Long-Overdue Update

by Lorien E. Menhennett

Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted here. So very much has happened. I’m almost not sure where to start. So if this becomes Faulkner-esque stream of consciousness writing, please pardon me; you’ll understand, I hope.

1. MCAT. My score (33 total: 10/PS, 12/BS, 11/VR) was not quite what I’d hoped it to be. My goal had been a 35. But it’s a decent score, more than a decent score, and with my GPA, ECs, LORs, etc. it makes me a very attractive candidate.

2. Applications.
– 25 schools in the primary round
– 23 secondaries (2 only give you secondaries if you get an interview, and I didn’t/haven’t)
– 4 outright rejections (but that leaves 21 still considering me)
– 3 interviews, 1 down, 2 to go (and the next is this coming Wednesday, 10/16, so wish me luck)

3. Money. This has been a sore spot, and a struggle, for me for the last couple of years, as I have written about here frequently. Paycheck to paycheck, sometimes not quite making it and having to ask for money (not something I like to do). Not because I’m a slacker, but because I took a very low-paying lab job for the experience, and my Joint Commission Resources freelance work (which is great pay) just couldn’t make up the difference. I had no idea how I was going to pay for applications (which, thus far, have cost about $3,500, and this is without any long distance interviews). Thankfully, I have some great people in my court, who have helped me make this happen. And then, I got a …

4. New job. Yep. Not that I was dissatisfied, work-wise, with my old one. Although it was only part time, and I didn’t have benefits (and my current benefits were to run out August 31, 2013). I interviewed for several positions, and finally landed one in Peds/Neonatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Full time, higher pay, and benefits (which kicked in September 1 – talk about good timing). It’s been a great learning experience thus far. I do a lot of mice work as I did before, but LOTS more surgeries. And this time on itsy bitsy mice (hence neonatology). Cannulating the trachea of a 5 gram mouse is definitely a challenge in dexterity, but one I am mastering. We’re researching bronchopulmonary dysplasia and BPD-associated pulmonary hypertension, so it’s again lung-related which is interesting. One of my PIs is an MD/PhD, the other is an MD. It’s been good to talk to them both about academic medicine (they also do clinical work at the NU NICU), given that they took different medical degree paths to get to a combined practice/research situation.

Well, that’s a good summary for now. I’ll try to be better about updating …

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