the growth years: undergrad

Here it goes, complete transparency. If there is something that I don’t answer in these blog posts, feel free to ask! I hope by reading my journey, it helps you with yours, in any part of your journey. Before I dive in I want to add, a lot of my journey can apply to those who are in or out of healthcare, because ultimately it is about never giving up on achieving your dreams. & then taking those dreams a step forward.

Story Time: We are taking it back to 2009. Yes, Krit graduated high school in 2009. Unlike many others, she struggled in high school. She had recently moved to a city filled with the brightest and best in the Silicon Valley, her parents thought it was the best for her and her siblings. Truth was, she went from feeling like the smartest in the class to the dumbest. She struggled with her self-esteem and with that she distracted herself and performed average. When it came to applying to university she had no idea what she was doing, #firstgenprobz. Thankfully, her AP English teacher was willing to guide her through the process – with her first reality check – she was not getting into Stanford, Harvard, Columbia or any other Ivy Leagues that teen dramas made her think she would get into. Apparently applying to college didn’t necessarily mean getting into those schools..welp. While her classmates were actually getting into ivy leagues and the best universities within California, Krit felt insecure about saying that she was going to one of the universities that was the “easiest” to get into and “not as competitive,” and for “dumb” people. Little did she know, that university was the first place, in a really long time, where she was going to feel like she was belonged.

Reflection: I did not realize the struggles of being first gen until way later in my life. I always blamed myself for not being as smart as my counterparts. About not being “genetically smart,” I remember distinctly telling my mom, well it’s not in our genes to be smart, so I’ll just go wherever I need to go, all the other kids have parents who are doctors, engineers, running Apple and Google and well, we run grocery stores. And my mom believed 15 year old me, because she had told me it herself. BUT, #TRUTHTIME it wasn’t about being genetically smart it was about access to resources such as expensive private tutors, math camps, college consultants, extracurriculars (like club soccer, piano classes, dance teams, etc) SAT/ACT classes, online materials, etc. While my high school counterparts got access to all of this, I was literally just going to school, was on yearbook (so I had an excuse to hang out with my friends), and that’s it. I did not have fancy extracurriculars, expensive tutors to get me straight As, no fancy consultant to help me get into college. This was the reality. I wish I had known that then, rather than sulk in my insecurities of not feeling good enough. While my counterparts articulated so well as they analyzed AP English books, I would sheepishly hide my face behind my books because I felt I wasn’t prestigious enough to partake in the intellectual conversations. I say all this because I was battling impostor syndrome before I even knew that it existed. The impostor syndrome stemming from feeling as if I was not elitist enough to be at a school that Steve Jobs once dropped out from to create a multibillion dollar company. Aint that wild?

Story Time: Lil Krit made it through high school. After many rejections from her dream universities (aka elite colleges that she did not realize weren’t accessible to all) she pushed through and attended the one school she never thought would even be on her list. So here we meet 17.5 year old Krit moving out of home to attend university 2.5 hours away. A perfect distance to be away from her parents to experience life for the first time, but close enough to call them for the days she may need them a little more. There were very few of those days. Krit grew up sheltered, so college was her time to explore. Get to know who she was, while also getting to know the world. She entered the university as a Human Biology major to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a physician. She did not know when, how or where, but she was going to become an MD. The only reason she had picked this university in the middle of nowhere over the other university in the city, was because of a Pre-Health Fraternity that appeared to promise a ticket to medical school. So her eyes was on getting a “bid” to Delta Epsilon Mu. Not only did she receive that bid her first year, but she ended up making that frat her life for a while after that – yup she was one day going to be on the Executive Board, then the National Board and even plan their National Convention.

This is probably where Krit found her love for leadership, marketing and even planning events! During her time at the university she participated in everything from being a peer health educator to danceathons for cancer charity to volunteering at free clinics to attempting to start a multicultural sorority (as a new school there were so many opportunities) to sitting on professional boards to attending many social gatherings, Krit was your social queen. She loved it, but this lifestyle only lasted so long, before everything slowly came crashing down. She faced many hurdles socially, professionally and academically and it eventually took a toll on her. And it was not until her halfway through her second year, she realized that her goal of becoming a physician was not as simple as she assumed. That day she walked into her advisor’s office to discuss her timeline to becoming a physician, ended with her walking out crushed. Her advisor said she wasn’t good enough, she didn’t have the grades and it was too late. And yes, that meeting shook her up. It caused her to switch her major after completing more than half of it. It caused her to be more reckless, because she thought her dreams were impossible. But in between the years she was lost and confused, she found herself – how else does one find themself, if they do not get lost first? She reconnected with her purpose and found that medicine was the only thing that called out her name. She managed to stay in undergrad an extra year and walk across the stage to not only carry a diploma with one major but two – yes she graduated with a Human Bio and Psychology major. Although she dug herself into a hole, she did not realize them that it would take her on the wildest journey of her life, filled with doubt, tears, laughter, joy, growth & a strength she never knew she needed.

Reflection: I’ll be honest, when I started undergrad I thought just passing classes was enough. I got into college, wasn’t that the hardest part? spoiler: nope, twas not the hardest part. I thought taking pre-med requisites, having a laundry list of extracurriculars, being a strong leader, and taking the MCAT would be enough to get me into medical school. spoiler: that isn’t true either. There was way more to it. You had to be nearly perfect, or so that is what I thought after I walked out of my advisor’s office hopeless and disappointed. Apparently, I was one of the hundreds that got “weeded out” by my failure(s). Yes at that point I had many C’s on my transcript. I was passing, but passing was not enough. It sucked. What had I hoped to hear in the office that day? Maybe instead of telling me that I destroyed every chance of ever getting into medical school, hearing of ways to improve and redeem myself. I was 19 years old and all I hear was that I wrecked my entire life. It destroyed me. Yes, I may have partied too hard, but I also was completely unaware that getting into medical school was a numbers game. I was unaware of what was expected of me once I graduated. Partially, because I did not start looking into the medical school applications process until my third year, because it was like applying to college right? spoiler: it was not. To put it bluntly, I f*#$@d up. Even after joining a pre-health fraternity, the one I thought would help me achieve my dreams, I did not focus on the one thing med schools care about the most grades. The only reason I was in college was to get an education and for some reason that was my least priority. I thought I needed to be involved in a million things and that would compensate for my subpar grades. Spoiler: It did not. Anyone who says numbers and grades don’t matter, probably has the best numbers and grades.

Sidenote: A lot of this ties back to being first gen. I thought I was doing everything right because I didn’t know better. I did not ask for help because I was used to doing every little thing on my own. Spoiler: I was wrong not to ask for help. I was wrong not to seek out assistance. I did what I thought was best at the time, and you know what – you live and you learn.

So after hearing that I destroyed my chances, I gave up. I was enrolled in my second semester of Organic Chem at the time, and just stopped caring. I mean I wasn’t going to be a doctor anyway? My insecurities from high school came up again. I was never enough and was never going to be enough. So I stopped. I switched my major to Psychology and just coasted. Even in those classes, I found myself giving up too. Barely showing up to mandatory classes. Oversleeping. My advisor had destroyed me. It was now junior year and I had an F and D- on my transcript. My GPA was sitting at a cumulative 2.7 and I was on academic probation. Clearly, something was not going right. During the summer, between my junior and (first) senior year I ended up going to India on a spiritual retreat. I did some major introspection. What did I want? What was going on with me? How did I end up here? This part of the reflection is called growing up. I was able to do meditation and participate in community service and spend quality time with the one person I was avoiding, myself. This helped me a lot. It helped realign my purpose, my focus and truly help clean myself up. It also helped start my journey to loving myself again. Which is honestly something I had never thought about until that retreat. Once I returned back to the states, I knew what I needed to do.

I started off my senior year knowing I wanted to pickup my Human Bio major again. I was going to give it one last shot, and finish it up. I petitioned to stay an extra year and finish it and my psychology major. Although my grades weren’t in my favor, I managed to convince the committee. I also had completed my creative writing minor, because it had always been a passion of mine. I also complete went cold turkey on the social scene, which meant losing a lot of “friends” and sticking to the few who genuinely supported me and my dreams. Eventually, after five wild years I officially graduated in 2014. Sure my transcript was flawed with many Cs, 1 D- & an F, it had a slightly upward trend, okay let’s be honest barely upward trend, but I made it. I graduated. And now my sole focus was on where do I go next? How do I get into medical school with many Cs & C-s, 1 D-, 1 F and a 2.91 cumulative GPA?

At this point I had:

  • no research
  • no mentor
  • no attempts at the MCAT
  • no shadowing
  • no concrete medical experiences.

I was completely lost with where to go next, until I bumped into a friend while I was eating Thai food. I remember this interaction so distinctly because it dramatically changed the trajectory of my life. This friend and I had not talked in a long time, although we were quite close at one point in college. She had asked me if I was still interested in becoming a physician and I immediately said yes. She mentioned how I should look into medical scribing, a new and upcoming way to directly work with physicians and get experience. I had never heard of such a thing. This friend also encouraged me to sign up for medical terminology at the local community college, so it would make my scribe application look amazing.

And friends, that is exactly what I did.

This concludes my undergraduate reflection of, “the growth years.” I figured it was really important to highlight this part of my journey so you all had a better understanding of the beginning and why I needed to go on this long-winded journey. The next post will focus solely on my medical scribing experience from how I got the job, what I learned, what I did, and how it impacted my journey. Until next time, don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve your dreams. You are destined for greatness. I believe in you.

Sending all the vibes you need,

Krit

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