I did not start this blog to only share the good, the triumphs. I started it to also share the bad, the obstacles, the disappointments. Why? Because I wanted it to be real. If any premed student wanted to find out what this whole application process was like, I didn’t want to sugarcoat it or hide what obstacles there can be. If I can keep someone from repeating my mistakes, then my work here is done.
A year ago, in early May 2012, I started filling out my application, forwarding recommendation letters and transcripts, and writing (and rewriting) my personal statement–yet again. By that time, I was an old pro at it. Today, I finally received final notice from my once “dream” school, that they “cannot recommend” my acceptance.
This hurts. It cuts deep. How lucky I was, I used to think, that my dream school was also my only in-state medical school. Surely they would want me as much as I desperately wanted them for all those years.
Wrong. And wrong. And wrong. And now… Wrong.
I still can’t really fathom it, what went so wrong. On more than one occasion I have thought to myself, if only I had worked harder. But this thought was immediately banished by the thought that there is no way on earth I could have worked harder.
I did everything “right”. Full ride to several colleges. Top student in nearly every class, top student in my major, top three students of my entire campus. Local, regional, and national awards. Aced an Honors Program in addition to my courses for my degree program and still graduated on time. Published research as an undergraduate. Made a real commitment and difference in my neighborhood. Led more than one organization to greatness. Volunteered in my community not because of the expectations of my chosen career path but because it was really and truly where my heart felt most whole, and was even recognized for it by two Presidents of the United States of America. Completed a master’s degree. Collaborated on a project that culminated in helping an untold amount of local patients & sought to change laws to provide that help state-wide. After every defeat, I had a meeting with an admissions officer and/or director, to find out areas where I could improve. I was told there was nothing that needed improvement. My application was stellar. My writing skills were outstanding. My recommendation letters were unparalleled. My interviewing skills were wonderful. I prayed for God to show me the path to something else if medicine was not my calling, after all. He kept leading me here. I kept improving upon my application, but the results kept getting worse instead of better. So where did I fall short?
If nothing else, I know humility and I know disappointment.
The first three times I applied, I was found guilty of putting all of my eggs in one basket. Surely my state school would take me. Surely.
Wrong, so wrong.
I know what it’s like to feel like a failure.
This time, it has been different. I went into the game expecting to be turned down. In a way, I think this made me calloused even to bear the brunt of heartache. But it still hurts, knowing that now it is finally official and behind me, once and for all.
I recently had a lovely conversation with my former Honors Program Director. She let me know that she was proud of me for never giving up. She said she knew that one day, the door would open. Even if I have to kick in the door myself, I said.
So even though its been hard to believe that this would be the outcome, yet again, there it is. Each year of interviews, the interviewers have said that they would love to have me as a student, that I was exactly the type of student they wanted… Blah, blah, blah… Never listen to what the interviewers say. It is never their decision, but the committee’s. Even if they sit on the committee, or are even the Chair of the committee and personally know your world-renowned recommendation writer, do not listen. Do not get your hopes up until you have that acceptance letter firmly in your grasp. Otherwise, it is smoke and mirrors. They all know you want to hear good news. Keep your options open and your chances many.
I am so thankful this mess is over. Never again do I have to go through all of this hoping, anxiously, for any sort of notice ever again. It is a tortuous process. I am so ready to finally begin this next chapter of my life. I just wish I had cast my net a little farther the first time. Now, it does not matter. I’m in. I have this wonderful opportunity to finally make the changes and the differences I’ve been dreaming about for my entire adult life. No more thumb-twiddling. There will be no hesitations now. I have gained so much in my “gap” years. I’ve regained my confidence, found areas of interest in research and humanism in medicine, went on adventures, clearly defined my goals, and not to mention met & married my lifelong best friend. I am now the person I am supposed to be when I begin this journey to becoming a physician. God never gave up on me. He just molded me into the person I was supposed to be; I was not ready before now.
My whole life, people have told me that I’m “going places”, even though I never really knew what they meant by that. The way I choose to process it now is, I can’t be going places if I always stick with the same place, the same university. So now I get to try my hand at these new opportunities elsewhere, with the skills and perspective that I have cultivated here. So now I have said my peace about the situation, and I am moving on to bigger and better things, without fear and without regret. I tried my absolute hardest. Time and time again. And I have finally prevailed.
“This is either going to be a great success, or we’re going to have a story to tell… so basically, we’re on the verge of greatness.”
So cheers for the closing of one chapter, and the beginning of one even better.