April 11th, 2015

Recently I sat for the GAMSAT, or as explained much more simply outside of it’s ridiculous acronym – I sat an exam that will allow me to study at Med School if I’m lucky enough to have passed. It’s a lethal concoction comprised of three sections – comprehensive logical reasoning, written response and a battle of the trio sciences: biology, physics and chemistry – all equally designed to make one question ones choices in life when they first decide to be a doctor.

But I guess I should do a little explaining first, let’s back it up 6 months…

I woke up one morning a little while back before Christmas last year, and I fell in love with the idea of being a doctor. Not that I don’t absolutely love nursing… I just felt like I wanted, perhaps needed, more. And I think that’s probably more to do with my personality than anything else. But I just felt I could make a bigger difference being a doctor. To be in the drivers seat of someone’s health and change it for the greater – that’s something I have dreamed of wholeheartedly for my entire life.

So on a bit of a whim, I registered to sit the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (ergo, ridiculous acronym GAMSAT). It cost me a cool $650 and at the time I wondered what had possessed me to firstly, PAY a small fortune to sit a 9.5 hour exam and to secondly, WILLINGLY devote 3 months of my life to studying organic chemistry, physics and all other sorts of unreasonable theories we claim to be of importance in the world.

In all honesty, I was out of my depth. Here I am, drowning in textbooks attempting to teach myself how to conquer subjects that involved words I didn’t even know had been created.

Physics? Sure, Force = Mass x Acceleration, right? No biggie. I got this.

I didn’t. Turns out, there’s a little more to physics than I had hoped there would be. Because Force, Mass and Acceleration have friends called Vectors, Center of Gravity and Elecetronegativity, and it definitely wasn’t a get together you wanted to be at.

Unfortunately though, it became apparent quite quickly that Physics wasn’t my biggest problem. Enter, Organic Chemistry.

Organic chemistry, to me, is a unnecessary science. Normal chemistry makes sense, organic chemistry does not.

It’s as if a group of bored scientists got together and decided to make a normal representation of an atom look funky. And then made that funky atom look precocious. And then found fifty different other names for the precocious atom and called it a science.

What they really did, was make something incredibly easy, complicated for no human logical reason other than to wreck three perfectly good months of my year.

Nevertheless – I survived and became a proud owner of a brain that knew what an isomer was, and could list the entire periodic table’s stability values off of memory alone (and you do not want to hear the song I made up to remember that beauty).

And as promised, it was an excruciating exam. The kind that makes every brain cell want to explode.

After 9.5 hours of sitting in one of a thousand chairs, in one of a hundred auditoriums, I was ready to sleep for the remaining 9 months of the year.

I find out the results in May, and ultimately the next adventure I embark upon.

And I feel privileged that I have that choice – whether I pass or not doesn’t effect me negatively. Because at the end of the day, I am still a registered nurse and I will still absolutely love what I do. I can work my way up to the big leagues and find gratification the whole way through. Sitting this exam was almost like a test run, a shot at seeing whether I could be doctor material.

There were people sitting that exam who have been studying for years, whose whole life depends on passing this exam because without it, the study they’ve already completed becomes irrelevant.

So do I expect to pass? In all honesty, not really. A short three months study wasn’t at all a comparison to what others have done. But I feel good for trying, to know what I can accomplish is what matters most to me.

And I will be happy with whichever direction my life takes from here, because it’s a good life. And a doctor isn’t the only person able to make a difference in the world.

You can be great just being you. Remember that always.

Bucket List #3 – Get a Masters Degree… Contemplate Med School. I’ll let you know how I go!

d x


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