Three years ago this May, I graduated with two degrees and two minors from Truman State University. As my senior year approached, I thought I was well prepared for post-grad life… boy was I wrong! I wanted to go right into medical school right after graduation. But after receiving rejection letter after rejection letter, I realized I had to come up with a plan B. I decided to stay in the town I attended college in, work to save up some money, retake some classes I got subpar grades in, and re-take the dreadful MCAT test that would (hopefully) get me into medical school. After finding a research lab to volunteer in, I accidentally scored an amazing opportunity. While working in the lab, the professor I worked with found a stipend in his grant to pay minority students to work on his project. So, we filled out the paper work and I got hired in his lab to conduct research. This guaranteed that I would get several publications, build my resume, and figure out what I want to do in the future. After working in the research lab for some time, I heard about a Biomedical Science Master’s program that the medical school I wanted to go to offered. I recently applied to that school and am currently waiting to hear back if I got into the program or not.
Being a part of this program will allow me to get back into the groove of studying, allow me to do more research and get more publications, allow me to earn my masters which will make me more competitive when applying for residencies after medical school, and it will help prepare me for medical school and allow me to be more successful when I finally get into medical school. So to be honest I am glad things did NOT work out the way I wanted them to when I initially graduated from undergrad. The opportunities that I have found since then have been a lot more helpful and beneficial to my success in the future. It is my dream and my overall goal to become a doctor and that is exactly what I plan to do! It may take me a little longer than initially anticipated, but I will not complain at all because I have benefited from the other experiences I have had since I graduated.
While dealing with the negative rejections after applying to grad school, I decided to do something positive with my degree. I felt that I was not putting it to good use, and I should after all the money I had paid to get my degree! I decided to start a health and fitness blog and try to educate and motivate those in my community and cyber space to get fit and be more active. This has been a great use of my free time as I have been able to help a lot more people by reaching out to them via my blog. So until I reach medical school, I will put most of my focus on encouraging those around me to have more active and healthier lifestyles.
My advice to those who are about to enter the real world… enjoy college life while you can! The thing I miss the most about college is being so close to my friends. When we all graduated everyone went to different cities so we have to plan ‘girl trips’ about once every few months so we can all be around each other again.
Also, have a plan B (just in case your plan A does not work out). It is always good to just have something to fall back on instead of frantically trying to figure things out at the last minute.
Oh and student loans… learn to ask for a deferment! This was very helpful when I was between school and jobs. I was making enough money to live off of, but was not able to start my student loan payments. With the deferment, it allows you to basically push back your payment date for a month… or two… or three. The companies will work with you! You just have to call them and speak with them.
I was given some great advice by a family friend. They told me to save 10-20% of my paychecks when I get my first “Real Job”. I am still technically a student, but I snagged a pretty nice job until I go back to full time student status and can’t work until I graduate. With each paycheck I get I automatically take out 20% of my check and put it in a savings account. Over time it will build up…and I try not to even look at this money. I have it as an emergency fund/savings fund. Yes, when I get a better paying job I will have a separate emergency fund from my savings fund, but until then, the small amount of money I am able to save will be there when I need it the most!
Last but not least, still try to have fun! Although I live hours away from my gals, we still manage to meet half way random weekends or plan weekend trips. I always like to have something planned so that I can mark it on my calendar and have something to look forward to!
Congrats to all the 2012 graduating classes! I’m sure it was a long hard road to get where you are today! Enjoy it now! I know that I am!