Have you ever wondered how your doctor became a doctor? I'll give you the scoop, the short, dry and honest version of course of this podiatrist's timeline in deciding on her career as a foot and ankle specialist.
I have to admit, I didn't always have a passion for medicine. As a wee little nugget I had a Playskool doctor kit but I was more interested in playing cops and robber with my imaginary friend. Of course, my idealistic childhood waned with time and I realized a career is what's necessary to live a comfortable life. I had a knack for helping people, often missing class in elementary school to help file some papers in the front office. (Looking back, I don't know why they let me do that!) I preferred doing things rather than sitting around being lectured at. As I got older and witnessed people getting sick, I gravitated towards naturopathic medicine, often awed by nontraditional home remedies like Chinese herbal medicine to cure the sick. But I wasn't satisfied with the 'it just works' mentality, my curious nature needed to know how. This then pulled me into a yearlong training program to be a pharmacy technician, learning about western medicines. At the completion of my training, I couldn't find a satisfying job.
Then I thought, maybe pharmacy school? Or study pharmaceutical science? Or sell makeup? All these tangent paths from understanding medicine didn't light a fire of interest and I felt so lost. (Except selling makeup, I just needed a job.) Already into undergrad on the way to graduating, I had nothing waiting for me at the end of that painfully long and expensive journey. I supported myself through loans and it felt so heavy not knowing if I could ever pay it back. Then, someone suggested I look into medical school and I thought, "yea right!" Training is too long, too expensive, what if I didn't like it, what if I didn't make it, I don't have any connections, no one in my family even made it through college, and on and on with the self doubt. I had no mentors and it just seemed like a dark lonely dusty path that I had never put thought into...but what if I succeed?
I set some conditions before deciding to move forward. 1) Once you commit, you stick it through no matter what. 2) No kids. 3) Specialize right away so you're not dilly dallying into areas you have no interest in. 4) Be damn good.
And that's it, I found podiatry school from a career fair at my last year in undergrad and 8 years of training later here I am making a great living doing what I love in expensive California. I learned to love feet, or least love to fix them, and all its intricate anatomy. It seems to get more complicated the more I learn about it. What fun challenges there are in podiatry!
If you asked me 10 years ago where I thought I would be, I didn't have an answer, I just knew it would be somewhere and at least it was moving forward. Even if you asked me 3 years ago, having lived across the country from Iowa to Michigan to Texas, I'd never thought I'd be back in my home state. I was on the go and on fire! I had the freedom to live in any state I chose to, even considering selected countries that accepted podiatrists. Buuut opportunity in California arose and here I am, enjoying every blissful minute of this great opportunity to continue my craft and eventually, be damn good at it. I'm not quite there yet but, finally for once, I know where I am going.