Sunday, September 26, 2010

Future Plans

Someday, Lily's going to be Dr. Lily.

Now, don't get all excited on me yet. This glorious day is still years down the road. I have to finish my 5th and final year of undergrad (had to slow things down for medical reasons). Then, I have to take a year off... because you have to start getting ready to apply to med school around New Years of your junior year, at the latest, if you want to go straight to medical school when you graduate. I was still figuring out what the hell I wanted to do with my life at that point, so I was SOL. Then, I have 4 years of medical school to get through. When I graduate, I will have earned the right to put that Dr. in front of my name.

But wait! There's more! You don't get to really BE a doctor for a few years after that. There are these little things called Residencies that you have to do first, lasting 3-5 years. Then, if you want to, you can specialize... which takes another 2-5 years. (supposedly, with most specialties this ends up being 6-7 years total)

If you've been counting along, you may have realized that this means 9-16 more years of stuff I have to do before I'm a full-fledged, off-on-my-own doctor. In reality, it'll probably be around 12 years, because I do plan on specializing. In something. Don't rush me, I haven't figured that part out yet.

That would put me at the lovely age of 34 before I'm actually an honest-to-goodness practicing doctor. 34 before I truly get started in my field of choice. And if I hadn't delayed things with medical problems and not knowing that I wanted to go to medical school, it would still be 32. And I'll have somewhere between $100k and $250k in medical school debt to pay off. (ever wondered why Docs get paid the big bucks? That's a big chunk of why why. No life of your own till your 30s, and you start it with uber debt. Sound like fun? Didn't think so.)

Crazy as it sounds, I'm happy. That's what tells me I'm making the right decision. The fact that the idea of being 34, taking my first "real" job in my field, with a pile of school debt doesn't phase me because of what I'll end up doing, tells me I've found my place. I love research, I really do... but I was grumpy about slogging through grad school to get there, even though I'd probably have little to no debt when I graduated. (hooray for science graduate programs that pay you...) There's a very loud voice in my head crowing that it doesn't matter, because I'll be doing what makes me happy. I'll be using all this stuff I store in my bizarre warehouse of a brain to help people, directly, hands-on. I won't be hoping that, someday, what I do in the lab might help someone. I'll know, every single day, that what I'm doing is making a difference.

And for me, that's what matters. I need to help people. I need to make a difference, for good. Hell, that's part of why I started doing sex toy reviews in the first place. The free toys are great, but I wanted to help people make informed buying choices. That's why I've been writing the series on being the daughter of a transwoman - to help other people, both those who might be in the same position, and the general public who need educated.

So, to come back from a very long-winded ramble, I just wanted to share this with you. It's a huge part of my life. It's quickly becoming an integral part of the way I see myself. And... I'm dropping off the face of the earth a bit to study like mad for the MCAT. I've got all my other ducks in a row, so I need to make sure I've got the highest score I can to get into my goal schools. I just keep telling myself that it will make me stronger!

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