Let me just start by saying that taking a gap year was a blessing in disguise. I had never really planned on taking a gap year, until my junior year of college…. when courses/jobs/life was too overwhelming to even consider studying for the MCAT. So, I pushed my plans back a year and decided that maybe a year off between undergrad and med school wasn’t such a bad idea.
I graduated with my B.S. in May of 2018 and immediately went on a month-long Hawaiian vacay. ( I was visiting my parents, who live on the Big Island of Hawaii) So the stress didn’t sink in until Josh and I got back from Hawaii and I had no school, no job, and no idea what the hell I was going to do for a year…I didn’t plan well for this gap year. After lots of stressful days/nights trying to soul search and figure out what I was doing with my life…. I enrolled myself into a CNA (certified nursing assistant) course, began waitressing at Buffalo Wild Wings and starting my online health coaching business. Yes, my life was going in a million different directions…and it felt that way, especially because I had no guarantee that I was going to get accepted to medical school on my first application cycle. Plus my chances were very low because I only applied to two medical schools!!!
As the weeks and months went on, I eventually began working as an ER-technician at a Milwaukee Community Hospital.
So why was this gap year so incredible?
Looking back, the past year has taught me SO MANY things about my life and myself. Completing the 3-week CNA course was extremely frustrating to me because it seemed very elementary and in my arrogant mind I just kept thinking, “ I just graduated from UW-Madison, and now you are expecting me to wipe butts and spoon feed people for 8 hours a day”. But throughout the 3 weeks…I learned humility. I learned how essential and important the work that CNA’s do is. I learned that sometimes helping people with the most basic life activities can completely change their attitude. I learned that I will never be able to be a successful physician without the help of a team…. not just a healthcare team. But the help of hospital staff, janitorial staff, housekeeping, kitchen staff, nutritionists, volunteers, the list goes on & on. I learned that having empathy for people is one of the most important skills a healthcare worker can have. I learned that CNA’s do SO MUCH underappreciated work.
Starting my coaching business was a HUGE milestone in my life that would’ve never happened if I didn’t take a gap year. Starting a coaching business has been on the back-burner of my mind for the past 6 years…and It took finally having no direction for me to pursue it. My coaching business allowed me to finally have a consistent fitness routine and taught me how to eat. I know it sounds silly, but I had no structured meal plan or diet before…I would just eat what I wanted when I wanted….and my waistline proved that. These fitness programs gave me my self-confidence back. They made me feel my absolute best and coaching has allowed me to help other women finally gain their confidence back! Because coaching is based on social media…I began sharing my life on my stories! (I have probably met most of you through social media) The financial aspect of coaching is incredible too. I have coaching to thank for paying my rent and car payment for the last 12 months!!
The final incredible experience of my gap year was working in the ED. I have always dreamed of working in the emergency department…because I loved the unpredictability. I learned so much working as a technician. For those of you who don’t know– ED-Tech’s start IV’s, do phlebotomy, splints, cath’s, transports, EKG’s and lots of random other things. Basically, an ED tech is someone who helps the nurses and doctors with whatever they need.
Working in the ED gave me a real, inside look into patient care and the shortcomings of our healthcare system. For uninsured and underinsured, going to the ED is cheaper than going to a primary care physician so there were a lot of non-emergent cases daily. I also got an inside look into the drug and alcohol abuse problems in the Milwaukee area. I truly enjoyed my time in the ED…but I don’t know yet if I would want to become an Emergency Medicine Physician…. time will tell.
My gap year was full of unanticipated, incredible situations and it was truly a great reminder of WHY I wanted to go to medical school in the first place. If you are a pre-med who is considering doing a gap year…I strongly recommend it and I would love to talk to you about it! Email me or DM me on Instagram so we can chat!