Sunday, June 19, 2011

vortex of negativity

Saturday morning was tough. Tough, tough tough. Basically, the location of our group training run sent me into a tailspin of negativity. Thank goodness that I change emotions quickly, because my avalanche was 

For pretty much my entire life, all I've wanted to be is a doctor. I have worked very hard to do everything I needed to do to make this happen. I got waitlisted at OSU-COM, my dream school and was told it all came down to needing to have a semester of super-solid grades to gain an acceptance. I got accepted to a graduate program at a medical school in Kansas City, KCUMB and knew that everything was coming together perfectly. I would do the 1 year special master's program in biomedical sciences and be so awesome that I would have to make a tough decision between staying in KC for med school or coming back to Tulsa for the school I had always wanted. Or so I though. After a miserable couple months in Kansas City, at a school near one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, where the master's students were treated like leftovers, an apartment near the school that felt like a guarded prison and many classmates that I had a tough time becoming friends with, I made one too many C's and was kicked out. Well, first I was allowed an appeal and even with an adult ADD diagnosis (I literally balled while reading a book on adult ADD after my diagnosis, how could this author know my brain so well?!). Of course my appeal didn't get accepted and after wasting the first 3 weeks of the spring semester studying my balls off, I finally received the school's decision and got the hell outta KC. I'm not bitter or anything. Actually, during Christmas break, while I was getting my appeal together, I read through old journal entries for the fall semester and was saddened to realize how almost every one of them was me basically being upset with myself that I wasn't able to succeed like I wanted to and how unhappy I was with my whole life in KC. Sometimes things don't work out because they are not supposed to. 

Since then I have been learning to come to terms with the fact that my life dream is no more. Most of the time I am pretty OK with it. Although I would love being a doctor and the work they do, I don't want to spend 4 years in med school, studying every waking hour. I don't want to then spend years as a resident on the bottom of the food chain. I don't want to work 70 hours a week and never see my future children. 

The negativity started while crossing this bridge to the other side of the river. OSU-COM is right over that bridge. Those apartments you see to the left are where many medical students live because it is so close to the med school. I had already run a mile as I was crossing the bridge and all of a sudden felt so slow and tired, but I kept going. I ran right between the apartments and the river. I was mostly by myself because the other runners in the group are faster with the walkers behind me. It was rough. I just felt sad for all of the dreams I had had that involved that school and medical school in general. I had visited the school multiple times for tours and interviews and had done a lot of visualizing of myself in that building with all my books, learning such amazing things about the human body. Luckily I never ran directly pass the school, once you're across the bridge and down by the river, you can't see the school over the apartment buildings. 

But soon I was past the apartments and running on new trails. The negativity slowly drained away as I ran away. Soon I ran to a "pit stop" of our running coach at her car with some cold water and poweraide. I was happy to see her and other runners from my group. By that point I had gone two miles. It was hot and humid and sometimes when you're physically tired, you can't quite think as much about negative things that suck your energy. I though about Team in Training and what I was committed to and why I was doing it. Just because I will not become a doctor does not mean I cannot make a difference in the lives of patients. Just because I will never get M.D. or D.O. after my name does not mean that I cannot accomplish great things in my life. 

I said bye to the runners and headed off to continue on my path. I kept running and pushed myself to enjoy the scenery and new places and things, swallowing about 395,328 gnats in the process. I would see very fit runners go by and focused on seeing myself like that. I thought about how in a couple months when I can run many miles comfortably, how I will feel when I see newer runners just getting their stride. I also thought about how excited I was to finally run on the pedestrian bridge, which is an old converted railroad bridge. It was so cool over the water! 

I made the full 4 miles and was proud of my accomplishment. Considering how slow I was going during my negative thinking and my walking breaks and how long I stopped mid-run, I think I had a pretty good pace! I also enjoyed looking at other runners in my group as they finished their miles (many run 10+) and reminded myself that most of them have never even given medical school a though and their life is fine. They probably don't even know what the MCAT is and that is fine with them. 

I also thought of all the cool things I have gotten to do since I stopped pursuing medical school. I have my first full time job. Though it's not the most exciting job in the world, I love being able to leave work and not have to think about it again until I got back the next day. As a student, esp. a pre-med, you always have a list of things you could/should be working on. Its refreshing to have free time. I would not have been able to sign up for and participate with Team in Training if I had stayed in school. This experience is changing my life and I am loving every minute of it, even when negativity strikes.  

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