The doctor is a . . .floozy?
When I started at the University of Vermont Medical school, I was determined to make the academic Honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. At UVM, only the top ten percent of the class were offered a spot, and unbeknownst to me, every other medical student was just as competitive as I. Worse yet, medical school was nothing like high school where the dumb, stoned, and lazy made staying in the top ten a breeze. My medical school class consisted of an intimidating posse with photographic memories, IQs of 160, Ivy league degrees, and rich parents (meaning they didn't work twenty hours a week to afford medical school like I did.) In short, compared to my classmates who had hit the "gene pool jackpot," for the first time in my life, no matter how much I studied, I felt mediocre. I discovered with our first Human Anatomy test that UVM posted grades and class ranking by name for the whole world to see. And you guessed it, I was not in the top ten. No, I was unlucky number eleven on the list of one-hundred medical students in our class. Not to worry, I reassured myself. Now that I knew what the tests were like, I'd bring up my ranking by studying even harder.
Wrong! Test two? Number eleven again! No matter how hard I studied, I was doomed for the lowly number eleven slot which came with no glory, Honors grade, or elusive Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society membership.
But just because I didn't qualify for Alpha Omega Alpha didn't mean I couldn't score at least one Honors grade, right? When it came time to apply for Residency, an Honors grade would raise my chances.
I loved Microbiology, with all its weird sounding diseases like Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague,) Borrellia Burgdorferi (Lyme's disease) and those gross worm infections where the larvae live in your lungs then get coughed up and swallowed down into your intestines where they develop into worms that lay eggs. YUK! Going into my final Micro exam, I was number nine in the class. Yes!! Finally, my chance to shine and capture that elusive Honors grade. But when the final grades were posted, I was back down to number eleven. I wanted to clobber the list with that six-foot long tape worm! More maddening, the two guys who placed ninth and tenth attended my Monday night prayer group! (Guess I couldn't ask the group to pray that I made the top ten or we'd be praying that they didn't! Plus, I don't think God likes prayers that pad MY ego and not His kingdom.) Thus, I was left still hoping to catch the elusive Loch Ness monster of medical school grades.
Our "Human Sexuality" teacher mentioned the first day of class that anyone who wrote a twenty-five page optional research paper on an approved topic and maintained a score of at least ninety on all tests would qualify for an "Honors" grade. My ears perked up. I could do that! THIS was my answer to prayer-- my Honors grade.
I studied hard and aced the tests. I squandered dozens of hours holed up in the library researching and writing a twenty-five page term paper on the "Physiological Response of the Sexual Act." (For the younger generation, I had to use an ancient device called a typewriter, not some easy "Word Perfect" computer program where errors and typos are fixed with the simple click of a mouse. Research also involved heaving dusty medical volumes heavy enough to tear a rotator cuff from the top shelf of the library. No easy "Google search" performed in pajamas in the comfort of your own home sipping on a caramel latte.)
My husband proofread my literary gem. Two hours later, bleary-eyed and yawning, he commented, "that paper sure sucks the fun out of sex." I took that as a good sign! Scholarly research papers were supposed to be dull, right?
When I finally received my first 'Honors" grade, I leaped around the room like Tigger on Ritalin. I waved the proof in my husband's face, waiting for his praise and adoration--something along the lines of, "I'm so lucky to be married to such a brilliant woman." Instead, he scowled then mumbled some lame comment that it must be a mistake because if I was an Honors student in sex, HE sure saw no signs of it! Okay, true confessions. I was so busy studying, researching, and writing about sex, who had time to HAVE any? It appears my husband would have traded my coveted Honors grade and tedious term paper for a little more attention. . . Oh well. It was worth it, if an Honors grade improved my chances of snagging a top residency slot.
But when the time came to apply for residency, I realized my fatal mistake. I now had a transcript that suggested I was merely average in every subject except SEX! In short, I looked like a low-class floozy!
During my interview with Vanderbilt, the director eyed my transcipt then glanced up at me smirking. "I see your only Honors was in Human Sexuality." Then, I swear he ogled me up and down and frowned, as though thinking, "she doesn't look like she'd be any good in bed." I was greeted with the same smirks and snickers at my interviews in Jackson, TN and Ashville, NC. By my last interview, I was ready to wear a sandwich board stating, "I AM NOT A FLOOZY."
Luckily, I landed a great residency slot in Nashville (despite graduating number eleven in the class, with no Honors society membership, and with a transcript that looked more promising for a hooker than a doctor.)
Three years later, I took the National Board exams. Three guesses what my national ranking was: the top eleven percentile! GRRRR!