Posted by on 05.15.08 | 4 Comments
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It’s May 15, the deadline for an answer from OHSU. I’ve been waiting for this day for…. ever. OHSU is the medical school I’ve been dreaming about since 2005 when I decided to strike out on this insane journey to become a doctor. In fact, when I decided I wanted to be a doctor, it was more like I decided I wanted to be an Oregon doctor, delivering Oregon babies in a covered wagon. Or something like that. Otherwise, forget it. For two years as a post-bac student, I planned to apply to one medical school only. I wanted to live in the northwest forever, and I might as well be a doctor while I was doing it.

Well, here’s the way the last year has gone. I was supposed to chronicle this journey of acceptance into medical school. Instead, I ended up journeying my ranch chickens and a few other things that, to be honest, have kept me grounded and sane throughout this long road to medical school. If I blog about career options, where’s my escape?

In November, I was accepted at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. During my two day visit, I fell in love with the city, with the school, with the people at the school, with the lake by the school, and the cheese- everywhere. When I opened that letter, I shrieked and squealed, and called my mom. Part of my elation was getting accepted somewhere, and part of it was getting accepted somewhere I loved. I had already been accepted at another school, but something about the conference furniture and floppy cheese sandwiches during orientation turned me off. This acceptance was different. It felt like the boy I liked, liked me back.

That was months ago. As time passed, I began to give up on OHSU. He wasn’t calling (metaphor continues), and who wants to date someone who doesn’t feel the same way? I had plenty of time left, so I tucked medical schools away and focused on work, family, and all the other things a 27 year-old with a life is supposed to focus on. But my life seemed to be making me wait for it. And wait, and wait. In January, I finally heard from OHSU and was offered an interview. I went. And began to wait again. Since then, I’ve struggled with these two options with a heavy heart. When I wake up, and when I go to sleep, images of Portland and Madison emerge from the dark like creepy stalkers. The past few months have been like having your attic inhabited by ghosts with unfinished business, or like chronic sleep deprivation. Water torture. When does it end? And what exactly am I waiting for? Is it an answer from outside of myself, or is it an answer from within?

Today is May 15.

On Tuesday, I came home from a short trip to Portland, expecting a mailbox full of answers. Instead, it held something from the IRS and some mail sent to the wrong address. I forced myself to relax. Thursday was it. It could not go on forever. This pain would end.

Wednesday, I was in a funk. I was moody, anxious about finishing my online course in time for med school (my last OHSU prerequisite and I’m already behind!) and I felt fat. I came home from work dreading the opening of that mailbox. I knew that if Thursday were the deadline, chances were pretty good it would be here on Wednesday. But I wasn’t ready for it! I felt fat and gray. Cloudy in the head. I shuffled to the mailbox and yanked it open. It was sitting there, all by itself. An advertisement for an online wine distributor. I went and lay down in the sun by my pond to clear my head for a few minutes, before the wind started to whip and I was compelled inside to study. Tomorrow, it would all be over.

Today is Thursday. The final day. I went home for lunch, which I never do, just to check my mailbox. A great song was playing on the radio, the sun and breeze through my open car window filled me with alert calm, and I smiled all the way home. I pulled in to my driveway, walked over to my mailbox, saluted three of the four directions (the mountain, the goats and the neighbor), and opened the little tin door. There was a single envelope sitting right in the middle, from Oregon Health and Science University.

I was so nervous when I got inside that I decided to toast an English muffin. That calmed me. I opened the letter, and here is what it said (in a nutshell):

Dear #85,

You’re #85. This tells you absolutely nothing. Please take the next two weeks to decide if you’d like to continue to be #85 or not. You will not know anything more for a while.

Frustrating? Yeah. Am I any closer to knowing whether or not I will be accepted to OHSU than I was on May 14? No. So all I can do is stop waiting to be accepted. I need to woman-up and accept my life, not the other way around. Will I stay on the wait list, just in case? Probably. Maybe. All I know is, the search for answers, for concreteness, it’s human and it drives us crazy. But the only clear answer I’ve gotten in this whole process is, stop waiting around for acceptance. Accept yourself, woman, and get on with it.




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