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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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

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Best Laid Plans....

(The Past Part IV)

OK finally back to the main gist. Let's do a quick recap. So far in my journey to fulfil those admissions requirements, I have gone to the right classes and done an internship. That's pretty much it. Actually the internship does not really count cus it's not on the list, more like a plus. I still needed two very important activities though-research and volunteering. At this point (Jan 2005), I realized I only had one summer left before graduation so I needed to make VERY good use of it.

Seeing as I had to take the MCAT again that April and I already had two jobs, I really didn't have any free time to spend being a doorman (oops I mean "volunteering") at the hospital. So I decided to concentrate on the MCAT and look for a summer research position. Of course, I faced the normal problem. Three quarters of the positions I found did not take internationals, to add fuel to the fire, I did not have any prior research experience. Honestly speaking, I had no clue what the heck research involved. The most I knew about it was from watching Dexter's Lab and Steve Urkel. So needless to say, my application was not very competitive. I started out applying to about five or so schools. I can't even remember which ones they are right now and I just waited to hear back.

Subconsciously though, I had other plans. One way or another, my manager at Miu Corp had signed me up for another internship that summer. Personally I think all they require of their interns was to show up to work daily and you automatically get resigned. Not trying to say I didn't pull my weight, cus when things eventually got busy in the fall you can trust your girl held it down. Compared to some other interns that showed up to work at 3 pm daily, I was an excellent intern. I even tried to submit a patent, which the corporate lawyers, of course, quickly threw out citing financial reasons. Tsall good though, if they don't like my idea, someone else will. Anyways, the point of all this is that I had another choice, I could go back to Miu Corp for the summer if none of the schools I applied to for research called me back. Or so I thought...

At about March, I still had not heard back from any of the schools I applied to and I almost started getting worried. Almost. Until I remembered I had choices, better paying choices for that matter. I was already contemplating what pet project to take on that summer, perhaps wardrobe expansion part II infact why not just do part II and III all in one, that would be enough to keep me busy for a summer. So I relaxed a bit, I was sure some people had gotten into medical school without research anyways so why stress. Or worst case, I could look for a position with a professor at my school. That was until I got the email from my manager:

"Abbey", unfortunately, due to stricter hiring policies, I am not able to offer you a coop position for this summer. I want to thank you again for your work last year and best of luck in the future.


I read it again, hoping some of the words will have changed. Unfortunately they didn't. How could this happen? In all of three lines, my back-up plan was officially non-existent and all that seemed to await me was a summer like the two others. Either one of earning 6+ bucks per hour or earning nothing at all and bumming out at some unfortunate relative's house. I don't know y'all but it was at this point that it finally began to hit me that I was not in control and only GOD was. That was the only explanation as to why I could be getting this email now. My manager and I had finalized everything before this, he had sent me the paperwork and I was already planning my accomodations for goodness sake! In my hysteria, I called him to find out what the heck went wrong. I was very candid with him and told him I just wanted the truth. That I would understand if my performance was subpar and that was the reason for the change of heart. But he explained that he begged the higher ups for me and they said there was no point hiring an international intern when they knew they couldn't hire her for a full time position. *Sigh*


With no other choice, I stayed up all night with dearest Uncle Google looking for research programs online, I must have applied to about fourteen programs that night, and when my body sent me the "We're about to crash for good" signal, I gave up and went to bed. It paid off cus a few weeks later I got an email from a professor at "Know-your-dilutions" University. Offering me a position. More on the name later. I was so excited that I did not stop to think why he sent the email to two other people. I quickly replied him pouring blessings on him and the rest of his generation for being kind enough to grant me a position.

He replied the next day. Again to me and the two others. He told us he had just short-listed us from the group of applicants and he needed us to read one of his research articles and ask him questions. He would make a decision based on the nature and depth of the questions we asked. What kind of long-winded-ANTM-type elimination process was this? Anyways, again beggar has no choice. I quickly printed the article and began trying to make some sense of it. I had to get my answers in as soon as possible, I felt like I was really on a game show. But if you have seen any research articles, you will know that they are pretty much like greek and latin rolled up into one. Acronyms and jargon thrown all over the place. You had to read them like three or four times over to even begin to understand it. I ended up asking him what I consider very stupid questions but they were the best I could come up with, considering the fact that I read it while simultaneously pretending to listen in all my classes that day. For some reason though, he "liked" my questions, or maybe the other applicants were just like "Screw it" and didn't reply him. Whatever the case, it worked out perfectly for me.

Again, if I had been thinking clearly during all this, I would have put two-and-two together and figured out that ol' boy didn't play. But if I didn't realize it then, I quickly did my very first day in his lab...

PS: I'm sure you guys are tired of all my Inspector Gadget type Code words on here. I plan to do a post in the near future where I will reveal everything, my former workplaces, the famous "21", etc. If you have anything you will want me to add to this post, let me know. But it will only be up for 24 hrs cus I'm still watching my back on here. Don't miss it!

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Oworu said...

This might be a little too late but I hear South Africa is a good place to go to Med School as well......It is also just as .....e em......expensive(lol)On the interview issue, frankly, I think being honest wouldn't get you anywhere. For me, an interview is an interview and I always think about what some people have said and done at the American Embassy in Nigeria to get out of that country. An aunty of mine was in a cab with some people who claimed to be married in the embassy and were issued visas. She said they got off at different stops and she heard things like'Thank God it worked, glad doing business with you, when are you leaving, I will call you later, me washington, you california, see you in america, send me your number and NO MA'M we are not MARRIED!! Although it might be different in this case bcos this people(Americans) are always after records, they are down to get to the bottom of the bottom of nothing, so I guess I am as confused as you are so Am gonna stick with be yourself and be prepared for anything. Hey, "HE" might be a "SHE" U never will know until then. I even have a cousin who got his job when the interviewer made a mistake of starting a football discussion...he finished them. Hurry up with your wardrobe too. Speaking of research, I have an uncle who is a professor of sociology in Rhodes University in South Africa and he gave an Inaugural lecture a few days back. He has forwarded the print to me and wants me to read it and give him my opinion. I don't know how to start becauses 1) I have never read one before and 2) It is twenty pages long. So right now, turned have things..sorry things have turned. I am now asking for advise on how to go about reading this twenty page bore that might be nothing to you or some other people and also for future purposes cuz I know it will definitely happen again in this country called America. I might even send forward it to you if you are interested and if you read it and give me your opinion. I might just take yours and give him(cheating already! lol)WOW! That was long!

Cheers

August 30, 2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

lol...Oworu the wise one! Men I don't know what to tell you about the paper...my trick is usually to read the abstract and introduction(if it has one) and then the results. Methods are always a bore to read but it sinks in after two or three attempts. But yeah go for the abstract and intro(always helpful). You can send it to me I'll try and fit it in but I won't depend on me if I were u.

As per the people pretending to be married. Naija men! anything can happen, like someone I know told me, even thieves/murderers pray to GOD that their operations will go as planned!!

August 30, 2006 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Oworu said...

True about the thieves. I just have to add that he who does not pray well, I am afraid the prayers of the thieves will be answered instead of theirs because those guys do SERIOUS fellowship before going for operations. I will definitely send the paper to you. Thanks

September 01, 2006 3:39 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

lol...they probably have an in house pastor and everything too

September 01, 2006 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 01, 2006 4:16 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

geeez...ur trying to put me in trouble. lol.

September 01, 2006 4:22 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

try again ;)

September 01, 2006 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so this was jan 2005, so wht has happened since then? are u doing research now??and wht abt ur OPT cos now ur visa must have expired??

September 04, 2006 8:05 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

yes I'm doing research now....with my OPT, which expires next may.

September 04, 2006 9:16 PM  

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