No Rest For The Wicked

by Lorien E. Menhennett

Well, I don’t know that I’m “wicked,” per se … I hope not, at least! But there has definitely been no rest for me lately. Which is why I haven’t posted in ages. (And for that I apologize to my readers.)

Here is what has been going on …

grad_imageSaturday, May 5, I graduated with my second bachelor’s degree, a Bachelor of Medical Science, from Dominican University. I walked in the graduation ceremony; I felt like that would make the whole two-year post-bac experience – and graduating – more “real,” if that makes sense. My parents and my boyfriend came to the ceremony, so that was nice.

Yes, you read that right … I have a boyfriend! We’ve been dating for about six weeks now, and things are going very well on that front. The whole online dating thing really DOES work!

But back to school. I finished out my program with a 3.95 cumulative GPA, for which I am quite proud. Not quite the 4.0 I was hoping for, but not too shabby. I wound up with an A- in both Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry II, definitely the two hardest classes I’ve taken in my program. And quite difficult by reputation, as well. Given that I got divorced in March, and that my grandma became very ill in April, I am satisfied with my performance. Along with my 3.94 GPA from my initial Journalism undergrad at UIUC, I’m at the top of the hill, for the most part, in terms of grades. Which is good, considering how competitive MD/PhD programs are.

I apply to medical school next month, which is a trial in itself. The application process is incredibly arduous, in terms of entering all your coursework and grades, biographical information, arranging for transcripts, getting your letter of recommendation writers to submit their letters on time, polishing your essays and extracurricular activities blurbs … it’s like a full-time job. And given everything else that’s on my plate right now, I’m a little stressed about it. Because in addition to the application, I’m taking the MCAT on June 21, and need to continue to prep for that.

Also, I’m moving. Which is always fun, right?! I’m moving in with my mom, which I mentioned in a previous post as a possibility. And it’s come to fruition. It’s not ideal; obviously I’d rather keep my own place. But I simply can’t afford it, given the expense of applying to medical school (several thousand dollars, literally), future interview expenses (hopefully!), etc.

Not to mention that I currently don’t have any income, since all I keep getting from my job application efforts are rejections, and my school loan money has almost run out. Thankfully, I do have a tentative part-time job opportunity at the UIC lab where I worked that last two summers. I met with the PI there a couple of weeks ago, and when I asked him for suggestions on where to apply for lab jobs, he said he would be willing to hire me part time, assuming he could scrape together the money. He is talking with the grants administration people, and hopefully getting back to me soon on that. What’s nice about working there, with a boss who would be completely supportive of my goals, is that it would be no problem for me to take a few days off for med school interviews now and again. That was one of the things I was really worried about in finding a job, given that most places don’t give you any vacation time until after you’ve worked there for some months, maybe even a year. And I couldn’t exactly keep calling in sick … I’d eventually get fired, definitely. So this is a best case scenario, in terms of logistics.

In summary, MCAT, moving, and job hunt … all of these things are definitely keeping me on my toes. Thankfully, we journalists are trained to deal with high-stress situations, so I’m handling things pretty well, and staying on task.

Well, I better get back to it. I move on Monday (Memorial Day … a day to remember for sure!), and I haven’t packed a single thing. At least I’ve bought the boxes. Although they’re still in my car. I better change that, and soon.

Wish me luck!