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

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Covering all the bases...

Whatever happened to those applications from last week? *Sigh* Well remember I said I was going to turn them in on Wednesday? So I lied. I was going over them again Tuesday night and I just got so sick of reading it that I decided to turn it in. That, and the fact that I had just donated my entire paycheck to my credit card company, allowed things like spending $760 in one sitting now possible. With financial difficulties temporarily solved, the rest should be easy right? Unfortunately not.

It took me about ten minutes to hit the submit button. I just sat there and stared at the darn thing. I felt like I was about to lay my head on 21 chopping blocks nationwide, and all at thesame time. Like all this was not bad enough, the ever faithful process of second guessing myself kicked in too. Did I pick the right schools? Were 21 schools enough? Should I add a couple or so more?(This was actually financially impossible, but I still considered it). What was I thinking putting my life on the internet, when I wasn't even sure how the story was going to end? This was the real world not some chick flick where I'm sure the girl(me) will certainly get the guy(a med school). And why on earth was I applying to any Ivy League schools, did I even stand a chance? They'll probably just look at my app, toss it and admit some dude with a 45 on his MCAT instead. Why? Why? Why? My head was close to blowing up at this point, and I could feel tears stinging my eyes, but I wasn't going to let them(whoever "they" were) get to me. If they wanted me fine, if not, well, too bad...actually, my current stage of temporary insanity aside, if they didn't want me, I was technically screwed from all sides.

With my adrenalin, estrogen, testosterone and whatever other chemical swimming around my body, attaining their highest peaks in my life at this moment, I made some last minute decisions. I gave in and switched one of my higher end schools to a lower ranked one. Ironically to one of those that I so proudly stated I wasn't going to apply to because of their impractical financial requirements. I figured no harm having one in there, if that was the only one that ended up admitting me, I would have to do whatever "Simon" says, and do so by any means necessary. Oh well, I'll cross that ocean when/if I get to it. I hit submit, FINALLY. Apparently, the raging hormones were not ready to settle down yet and I remembered one base I hadn't covered.

My fellow Africans and some of you, might be very familiar with a process called "prayer and fasting". You see back home it's not something you just do when you're looking for a miracle. You do it on a regular basis. Do we just like to starve ourselves for no reason?...nahhh. With you not knowing which member of your extended family was currently visiting the village herbalist/native doctor/voodoo priest looking for that potion to make your life just that much worse, you had no choice, you fasted. Voluntarily, often and sometimes for extended stretches of time. In fact, everything religious was taken seriously. You woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, regardless of what time you slept or whose 60th birthday party you were jamming at all night, wore your best native attire and joined the mob of people travelling in the burning heat to seek their GOD. And even when we got to church, we didn't just sit down in our pews, listen to the wonderful sermon, mumble a few words in prayer, hug and kiss everyone and call it a day. Heck nahhh! We got on our knees and prayed. Like our lives depended on it. And more often than not, it did. So what happens when you're actually looking for a miracle? In this case you repeat all the above multiple times a week and in extreme cases, everyday of the week.

So if I was back home and about to go through something as important as this, I would have embarked on a one week prayer and fasting routine, without any hesitation whatsoever. But unfortunately something happens to many of us when we go abroad. All those religious things aren't of paramount importance anymore. GOD hears all prayers anyways so why stress? Some of us have also comforted ourselves with the rumor/fact that voodoo lacks the ability to cross the oceans(i.e any voodoo done in Africa, cannot affect them overseas). I don't know how true that is, I always forget to ask my mom but I'll surely remember to, next time I talk to her. Or if any of you have evidence about this, please share. So till then, believe whatever lets you sleep at night. Anyways, back to reality. As I sat there in front of the computer, one thing was certain. Sooner than later, I will have to do the routine too. If not for anything else, to satisfy myself that I did everything humanly possible. Didn't want to start second guessing myself again a year from now...I could already hear my stomach growling at the thought of having its steady supply of rice and stew interrupted for almost 24 hrs. But you got to do what you gotta do.

So at 9:45 pm today(yes I remember the exact minute I hit that button), it will be exactly one week ago I submitted my applications. But it is still awaiting verification so the schools haven't received it yet. They say verification can take up to 6 weeks but that is really on the high end. It usually takes about a week or a bit more unless you submit it during peak periods or there are some discrepancies they need to verify. E.g you telling them you got an "A" in biochem when your transcript proves otherwise. After the verification, I will be expecting the secondary applications.

Funny thing is that the very next day after I turned in my primary app, I got a secondary application via email from George Washington University, I was excited for a moment (another dose of temporary insanity) but then logical thought set in. If my apps haven't even been verified how could they screen it and determine I was eligible for a secondary app? As I read the application further, my question got answered.

"Please note that GW does not screen on the basis of the AMCAS application. We invite all applicants who submit an AMCAS application to GW to complete the secondary application and submit letters of recommendation so that we may review the entire file"

Wow that makes me feel special. There was more to come though. There was another clause somewhere that stated only U.S citizens were allowed to apply to the four year MD program. None U.S citizens were only eligible to apply for a 5 year international MD program after which you go back home for residency training. Why would I want to come all the way to the US do part of my training and go back home for the most important part? I called them yesterday, and they confirmed it, in fact F-1 students could not apply for the program at all, only people with J-1 visas(exchange visitors). I really thought I did my research, how could I have missed that?...Geeeez, there goes my 30 bucks and here comes another round of second guesses...

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7 Comments:

Blogger Bijouxoxo said...

At least, u're learning in the process. Very soon, u'd look back and start telling stories about the entire process. Oh gal, i feel u bajebaje on the fasting and praying thing. Not only would you fast and pray, ur entire family sef will fast and pray.

I've heard those gists too, that awon Iya Ajes (witches) cannot afford to come to Yankee, 'cos in the winter, they'd freeze to death when carrying out their evil at night. You know they say American witches only fly on broomsticks. Those overfed African witches wouldn't be able to balance on the stick and would break it in a minute.

August 01, 2006 7:41 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

lol...different theories huh?

August 01, 2006 8:23 PM  
Anonymous ogizzle said...

Hmmmm I didn't apply to GW and I definitely didn't know they rolled that way.....

August 03, 2006 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Sega said...

Hello there!! ur blog was recommended to be by a friend..seeing that i am a "former pre-med" lol! Ur def an inspiration to people(me), though our suituations r not the same...haven't quite got to the MCAT, GPA's not as good etc etc... but GOOD LUCK, and remember, he who began a good work in u, will see ur through!! keep living my dream for me!! **sniff sniff**

August 03, 2006 9:00 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

thanks for the inspiring words. But why are you backing out...change in plans? never too late to get back on track, u know there are things you can do to improve ur app regardless of ur GPA...

August 03, 2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger Owumi said...

:-) is it ok if I send a link to your blog to my sister? she'd love to follow you to Med School too!
And I second sega's commment, he who's started a good work will be faithful to complete in you!

August 08, 2006 12:59 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

no problem oh...the more people reading it, the better

August 08, 2006 1:24 PM  

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