Updated: Dec 2, 2020
I'm living testimony that when it rains, it pours.
And when everything is set out to be complicated, it will.
I began my Medical School Career while studying abroad.
I had no idea what struggles lied ahead for me, just because I was going to be an "IMG" (International Medical Graduate).
During my Medical Training, my school was not focused on OSCE's or USMLE STEP's. There was no way of us knowing the focus of our education or how we were compared to our peers nationally. I had no idea this was different.
When it came time to study for the STEP's I had already graduated from Medical School.
While my college friends were participating on the MATCH and off to their Residencies, I was stuck at home studying for STEP 1, with a Medical Degree hanging on my wall.
I felt horrible.
I would often compare myself to all my friends.
I was disappointed by not "working hard enough" or "fast enough" to be where I was supposed to be.
While studying, I found out I was pregnant.
I felt so embarrassed. Although I was married, I felt I had nothing to show for myself. I had wanted to become a physician since a very young age, and the only thing I had to show was my Diploma. I couldn't work as a Doctor.
Times were very hard.
I was always good at crafts, so I started a hand made jewelry line that helped me save enough money to cover the STEP 1 cost (it's more expensive for IMG's). I took my STEP 1 while 7.5 months pregnant.
I had my baby girl and started preparing for my STEP 2.
I needed to earn money to cover our expenses and my future exams.
Through the help of one of my best friends, I took classes and became certified as an Educational Therapist. I worked part-time in her Therapy Center, was allowed to take my daughter to work and had enough flexibility to juggle all my responsibilities plus studying.
I took my STEP 2 CS when my daughter was 8 months.
I kept working hard as a therapist and continued to study for my STEP 2 CK.
It took me a year to save money and prepare.
Again, I continued to see my friends become financially independent.
Buy houses, cars, travel. I could barely afford tolls and gas,
I continued to work.
STEP 2 CK came, my daughter was a year and a half.
I couldn't apply for Residency that year.
I took the STEP's in a different order.
My scores didn't arrive on time.
I did not MATCH.
I kept going.
Applied for a local 1 year Internship in Puerto Rico.
Had made up my mind that I was not getting into Residency.
The Internship position was mine.
After a year in the Hospital, applying for Residency, I did NOT MATCH.
Messed up my application and accidentally cancelled all my rank list.
This was devastating. I was furious and disappointed.
By far the worst Monday of my life.
Little did I know that I would get a call that week to meet up with the PD of the Program I had applied to.
There was a spot available, they had selected me.
I started with a preliminary position.
I requested a categorical position; after revision by faculty it was granted.
During Residency I became interested in POCUS (Point-of-Care Ultrasound)
and found a few programs that trained Internal Medicine Faculty.
I applied to Fellowship with a clear mind that I was not going to get accepted.
These were IV Leagues, what did they want with an applicant like me?
To my surprise, I was accepted at all Programs.
Today, I'm training to become a Point-of-Care Ultrasound Internal Medicine Physician. at my top choice Program.
It has taken me so much longer that my friends and colleagues. My road has been full of doubts, stumbles, failures, attempts, sacrifices... Getting to where I am has been my life project. I have invested everything I have into reaching what I set myself to accomplish as a child.
I don't know what lies ahead, but I'm confident that I will overcome it.
I believe you will too.