Getting into Medical School, aka Holy of Holies (the F-1 version)

My adventures as an international student trying to get into a US medical school as a prestigious MSI student!

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Location: East Coast, United States

I am a 22 yr old Foreign lady trying to get into an American med school. The journey has been "rough" to say the least. So join the band wagon and let's see if they think I'm good enough to become a doctor. I hope my story encourages someone, maybe you. Not necessarily to become a doctor, but just to follow your dream. Leave your comments as you read...I thrive on feedback. And if this is your first time here, catch up on what you missed, cus every post IS important...well almost all. So forget that board meeting(at your own risk) or skip that class (again at your own risk) and lose yourself in my archives. REMEMBER: "If it aint ROUGH, it aint RIGHT" - Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons Guard

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The past...(part 1 of I really don't know)

Sometimes I wonder why I didn't just choose to become an engineer, or something that didn't require at least 12 yrs of training. You know, graduate, start making my cash like most of y'all are doing and have a choice as to whether or not to go to grad school. But I knew if I did that, I will be cheating myself. How can I be an engineer when I pretty much drooled on every word my professor uttered in anatomy class? Thank GOD for policies, after two semesters of Anatomy, I thought I was a doctor already because I could finally understand a word or two from ER. Unfortunately life isn't that easy.

If it was, I really would have been a doctor by now. Afterall, I was already in med school back home and all my mates are currently in their final year about to start their internships. But nooooo, I couldn't pass up a chance to pursue the "American Dream". So I proceeded to up root my whole life in 2001 and come up to a very small town in Michigan aka "The Ends of the Earth". For some reason, my wise self decided to major in computer science, you know, I wanted to have a back up plan in case med school didn't work out. A classic case of a good idea executed badly. At least thank GOD I realized this before my GPA became completely non-existent. So I changed majors. To Bioinformatics. Less coding, more biology. Priceless.

In between all this jumping around , I missed a visit or two with my advisor and ended up wasting two summers finding new ways to sit on a couch at different locations around the country. What could I have done you might wonder? Well there was no money for classes, I didn't have the heart to ask my dad to pay tuition three times in one year. I could have volunteered at the hospital or something, but honestly, at this point, I had no clue that I had to volunteer or do anything outside school to get into med school. It was hard keeping tabs with my bioinformatics requirements and my premed ones. It was not until I started talking to some of my other premed friends that I found out most of what I had to do. Research...Doctor Shadowing...Volunteering, etc. There was a problem though. All these either paid nothing at all or almost nothing compared to what I needed. The answer laid in corporate America. This again was a problem. My resume was looking rather empty, all I had done till this point was wash dishes in the cafeteria and tutor. Well let's repharase that. I was a vital part of a cafeteria team ensuring that all parties were served in optimal hygiene conditions. But I still needed a job whose description I didn't have to rephrase.

So come October 2003, in the middle of "The Ends of the Earth's" first snow fall, I attempted to put together my best corporate outfit (I had nothing close to a suit in my wardrobe at this point in my college career) and walk up the humongous hill to the sports center for our annual career fair. Every step I took, I kept asking myself why? Why was I bothering myself? Why was I out in the freaking cold, doing my first cardio workout in ages in uncomfortable clothes? I had been up at the career fair twice before. You see my school is an engineering school so we only get about two companies, out of 200 or so, who are interested in non-engineering majors. Of these two companies, zero of them hire internationals. I was already half way up by now and what else could I be doing? Confusing myself more in my data structures class? Never! Anyways I knew I would keep asking myself "what if?" if I didn't go up there and try. So I did. I joined the parry and tried to explain to the recruiters what exactly my major was while thinking to myself how good all the guys looked cleaned up.

A friend of mine had earlier told me that one of the top technology companies (let's call it Miu Corp) had a life sciences dept that might be interested in someone who knew a little bit about computers and biology. So I went up to talk to them, knowing fully well they had kicked me out the last two times immediately they heard my "weird" name. But this time, I started differently. I told them about their life sciences dept and how my major was just the right combination they needed. The guy was nodding. That was the first truthful nod I had gotten from any of the recruiters. Good sign! Then he asked the dreaded question "Are you legally authorized to work in the US without sponsorship?" Of course I said yes! It wasn't a lie, heck I was working in the cafeteria and they weren't sponsoring me (whatever that meant).

Long story short, I got the job. A premed major working in a tech company testing some developers code. Apart from saving up for my tuition and getting a much needed wardrobe upgrade, I began to discover who I really was...

(...to be continued)

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abby, this was very interesting. Who would have knew? I want to know more about your experience, keep writing! ~Pavi

July 23, 2006 9:23 PM  
Blogger Bijouxoxo said...

Good writing, we're waiting for more. But i feel u. Seriously, i've thought of fashie-ing (forgetting) medicine several times to start making some good dough when i graduate, but i don't want to regret not pursuing my dreams in years to come when i'm old and wrinkled.

As for those summer research programs for pre-meds, most of them don't pay u and even when u're paid, u've to use the money for living expenses and random stuff, that by the time u finish deducting ur expenses, u have little or nothing to save up for school.

July 23, 2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger Bijouxoxo said...

You need to send my dough 'cos i did some "publicity stunts" for u on my blog in the latest entry.

July 23, 2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

yeah I saw that thanks..I'm still trying to find how to list other blogs on my page...help?

July 23, 2006 10:56 PM  
Blogger Bijouxoxo said...

Go to the Template section, it's found when you "Edit posts" and then look at the tabs at the top, it's there somewhere, then edit the html code part. You can add your links under the sidebar section. I don't see any existing links on your sidebar that you can edit though, so you might have to add the section yourself.

If all else fails, u can e-mail me to lemme know, so we'll do it together either via phone/ e-mail. My e-mail addy is my full name @ yahoo.com.

July 24, 2006 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey abbey nice story. Can I include this article in the NSBE regional newletter?
-VI

July 24, 2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger Owumi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 24, 2006 11:21 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

yup I feel you on that one! Thanks for posting, its good to hear from you after so long

July 24, 2006 2:45 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

funny that we have thesame template...

July 24, 2006 2:47 PM  
Blogger Owumi said...

Yeah, I know... Great minds think alike?

July 24, 2006 3:35 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

exactly...

July 24, 2006 3:36 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 25, 2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

yup I do...I only went for the food and company, cus till now, I don't understand how baseball works!

July 25, 2006 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am enjoying your story abbie.
Atleast u make me spend so much time on the internet. So tell me u actually lied abt ur work authorization and u got da job??

July 25, 2006 9:39 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

So at that point I thought I was lying. But I really wasn't, you can only get so far with a lie, they do their background checks. International students are legally authorized to work in the US but only with permission from the INS. Some companies including this one, choose not to accept us cus its too much work to get us authorized, but they make exceptions, as in this case

July 25, 2006 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This girl...you are tooo funny, I had to make ayo e-mail the link to me, you can delete from my page.

We keep praying oh...By God's grace the news will come and soon. He has been working some miracle. ttyl
Ada

July 26, 2006 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Ruvimbo said...

Wow, you are an amazing writer. You could make your story into a book and this definitely will inspire others to follow their dream of going to Med Schools.

July 26, 2006 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abbey,

Not only are you an avid writer but I love your subtle humor. I will def read your blog a couple times a week. Seems like God has already seen you through the odds (getting your first internship, moving to "End of the earth,Michigan, etc)....you will make it into med school....God bless.

Lemmy

July 29, 2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

thanks Lemmy...I need some dedicated readers. GOD has brought me through quite a bit so far, and I count my blessings everyday. I just need one more big one...

July 31, 2006 12:28 AM  

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