likelihood of suffering from a premature stroke/heart attack LOL) and as time passed I reconciled with the fact that if this is for me then HE will show me the way and if not then I know HE will lead me down another path, in his own time.

This is not to say that I was not nervous to see my scores because I was. After 2-3 friends shared their scores with me during the later part of yesterday, I had made up my mind that I wouldn't look at my score until January lol and I was perfectly fine with that. But as I sat at my computer scribbling and doodling on pieces of scratch paper at 11:59pm, when I was suppose to be completing secondary apps. I said enough is enough, I would not continue to allow a test to own my life, like the MCAT has. My heart was beating so hard and so fast, I would have thought it was going to jump out of my chest. 

But I did it, its over and I will never ever ever ever never take this test again, no matter what happens during this application cycle because I have applied multiple times, tested multiple times, did summer programs, test prep, masters programs, post bacc, relocated, I am swamped in debt but despite it all  I have tried my absolute best, sacrificed not only precious time from my life but of my family as well. And if medical school/ being a physician is not for me "I am going to stop trying to swim in the ocean during a hurricane because there's so much more to life than holding on to Dreams that may not even belong to me anymore".  But right now I am happy as can be so we will see how things go!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Life Post MCAT 2015


I am finally free, well at least for an hour! I have a health fair to attend today, secondary applications to finalize and hopefully submit, non-profit stuff to do and a long list of other things written on a napkin LOL that I must do in order to reduce the chaos in my life. Now that I have taken the MCAT my stress level has gone from 10  to 6, which is a big plus for me and hopefully now I can focus on other things.

I tend to be a worry wort when it comes to test scores and my post test feelings sometimes are more intense than my pre-test feelings. I wonder if I changed too many questions, I want to review some of the material that was presented and this only adds fuel to an already blazing fire. Well as a part of my "Recovery" I am shying away from that type of behavior, I said that I would not look over material or anything while I wait for my scores. So I plan to do a post in Early-Mid October to share with you guys my MCAT Test experience, of course I will not be discussing any test specifics but just how I felt about each section etc. 

So back to more excited things such as AMCAS applications. I submitted my primary application later than I would have liked (Aug 4). My ideal submission date was between June 15- July 1 but I had so much going on at the time, I had just started my MCAT summer program, family issues, I needed to re-do my personal statement, and update my experiences among other things. I have applied before in the past so 90% of my app was already pre-filled and just needed to be proof read to spot any typos that I may have missed in the prior cycle. I was verified in literally 3 weeks. Which is less than the 6 weeks time frame that is listed on the website, I think this was mainly due to the fact that I am a previous applicant with no course additions, so they didn't need to recalculate my gpa and the time in which I submitted. As with all application systems there are "Peak submission dates" I am sure that tons of eager students submitted as soon as the application portal opened, before college classes start back and even towards the end of the cycle, which will lead to high traffic for the AMCAS verifiers, and extended verification lengths. 

Now on to secondary applications thanks to FAP I was able to apply to 15 schools, looking at the list that I have now, I should have done more research prior to starting my summer program to ensure that my application was as strategic as possible. Like why waste time applying to schools that have a very stringent GPA/MCAT cut off, despite not have my new test scores, I still did not want to apply to schools that would not even give me a secondary merely based off of my previous stats. Additionally as an African American Applicant, applying strategically is important, some schools make it known that they are interested in diversity. Of the over 85K medical school students enrolled in Allopathic medical schools less than 10% are AA students :-(  a very small slice of pie compared to the big picture and with HBCUs medical schools diversifying more and more each year we have to apply broad.

I will have to continue my Post MCAT 2015, Secondary application talk in another blog post at a later date. And to hear more about my Nonprofit Organization check out my new blog! Thanks for stopping by

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Different New Year!

Hey Guys!

It has been a while since my last post but I am happy to be back (for the moment). 

August is always an exciting part of the year for  most students or parents, August represents a 2nd New Year, somewhat a new beginning. At least in the sense, for me August is always the beginning of a New School Year, it represents the "Relative" end of "Summer" because it means back to the books, school and/or work.

So what's been going on with me during the last 2 months???

Well last month I became one year older. Yayy for me another birthday, another year of life, more opportunities to work towards my goals and enjoy my family.

I have been participating in a summer MCAT/Medical School enrichment program. My program is coming to a close and it will be officially over next week. I am registered to take the MCAT during the 1st week of September. I am in the midst of the AMCAS application process. I am considering applying to through AACOMAS as well but considering financial limitation that may not be possible (they ran out of Fee  Assistance Waivers in early July, which I think is ridiculous but that just my opinion). Other than that my summer program these last few months have been not very exciting, just long nights, studying hours on end, and class and home.  

After Labor Day I will definitely be more talkative LOL (after my test) and have tons more information to share with you all. For those of you starting school, going back to work or just simply ready to start a new chapter this month or next, I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors. Work hard, study hard and be the best you can be because you may only get one chance to prove yourself!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring/Summer Update

As I discussed in my previous post I have a few things up my sleeve for the summer months. Outside of my prep course (class time, studying and all that jazz) I will be working on getting my Non-Profit off the ground. The major work will not take place until Aug after I take the MCAT and it is set to launch in the fall, after 2-3 years of working on it off and on.

I think that researching my target groups, drafting proposals etc for my Non-Profit is doable even while participating in a summer enrichment course. I don't know about any one else but after going to class (in person and/or online) for 4-8 hours a day then studying for hours on end until I fall asleep, is not how my brain operates. I have to study in chunks and give my brain a break for the  MCAT and even from school material. During those breaks, instead of surfing the web looking at useless items, on gossip sites, facebook/IG/Twitter and so on, I plan to use a small fraction of the time during my study break to give my brain a cool down and feed my soul. Outside of medicine, I am very passionate about my non-profits' mission of and helping other individuals from similar backgrounds and circumstances as myself achieve their goals.

I will periodically blog about various stages of starting a non-profit organization, learn more about my mission, goals and about me of course, take a peek!
My Non-Profit blog page!

Summer Plans

Part 1
Summer Break has officially started for me. My son's last day of school was May 22nd and I must say we ended the school year spectacularly well. He received tons of awards at his 1st grade Spring Honor's Ceremony, The President's Award for Educational Excellence for receiving A's in every subject area all year around just to name one. I was definitely happy of his accomplishments and I gladly gave myself a pat on the back as well LOL now off to 2nd grade :-) And fortunately for him mommy knows that learning is a 365 day job so his summer will include a summer reading/math camp along with fun stuff life Six Flags/White Waters etc

As for me I will not have a summer break this year. I took a leave of absence from my job in order to participate in a Summer Enrichment Course that includes MCAT Prep. My last day was this past Friday and my class starts bright and early June 1st (a whopping 2 day break). After working every day thus far in May, I can say that I am completely exhausted, but since I will be out of work for at least 12wks I couldn't pass on working as much as I could to make up for the income I will be missing. I doubt I will have a moment to breathe this summer, Transitioning back into an academic setting, dealing with declining health of close family members, cross country transitions, working on my non-profit and so much more. I have a lot on my plate for this summer but I am welcoming it all with open arms, facing my fears, confronting health challenges, and multitasking is a continuous process that is preparing me for rigors and time constraints of medical school and eventually the hectic schedule of a practicing physician.

So I'm sure that you have gathered by now that I have decided to take the new MCAT. It was not my first choice but I have to face it, despite interviewing in previous cycles, I was not granted and interview this year. The medical school application process is becoming increasingly more competitive and if I hope to get into medical school I need to have more competitive scores to back the other aspects of my application. I chose to partake in a MCAT prep course because of my previous struggles with the MCAT which is ironic because I actually saw my largest increase in PS/BS (on the flipside also the greatest decrease in my VS) when I did self study prep. But this is a new test, new material, and I need to insure that I am doing everything I can to knock this test out the park!

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Langston Hughes said it best......

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

What happens when the only person that believes in you, is you? Does the dream disappear, does it fade? 

It either will grow bigger and bigger or slowly diminish until it becomes a memory you'd rather forget. Yesterday, I was told that "You are a mother your dreams come last." My goals, my ambitions no matter how noble they are, how promising, how whatever they may be, they should be deferred, and even forgotten. 
Its my choice how I choose to employ this "advice". Either I will run with it or toss it in the trash. I am a emotional being, a creative soul and days like this, when met with advice like this, and during times like these when everything seems to be going everywhere but up I write some of my best poems. For me giving up is not an option, and for the most part I try to find ways to turn negativity into something better, and sometimes drowning out the "Haters" especially when they are the people closet to you may be hard but like Nike says Just Do It! Choose your Muse

Monday, April 27, 2015


If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it,

to work day and night for it, to give up your time, your peace

and sleep for it… if all that you dream and scheme is about it,

…and life seems useless and worthless without it…

if you gladly sweat for it and fret for it and plan for it and lose all your terror
of the opposition for it…

if you simply go after that thing that you want with all your capacity, strength and sagacity, faith hope and confidence and stern pertinacity

…if neither cold, poverty, famine, nor gout, sickness nor pain, of body and brain, can keep you away from the thing that you want…

if dogged and grim you beseech and beset it, with the help of God, YOU WILL GET IT! 
– Les Brown

 I'm the one. I'M the one. I'M THE one. I'M THE ONE. YES I'M THE ONE!

See your dream, speak your dream, live your dream, embody your dream, manifest your dream, and Birth your dream into existence! Signing off, Until next time...  Dr. Shan A.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Doctor's Day!

Happy Doctor's Day to all the (future) physicians. Whether you are practicing, in residency, medical school, pre-med or in the middle of the road, keep hope alive!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Marching Forward

Is it just me or is the year flying by, I think I utter this statement every week because I feel like tomorrow when I wake up it will be summer time already. So here's a brief update: For the past few weeks my life has consisted of nothing but work, work, work, a few occasional movies, my son's basketball games on the weekends and practice during the week (thankfully the season ended last week, but now his baseball season has officially started) and the most exciting event was the Hawks game we attended last night, thanks to my son's great achievements in school, the Hawks organization awarded all students with outstanding academic achievements a ticket to one of their games and discount pricing for all additional tickets. It was a great game, we had awesome seats, the team performed well and, the crowd was very lively and my son enjoyed his very first ever NBA game.

As for this application cycle..... shoot me now :-/,
No but seriously it is not going as I would like, but I am not throwing in the towel so easily, I am praying, faithful, hopeful and all the above that things will work out in my favor. One thing I am not, is lost. I always have a plan or an idea brewing on my next steps and Im currently in covort mission mode, working to make sure Im active and more involved this summer.

I am human and I experience sadness (why is it so hard for me), bewilderment (why the heck am I not in medical school, I am a good person, I am passionate, empathetic, and smart) just like the next person. Despite the chaos in my personal life, I have so much to be thankful for that I have to keep pushing and moving forward towards my dreams and being a great role model of perseverance for my son and better yet I have to be strong for myself. I hope the application seasons is fruitful for everyone else, stay encouraged!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Flying February

Wow, I feel like time is just flying by. So here's is a mini update:

Last month (1/31/15) I attended/volunteered at the Atlanta Medical Association Heritage Fund Ball. I was slightly under the weather but I definitely enjoyed the event. There were over 500 people there, 95% of them were medical professionals in various stages of training. I felt very nostalgic in my Great Gatsby themed attire, I did a bit of networking (not as much as I would have liked) and I felt very motivated by the atmosphere of people.

I shadowed a few times last month but due to my work schedule I have not been able to be as active in volunteerism and shadowing as I would have hoped. So, in order to remain "medically fresh" I try to do educational tasks here and there while I'm at work. For instance, every time I hear a medical term that I am not familiar with I read over literature on the disease, condition, Rx, etc and give myself a brief pop quiz at the end of the week.

And of course my son keeps me very busy. Last month his school hosted an award ceremony to acknowledge the students for their fall semester achievements. I was very excited because my son was asked to give the "Welcome" for the 1st grade students honors program and I was even more excited for him because he received Principal's List, a Super Star Reader Award, and Perfect Attendance. Spring semester has been going great, we just have to adjust a few things because my work schedule keeps me out later than normal. He also has been keeping me busy because he plays basketball at our local YMCA and they have games every Saturday. You can imagine that watching 6 & 7 yr olds' play can be very entertaining and nerve racking at the same time lol.

Lastly, I plan to attend a pre-med conference at the end of this month (2/28). Its always exhilarating to be around other medical professional hopefuls! As far as this application process goes, there really hasn't been much movement for me. All of my secondaries have been submitted and of course I have received my share of pre-interview rejections (And of course I am an emotional creature so I was a bit devastated but life goes on) but no interview invites as of yet, I am keeping in mind that my interview invites last year were pretty late in the season as well. Even still I don't know how to feel or what to think about it. I am going to remain patient and stay motivated that everything will work out.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Info on Eastcoast Pre-Med Conferences!!!

If you live on the East Coast, more specifically the Southeast Region there are two upcoming Pre-Med conferences you may be interested in attending, If I come across any other conferences or seminars I will post those as well. Visit the links for additional information by clicking on the name of each event.

UF Medical College Forum with AMSA
Location: University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL
Time: 9am-5pm
Fee: Pre-registration $20: AMSA members in good Standing $15: Late registration $30
When: Jan. 31st, 2015 (right around the corner)

Why you might want to attend?
There will be over 15 Medical Schools in attendance (both MD and DO programs and 1 Caribbean School).

Medical Student Panel: You'll be able to ask them question, gain prospective on their day to day life, the application process

Various information sessions


Pre-SOMA Conference
Location: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carolina Campus, Spartanburg, SC
Time: 9am-5pm
When: Feb. 28th, 2015

Why you might want to attend?
Learn more about OMM and D.O medical programs.

Participants take part in clinical skills workshops.

Various information sessions



Sunday, January 25, 2015

To be or Not to Be?

No, I am not ready to relinquish my dreams of medical school and practicing medicine. However, I am a non-traditional applicant, I am over the 20 something hump, and people ask (and make random unwarranted statements) me more often then I would like:
                         Why aren't you in school yet?
                  When will you start medical school?
How long do you plan to pursue this thing(medical school)?
And the list goes on. For the most part I am not bothered by the questions and comments because I either choose to answer their questions or I simply don't (Or my 3rd option provide a very witty and sarcastic reply). However, whether you're a non-traditional or traditional student, you may wonder when is it time to move on? Of course I have my opinion but I am interested in hearing what others think.

How many times should  person take the MCAT  or apply to medical school before enough is enough?

I met a very nice young physician at a Christmas party a few weeks ago, she is Chief Resident of Surgery and despite her well composed demeanor and current accolades she shared with me that her journey towards medicine was not without obstacles. Last we got together and I shared with her my med school application/interview tales and my MCAT stats and even my frustrations. She shared tons of great advice and she helped me set a few concrete goals for myself. As we concluded our causal meeting she said "Despite your discontent with this or with that, you have to develop tougher skin, because at the end of the day you want something that only the admissions office can provide."

And, while I was definitely inspired after our talk and with my day to day life, and accomplishments. I can't help but wonder, anticipate and be anxious about my future and becoming a physician. Like really what in the world would I do with myself if I didn't become a Doctor? Honestly, I have no clue because I can't see myself doing anything else. A physician that my friend knows, told her that if she wanted to get into medical school and become a physician, than she shouldn't waste time with anything other than PLAN A! Yet, I feel like it would be crazy of me to not have a plan B, C-Z and etc because that's just who I am. I would rather be slightly prepared for the worst but hoping for the best than not prepared for anything at all.  Of course 99% of my alternatives involve taking some type of additional detour but they all lead to medical school. But what would I do if Med School isn't even an option? Should I even contemplate that?

As a mother, I am financially and emotionally responsible for the well being of another individual. A part of me wonders how long I can put the security of my son's future in limbo, while I pursue my life long dream. But then again, I think of how my path is an example of perseverance for him, it's teaching him to never give up on his dreams, let alone himself, and I know that as a physician I will be able to provide him with the best education, environment or other opportunities that I didn't have growing up.

This process is definitely not for the faint at heart and by no means will this be a cat walk, even for those that soar through undergrad/MCAT. I just have to remain faithful and positive because either it's meant to be or its not.

The Rising Doctor

Initially when I decided that I wanted to create a blog, I planned to maintain my anonymity.  I try to be very forthcoming and vocal in my posts and I felt more comfortable and able to speak my mind as a virtual blogger. My thoughts were that I would most likely say “Ta-Daa” here I am, this is me, after I entered into medical school.  And I wanted to remain an “Avatar” for no other reason than, I didn’t want to be vulnerable and completely exposed.  

As I evolve, become exposed to new settings, people and ideas; I am learning that vulnerability is not as scary as it sounds. Whether it’s trying new foods or going to an event or outing alone (and not with the crew) and spontaneously meeting new people,  at some point I decided that  it’s OK to be me, love the skin I’m in and try things out that would normally make me feel a bit nervous.  I definitely don’t suggest diving into the deep end of the pool if you can’t swim because stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a very scary thing, trust me I know but maybe test the water in the shallow end, and as you grow more comfortable and learn to float, progress to deeper water.

So here it goes, not a full biography but a few details for my readers J (feel free to email me if you have any questions)

I am the Rising Doctor and my name is Shan. I am a native of Georgia and I am in my late 20s. I am the mother of a wonderfully smart and active 7 yr old son. I attended both undergrad (HBCU) and graduate school in Georgia. As stated in previous posts, I am a current (and past) medical school applicant, outside of my full-time job as a medical school applicant LOL, I work in Healthcare Administration in a private practice office setting, I enjoy creative writing, medical shadowing, volunteering, youth sports with my son, and networking and I am currently working towards establishing a Non-profit Foundation. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Prejudice Healthcare System

While editing this post I made several changes and started over numerous times before finally deciding on the message I wanted to convey. Initially while reading you may think this is a random rant about our healthcare system but please read the post to its entirety because the conclusion is by far a contrast from the introduction.

The Healthcare system we have now is not one of equality, it is not one of what's fair is fair, or a healthcare system of "What would God do". At times it is a healthcare system of how will I get paid, who will pay the highest and those that can't afford to pay will receive the scraps. I decided to right this post because there have been statements, encounters and actions that I have witnessed, heard and experienced directly and second hand during my clinical exposure and during causal conversation, that would make a "Normal" (Average, traditional) person wonder why in the heck would I ever want to become a doctor.

We have a healthcare system, where some doctors will determine the type of care you receive (as in: if they order an EKG, CT Scan, Allergy test, etc) before they even meet you, merely based upon what type of health insurance you have or lack thereof. There are doctors that will develop preconceived notions about your health, your lifestyle, and your ability to comply with recommendations based solely on your race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

We have health insurance companies that decide 4 years of medical school and 3+ years of residency means nothing to them and if they want to reimburse you pennies on the dollar for your time and service then that is perfectly fine and they will not loose an ounce of sleep over it. There are insurance companies, that despite all of the training and experience a physician has, feel the need to override the medical recommendation made by physicians on prescriptions, exams, and referrals, with there own suggestions.

We have a system that allows someone with a nice comfy seat in Congress or in the Senate and even your local government (Governor etc) with more than likely no medical background and no true interest in patient advocacy, to make laws that affect our healthcare delivery system and to decide who has covered, who receives benefits and whose exempt from providing coverage.

In our healthcare system the Pharmaceutical industry is worth BILLIONS, they spends more money to wine and dine healthcare professionals and to market their drugs (millions, YES millions) than they do to actually produce the drugs. Yet, we have people in our county as well as abroad that can't afford their daily BP meds, insulin, antiviral drugs and so on.

We have a healthcare system that has contributed the structure of the medical admission process that exist today. Which puts more emphasis on...... I will rest me case here LOL because I could go on for day with this topic.

My professional and personal encounters have exposed me to good, bad and ugly aspects of our healthcare system. While, appalled at some of the things I have discovered, it has honestly only increased my passion, elevated my drive, and revamped my motivation to become a physician. Outside of the medical statistics that we can read about in journals and articles on policies, healthcare reform, Pharma and more, I have tons of personal stories of my own, that may be small in comparison to another person, or to the world at large but to me they are my motivation.

Every now and then, when I'm feeling a little discouraged about the MCAT, the application cycle or what have you, I think about my personal stories. Such as my granny, she is my buddy, we butt heads and joke around like pals. Despite not having and MD/DO behind my name, I am her Concierge Physician. I am constantly hounding her and my granddad about their health, I have to scold them at times, like their my children about their poor habits, their detrimental choices in meals, explain to them medical terms, dissect their lab results and that's not even half of it. I pray that they will be around to see me walk across the stage, finish residency and practice medicine. Not just to share these memories with me but because I want to be able to use my gift and expertise to help them. I see them struggle daily, they take literally dozens of pills, they suffer from everything imaginable, yet they still manage to help and encourage me. If one day, I could cure every illness they have, then this long journey would be more than worth it.

Despite its dysfunction, there is good in our healthcare system. And, despite our very competitive and at times unbalanced (and bunch of other crap) medical admissions process it produces tons of great medical providers. So as Applicants, Premeds, or Spectators, if you ever get discouraged, just hold on tight to the stories/experiences that led you down this rugged road, because when it gets dark they will definitely light the way for you! And remember no matter how hard life becomes your conclusion may be by far a contrast from your introduction.

*The statements in my post do not represent every physician, every insurance company, every politician, every pharmaceutical company, nor do they represent every medical school.*

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year!

Technical difficulties prevented me from posting one last 2014 blog entry, nonetheless I am thankful for a new day and every last 365 days of 2014. I met tons of great people, traveled more than I have ever traveled before, acquired new skills, I started this blog, I interviewed with Medical Schools, I smiled, I cried, I laughed,  I rejoiced and most of all I never lost sight of the things that are most important in my life!

I am not much of a New Year resolution type of person because I set goals for myself periodically throughout the year already. So as apart of my normal routine, I am working on a budget so that I can become more financially stable and save more. A few weeks ago I open a fortune cookie, it contained two fortunes, the quote of interest to me stated that I would move into a new home within the year. I am not a superstitious person because of my faith in God, but this quote mirrored a goal that I have had for quite sometime and due to my future schooling somewhat in limbo right now (not knowing if I remain in state or have to relocate) I had halted my interest in finding a nice home in a great school district for my family but I think now is a great time to prepare myself by clearing out some of my outstanding debt and to work towards building a secure savings nest.

I have taken on  more responsibilities at my new job, which has left little room for shadowing and volunteering. So I plan to look for family oriented volunteer projects to participate in, this will allow me to still volunteer and also introduce my child to a healthy activity as well!

As for medical school, the secondary application process and so forth. I have submitted all but one of my secondaries and I plan to mail it out today. If I am financially able I will submit a few more applications next month. No interview invites yet, I am remaining patience because last year around this time I was in the same position. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Once you've submitted your application, the process is out of your control, you can't changed the grades they view, the scores they see, the personal statement they read, with that being said I just have to trust that everything will work out as it should. To keep my mind at peace and continue to be productive, I have tons of things to work on including getting my non-profit off the ground, this has been a very tedious and time consuming process but as with everything it requires patience.

Thank you for reading my blog, commenting, and so on, there's more to come in 2015!