Columbia and Baylor

20 February 2010

Last week was my first medical school interview. I headed off to the wonderful city of New York. I stayed there for five days (thank the Lord for a three day weekend) with a good friend who is working for Goldman Sachs, which was nice because my expenses were very low. All that I can say is that I love New York and would love to live in that city. It was magnificent. While I was there, I saw Wicked (amazing), the Financial District, Wall Street, the Wall Street Bull, the Meat Packing District, Chinese New Year in Chinatown, Little Italy, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Art Design, the Museum of Modern Art, and so much more! There was so much to do and I highly doubt I would ever get bored.

I thought that I would be overwhelmed with the city, but I wasn’t. When I first arrived at JFK, I was overwhelmed with getting on a bus to Manhattan and then getting my way to my friend’s apartment. After dropping off my suitcase, I navigated the subways to Columbia all by myself. I was very nervous about that, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I became quickly acclimated to the city.

Columbia is a beautiful place (I’m a sucker for huge hospitals). There was so much going on there that I loved. I loved the curriculum, the service opportunities, the free homeless shelter/clinic, the school, the people, the diversity, and again, much more. My interview was probably subpar. The reason for this was because the first question the interviewer asked me was why I wanted to become a doctor. I told him about my desires to help others, but I also told him about my desire to earn an MD/PhD. He then looked me straight in the face and asked me, “Why are you here then?” The reason he asked me is that an MD/PhD has a different application and interview than an MD. I told him about how my desire to earn a PhD recently developed. I then felt like I was fighting my way back from the grave for the rest of the interview. He was always questioning my motives of being there. I think that I had a decent interview, but not an amazing one. I hope that it works out so that I could go to Columbia, because I loved the school and the city.

I just barely returned from my trip to Baylor. I didn’t spend much time in Houston, but from what I saw, it reminded me a lot of Salt Lake City. This isn’t a bad thing, but I much prefer a bigger city and I prefer something that wouldn’t remind me of home. Don’t get me wrong. I do love Utah, but I am ready for a new place and a new adventure. Houston, being the fourth largest city in the US, didn’t seem like a big city. I still had a good time.

The interview was yesterday and I felt like I rocked the two I had. The first one was with a doctor. She was an amazing, strong woman from Germany (I’m a sucker for strong women). She and I had a lot in common and so the interview flowed very naturally. I had a great time talking to her and she seemed to enjoy our conversation. At the end of the interview, she told me that she was planning on giving me a very strong recommendation to the admissions committee. I’m really stoked for this! The second interview also went well. This time it was with a fourth year student. He asked me some ethical questions and my opinion on health care reform. He agreed what I said in my responses and told me that I gave a good strong response, whereas other interviewees gave lackluster comments. This made me extremely happy. After the seven hour long interview session, full of interviews and tours, most of the applicants headed to an Irish Pub paid for by Baylor. We had free food and some good times. I enjoyed my time there, but I was surprised how many people were getting hammered and smashed. I thought that people in the medical profession would know better, but I guess the socialization of the norms for my age group is still there. It made me uncomfortable so I left, especially because all of the people that I made friends with during the interview session were completely drunk.

I really loved Baylor too! The school was amazing and beautiful! It had basically everything the same as Columbia, except it was in Houston. I really like both Columbia and Baylor. I’m not sure how things are going to work out, but I’m not sure if I would go to Baylor because of Houston. If it were between Columbia and Baylor, I would definitely go to Columbia. I would be happy at either place, but I would be happier at Columbia. I still have one more interview at The Ohio State, so things might change. I still haven’t heard back from the NIH either and that will definitely change what direction I go. If I get into the NIH, I will definitely reapply as an MD/PhD, which I am currently working on.

What happens next year still scares me because my future is still a mystery. I can’t make long-term goals to achieve because I don’t know where I’ll be, but wherever I end up will be the best for me and it will be the best route for me to take in life.

Out of Touch

I feel out of touch right now. I really don't know what to do. My friend told me that he suffers from severe depression that runs through his family and would like me to help him with it. The reason he asked me for my help was because he felt that out of all of his friends I would be able to help him through the hard times. I agreed to do my best, even though I don't know a lot about depression. It's been awhile since he told me about it and I feel like I haven't done anything to help him. I'm completely out of touch. Whenever I try to talk to him, help him, or do something with him when he is depressed, he pulls away. I reach out to him, but he never grabs my out reached hand. It is extremely frustrating. I know that I shouldn't be frustrated, because it is his life and I need to let him come to me. The problem is that the natural doctor comes out inside of me; the care, compassion, and dedication. I hate seeing him in pain and suffering and then not letting me help when he asked me to. I want to help him become happy enjoy life to its fullest. I don't know what to do anymore though because I am so out of touch.

I pose a question for all of you. What should I do? I feel so out of touch and that I need to be doing something differently to help him. Also, don't give me suggestions about therapy and medications because both of those are already happening. I would really appreciate any advice.

Coming Out In Class

05 February 2010
Last Wednesday in my Sociology of Gender class we were talking about victimization of the GLBT community. We started off by talking about the different sociological theories of why the GLBT community is victimized and it was a good discussion. Then it started to get into some iffy ground such as how men choose to be gay and women to be a lesbian, that people telling them they were gay throughout childhood and high school caused them to believe they were gay, etc. People were saying these things I was either going to say something or walk out of class. I have a TA that I knew for sure was gay and is married in a MOM. He got up and came out to everyone. I didn't expect this to happen, but I guess he and the professor had planned this. They knew where the discussion was going to head because it has gone that way many times before. He started talking about doctrine of the Church concerning gay and lesbian individuals and people were not responding very aptly to it. He also talked about how most gay and lesbian people leave the Church and how they have the highest suicide rate. It seemed like the class wasn't understanding the whole topic, so I chimed in.

I raised my hand, was subsequently called on, and told the whole class that I am gay. I told them of my struggles going up with accepting myself and wanting God to take away my gayness because I was a sinner. I talked about the many nights I would plead to God with tears, along with my many sleepless nights. I mentioned when I finally came to terms with everything, I became happy and that I was allowed to become the true me, instead of hiding. I decided to start talking about how I struggled with the Church my whole life and how I still struggle with it, but even more since Prop. 8. I talked of how I didn't like going to Priesthood or Sunday School because of the hurtful things people said. I told them that I still don't go because of it. I also told them how hurtful and wrong it was to treat people the way most Mormons do because they are gay or lesbian. I told them that Mormons needed to be more Christ-like and accepting of everyone. During the time I was getting some weird and disgusting looks, whereas others were giving me looks of acceptance and partial understanding. It was interesting to see how the lines divided between the class and I could see it in their faces.

After class, some people came up and talked to me. They thanked me for sharing my experiences and opening their eyes. Others talked about how I shouldn't judge what people say because the Church is true and perfect, whereas the people of the Church are not and other topics like that. Some also came up and thanked me for what I said and that they were glad that there was an arena where they could finally hear from some and discuss the taboo topic of being gay. I also got this email from W in the class:
I just wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you for what you did today in class. This has been one of the most profound classes thus far for me in my college career. I took a lot of guts to admit that you were gay today in class and even more to admit the hard times you are having with those around you. I find it particularly disgraceful how you were treated in church, and am sorry you have had to and continue to endure things like that. Your faith to me is outstanding and you are an example for all those around you.

I have a friend who is struggling with his self identity right now and I think he would be interested in sitting down and talking with you. As you probably know it’s not something he is just going to come out and talk to anyone about, but he has been looking for some to talk to who understand the importance of confidentiality. If you would not be opposed to this I will give him the option.

I would also like to let you know that should you ever need a friend, or simply a person to hang out with after church or school some time I would be more than willing to be your friend. I think you will find that I am a little more open minded than most people that live in Utah.

I know that this email may seem strange and if you’re really freaked out by it than just ignore it and move on. Never-the- less, again I would like to say thank you for what you did today, and I admire you for the strong person you are.

Overall, I think it was a good, adventurous time. I wrote W an email back and described how I felt like I didn't have much faith in the Church and how we should meet up for lunch sometime to discuss the topic more, if we wanted to. I also told him that I would be more than happy to talk to his friend. He responded that I believe in God and Jesus Christ and that is all that matters. He also wants to go out for lunch sometime. We'll see how it turns out, at least now I have a friend in the class. It was also nice to know that not everybody thought I was a weirdo and that people are actually accepting of me.

Sociology of Gender

03 February 2010
I came out to my Sociology of Gender class today. More on this later...

When I Grow Up

02 February 2010
When I grow up, I want to be in a career of academic medicine. I have been pushing this idea around for the past couple of years and it has really struck me that this is what I really want to do ever since Christmas and it has been getting stronger and stronger each day. I want to be in a situation where I can practice clinical medicine, perform research, and teach at an academic medical center. That is what I truly want to do. I don't want to be just a doctor. I want to be someone who is looking for cures, teaching future doctors, and helping patients have better lives. I'm kicking myself in the head because I should have went with my instinct when I first applied to medical school. I should not have let others convince me otherwise because I only applied to MD programs when I should have applied to at least some MD/PhD programs. I guess that there is always next year.

Right now, I have three interviews for a MD. I have one next week at Columbia, one the week after at Baylor, and the last in March at The Ohio State. We'll see if I get in or not. To be honest, I hope that I don't get in and I am already starting my applications again. My hope of not getting in is because I am not sure if I can get accepted into an MD program and then switch to an MD/PhD program. If I can, that would be ideal, especially if I got into Columbia or Baylor. If not, I have my back-up plans. My back-up plan is denying admittance or postponing matriculation for a year and then reapplying. I already applied for a post-baccalaureate program at the NIH for a year. I really hope that I get into the program because it will really boost my résumé. The I can apply to MD/PhD programs and see what happens. If I don't get accepted into and MD/PhD, I have my MD to fall back on at one of the three schools above (that is if I get accepted into their institution).

Anyways, those are my plans for right now. I am really loving life. I work 30-40 hours a week in my research lab and then I am still coaching Timpview swimming. We won Region a couple of weekends ago and we are going to make a run for state this coming weekend. I hope that we can win! I am also really excited to be in New York next week for my first interview (It's my first time in the Big Apple).