Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 527: Rejected!

Dear Ms. Jessica,

The Committee on Admissions of Boston University School of Medicine has completed its review of your application. It is with great regret that I inform you that we will be unable to offer an interview this year. This is a disappointment, as much for those who are responsible for the decision as it may be for you, the candidate who is turned away.

Most of the candidates we are considering this year are qualified to attend medical school and are likely to make important contributions to our profession and to society. Sadly, with more than 100 applicants for every seat in the class, we are forced to deny many exceptional people.

We acknowledge and respect your accomplishments and recognize that our inability to offer you an opportunity to complete the admissions process is a loss for Boston University. Please accept our best wishes for all your future endeavors.

Boston University School of Medicine

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 525: A little honesty

Okay. So. I got my exam results today. They weren't great. They weren't bad, but they definitely weren't great.

I think I need to be honest and say that I haven't given a hundred percent to this class. It all boils down to lack of interest, lack of other meaningful coursework to get me in the proper study mode and med school applications. I'm so focused on answering secondary/supplemental applications genuinely and swiftly that I don't spend nearly enough time learning about gene flow or natural selection or Darwin.

It is completely my own fault. I need to get my study back on.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 524: Humble before the human body

My dad loves to tell me to be humble in my pursuit of medicine. More often than not, I tend to say "okay" half-heartedly and move on with my life. However, my dad's words never rang more true than this past Saturday.

Saturday was my Stanford School of Medicine mentorship lunch. The gist of the get-together was to get a better idea of the program and to meet our med student mentors. The whole experience was refreshing on a number of levels. I was amazed to discover how normal and, dare I say, cool these med students were. They were all incredibly diverse and interesting and sociable. My mentor and I are going to get along fine. I don't foresee us becoming best friends or even genuine friends for that matter, but I do think he's got a lot to impart.

The coolest, most wicked thing about Saturday (and my mentor) was when he took me (and a few others) to the Gross Anatomy lab. The whole experience was surreal and amazing and I am now dubbing it surrealazing. As he was unzipping the bag to his cadaver, I wasn't sure what to expect. I tried to pray as fast as I could to the universe and to this woman for giving her body up to science. I was just trying to be thankful and humble and understanding and open and a whole lot of emotions I couldn't even acknowledge, much less name.

The body, all in all, looked a lot like meat. As flippant as that sounds, it's honestly the best description I have. The body didn't even look like anything I recognized. And that helped me view it more scientifically. I saw nerves and lungs and a heart, oh my! It was just sincerely surrealazing.

The whole experience invigorated me towards the application process. Having completed around 13 secondaries (I've actually lost count and am guessing it's around thirteen), I am feeling a little done. Flip me over. I'm sick of selling myself in a new and original way to each school. I can recycle a little but not enough that I don't put actual effort into each one. Meeting the med students and seeing the cadavers and just being on the School of Medicine campus really showed me that this is what I want. It's nice to know that my passion for this isn't going to die down any time soon and it's not something I did because I could.

I really, really want this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 521: Recent happenings

For lack of a better title, this is me updating you all on the past week's events.

Let's see, on Sunday (10/18), I received word that I was accepted into a Stanford School of Medicine mentorship program. The gist of it involves community service, application workshops, a med student mentor and possible shadowing of physicians and suture tutorial. There is a mandatory lunch tomorrow that I'll be attending and hopefully I'll have more to report later.

I had my first exam yesterday. It was multiple choice and all about evolution (micro and macro) and cladistics and the like. It went okay. We'll see though, won't we?

Aside from that, I'm taking today off. I didn't make the volunteer cut for Habitat for Humanity this week (there's usually a waitlist you have to try and get off of) but I spoke with the site director and I'm going to be an actual regular volunteer. So since that'll be starting soon, I wanted to take today to just relax and get some stuff done. I have a University of Miami secondary to complete and classwork and errands and such to do so I figure I'll be kept busy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 515: Focus...focus...

Lately, as the cartoon states, I have been having a lot of trouble focusing lately. I'm not sure why. And, granted, all those things in the cartoon are viable reasons but still. In the past, I have been somewhat good about getting my school-act together. For whatever reason, I can't seem to get it together. Today's been going all right so far. Let's hope I can keep it up.

In other news, I volunteered yesterday! Finally!

It was pretty sweet. I worked on a foreclosed house yesterday. Rather than build a home from scratch, this site is focused on rebuilding and fixing up a foreclosed house. I helped scrape a whole bunch of crap off a soon-to-be re-stucco'd garage wall. It's amazing how time flies when you're doing physical labor :P

Anyway, I spoke to the site manager and I hope to be back there on a weekly basis.

P.S. My wrist hurts like no other! Hammering away really kills ya...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 512: A little background on secondary applications

I wanted to provide some more information about how secondary (also called supplemental) applications work.

Secondary applications tend to cost more than the primary/AMCAS application. (Yes, I have to pay application fees twice.) They are typically comprised of a reiteration of school information (found in your AMCAS application) and short answer essays, usually pertaining to the school. They often ask about how you will contribute to the diversity of the incoming class, or how X-school will help you reach your future goals, et cetera.

Most private medical schools (including the ones in Day 501) send secondary applications to all applicants.

Most public/in-state medical schools send secondary applications to screened applicants. "Screened" means they've seen your GPA, MCAT score, personal statement and all the other basic information provided in your primary/AMCAS application and they like what they see. This is definitely a good sign. You've jumped through the first hoop and you only have a few more to go

Just so you know, I've filled out all the private school secondaries I'm going to fill out. There are some I have received but have decided not to complete. This may change in the upcoming months depending on how my other secondaries fare.

Day 512: Getting caught in all the wrong tides

I find it absurdly easy to get caught up in all the wrong things sometimes. From the wrong emotions, to the wrong people, to the wrong ideas, to a lot of wrongness.

Last night, I made the inevitable, recurring mistake of telling my father more information than he was capable of handling. I always, always give my father the benefit of the doubt, assuming he can handle what I'm about to tell him and I am always, always proven wrong. I do it to myself really. We were discussing my undergrad GPA and I assumed that since I was two years removed from undergrad, and there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it, I told my dad my GPA. I should have lied and said my GPA was better than it was. I know, I know, lies make you fat but if it keeps my dad floating in his surreal cloud of unrealistic optimism, then why not, right? Well, I didn't learn my lesson (I think I'm going to keep getting an F in this Father-Daughter-What-to-Say-and-What-Not-to-Say class). Anyway, the moral of the story is, I really need to learn to keep my damn mouth shut.

My mother and I are discussing things this morning and I am motherf-ing pissed. And I mean pissed. Mainly about what occurred last night egged on my a few key interactions this morning. Whatever. Luckily, I have good friends who let me prattle on about my pissed-off-ness and I feel slightly better. I really hate wasting energy being angry. Moreover, I really hate being angry about nothing/things I can't change. It wastes my time and my energy and now I'm all out of whack that I can't focus properly on my secondaries or anything of equal importance.

I then proceeded over to PostSecret and realized that life is so much bigger than being angry and caught up in all the wrong emotions. Which isn't to say I wasn't angry ten minutes ago or I won't be angry again. It's just, right now, this very second, I don't need it. I have to focus my energy on something more positive. Or else I'll get sucked into the horrible abyss of what-ifs and second-guesses and the vortex that is the debilitating negativity possibilities of the unknown.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 507: Descending from the MCAT high

First, thanks to the people who called and/or commented and/or instant messaged me. You are the best thing to have happened to me. The support has been completely unexpected and wonderful and it just reminds me how lucky I am to have you in my life. (You know who you are.)

Moving on, it has been uncomfortable to come down from my elation and back to reality. And what is that reality? I'm not as "qualified" as I had hoped I would be for medical schools.

Here is the issue...

Everything I'm doing is to get into my top-choice school (which I'm choosing not to mention for jinxing purposes. Hint: It's a California state school). I would assume that everything I'm doing for this school would suffice for schools of lesser caliber. That would be a false assumption. A few schools have these extra little requirements which are putting a big fat damper on my "I'm going to get in somewhere!" feeling.

Luckily, I have wonderful family and friends who helped me figure out what to do. And what's that? I'm going to deal with that mountain when it comes.

If pain-in-my-butt schools are the only schools I can get into, then I will do everything within my power to make it work. Because, as we all know, everything happens. The best we can do is go with it and do our best.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 505: Dear Universe, I love you.

I think if ever a perfect day existed, it was yesterday. I'm going to walk you through the day.

I wake up. I slept decently enough. I knew my MCAT scores were coming in today. I checked the AAMC (Asociation of American Medical Colleges) website yesterday (Monday). It said to expect MCAT scores to be reported after 5pm EST. I checked them that morning as a just in case (I would be checking any and every second possible until they came in). Well! Lo and behold! They were in.

...and they were not bad at all. I ran to my parents room, calling their names and I interrupted their tooth-brushing and face-washing to tell them the news. You could see us all sigh a gigantic sigh of relief. Everything they had invested in me, and everything I had worked for, finally came to fruition. I don't know what I believe in, but I couldn't help but thank my lucky stars and the universe and other ethereal bodies.

I go to class. Still on an MCAT-high (double entendre intended). In between class and my lab, I work on secondaries upon secondaries. For lab that day, we go on a field trip! Lots o' hiking. Some nice fresh air.

I meet up with a friend at the gym. Good 5K run. We go shopping. The shirt I wanted to buy (whether I got a good score or not; good score = congratulatory-I-deserve-this reasoning, bad score = I'm-sad-I-deserve-this reasoning) went on sale that day. Whee! (We all know how I love a good sale.) We go to Cheesecake Factory. Where we eat (hummus, a burger, pumpkin pecan cheesecake and alcohol!) and I am happy.

Like I said, if there was ever a perfect day. I think it would have gone like that.

Thanks to all of you who sent good vibes, crossed your fingers and were generally so absurdly supportive. I couldn't have done it without you. Honest to blog.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 501: Secondaries galore!

This is a little image I made of the secondaries I have yet to submit. To keep you all in the loop, my test scores come in Tuesday (give or take a day). If they're decent enough, I'll be sending in the secondaries I've currently completed. I have three left to do and I hope to finish them all before my scores come out.

My nerves have been getting to me lately. I know there is nothing I can do about my test scores. They were decided when I chose to have my MCAT scored. Nevertheless, as the date looms, I can't help but become a big fat worry wart.

So, when my scores get in, if they're okay, I'll send my secondaries out. If schools like my primary application and they like what I had to say in my secondary application, then they will offer me an interview. When (yes, when) I rock my interview, they will then inform me (anywhere from two to six weeks) if they will accept me or reject me. Let's hope for the former, shall we?

And the waiting game continues...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 499: The first of many big days

Hello all,

I am blogging, however briefly, between my class and lab to update you on a few big things.
  • First, I love bullet points :p

  • Second, in honor of all the post-doctorate students and/or visiting scholars at my Stanford internship, today is National Day of the People's Republic of China. It's the 60th year of celebration so ... celebrate! (On a more personal note, 10/01 doesn't mean much for me since I am American and all. I do appreciate their excitement though :) )

  • Third, my AMCAS application (aka my med school application) has been processed. (!!! This is the big news !!!) It took them two weeks (rather than the possible 4-6). If only they'd taken another week because then my new MCAT scores would be in.

  • Fourth, first quiz in lab in 15 minutes. I'm heading over there now to be all prepared and in my seat and whatnot.
And I'm off!