Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Little Encouragement

I often feel like the odd man out. Here, I'm the wanna-be doctor mom. At school, I'm the 27 year old sophomore who has been married for almost ten years and has two kids. At the kids' events, I'm the young mom, 27 with a 9 and 6 year old (I'm often mistaken for the big sister). In parenting circles, I'm the mom with a medically-needy kid...nobody else is dealing with tube feeds, a half dozen specialists, bi-weekly therapies, and med schedules. With friends, I'm usually the odd one out on all accounts...our friends are just starting to get married for the most part, they are childless, and they are out of school. Sometimes I feel like I've done everything in reverse. I graduated at 16, got married at 17, had my first child at 18...I didn't figure out who I was or what I wanted to do until much, much later in life, and of course even that isn't typical or easy. When you stick out all the time, it is easy to feel like you aren't doing anything right. It is tough to be a premed student/mother of both a typical and atypical kid/wife/volunteer/friend/human and there is a lot of juggling involved. At times I wonder if I'm crazy to even be attempting this, but then a well-timed bit of encouragement helps restore my faith in this endeavor and my ability to see it through.

Math isn't my subject. It never has been. In grade school, math was the only subject I was allowed to make B's in. I chose my major based on the fact I only have to go up to Cal I...not Cal III like some other science majors. However, I made a 110 on the first exam in PreCal this semester AND my professor sought me out during class to try to poach me for the math department! She told me about a math major premed she knew who went on to do very well and now works in medical modeling. She said, "Not everyone is so gifted in math, you know!" I never thought I'd hear something like that!

I'm taking Cancer Biology this semester. It is a special topic class, which means it is a higher level course and it isn't always on the schedule. The hard pre-reqs are Bio I and II and Chem I and II, but on the first day, the professor said, "If you haven't taken Biochem and Genetics, you should definitely think about dropping." I haven't had either, but I stuck it out. We had our first exam a few weeks ago, a comprehensive midterm. I made 303 neon notecards for it and studied a lot. The night before the exam, we had tickets to the Rodeo. The kids really wanted to go and I didn't want to disappoint them, but I knew the exam was going to be tough. I studied very hard that week and opted to go to the Rodeo with the family the night before the exam. After we got home, I hit the books again and everyone else went to bed. The next day in class, I was the first one done with the exam (which was mostly short answer and essay, no multiple choice). I re-read my exam a few times and submitted it. I hate being the first one done...did I do really well or really poorly? Ack! The following class period, the professor handed back exams. She pulled me aside and said, "You're the one who finished in 45 minutes, right? And you got an A?! That is the best use of time I have ever seen!" Then she said, "Aren't you the one who emailed me about your daughter having pneumonia a couple of weeks back?" I nodded and she went on to say, "And you're doing all of this with kids at home? I'm so impressed at how well you are balancing everything!" That kind of recognition felt really amazing, especially because prepping for that exam and spending time with the family had been a bit of a balancing act.

I went out to dinner with my best friend (who is also my sister-in-law) last week, and she said, "I always use you as an example all of the time when I'm talking to people." I looked at her quizzically and ask, "What kind of example?" She said, "When I'm talking to people and they say they can't do something for any reason...like they are unexpectedly pregnant and can't finish school or whatever. I tell them about you and how you didn't to things in the 'right' or 'normal' way, but that you are premed now and doing really well with everything." That might be the highest praise, because it came from someone who knows me almost as well as I know myself.

It is amazing the effect a few encouraging words can have on your outlook and commitment. I hope that at whatever stage of this game you are at, you have people cheering you on and helping you see how well you are doing in the various aspects of your life. If there is one thing I've learned, it is that this kind of life is a circus and all the MiMs I know are extremely gifted jugglers. We all deserve a round of applause every now and then.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

14 comments:

  1. Five days after my son's first birthday I found out I was pregnant with my second son. It was also just shy of 2 weeks before I was scheduled to quit my full time job and go back to college to finish the degree I'd flunked out of a few years before. My due date was a month before final exams and it seemed like the worst timing in the world, but putting it off any longer wasn't going to make going back any easier.


    I hauled my pregnant self to college, into a small major where everyone knew everyone else and I was the stranger. The older, pregnant stranger. I waddled around campus until I gave birth in April on a Monday (I was in class up until the Friday before and was starting to make some of my professors nervous I was going to deliver mid-lecture) the following week I put the baby in a sling and went back. I finished the year along side everyone else, on time and with As and Bs.


    It isn't easy being a nontraditional student, but you get through it eventually and think of all the fodder you will have for personal statements ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Always remember that you are completely and utterly awesome and inspiring. (and if you forget, I'm happy to remind you...)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Always remember what KC said! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is a revitalizing feeling to be reminded that the same feelings and emotions I tumble through every week are universal to other moms who are on the same path. Thank you for giving me my boost for many weeks to come. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for sharing! I'm glad you're getting a lot of encouragement. I wish you luck and pray for your continued success. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I totally feel you on this post. I am 26 years old about to be 27. I have two daughters age 6 and 5. I have had a long college journey starting out in August 2002 and will be graduating this may 2011. I will be starting medical school end of july. I always feel like the odd one out in my classes with people that are over 5 years younger than me and with my friends who are still enjoying the no kids and most no married life. I have been through a divorce and am now in a serious relationship, so I know exactly how its feels to not exactly fit in anywhere. But I also love being the odd one because I have so much to bring to the table in terms of experiences and overall outlook about life, and I see that you do too. All the hard work definitely pays off.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sometimes I feel like the odd one out too. Married at 18, and had my first child when I was just barely 20.

    Thanks for your post, it was very encouraging for me, and reminds me that no matter how much I feel like I don't fit in, somewhere there is someone who can understand.

    And congratulations for doing such a stellar job at home and school. You're right we all deserve a pat on the back once in a while, so enjoy yours.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's nice to know someone who feels the same way. I'm the old student, young mom, bad at math girl too. Good luck! I'm sure you will be an incredible doctor one day. You certainly know how to manage your time.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I know exactly how you feel about always sticking out. HS graduate at 16, college at 20, MS at 22, married at 22, first house at 23, started medical school at 32. Small surprise it was so much fun to work on the ambulance where I could almost fit in for a while. Approaching the end of second year of med school though, so far it was all worth it, and I'm sure it is for you too even if we don't always find the time to remind ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great post, Kyla! I always felt like I was a better student as a resident, once I had kids. Much more efficient, that's for sure. With all that you are juggling you must be uber-efficient beyond most others.

    Best of luck to you - not that you need it! You've definitely got me rooting for you in your corner.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think that Gizabeth has made the best point- you are far more organised than your classmates- you have to be. You don't have time to waste- so you don't. And you just get things done. Well done on the A.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pioneering is often lonely, but keep the faith, you know and we know you're awesome. When you feel alone and separate because you're different, it's an illusion. Someone's always got your back.

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. There may be a delay between submitting your comment and its publishing. Thanks for commenting!