Monday, October 29, 2012

Age 25: Leaving One Era and Starting Another

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by Dr. Margaret Aranda

Various envelopes arrived in the mail, week after week.  If it was a large envelope, it contained an Acceptance to Medical School, along with maps, housing, financial aid, and counseling pamphlets.  If it was a Rejection from Medical School, stated with all Capital Letters etched forever as a rejection rejection rejection, well, it was a small envelope because it was a standard Form letter and there wasn't much to say.

I received a bundle of small envelopes, week after week.  It was February now, and I was supposed to start Medical School in September.  It was getting late, and I had to make plans to move.  Then one fine day, I sauntered to the mail box, butterflies swimming in my stomach, ileum, and colon.  It was a large manilla envelope I saw, squeezed on the bottom of a stack of trash mail.  I let everything else drop out as I pulled the envelope out!  It was large!  It was thick!  I knew it had to be an acceptance letter!  Hurriedly, I looked at the return address, almost not caring what school it was...almost rejoicing to go to any medical school whatsoever!  And it was oral roberts university medical school indeed.  What a thrill!

At 25 years of age, I graduated California State University, Northridge Cum Laude, Cellular and Molecular Biology, a recipient of one of three Outstanding Student Awards.  I received a Sigma Xi Research Award for summer research I did with cancer researcher Steven B. Oppenheimer, Ph.D.  The Sepulveda VA Medical Center Pre-Med Club boasted over 70 Pre-Med Students, and I went to say goodbye to my Club at the VA.  It was hard.  I dressed super-casually, as it was a time for goodbyes and I didn't feel like getting dressed up to say goodbye.  I just wanted to be myself.  So off I went to my last meeting of the Pre-Med Club.  They surprised me with a Plaque, which I still have.


In 1985, I received a plaque, "For Fine Guidance and Leadership, from the Pre-Med Club, Sepulveda VA Medical Center" for three years of service.  From left to right:  Julie Seidl, The Pre-Med Club; Faith Rothburn, Voluntary Services Department Chief;  me; Harry Mannis, MD, Assistant Chief of Staff;  Pamela Nagami, MD, Physician;  Wiley Barker, MD, Chief of Staff;  Harvey Schneir, MD, Physician, and Hiro Mori, Acting President, The Pre-Med Club.  

We sold all our furniture, rented a U-Haul, and drove it out to Tulsa, Okalahoma.  It was a hot summer for my husband, 5-year old son, and I.    Almost immediately, I was thrown into 30 unit/semester classes, 12 hours of school per day, and weekends spend studying the Krebs Cycle, Ethics, The Holy Spirit, Nutrition, and the biceps brachii muscle and its innervation from the musculocutaneous nerve.  We had to accumulate physical exercise "Points" every week.  I swam 1500 meters 4-7 days per week, keeping their motto, "Mind, Body, and Soul" etched in excellence and performance.  It was an art.

Three months later, I came home to an empty apartment.  My husband called me later that night and said that he left me.  He was back in California.

He said that I should quit medical school and move back to California with him.
If I wanted to be a good wife.


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Dr. Margaret Aranda's Books:

No More Tears en Espanol
Face Book Page: Stepping from the Edge
Little Missy Two-Shoes Likes to go to School
From Menarche to Menopause: A Journey through Time

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For Additional Memoirs by Dr. Margaret Aranda, Please Click Here:

Age 31: The Color Blue

Additional Articles by Dr. Margaret Aranda

Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this website is meant to diagnose, treat, or practice medicine. You must be seen in person by a physician for appropriate and individual medical treatment. If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1 in the USA.

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Full Disclosure: Margaret A. Ferrante, M.D.  was an Institute Physician with Cenegenics Medical Institute.


  1. Oh No! What a shock that must have been! If he wanted to be a good husband he would have been supportive of your dreams, not just expected you to support his. It must, even so, have been very hard on you and your son, and I'm sure you spent a lot of time wondering if you were doing the right thing. Well, look how far you've come and all you're accomplishing now! Good for you!
    Jane Ann

  2. Yes, quite the twist it is. ;-). You are so sweet to support my efforts, even all these years later. It was hard to know what 'the right thing' was, but I figured that I got in to medical school for a reason, and I was going to continue.

    Dr. Margaret Aranda


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