Gap Year Musings

While looking for inspiration for today’s blog post, I decided to spend a little time rummaging through the archives of Earplug8. I realized two things: I definitely talk too much, and you probably have no idea what I’m up to these days.

To address the first issue, I will try to keep things brief. I will inevitably end up failing.

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As for the second issue, let’s dive right in. I made a brief mention in my last post (read it here: 1,658 Sheep and I’m Still Not Asleep) that I have since graduated from the Best College Ever™ — aka the University of Southern California. Okay cool, now what? Well, if you are an OG Earplug8 reader, you will know that at the end of my sophomore year, I decided to pursue medicine as a career (wanna read about it? No? Here’s the link anyway: Denny From Grey’s Anatomy). Good news, guys! I didn’t give up! I graduated with a degree in Health and Humanity and an imaginary degree in how to navigate the jungle that is medical school applications. Most of May 2017 and the first day of June 2017 consisted of trying to boil down four years of experience into a concise resume and personal statement to send to more medical schools than I wish to count. Sounds like a lot of work right? Aren’t I so glad I got that over with? False. It’s not over. After I sent the first application to all those medical schools (called the “primary application”), I was sent individual “secondary” applications from each of the schools I listed on the primary application. Secondary apps are akin to supplemental apps — they have essay questions that are more targeted to each medical school’s interests. July 2017 was a blur of emails from schools, each with their own set of prompts and character/word counts. My Macbook and I put in some double overtime hours working through those. Done, right?! NO. Next (and this is the part I am currently in the midst of) comes the INTERVIEWS. After your interview, you will finally receive a decision about the status of your admission from the school.

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What a process, right? There has been a lot of soul searching and even more character count cutting than I have ever done in my life. On top of the host of issues an applicant must consider in presenting him or herself as a viable medical school candidate, I also had to consider When to Say When. When do I tell medical schools I am hearing impaired? How do I tell medical schools I am hearing impaired? DO I tell medical schools I’m hearing impaired? I know I am not the only applicant with a story to tell, so the series of questions I just presented above is a universal dilemma. Basically, how does one condense his or her story into a neatly packaged essay or interview that proves to admissions committees that the challenges he or she has experienced has molded him or her into a person that will become a successful physician? I honestly don’t know if I did it right, but I do know that I am proud of how I have presented myself thus far. I hope that the adversity, challenges, failures, and successes I have chosen to share are a realistic and accurate portrayal of the person I have become and a predictor for the person I will soon be.

I can’t have gone too wrong with my choices thus far, because I have begun to receive a few interview invitations (holy guacamole folks, this is happening) from schools. As I prepare for interviews, I realize this is the step I am most excited about. I can’t wait to “meet the schools” and to have the schools truly meet me — not the 2-D paper version of me (or technically, electronic version of me? It’s a paperless world and we are all just living in it). Let’s see how this goes, shall we?

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I would say that applying to med school is a full time job. Actually, no, it definitely is a full time job. But I also have an actual job too! I have been employed as a scribe in a dermatology office nearby. You guys, I get to wear scrubs! Feels very official. My scribe job has been intellectually fascinating, but it is also an illuminating glimpse into the world of outpatient care. How a clinic is run, how the medical assistants (MAs), front desk employees, doctors, scribes, and office managers interact — I am gaining an education about healthcare that I never truly considered before, which is crazy because health care management is the grease on the wheels of efficient healthcare delivery.

Another aspect of my scribe job (one that is personally satisfying) is my ability to be successful as a scribe. Hearing well and hearing accurately is a large part of being a good scribe. There is a lot of background chatter and many conversations are held in hushed voices so as not to violate patient confidentiality. I have to have my ears on everyone, all at once: the doctor, the MA, and the patient. At first, this job was so unbelievably overwhelming. For a crazy moment, I wondered if my hearing might actually hold me back. But then I remembered who the #%$! I was and figured it out. Now, the job feels natural.  I am becoming familiar with the medical terminology and the names of the endless drugs, creams, serums and ointments. I have become accustomed to always being “on” and aware of the conversations going on around me. I have learned to stand in an optimal position to hear, but also ensure that I am not in the way. I have also learned when to ask for clarification, and when to make a note and come back to it. I realized I need to get comfortable with making notes and moving on — the most important task is keeping up with the provider. Most importantly, I have learned how to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed because ultimately, it is not about me. It is about making sure the patients’ experience in our clinic is smooth because their electronic medical records are up-to-date and accurate.

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(me, getting the job done)

Long story short, my experience working as a scribe has been truly invaluable. The education I am getting about dermatology is fascinating, the education I am getting about how an office works is insightful, and the education I am getting about myself, my capabilities and my ability to navigate a difficult situation is comforting.

Well folks, there is a lot going on these days, and my gap year is only beginning! This summer has been a memorable one — definitely one of the hardest, but also the most rewarding so far. But you know what? I hate to be that girl, buttttt I am pumped for fall. I am feeling very autumnal and ready for the next chapter. Don’t worry though, I haven’t worn leggings in months and I strongly despise coffee, so a pumpkin spice latte is out of the question.

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2 thoughts on “Gap Year Musings

  1. Cant wait for the next chapter

    I know you will make a fabulous doctor, even if you have to attend a lousy school like UCLA or Stanford!!!

    Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse any typos. Joel Kabaker. Time Financial 818.429-1400

    Liked by 1 person

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