09 February 2006

Why do this? & Rotifera reproduction

The sudden time off from posting should testify to my recent work ethic - I've had a chem exam, a BIBB paper, 3 labs, and a bio exam to get through. Actually, the bio exam is this Saturday (so wish me luck). Yes, that was a shameless plug for sympathy (when is the last time you memorised all the prokaryotic, protistan, and invertebrate phyla?).

Anyway, I had an interesting email recently from someone asking about post-bac programs and my decision to undertake this whole new direction considering the current state of the medical community (which was refered to as "rotten"). Good questions all, and they forced me to crystallise what was really just gut feeling when I applied here.

On post-bac programs in general
They are an interesting marriage of undergraduate and graduate school. The atmosphere is more schoolish than graduate work, but the competative atmosphere is a notch undergrad. There is plenty of social interaction, but you will never forget that everyone is here for one reason only: to get into medical school. Studying is the only priority.

You need to know what you're getting into
It's hard to get into a post-bac program without demonstrating that you know what you're in for. I imagine it's even harder to get into medical school without a clear idea of what you expect, what you want, and what you can contribute. Spend some time in hosptials, talk to doctors, read the research - if medicene is what you love, it's incredibly interesting.

The state of the US medical system
Yeah, it's not perfect. Yeah, you have to deal with insurance companies, but what job doesn't have paperwork people would rather not do? There is no perfect healthcare system out there, but if that's what's stopping you, then you're focusing on the wrong things. Look at the amazing things happening in medicene: face tansplants in France, artifical hearts, leukemia as a "livable" cancer... people's lives are really getting better. Or think about all the ways it helps you and the people you love. It saved my dad from cancer, it saved my grandmother after a stroke, it saved a family friend from breast cancer, it reinflated my mother's lung... it saves premature babies, it's the reason you don't have polio... talk about miracles every day.

On sacrificing my life for my career/patients
Anyone who knows me knows that this is not a problem. I probably wouldn't be happy unless I was in a job like that. I am my job, and what better profession to define yourself with than doctor?

Something I've learned...
In honour of the biology test, I feel like this one should come from biology... Rotifers (phylum Rotifera) reproduce through parthenogenesis, which comes in two forms. The most common form involves a female producing more females from unfertilized eggs. In the other form, males and females are produced, but the males are degenerate (can't even feed themselves) and live only long enough to produce sperm to fertilze some of the eggs, which form resistant (capable of dormancy in unfavourable conditions) zygotes.

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