Hello, I'm Adam. A bit about me: I trained as a professional pilot, became a lawyer, and am now in medical school at the University of Toronto. This circuitous path has given me a different perspective than most and I wanted to share it with you.
In addition to my professional life, I have an amazing wife and an adorable daughter. While I don't intend to talk about my family life much here, I find myself frequently talking about resources for parents (especially new fathers who wish to have both fulfilling careers and family lives, for which there aren't many resources). I may not write much on the subject, but I encourage you to look at the resources tab above if you're interested in what I find helpful.
My father is a pilot, but I was not interested in flying as a young child (despite his best efforts). It was only when I was on a trans-Atlantic flight from Egypt to Canada that I 'caught the flying bug'. I was 15 and asked my dad how one became a pilot. My dad explained about flight training and then said he knew the Captain and asked if I wanted to see the cockpit (this was before September 11, 2001). As my dad tells the story, I went in the cockpit and did not stop asking questions for a straight 30 minutes (story of my life). After that, I enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. With hard work, I earned a flying scholarship and achieved my Glider Pilot's Licence. (I actually had my first full pilot's licence before I had my full driver's licence.)
After high school, I went to Seneca College's esteemed aviation program. It has since changed, but at the time there were roughly 1,500 people who applied to the program, about 150 selected for entry into the first year. It was a hugely popular program because the government subsidized the flight training. Instead of paying as much as a Juris Doctor (JD - law degree) or a Medical Doctor (MD) degree (~$80,000 to $100,000), you paid college tuition for three continuous years (~$20,000 at the time) and you received training on excellent aircraft. The problem was there were only so many spots in the program. If you failed a course in the first semester, you were not permitted to continue. Approximately 80 students were in the class by the second semester. Those that passed both semesters were ranked by Grade Point Average (GPA) and 44 students were taken into the flight portion of the program (everything to that point was purely academic). While the academic standards relaxed a bit, if you failed more than three flights you were cut from the program. We graduated 38 from our class. Some of my closest friends are from this time in my life.
Shortly before graduating from college, I realized that I wanted a university degree. At the time, Seneca had just started an applied bachelor program, but it began after I entered Seneca and they did not have a bridging program. Instead, I decided to go to Australia to get a Bachelor of Aviation from the University of Western Sydney. Of course, the real reason was to explore Australia and have a good time. I thought that would be the end of my post-secondary education (ha!).
When I came back to Canada, I trained to become a flight instructor. After the ground school, written exam, and flight test, I started to teach people how to fly. To make a long story short, I worked for several years in various capacities and eventually earned my Airline Transport Pilot Licence (the licence required to Captain a commercial airliner) and my Class I Flight Instructor (to train commercial pilots to become flight instructors).
Then the financial collapse hit. I was interested in going to the airlines, but they weren't hiring. I started to think of other things I could do and found myself interested in both law and medicine. Law because of its broad impact on society; medicine because of its immediacy and the ability to help people individually. The full story of how I came to medicine from aviation can be found in my first post on this blog, but suffice it to say, I was interested in both but was not admitted to medical school until much later.
I enrolled at Osgoode Hall Law School and loved it. Eventually, I secured a summer job and then an articling position at a Bay Street law firm. As I was still interested in medicine, I decided to put one last application in to medical school during my articles (the on-the-job training / internship required to become a lawyer in Canada). In Ontario, articling takes ten months and is usually from August to May. This happens to coincide with the application cycle for most medical schools in Canada (applications go in around September, interview offers come out in the new year, and offers of admission begin in early May). So after finishing my articles, I found myself with both an offer to become a Bay Street lawyer and an offer to enter medical school at Toronto. After several discussions my family, we decided on medical school.
I am a member of the Class of 2020 at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine. There is little to say about my career in medicine because it is nascent, except that I feel extremely privileged to be let into so many people's lives in such a fundamental way.