a new year brings an exit strategy

I’m at an interesting point in my life. I’m a senior in college and I just turned 21. Now my journey into real independence begins. I’m still at home–something I really need to work on… NOW. I can’t take the complaining and whining about me living my life on my own terms.

Last year I was giving much thought to how I would execute my plants to achieve my future goals. I definitely had goals, though somewhat unstable. Freshman year it was MD, sophomore year it was MD/PhD (the PhD in some biological science), junior year was just PhD, and now at senior year I have resolved to go the MD/PhD route. My decision really came down to the simple fact that getting the best of both worlds will open many opportunities to me. The eventual degrees wont narrowly dictate my career choice. It may take a little longer, but I’m up for the time (7-8 yrs). I think of it this way: the things I will be doing in grad school—like learning good basic science—will be the things I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. Moreover, I’ll be learning to balance the private life and career/academics so that when I do get out of school, it won’t be such of new thing for me.

However, this decision was a little too late for me to go on to school right out of college… Med school apps and MCAT administrations have already taken place. My option right now is to do what is called a ‘post-baccalaureate‘ program. There are several types of this program, but the kind I want to do allows me to do research with a Principal Investigator working on a topic of interest to me (I’m hoping something in cell biology, cancer biology, or virology) for about a year or two before I apply to medical and/or graduate school. I’ve done summer research experiences, but this is really good because I get the experience of what it’s like in a real research environment for an extended period of time. And my eventual goal is to publish in that year (or two?). This looks really good to the MD/PhD admissions committees! Of course, this is much to the chagrin of my folks. They want me to go straight into my graduate education because they think I’ll get ‘distracted’ or ‘caught up.’ But I didn’t want to rush into something without all the facts or preparation.

I am starting on the applications for these programs TODAY. They will bring one step closer to getting out of this house. Time is of the essence as I’m on break for another week. When I get back, I plan to be bogged down by academics, research, extracurriculars, an MCAT class, and most important… GRADUATION!

These post-bac programs are paid, and as such I’ll be getting an apartment wherever I go. The prospect of my own place is thrilling. A place where I can actually live my life without restrictions! Perhaps I shall keep this thought in my head as I plan my exit strategy.

I just need to get recommendations and an essay together. My plan is to do all that I can in my power before I go back to school next week. There are a lot of little loose ends I’m worried about, but I hope they will take care of themselves.

Now, time to munch on birthday cake! *num num num num*

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