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Tag Archives: FAST

2Q29 report

(182/365)

The midpoint of year 29 kind of snuck up on me. I suppose that’s because these last three months have been a whirlwind of activity: with med school secondary apps (19) and Red Cross shifts (100+ hours) on top of the usual work responsibilities, it’s been busy, but in a good way. (Well. I can say that now, but in the thick of essay-writing, I think I had different emotions.) It has given this latest quarter a different quality than the one before it, feeling more purposeful and less like merely treading water. There are glimmers of hope for the future, maybe from proofreading my secondaries numerous times; they are tempered by doses of realism, but in the end, optimism wins out, buoyed by the sense that I’ve found what I want to do.

Maybe it’s fitting that this past weekend I hit the ground running to start this third quarter, logging some not-uneventful hours at Irish Fest, but the tone for this quarter will be set by the folks on the various admissions committees and whether they like what they read…

red cross training, part one.

(15/365)

Completing my first in a series of FAST training workshops yesterday, this one on trauma emergencies, it seems to me that this is not unlike what med school will be like: there’s a lot of information being launched furiously at you in a short amount of time and you’re expected to pick it up just as fast, but none of it will actually start to make sense or be internalized until you actually start on the job. It’s certainly not unique to medicine, but the experience is something I haven’t needed to go through in well over six years.

What I suspect isn’t quite like med school is the diversity of backgrounds of everyone who’s volunteering. There are medical professionals, sure, but there are quite a few self-proclaimed non-medical professionals–IT professionals/computer geeks–participating as well. Given my own motivations, it’s unsurprising. From my conversations with them so far, the running theme is that they aren’t completely fulfilled or otherwise satisfied by their jobs, usually because of the sedentary aspect of the job and because there’s little sense of having made a difference. And so it is that they came to volunteer for the Red Cross.

Beyond the full-time job holders are the students, some pre-meds, some of whom are switching into medicine after having studied something completely unrelated in their undergrad careers. I met two fine arts post-baccs who are slogging through pre-med classes, and of course I had to ask if they had already hit organic chemistry¬† (isn’t that the bane of every pre-med’s existence?), but they couldn’t relate to that particular misery yet. We talked shop more than anything else–classes, MCATs, applying to med schools–but I would have liked to have found out more about why they’re changing course in life. It’s always interesting to me to hear the reasons why people decide to pursue a career in medicine; plus, it gives me a chance to continue hashing out for myself my own reasons for what I’m doing.

All in all, it was a good session, learning a lot and interacting with a variety of people. There were definitely some insecurities to work through, though. It’ll fade as I get into the swing of things, no doubt; I just wish I didn’t have to wait until the next workshop in April.

what’s in a name, and in a similar vein.

At tonight’s FAST orientation, I did something I haven’t done in awhile: introduce myself as “Tony.”* It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment choice occurring while filling out a stick-on name badge; a question not normally asked but nonetheless answered, in the blink of an eye; an action ostensibly with no consequence, though, in retrospect, laden with symbolism. It was a small gesture that signifies, I think, by its nature, a new beginning; the anticipation of not just a new decade but a new path in life; and at the same time, harking back to a distant former existence, a return to what was.

Oh, and the orientation was rather inspiring. I am now booked for something like 25 hours of training and at least as much of actual service–and wishing I had found this team sooner.

* * *

The name of a blog that Saralyn, a fellow Northwestern SCS pre-med survivor, is rebooting, “Med School Maybe,” reminds me that this whole becoming-a-doctor thing isn’t written in stone…being accepted to a med school somewhere isn’t guaranteed at all, and there is a ton of crap yet to be done just to get my application ready. Hell, when was the last time I actually applied for anything? Must have been my job interview…six years ago. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the panic and worry over college apps. With grad school apps, or even the job interview with GE, there was less of a concern since I had fallback plans, so you’d think that should be the case here, but I’m really waiting for the other shoe to drop. Med school admissions committees: I should think that going through the hell of applying to med school when I’ve got a reasonably secure** job that allows me to contribute something to society shows some level of commitment.

* Ever since I graduated from high school, I would always first introduce myself as “Anthony,” answering “either is fine” if then asked if I preferred “Anthony” or “Tony.” During high school, though, it was pretty much “Tony.” And if I met someone through a high school friend, or if someone were associated with my high school, I would introduce myself as “Tony.” Come to think of it, it might have been a mixed bag during college.

** No doubt that, by stating that, I’ve now jinxed it.