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

Thursday, September 14, 2006


So my life this week has been about pumping out random essays on every topic under the sun for my applications. And yes, I confess to using the "poor-girl-from-third-world-country” theme more than once so far. What could a sister do? It’s really getting hard to find something interesting to write about. Anyways, so far I have spent a little more than 1500 dollars, submitted ten secondaries and trying to submit four more in the next few days. So by the end of this week that total will be more in the neighborhood of $2000. Let’s not even get into all the other profitable uses this money could have been put into. For one I know it could end my love-hate affair with the City Bus Transit in the blink of an eye. I am praying and hoping though, that someone will fall in love with my application soon and invite me for an interview stat!

My GRE tutoring sessions are also finally over, but as fate will have it, there was a little drama at the center my student took his exams so we’re trying to sort that out. It was a great experience though; he was not some young teenager that I had to chase around so he did all his homework and made my life very easy. Hopefully my next set of students are that way too. Hopefully. This next batch is a pair of high school students who need help in Biology. Yup, as you can see my little tutoring empire is spreading its roots farther. The new students wanted to start this week but I had to take a week off to get a bunch of these apps out the way. Another advantage of calling your own shots. If you’re one of those that is still contemplating whether or not you want to try it, all I can say is take a risk and don’t over think it. I made about 500 bucks, give or take (tax free) in a little more than a month and there’s already a new pair of students waiting. Unfortunately for me all the money is going to Uncle Sam, the initial grand plan was to save some or all of it. But what sense does it make to have a savings account when you’re in debt. All I can say is thank GOD for little mercies. Now unto a juicier and somewhat “grosser” story.

So I was not going to say anything about this, until I shared it with a few people and realized how hilarious it was. Like I said in my earlier post, I was in New York this weekend, actually New Jersey for a friend’s party…ok so it was a friend of a friend’s mom’s 50th birthday party. A bit confusing, but the take home lesson here is I was not invited, at least not directly. But the thought of passing up some Nigerian party food got me very agitated, lol and I figured I’d be doing myself more of a favor if I went than if I sat at home and questioned myself every time I had to warm up some boring rice and stew again. So your girl hopped on the train and headed down to Jersey. I considered myself a very hungry “well wisher” anyways so why not. The party was great but the food was even better. The best part of it was that no one there knew me. I must have been on that buffet line at least four times that night. I wasn’t trying to get any guys attention there either so I ignored all the random stares. Girls eat too darn it! They might call it greed but I call it “making hay while the sun shineth”. Cus the sun didn’t shine like this on my side of the east coast. There was also a little side mission I had to accomplish.

I had promised to bring my roommate some food, more like she told me not to set foot in the house without her share of some assorted meat and such from the party. So in between trying to satisfy myself, I had to think about feeding the “fam” back home. The best thing on the menu was the spinach soup (efo soup in my language). They hooked up the life out of this soup. Every type of meat conceivable was in there. Shrimp, smoked turkey, cow foot, beef, chicken and other protein sources I could not readily classify. Needless to say each of those four trips to the line yielded at least half a plate full of it. And two take away plates…again for the fam.

The trouble started the next morning when my stomach started making interesting sounds. In all my joy I had forgotten that every plate of efo soup consumed translated into a very unpleasant one-on-one with Shyts-r-us. So after a very intense session that morning, it was finally time to head back home.

On arrival in NY, while trying to walk down from 34th street to 42nd to catch my train home, an impromptu one-on-one was again called for. I had to look for the closest meeting place. Unfortunately most places had this “bathrooms only for customers” policy. I didn’t want anyone asking me any questions so I tried to hold up till I saw a Mickey Dees or Burger King. None in sight and about 4 more blocks till the station. I was not even going to think of using the bathroom at Grand Central cus almost a million people go through that station daily. I can only imagine what the bathrooms looked like. Closest thing was a Starbucks. Those people made so much money that they probably wouldn’t care if I borrowed their facilities without getting an Espresso…the last thing I needed anyways was anything dairy to compound the issue more. So I went into their only bathroom and ended up staying longer than I expected. The darn customers did not even let me do the deed in peace. People kept knocking. I kept yelling “One minute”, “be out in a few” and other polite versions of “leave me the hell alone”. If only my stomach understood that we kinda had to hurry things up before someone started peeing on themselves out there. It was still taking its time. After about 15 minutes I opened the door expecting to give the person waiting a quick apology…

There were like ten people in line giving me some mad attitude. Too many people to apologize to. What was I going to say to them anyways, they’d figure out what was going on as soon as they stepped in there and took a breath. I just gave them the “Yo! Stuff happens” look and felt their eyes boring into my back as I walked out. I kept praying no one would notice I did not buy anything, and that my skirt was not caught somewhere in my draws exposing my holier of holies to the world. I made it out safely. The only task left was to survive the x-hour train ride back home.

Luckily the rest of the trip was uneventful and to celebrate, guess what I had for lunch at work on Monday? Rice and more efo soup. I did the math it takes about 8 hours after consumption for the running stomach to set in(forgive me, I'm a scientist, we tend to observe trends). Enough time to be back in the comfort of my own home. And believe me it was worth it.

By the way check out the polls on my side bars, it's a good way for me to interact with you, even if you don't feel like leaving comments...

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Anonymous Oworu said...

Hmm, The Power of the Leaf!!! I am so glad that u did not cancel the new jersey trip. Who knows when next u will enjoy such again?

September 16, 2006 1:33 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

yup never pass up an opportunity for free naija food. and hopefully i encounter it

September 16, 2006 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Andie said...

all the best in your exams etc! You sure do have company (Naija folk in medicine all over the world).
A doctor shouldn't like food too much though, the job has extreme sacrificial tendencies!

September 16, 2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

thanks andie...always good to know i'm not alone. by the way, i took all the necessary exams already so just applying right now. No more exams until I get admitted!

September 16, 2006 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Andie said...

Hi Abbey,
That's good then. Rest well while you can, our profession is persistently interrupted by exams. Presently, I am preparing for my UK residency exams. Wish me all the luck......

September 17, 2006 5:02 PM  
Anonymous bellanaija said...

LOL!! The power of free food is strong!
All the best o...U will get into your first choice schoool AMEN...I know its soo difficult for international students...but urs is gonna be different...
Anyway, I am studying for my GMAT (By studying I mean going out, blogging and then coming home to stare at my CLOSED book) lol....I need some tips girl...
Please email me or what's ur email ..whateva u prefer...


September 18, 2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

@ Andie: good luck brother...hopefully that would be me in five or so yrs.

@ bellanaija: thanks for stopping by. food does make u do things u really won't do in ur sane mind. as per GMAT tips, i'll holla, but u better start REALLY studying lol. If ur good at math it shdnt be too bad.

everyone, my computer has been down for a minute, i broke my power cord this wknd and i'm awaiting its replacement so I havent found a computer to spend a few hrs on to put up a post...but the longer the wait the juicier the post...i think!

September 18, 2006 2:52 PM  
Blogger DeAndre said...

nice blog. ran across it from the SDN Links page and you will definitely get a bookmark. good luck in your medical school endeavors!

September 18, 2006 7:00 PM  
Blogger Dilch said...

Hey, good luck with your essays, that poor girl from third world country, just trying to better herself and make her country better, never fails to work LOL

September 18, 2006 11:51 PM  
Blogger Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

lmao.. ur just too funny... very visual and graphic writing.. interesting though cos i will say this is the first time i found myself actually finishing something that was written about 'runnin'.lol.. but yea ur a really good writer... i hope u get in2 ur med school of choice.. goodluck with that... and my dear therez nuttin wrong wit trying 2 score urself sum free food.. life of a student jare... all ur hard work will pay off in the end dont worry....

September 19, 2006 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to add Caribbean or West Indies to the poll. Other ain't cutting it. But I hear you on food. It's all good. And hey, at least you didn't have to worry about the calories, it all came out.

September 19, 2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

@ anonymous: ur very wish is my command :)

@deandre: thanks for stopping by, wasn't sure people even clicked on the link there.

@ dilch: thanks for the encouragement. and yeah let's hope it works...the waiting game sucks so far

@overwhelmed: graphic huh? i try to tickle all the senses, lol. and amen to ur prayers

September 19, 2006 12:17 PM  

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