Gap Year… Now what?

Truth time.

As many of you know, I applied to medical school last year, hoping to start Fall 2019.  Well, it’s Fall 2019 and I have to admit that I was rejected from every school I applied to.  That was a tough pill to swallow.

However, after taking time to reflect my application and identifying weak areas, I’m working on spending this time strengthening my re-application.  My new goal is to start Fall 2021.  I took this application cycle off and am spending the time putting in the work to achieve my next goal.  But I’m not writing today to get your pity or have someone cheer me on to keep going.  I wanted to share with you all the amazing experiences I’m having in this “Gap Year”.

After finishing graduate school, I took a job at Washington University in St. Louis as a research technician.  While I thoroughly enjoy academia and public health research, the job just wasn’t the right fit for me.  The work that team does in preventing chronic disease is amazing and I have the utmost respect for everyone who works in that department.  However, I wanted to be in a role where I was making more of a daily impact on patients’ lives.  I am a big believer in finding work that inspires you.  In comes the transition to my current role as a data scientist.

Now you might ask how a data scientist makes an impact on patients when I sit in a cubicle all day.  I thought the same thing too when I first started.  Yet, after almost four months in my current role, I finally feel like I’m doing important work.  My current project is working on creating an alert system for physicians to identify patients who have Type I or Type II diabetes that are at risk for developing hypoglycemia (extremely low blood sugar), which can lead to lots of poor long term health outcomes.  By helping alert physicians to these at risk patients, they will be able to intervene sooner and prevent the negative outcomes.

So while I’m not in medical school (yet), I’m happy with learning about the behind the scenes of developing clinical decision making tools.  My advice to anyone facing similar circumstances, find something you are passionate about to fill your time.  While I wish things had gone according to plan, sometimes the detours along the way are so much better than expected.

Stay tuned for updates on my journey to medical school!





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