Thank you for visiting this page and taking the time to read it during your undoubtedly busy day.
I would like to briefly share a part of the story of a great guy (I may be slightly biased, after all I am his wife) named David.
A rather long story short - with hopes of going to medical school one day, this (relatively) young man has been pretty poor (David, when you see this…sorry babe, you have been) ever since he left for college almost fourteen years ago. But he managed to get by with loans, grants, love, and frankly bizarre jobs. Yet strangely enough he likes it that way; “It builds character,” he always jokes.
Though he attended a fine undergraduate institution (mostly with scholarships), he graduated in 2008 near the height of what has been appropriately deemed “The Great Recession” with a fairly useless science degree (again…sorry babe, it was). And just as it does with everyone else, life threw a few curveballs at him. But he eventually climbed the academic ladder once again and will graduate from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in a few short weeks and will become a doctor (with +$200,000 in debt, of course).
Despite what it took to get him to this point, his plan has always remained unwaveringly the same - to serve and provide care to those who can barely afford decent health care to begin with, individuals like he was for the majority of his adult life. We will be relocating to Columbia, Missouri so he can begin his training at the academic medical center there (the University of Missouri, AKA “Mizzou”) to work in an underserved community with ultimate plans of becoming a board certified addiction psychiatrist, something this country certainly needs now more than ever.
However, leading up to the final stretch, the last year of medical school is a stressful challenge for most students. And David was no exception.
Throughout the year the students must take the remaining +8 hour credentialing exams, finish their remaining clinical responsibilities, and interview at seemingly endless training programs before they can graduate. Indeed “residency” (the second part of physician training) does not work the way one might initially speculate; long gone are the days where a kid can graduate from medical school, sign a few papers, and start a job. Now instead, think of “The Hunger Games”…
Every medical student is required to travel to multiple locations around the country to interview at potential training institutions (it is implied that a most students, David included, travel to over a dozen different places to interview). At the end of the “interview trail” that spans several months, the students “rank” the programs they liked, and the program directors themselves “rank” all of the students they that they liked in a particular order. This is all done through a complicated computer program, and on a specific day (usually mid-March) the students all cross their fingers while the algorithm “matches” a student at one program - hence the term “Match Day”. This long-awaited day has the potential to either fulfill a student’s dreams…or devastate them. Some students don’t even “match” and have to “scramble” for an unfilled position, lest they don’t become a “real doctor”. Fortunately for us, we “matched” at the aforementioned program that suits both of our goals, interests, and passions ideally.
But all that said, this whole stressful process must be paid by the students entirely out of pocket. At the end of it all, we paid for travel, lodging, more travel, more lodging, the credentialing exams (nearing $2,000 themselves), application fees, and hidden fees (which seem to be a part of the human condition). When the dust finally settled, our final “bill” neared $7,000, money we unfortunately didn’t really have to spend, but had to anyway. And unfortunately, David won’t even see his first paycheck until nearly two months after moving.
As a side note, based on his year of birth alone David falls toward the early end of the arbitrary timeline of what has been called “Millennials”. However, to me he embodies the antithesis of the less desirable aspects of the oftentimes derogatory connotation - he has never asked for any handouts, has never had any expectations from others, has little family support, and has been self-sufficient for the majority of his adulthood. But now, he (and I) could certainly benefit greatly from a little startup assistance from the kind hearts of the community who can sympathize or empathize with our current situation. We are simply hoping to creatively find a way to replenish some of the funds we spent during this unexpectedly pricey year of his medical training and relocate out of state a little more seamlessly, which brings us here…
Ultimately, we are certainly not looking for any sort of pity party. We have both lived most of our years by the philosophy of “paying it forward”, and we will spend the rest of them doing the same regardless of the circumstances. But through this peculiar modern “funding” modality, we are simply hoping to find a few people who might believe in the same principles. Whether it totals $1 or $1,000, if we receive any generous contributions whatsoever, it will only further inspire us to continue helping our fellow inhabitants of this planet through all of its interesting phases. There is no doubt in my mind that David will be an incredible doctor, and your generosity during the beginning stages will play a direct and paramount part that will be remembered for all time as he “pays it forward” to the populations in need.
Thank you again for reading, and take care.
- Alex and Rosa Rollo
- Phillip VanGarick
- Doug Klein
- Christina Hill
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