Overly Personal Statement

I’ve been struggling a little bit lately, hence the long absences between posts. Tyler’s been away. Pretty much constantly since June. He’s been home a few days here and there. Juggling school and Caroline all by myself has been… tiring. Tiring isn’t the word, really. I’m drained. I’m falling behind on my paperwork, losing too much weight, and running on fumes. I know I can do it, and I don’t have much longer to go until I get a little help. I’m just, you know. Struggling a little.

So, I’m trying to get things together for residency applications, because that’s coming up quickly. I have to write a personal statement. I despise writing about myself for personal gain. It feels so fake. I sat here staring at the cursor blinking for the better part of the evening before writing this all in one go, without stopping. I can’t put it in my applications. But I kind of wish I could. It sums up how I feel. If I can do this, if I can have enough of myself left over to still love what I’m doing, I deserve to get in wherever I want. And those bitches better take me.

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I had a baby during dental school.

People don’t do that. Well, women don’t do that. I didn’t mean to. She just happened. I found out right before part 1 of the national boards, and I cried every day for weeks. I thought I was losing my career. And my career meant everything to me.

I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I didn’t really think I could.

But I did. I am. I took a break for a year, after encountering some pregnancy complications and reevaluating some priorities. Leaving her and going back to school was the hardest thing I ever did. But I did it and I’m glad I did. I wanted to finish. I want to do this. I still want this more than anything.

More than almost anything.

In order to do this, in order to have a baby and raise her with very little help (due to my husband’s long absences due to his job) during a demanding program, I had to reprioritize. Rearrange. Find a balance. Make things work. I couldn’t be single-minded about my career anymore. And you know what? I think I’m better off for it. I love my daughter. I think she has made my conviction that I want to work in this field even stronger. If I could leave her at home to go back and finish what I started, and still love every single day of what I’m doing, well. It must be the right choice, right? It must be what I’m meant to do. If I can add this little person who requires so much love and attention to my life and still have enough left over to devote to my career and be happy with it every day, I must have chosen well for myself.

This is what I want to do. I still believe that, more than ever.

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Even on days like today, when I’m totally exhausted and overwhelmed, I’m glad things happened the way they did. Sure, I still think about how the timing could have been better. But my motivation doesn’t drag at times like my classmates’. I’m doing this for her. She needs me. And I’m so lucky to still be doing what I love.

She’s pretty cute, too. That doesn’t hurt.

And guess what? She took her first steps alone last weekend. I cried so many happy tears. I can’t believe she’s 18 months old. I know it’s cliche, but really. Where does the time go?

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  1. by Ashley T

    On August 11, 2010 at 9:58 am

    pretty cute?!? I'd say she's super cute, and you're super Mom. It's so awesome that you've found a way to get what you want and give Caroline what she needs. You're hard work now means she's gonna have a better future.You rock!

  2. by Bex

    On August 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    She's adorable, and congrats on the walking! As for this hard period, it will pass. My mother accidentally got pregnant in medical school, and she was devastated. Since both my parents were in medical school, they went through many very busy, very stressful years. But then they came out the other side, with not only a daughter they loved but careers they loved. It's a win/win in a way, isn't it?Good luck, and hope things ease up soon!

  3. by MJS

    On August 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Wow Julia! I really like this post. I'm so glad that you continue to blog. And I can hardly believe what a big girl Caroline is already! Adorable!Best luck with residency apps (and everything else). As always, you're an inspiration. :)

  4. by Lauren

    On August 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Hi, I usually just read your posts and go on my way but I just wanted to say I think you are doing an amazing job and your daughter is adorable and looks like you! Hang in there. Hope you are feeling better and doing better very soon!!

  5. by Lulu

    On September 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I found you blog last night and have literally read the entire thing, start to finish, today (on my Blackbery, and Shhh! don't tell my boss!) I'm just so in awe of your strength and determination. Totally needed to hear a story like yours and know that anything is possible, if you just put your mind to it.Happy anniversary!xoxo,Lulu

  6. by Raising Snowpeas

    On September 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    I just found your blog tonight and it was kind of near and dear to my heart because I am a dentist!While I didn't have a baby during dental school, I actually had five or six classmates who did. I couldn't believe how they were able to balance the challenges of a rigorous dental program with raising a little baby.It looks like you are doing an amazing job and I have to commend you because I know how tough the dental program is! And, you are so right about knowing that it is the right field because you are still happy going to school everyday.Oh… also, your daughter is adorable and congrats on the walking – such a fun milestone!