Monday, June 26th, 2017

Dear Struggling Student,

Mytosha Dickerson

As a non-traditional pre-med who is also a wife and mother, and has a host of other titles, I sometimes look at myself and say “what are you doing?” Since starting on this journey to medical school the road has been bumpy to say the least. From paying tuition entirely out of pocket before I was able to get financial aid, to dropping classes and having to retake physics, I can proudly say I am still here. However, there is one question that lingers in my mind. No, it’s not if I still want to be a doctor or why I’m doing this, rather, it’s “how do I balance all of the hats that I wear?”

As a non-traditional student, my life experiences are sometimes vastly different from other students. For example, I don’t just schedule classes based on my interest in them, I truly have to map it out. I have to make sure that each class fits with my work schedule and other responsibilities. I work as a scheduling coordinator for an imaging center three days a week and take classes during the other two, so I have to balance both class and work each week.  At home I alternate housework and cooking with my husband (who is working on a Master’s degree) and spend time with my daughter and my husband—all while keeping up with my school work. I am 100% committed to everything that I do and I truly want to be successful in all areas of my life but it’s not easy.

Since becoming a physician is a marathon not a sprint, there are a many times when I temporarily feel like giving up. There are times when I cry, when I don’t think that I can do this, or that I’m taking away too much time from being a wife and a mother. When this happens, I remember why I initially started this. Because it’s my purpose and somebody’s daughter or son is waiting for me to be their pediatrician. As I was talking to my husband about this, what I realized is that balance is important, but there are also other key factors such as belief, faith and validation. No matter how many people believe in you, or are rooting you on and saying you can do this, you have to believe that you can do this yourself.

I’ve come to realize that among the most important things to remember in life is knowing how to adapt and knowing that you are enough. You have to believe that no matter what, you are not defined by your GPA or your MCAT score. As a non-traditional student I have worked as a barista, substitute teacher, bank teller, office administrator, unit clerk on a trauma unit, and now I am a schedule coordinator for an imaging center. I have interacted with people from many different walks of life and I believe that helps to make me a well-rounded person—the kind of physician I would want.

It feels unreal that next year is the year I will apply to medical school and sit for the MCAT exam. I am excited and nervous about the process of applying. I am excited because I am one year closer to my dream and nervous because I want to make sure everything is just right. There are several scriptures that I turn to when I feel discouraged or exhausted but one that really resonates with me and tells me exactly what I’m supposed to do is Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up”. This is a long and challenging road but in the end all of the hard work, dedication, tears, frustration, and all the sacrifice of time that I have made will be worth it. I just have to keep putting in the work. So for those non-traditional dad and mom future doctors, keep going!

Sincerely, Pre-Med Mytosha

About Mytosha Dickerson

Mytosha headshot crop2Mytosha is from New Orleans, LA and graduated from LSU in 2011 with a bachelor’s in communication studies. She recently got married will be attending the University of New Orleans to complete her prerequisites to apply for medical school for the fall 2019 admissions cycle. She hopes to volunteer at some of the local hospitals and will be shadowing a Hem-OC doctor at Children’s Hospital. She has been very lucky to have the support of her husband and family.


13 thoughts on “Dear Struggling Student,

  1. This is so amazing! You are truly an inspiration. I remember the day you had your epiphany about what you were called to do and you took no time putting your plans into motion. I don’t exactly remember the vows that Da’John said to you but I remember his overall message and he was so right. Heck, I’m almost in love with you! LOLOLOL!!! Keep pushing and it will all pay off before you know it. And always remember there is this beautiful little China doll who is always watching. *wink wink* Make her proud!

  2. You are amazing and this article can encourage anyone pursuing anything in life. In the voice of Issa, “You got this!” May God strengthen you where strength is needed during this journey! Happy Journey future doc!!

  3. Your positivity is so inspiring! I’m not even in medical school nor do I have kids but I’m pursuing a graduate degree & the struggle of juggling self-love, relationships, school & work responsibilities is very difficult. Thank you for this post and reminding me that I started on this journey for a reason 🙂 Rest if you must, but don’t quit!

  4. I love this. You are inspiring. I remember the very same struggles from listening to and watching my sister. She too had difficulty balancing being a mother, wife, nursing student and working at the hospital, many times being 12 – 18 hours away from her husband and son. There were times she cried because she missed her son so much and hadn’t seen in what felt like days. He’d be at school, she was at home sleeping. When he came home, she had to be out the door. You both are such inspiring, awesome women. God has got your back. We have your back. You have a wonderful support system here for you. I believe in you and can’t wait for the day to call you Dr. Dickerson. God bless!

  5. Thank you very much for your inspirational story. I’ve been hunted by my thinking that is all about MCAT scores and English been my third language it has been a struggle (in additional to personal problems) for the preparation. There are lots of information out there that have misled me.

  6. You go girl! You totally got this, you sound proud and strong and determined, and that can carry you way further than just being “gifted” academically or born “under a good star.” As someone whose been chasing med school for years as well, I’ll never forget one of my favorite pieces of advise I got from a professor from my undergrad days: “You’re going to be 40 one day no matter what you do, you might as well do what you love.” Obviously it would be great to be in med school (or more specially to actually be a doc) because then you can happily close this chapter of your life, but imagine how much more experience you will have one day, imagine how much more able to relate to your patients you will be. Throughout the course of my travels I’ve meet amazing, intelligent, well traveled, determined 50 year old’s who were med students off shore, and spoiled, entitled 24 year old med students in Virginia. Just Keep Running! One day we will both get there!

  7. What an inspiration. God will definitely carry you through! That verse, Galatians 1:9, is something that comforts me and helps me to persevere too. We CAN DO THIS!!!

  8. Hi! I’m very thrilled that I have found your blog and although we don’t have much in common, I feel like I understand some of your struggles. I’m a 20 year old first year pre-med student from the Caribbean (I am international and am currently working on becoming a resident. Yay!), so I have struggled with getting used to the new environment and have also felt inferior to the kids I have met since they have had more resources and AP classes than I did in the Caribbean. Reading your post reminded me of the many times I have felt unmotivated and I thank you so much for sharing that with me.

  9. Mytosha,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I too am a wife and mother seeking a pre-med degree, in hopes of one day being a family medicine physician. You have encouraged me to keep going and show me that it is possible to juggle all of my responsibilities and still be a great mother and wife.

  10. Thank you for this post. I don’t wear as many hats as you do – kudos, but I can relate to the bumps you’ve had because I’m also not a traditional student, but reading this…just, thank you ! I appreciate knowing that someone is going through what I am, and know that i’m cheering you on! YOU GO GIRL !

  11. I love seeing your journey. I remember you from way back at Geaux Lead when you were an undergrad. Proud of your perseverance.

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