I wrote about the issue of trust with my last blog. So I’m going to continue with this topic with this blog.
Returning to School
Looking back, I can remember when I put in my applications for PA school. I was wait-listed at one program and accepted at the second one. So off I went to Houston, to begin my program at Baylor Medical College.
When I left for school I knew I only had enough monies to last for about 3 months or so. I had applied for a student loan which gave me $5,000. That with what savings I had, would last me only a short time. I had gone over to my parents and asked them to help me, with my expenses in school and their answer was a flat ‘no.’
I had no idea what I was going to do after my monies ran out. I drove to Houston not knowing where the monies were going to come from, but realizing this was going to be my only chance at furthering my education.
What I didn’t know at the time, was my parents were waiting to see whether I would actually leave for school, and step out not knowing where my money was going to come from. They wanted to know I was determined and purposeful. Once they realized I was willing to put my belief in being back in school, and advancing my degree, they agreed to help me out financially when my money ran out.
I ended up taking a year off from school between my first and second years because I wasn’t doing very well academically, and was dealing with being depressed. During this year, I worked for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) as a medical secretary and also spent some time with three physicians, who were believers and saw patients in clinic with them. This helped me put together what I had learned during my year in the classroom, with what I would learn during my clinical year.
Finding Out I Was A Kinesthetic Learner
It was during this time that I finally put it together that I was a kinesthetic learner, in other words, I needed to get my ‘hands in the mud’ and feel around and then I would know the material.
Being away from the intensity of school and working helped with my depression. I was also exercising by swimming in the outdoors pool at M.D. Anderson daily. The physicians I was working with, also encouraged me in my learning and told me positive things about what I was doing.
At the end of the year, I had been able to save some money for school, and between my getting another student loan and monies from my parents, I was able to finish well during my clinical rotations.
Program Director’s Letter
I ended up not having the money to take my national boards, and so I knew I would have to stay in Texas, where you could work without being board certified. I went to work at Texas Children’s Hospital as a medical secretary again, while I put out applications. I was in for a surprise.
Even though I had three very good recommendation letters to go along with my applications, human resources generally also asked for a letter from my program director. I had no knowledge how bad that letter was, until I was called by Kaiser Permanente. They called me and told me to have the letter changed. I was shocked after I read the copy of the letter, they had been sent.
In it, my program director had mentioned that I had a ‘fisherman’s wife voice which was very grating on the ears,’ additionally there was eleven typographical errors, and eight purposefully misspelled words. It was the worst letter I had ever read. And this was supposed to be a letter of recommendation???
I immediately quit using it as a recommendation letter and no longer applied to places which requested it. I had applied to fifty different places, hospitals and clinics. I barely had a bite from any of them about an interview.
Learning a Lesson in Relinquishment
My other classmates had already found full time positions, what was wrong with me? I finally realized I hadn’t relinquished up my job search and where He wanted me to work to Him. He was waiting to show me where I was to work, as opposed to my own search. So with that revelation, I stopped searching and handed it over to Him in prayer, and then walked away from sending out any more resumes.
Within the week, I was called to come in for an interview at MDACC. They were replying to a resume I had sent out early in my job search. I loved seeing oncology patients and had spent my six weeks of school electives doing an oncology rotation.
Little did I know this position would allow me to learn hematology oncology and work with a physician who had done incredible research at the NIH in Bethesda, MD. He and his friend, Dr. Emil Frei had been the ones who had discovered the very first effective drug for leukemia.
A Bragging Heart
After I started working with him, one day he bragged to me about how he had interviewed one of my classmates, a few weeks before he interviewed me. He told me he had offered the position to Holly and when she asked him who else he was interviewing, or going to interview he mentioned my name. When she heard it was me, she knew how much I loved oncology and had wanted to work in it. He told me, she told him I was the better choice for the position, because of my love for oncology. And she was therefore turning him down.
During the 2.5 years I worked for him I learned oodles of hematology-oncology. I also came across patients I had so much compassion for as they struggled through their leukemia disease. Many of them lost their lives, yet many of them survived and went onto live successful lives.
Part II will be published Thursday 4/18