A Black Female Medical Student

What to do… what to do

Posted on: September 1, 2011

I finally made it to school, but I’m sort of a nomad b/c my lease doesn’t start til tomorrow and my parents won’t arrive with my car/apt trinklets until the day after tomorrow. Until then I’m crashing on my friends couch… really appreciating the hospitality.

So on a whim I went and bought these HUGE black plastic-rimmed glasses. I figure that if I’m going to do that grad school thing, I might as well do it right. Nerdy swag in full effect nahm sayin? Except there are few issues.

First, my prescription got worse, so my lenses are thick as a mug.

Second, these things keep sliding down my nose! I’m about to break open the contacts again, but I look so smart with these joints. I mean people come up and ask me if I’m a doctor now. Usually I get mistaken for a nurse.

I went to school today. Our building is so gorgeous. Really pretty. Its pretty big too, and they have this really nice computer lab. And there’s this pretty courtyard. And there’s a whole bevy of nice restaurants in close vicinity. I’m a sucker for nice facilities lol.

Speaking of school. I’m so conflicted now. I can’t pick a major. I am so terrible with decisions…. I usually just avoid making them the best that I can. Also I’m a really laid-back, go with the flow sort of person, and that approach to life has worked to me.

HOWEVER, its like all of a sudden I’m being faced with these huge decisions… one being what specialty I’m going to choose (OBGYN vs. EMERGENCY MEDICINE… what to do what to do) but thankfully, I don’t have to pick that until next year. But I do have to figure out which major I’m going to choose for my MPH program.

Here’s the thing. I’m all about solving health disparities. My current department is the most health disparities oriented in the hospital. If I stay here,  I can get a little bit of research and a little bit of policy, which is what I like. I see myself in a future of policy analysis and development, but I want to be able to design my own studies and run my own stats, or some very elementary ones at least.

There are two other departments that I’m interested in: Policy/Mgmt or Biostatistics/Epi. I’m rethinking Policy, from what I heard, the Policy program here isn’t very health disparities oriented. I’m not interested in money-making, or in revamping entire health systems per se, I just want to come up with health plans that work for poorer populations… or at least ones that work better than the one’s we have. I just don’t see myself ending up in the private sector, and I feel like my school pretty much funnels the Policy grads into there. Though I could make tons of money, especially with this new degree under my belt, I don’t think I’ll be happy. I don’t really see myself in the public sector so much either, because if I focus on health disparities, I will be focusing on a very select portion of the population, a minority population, with little political clout.

Biostats/Epi. I would be confining myself to academia. While the concentration would be more transferrable to Policy than vice versa, I could see myself getting caught up in the academic rigmarole, with that whole publish publish publish mindset. Sometimes I read some of the stuff people publish and I’m just like really. Come really. Also I feel like a lot of the research in health disparities has been done… we know the exist for sure. So what do we do about it. But the opportunity to be HERE and learn from literally, the best in the field in Biostats/Epi. Its a hard opportunity to walk away from.

So what I decided to do was stick to my concentration. Health disparities is important to me. I’m going to be pretty heavy on the Epi classes this summer actually, I would really like to sign up for this class on Research Methods in Behavioral Health, but I’m definitely concerned b/c it directly contradicts with an Economic Analysis course, which I REALLY want to take.

Right now, I’m signed up for the slightly easier Biostats class, the comprehensive Epi class, followed up by the 2nd level Epi class, which would permit me to take Epi classes next semester, also taking the Econ Analysis, I would like to take another Research oriented course– but there’s some scheduling issues…  lastly I have a compulsory practice course later in the fall, and a leadership class that I’m really excited about.

All in all, that’s 22.5 credits means I have 20 more credits until they start charging me extra.. I”m taking a lot of my core classes now, so it will be mostly electives next semester….. I think I’ll be okay.

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