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, October 29, 2006


By popular demand(who am I kidding, actually one demand), I will be providing some updates on the many facets of my life...

I finally heard back from my GRE student last week. He brought his GRE math score about 250 points higher than his first practice tests. Which is awesome, but he strongly believes he could have done better if only the test center hadn't scheduled the exam next to a multipurpose hall where freshmen were having orientation. He was pretty upset about that one!

Tutoring my two kids for the SAT II Biology hasn't been as easy as the GRE though. I faced some slight problems at the start. Biology is very different from Math in that for the latter no significant preparation is really needed before a session. In essence it could be 'free styled'. Bio is a bit different. Yes I know the basics about Gene Transcription and Translation but all the ten enzymes involved and their specific functions don't exactly stick in my permanent memory. The other problem was that I did not have an SAT II text book of my own, and wasn't planning to invest in one either, so I couldn't exactly study before our session and this led to me spending a lot of time during the session flipping through pages and looking rather incompetent. It was before our third session that I finally figured how to save my reputation.

I started giving them tests on last week's work before the start of each session. That usually took about 15 mins...just enough time for me to use their text books to prepare myself for the session. SPLENDID!

We've been moving at a rate of about one chapter a month (the chapters are really long and they weren't taking the exam till March anyways) but this week they delivered an early Halloween Scare.

Student: "We registered for the exam a few days ago...

Me: "Ok...good"

Student: "We decided to take it in January instead of March"

Holy Crap!!...and you didn't feel it necessary to consult with me before doing such a thing. I'm not that important anyways right? Just the person that will be crucified if you don't do well on the test!

Me: "Oh really? So is this like late January or early"

Student: "Umm I think pretty early January"

Are you seriously kidding me!

Me: "So do you want us to meet more than once a week now?"

Student: "No...once a week is fine"

At this point I was too pissed off to respond. Wasn't sure I could address the issue with any kind of professional discourse at this point. I for sure didn't want them going home and asking their mom if "FREAKitus SHYTus" was latin for "semi-permeable membrane". So I took a deep breath.

Me: "Ok so....let's talk about OSMOSIS..."

With this slightly new development in mind, I spent most of Friday Night at Barnes and Noble's sipping on a very watered down hot chocolate from Starbucks(they need to take lessons from Dunkin Donuts) while furiously scheming through their array of SAT II Biology Text books to make sure I was covering everything the kids needed to know. Also picked random questions from the various books' sample tests for their in class test next week. I'll be damned if they fail the test on my watch...but then again 1 and a half months to prepare?....dang! I feel the need to raise my fees for a breach of contract...

In other news, I finally acquired the guts to go up to the docs at the ER and ask to shadow them. Before now, all I did was "comfort" patients and ask them hundred times over if they wanted some ginger ale while they waited for the doc. Needless to say it was only a matter of time before they actually spelt it out to me that they didn't come to the ER for drink services but to see the doctor. Who woulda guessed!

But yeah... last week I went around with a resident and tried as much as possible not to be the stereotypical over-zealous premed. I was doing fine until the resident was interviewing a kid(3 yrs or so) that fell off her chair onto the non-carpeted floor and suddenly started feeling sleepy. The resident did the routine stuff - optical disk check (shining bright light into the kid's eyes) and observing her reflexes, etc ("squeeze my hands", "wiggle this", "wiggle that"). While doing this she asked the parents various questions..."did she black out after she fell?", "did she cry?", etc...At this point my simple mind is thinking..."why are they relating the fall to her sleepiness, it was already late at night anyways..." So I asked the only logical question in my most doctorly voice

"What is her usual bed time?" haha I sound smart

Dad: "Anywhere between 8pm and 10pm or whenever she crashes" But why wasn't the resident writing down this valuable piece of information

She fell at about 7:30 ish...that solves it, it could probably just have been around her bedtime.

We left the room.

Resident: "What I observed is the presence of a frontal contusion followed by lethargia, will order a PET scan and/or MRI. Lethargia could result from internal bleeding in the intra-cranial region..."

At this point I looked around. She was actually talking to But what exactly does contusion mean again? And what was the difference between a PET and an MRI? I remember covering this in my Medical Terminology class but that was how far my memory went...didn't feel the need to ask, will google that when I get home.

Me: "So the lethargia could not just be due to it being around her bedtime?" for some reason, I didn't let my theory go. Began to sound more stupid each time I repeated it.

Resident: "Could be...but most likely not, gotta do all the tests to eliminate the possibility of an internal bleed"

Me: "Oh"

Apparently if that was my patient I might have sent her home with a bleeding brain. I guess you actually do learn a thing or two at Med School.

By the way...contusion = bruise(in this context)

I have not been to the hospice in a while for a multitude of reasons. It probably started when I got sick towards the end of the summer and then I started at the ER on Saturdays. I technically still had Saturday Mornings free but with having to work most Sundays, I needed a little downtime on the weekends.

The other day though, I was about to step out of my apartment complex when I suddenly saw one of my patients from the hospice passing right in front of the apartment. I froze. I think it was from the shock of seeing him among the general population.For the first time the concept of HIV not showing on a person's face literally hit home. I also didn't know what exactly I was going to say to him. "Hey what's up? What are you doing out here and where's that sign you're supposed to carry to let everyone know your condition?" I wasn't even sure he would feel comfortable talking to me on the "outside" for another multitude of reasons so I let him pass by before I stepped out. There are some situations one just has to let pass by...

So I will be heading out to the Ivies for my next interview this week. My interview is actually on Halloween and some of my coworkers have been kind enough to suggest I wear a costume to my interview. Won't that be such a great Ice Breaker?
Anyways, the Ivy in question is less than 5 hrs away so I have decided to drive to the venue. I will proceed to burn a "I'm-gonna-take-over-the-world" type CD for the trip and hope that hypes me up well enough. Will fill you in on any interesting details when I get back...and best believe there will be no tears this time, so help me GOD!

Mr. Camel Milk...I hope this answers most of your questions, keep 'em coming and I'll try to answer to the best of my ability.

(picture of my first ever carved pumpkin, look at the precision on those edges...I'm ready to be a surgeon lol.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Four Memes

Ok was tagged by Bijoux, Naija Bloke, Biodun and goes


- Cafeteria worker (worked here for 4.5 long yrs...paid off though, free food and eventually worked up the "corporate" ladder to supervisor)
- Junior Hygiene Conusltant (scrubbing toilets and kitchenettes at 6am while my mates were off in Cancun for spring break)
- Chef's Assistant (did a PhD student's dirty work for a semester, alone in the lab for 3 hours...can't complain, paid very well by college standards)
- I liked being a Chef's Assistant so much, I'm currently doing it again...this time for more money though.

- CEO of a certain Biotech Company- working on it...well kinda
- Stephen A Smith's job (talk a lot of crap and get away with it...but I'd probably do better writing the crap than saying it)
- NFL Quarterback - the adrenalin rush has to be crazy!
- The first 5'3" (arguably 5'4") supermodel in the world

- Shawshank Redemption (Amazing Story)
- Antoine Fisher (Another Amazing Story)
- Love Actually (tear jerker)
- The numerous Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs etc movies (The "awww-so-sweet" collection)

- Lagos, Nigeria
- "Ends of the Earth", MI
- Abbeyville, US
- Small Town, MN
(Sorry...this anonymity thing is a pain)

- Girl Friends
- Sex & The City
- House MD
- Grey's Anatomy
The "they-also-ran" category: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Law & Order SVU, The Sopranos(there's something about Tony), Flavor Flav(there goes my rep), Nip/Tuck, ESPN's talk-crap shows...

- Ijebu-Ode (My home town)
- New York City
- Atlanta, GA
- ....yeah...haven't travelled much for vacation, the first time I sat in a plane was when I was coming to the US for school!

- emails (approx 200 times a day)
- my med school pages
The "they-also-ran" category: (amazing entrepeneur stories), my financial institutions...

- my rice dishes (jollof, fried, concoction, etc...I see every meal as an opportunity to eat rice)
- University of Lagos (UNILAG) Suya
- Pounded Yam & Okro soup...with every kind of meat under the sun
- Indian Food
The "they-also-ran" category: Mr.Bigg's Fried Rice and Meat Pie, Burger King Whopper...

- Members of the fungi family
- The random vegetables they put in my CHICKEN Lo-mein (when I say chicken, I mean chicken only!)
- Blood
- Humans
(But I never say never, it's all fun and games until you're stuck in the desert with nothing to eat or drink)

- Pounded Yam and Okro Soup
- one of my rice dishes
- BBQ Spare Ribs

- The usual - bed, dresser, etc
- Not enough shoes
- Too many hair products
- Nothing really interesting

- A clapper light switch (sucks to have to get up to turn off the lights)
- I guess a maid might be nice too
- More Shoes
- The right hair product!!

- Yellow t-shirt
- Black shorts
- Period Paraphenelia...ewww...sorry, was working from the head downwards, it was next in line
- I'm at the feet right now and I'm not wearing any shoes

- Nigeria
- In med school
- Back in 1997ish, on the stool in front of our TV playing "Street Fighter II Turbo" on SNES with my siblings (Shhooooow u ken)
- Back in college...already missing it.

-In some operating room somewhere doing like ten surgeries at thesame time, with all the patients in some kind of trauma and me the only doctor for miles that can do anything about it...and one by one, I patch them up and save the day...all without losing a step and within 1o seconds...again all for the adrenalin.
- On TLC's What Not To Wear...wait that will mean I have no fashion sense...Ok I just want the 5Gs to go shopping
- That pretty much covers it.

- My whole family at one table
- My closest peeps
- All the people on my ABBEY MAGNET List that I have never met before...each one discussing what makes them tick and me taking furious notes with one hand and removing the brocolli from my lo-mein with the other

- I really should be sleeping...
- This tag thing was harder than I thought
- How can I make those people at work miss me when I leave next year
- What to write for my last secondary essay
- Why I'm filling out another secondary
- I really need to cook something
- How to make money while I'm asleep
- How to use this new witty phrase I just came up with in a post before I forget it...

- Family
- Food
- Shopping
- Lazy Weekends
And last but not least from the "that's-so-cheesy" collection: MAKING SOMEONE'S DAY

Hasn't everyone done this already?

( I'm doing like Bijoux and not exactly sticking to the rules...peer pressure!)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Take My Word For It!

Ok y'all this is completely out of the blue...but just go with the flow.

About three months or so ago, I was at our local mall trying to shop for some finishing touches to an outfit I was trying to put together for a wedding(which I crashed by the way), when one of those peeps that stay in the middle of the mall(those ones that don't have stores) called me to come and see what he was selling. Most of the time all these people show case are phone plans or crazy gadgets like head massaging spiders and stuff so I don't usually even give them the time of day. But this guy just caught my attention. All he said was

"Excuse me, let me show you something"

For some reason I decided to stop and see this time. I was on a budget so there was no way he was going to make me buy jack! All for this guy to grab my fingers and stare at them.

Him: "Hmmm, I see you like to keep your nails short"

Me: "Yes" (More like they have refused to grow and I'm tired of coating them hundred times with some Sally Hansen product or the other all for the polish to peel off two minutes later while doing dishes)

He proceeded to show me his own nails. They were white and shiny y'all with very defined cuticles and everything. All I could really say was "Wow!". At this point I'm thinking to myself "Ok so you're either very Meterosexual/Borderline Gay or just straight up Gay, and you have the time and money to go to the nail parlor every weekend but you're surely not about to make me feel bad for not being able to afford such"

Next thing I know he starts rubbing my finger nail with some sand paper type thing. I was thinking to myself...Is this even hygienic?(Sorry, microbiology got me a tad bit OCD) How many other people's fingernails had he rubbed with thesame thing today?

The sandpaper thingy was a kind of cuboid shaped buffer type thing with a black sandpapery face, a white smooth face and an ash colored face. After the sandpaper, he switches over to the white face and starts rubbing thesame nail with that too for about 30 seconds. He finishes and shows me...I'm thinking....OK....???

Then he switched to the ash colored side and started rubbing thesame fingernail again for like 30 seconds. When he was done y'all and I saw my nails my mouth dropped open. The thing was shining like there was no tomorrow. Clear and shiny. He then told me that the shine could last for up to 3 months and was not affected by dishwashing or even nail remover. He actually cleaned the nail with the remover(I smelt the stuff, it was really nail remover complete with foul smelling acetone) but nothing happened, the thing was still shiny. At this point I'm thinking "Wow...this one na real Magic from Columbia" but I still had to put my game face on. Couldn't let him know I was sold already. I asked all the necessary questions and then finally the most important much is it? After much bargainning(played the broke student card) he agreed to sell me the kit for twenty bucks...not too bad...but it would be breaking my budget. I started doing some complex arithmethic in my head, extrapolating future paychecks and stuff all this while with one hand behind me feeling the nail(Dang! It felt good!).

Long story short...I bought it. A week after using it my nail started growing like crazy and beautifully too. I didn't even know how drastic the change was until a friend of mine saw it and told me it was the best my nail had ever been since they met me. I guess that's a compliment (lol!).

But on the real y'all this thing is awesome. The guy told me the buffer itself could last for 2 years....I think he just pulled a random number out of his hat on that one. I needed a replacement after about 3 months(maybe cus I used it like three times a week)...ordered on their website cus when I went to the mall the guy was gone. The replacement came today at in I couldn't even wait to go home to use it, I opened up the package and was rubbing my fingers under my desk lol! One of my coworkers tried it and she was about to order some immediately but I had to convince her to go home and do her dishes and convince herself that the thing doesn't come off. It's amazing.

Alright, I know I just spent a whole post on this and bombarded you with a lot of "as ins" and "reallys" but I mean...really! have to try it for yourself. Guy, Girl, Lady, Woman, Man whoever try it. And no...I don't get any profits from advertising it.

Here's the link ...If you want, you can get the whole kit but I personally thought the hand lotion was a bit too strong(odor wise) for me. All you really need is the Nail Buffer and maybe the cuticle oil. I'm not sure they ship outside the states but you can check!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Inside Story...

I'm doing this one especially for my fellow premeds reading this. You all should know I won't fail to give you the blog safe details of my first med school interview(Might help any one else going on other non-medical interviews to a certain extent too). No matter how much you prepare and read previous interview questions on, remember these rules:

RULE 1 - Wear a suit:
Pretty obvious huh? So I thought too until I got to the interview venue and saw a bunch of people in jeans. I know there are many ways to dress up jeans- heels, blazer etc but really, when an interviewer has been seeing suits all day and then you show up in a pair of jeans, no matter how dressed up you think you are, you still look like that college kid that doesn't give a hoot about the interview. And if someone told you that will make you stand out more in the interviewers mind, they might be right but unless you found the cure to cancer while in kindergatten or you single handedly built a world class hospital in Sahara with only a lion's jaw bone and sand, you probably will be standing out for all the wrong reasons. Also if you actually decide to wear a suit, please put some time into finding a reasonably priced one that doesn't look like you picked it off the rack at the dollar store. Some of the suits I saw were an eyesore. I understand pockets are tight and everything but dang!

RULE 2 - Wear comfortable shoes:
Thanks to MEDSTUDENT and O.E for the good advice. I probably would have been one of the ladies at the interview in 3-4 inch stilettos trying to look cute. I also would have been the girl holding her shoes in her hands and working on my panty hose during the campus tour cus I don't care how comfortable you say they are, those shoes weren't built for walking, just for making APPEARANCES.

RULE 3 - Buy thinking time:
Another good advice I was given was not to feel I had to answer every question immediately. Especially the ethical ones. It's OK to think for a few seconds and if it has to be longer, you can make you interviewer part of your thought process to. Even if you memorized the answer to certain questions, just hesistate for a second and pretend to give it some thought. I was asked if I would attend the funeral of one of my patient's at the AIDS Hospice or if I would pray with a patient when I became a doctor. My answer was yes to both of these questions but not before pondering over the ethics and "role of doctor " specifics. When I say BUY though, I mean short periods of time. One of the guys said his interviewer popped out a stop watch with an alarm and everything when he was taking too much time to think of an answer. Awkward!

RULE 4 - Kiss Major Butt:
Who doesn't want to hear that they are the shizznit? So when they ask you why you want to attend their school, even if it's only because you think they have the hottest med students in the nation or they are the only one that gives full scholarship, go ahead and find another reason. Tough, I know! Especially if it's a school like Harvard where the real answer to the question is "Why shouldn't I want to go here?" Look for certain uniqueness in their program, in their ideals, mission statement etc and go on about that. It would also be helpful to talk to other students prior to your interview and find out what they love about the school. Don't forget to throw in the fact that they are one of your top choices from your list of 21...I mean 22 schools. Oh yeah and remember to tactfully kiss your own butt too...let them know you're like one of the best things since...immunization. Thing is, you have to figure out a way to reach behind to do the kissing without actually looking like you're doing it (VERY IMPORTANT)!

RULE 5 - Don't Worry About Getting in:
This is the hardest one to digest. If I'm paying about 500 bucks for apps and interviews at each school, it's tough not to worry about throwing your money and life away. Do you know how many "APPEARANCES" 500 bucks can buy from DSW these days....? But not worrying really calms you down. It also helps if you have other interviews lined up already. I was told to think of my interviewer as my lawyer. This is true cus they are the ones going to fight on your behalf at the Admission Committee meetings. My host student advised me not to freak out, unless of course I was going to be interviewed by the Dean himself, in which case, he's decision was final. Surprise, Surprise...he was one of my interviewers. How do I think I did? Well...let's just go on to the next rule.

RULE 6 - Keep Bodily Fluctuations in Mind:
This one probably is more for the ladies except guys have certain periods when their hormones rage too. Remember how I was telling you I was crying my eyes out over chick flicks all weekend. Well that should have been an omen of things to come. The interview was going well until right in the middle of it, I was asked questions about Nigeria, how I came to the United States and my family.

I was just in the process of describing how I finally saw my dad after 5 yrs this April and how I still hadn't seen my brother in five yrs and counting when suddenly my eyes started burning....geez not now for goodness sake. I pictured all the ANTM girls that had cried during their interviews with Tyra and the judges and how I used to tell myself I will never be caught dead doing such. By now the tears were flowing out freely. My interviewers did not know what to do for a sec...I didn't either. This was for sure not in my manuscript. They were probably trying to watch for a second to see if I was pulling some JADE-type-fake-crying-stunts but my lips and everything were quivering uncontrallably now as I was trying to hold back the tears and they figured I wasn't playing. They handed me some tissue and gave me a few minutes to compose myself and then we went on with the interview. Needless to say I was apologizing for a while about my emotional outburst. It was not until later that day that I figured out it was the hormones that were talking. Can this period come and go already! I had told many people the story about not seeing my brother in five years and never came close to tears and all of a sudden, on one of the most important days of my life everything came crashing out. In light of this...

RULE 7 - Expect the Unexpected...

Obviously, these rules will gain more credibility when I get an acceptance. By the way as of yesterday, I'm 4 and 1 so far. 4 interviews, 1 rejection.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back in the Hizz-House!

What it do people? It's sleep-deprived-can't-wait-to-land-in-my-bed ABBEY checking in with y'all. Back in town and back on the regular drill, at least trying to. I almost crashed at our weekly "SHOW-ME-WHY-YOU-SHOULD-GET-PAID-NEXT-WEEK" meeting today. Apparently started snoring off at some point during the meeting but got snapped back to reality by an all too kind coworker. Needless to say, not a good thing.

But apart from cheating sleep, the interview went great...don't they always do? It was a beautiful school and the students looked happy. In fact all the ladies I saw, first year, second year, intern, doctor etc had time to get every strand of their hair on point daily. As in COVER GIRL GOOD. Med School can't be that bad then right? Also got to see part of the cadavers being dissected for anatomy stuff! The whole medicine thing feels so much realer now..

Embedded somewhere in the 50 emails I had to scheme through today was another interview invite(will probably get more excited later) so Thank GOD for that for me.

Sorry can't post much today-low on inspiration, high on...ummmm....yeah, I'll get back to you on that one. Bijoux and Biodun...I'll get around to doing that meme sometime. And Bijoux + O.E thanks for the interview hookups...really helpful.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

But Really, Is that what matters?

I know this might/will offend someone somewhere but I gotta do what I gotta do, so here goes...

Over the weekend an all too familiar Jerry Springer episode unfolded in the sports world. It was another brawl reminiscent of the impromptu gladiator contest between Ron Artest and the Detroit fans. But this time the NBA was was NCAA Football. Florida International vs. U of Miami. I don't even know what/who instigated it cus the game was not aired, I just caught the highlights on ESPN and then this morning again in the very benevolent full page the NYTimes devoted to it. It was extremely embarassing for me to sit down at lunch, the only black person for "miles", and listen to my coworkers discuss these events closely followed by the childish outbursts of an irritatingly narcissitic T.O over the last few weeks. I believe my coworkers described these events from a very objective point of view but all I could see in the papers were my black brothers acting a fool on national TV...again, kinda hard to be objective on that one. Let's face it the only time the rest of the world(where WORLD = America) really sees a representation of the black race in a somewhat positive light is on Saturday, Sunday and Monday the undeclared but faithfully observed weekly football "holidays", and come October 31st, almost every day of the rest of the week. All other potrayals of our race is via mug shots of some shoplifter, or the outplayed picture of the "poor african child" on the daily "Feed the children" sermon. So you will think giving such limited opportunites to present our essence, we will take advantage of it and put a very well manicured better foot forward but noooo....

Culprit in question?...THE LARGER-THAN-LIFE MALE EGO. Gentlemen reading this, if someone hits "your boy" or looks at "your girl" the wrong way, you really don't have to go back and recruit all the boys on your block (or your football team) to whack the hallelujah out of the other guy just to show you have all your balls intact. You really don't have to prove anything you know. I mean...think of all the things that might be at stake...your life, your job, your family and then consider the fact that some girls might not even find it sexy or attractive in anyway that you decide to whoop some guy just because he stole a glance at her. I believe Oprah will even suggest such a girl pack her bags and leave cus that's just a very bad sequel to Tina vs Ike in the making. I'm beginning to see a trend which I hope will not develop into a full blown theory over the years to come.

It seems guys have a hard time multitasking. How else will one explain the fact that when a "Son of Adam" happens to spot a beautiful well endowed "Daughter of Eve", nothing else matters? All other thought process shut down. The fact that the piece of cake your new bride shoved in the general direction of your mouth at your wedding hasn't even digested yet doesn't matter. That said "Daughter of Eve" also happens to be this new bride's best friend is also altogether pointless. And oh a condom? Geez why bother, she looks so fine she has to be clean...

In the case of FIU vs U Miami, who cares that I might lose my football scholarship and eventually contribute to the statistic of black male college dropouts? Who cares that my little brother is looking up to me? Oh and that my mum finally got time off all her 3 jobs and recruited her girlfriends for a road trip to watch me play? Who freaking cares? All that matters now is letting that guy over there know that I have the unparalleled ability to take off my helmet and slap him in the face with it for reasons I have no clue on...but hey everyone else is doing it. And that's all that matters...or is it?

I appreciate that there are black men out there and all over the world trying to make a positive difference, unfortunately though, the empty vessels seem to be making the loudest noise at the moment. But again, I appreciate the struggles of every one of you, I get an idea of where it comes from but please let's work on that self control just a bit more. For the sake of those coming behind and those judged by your actions... Much love.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Nothing much has changed in ABBEYVILLE. I was expecting to hear some news from at least one more of my schools this weekend since they seem to like dispensing judgement on weekends. But no such luck, then again maybe no news is good news in this case.

I was a bit under the weather this weekend, a slight cold or something, I could not volunteer at the ER or anything so unfortunately no sources of heartbreaking news. I just stayed indoors, watched chick flicks and cried my eyes out, that time of the month must be close, it's the only explanation for how much tears I'm producing by the second.

In other news, *drumroll please* I have my first interview this week!! This would mean missing one-and-half days of work and having to play catch up when I get back so I might not be on here for quite a minute. Meanwhile, there are poll questions waiting to be answered and ummmm...old posts waiting to be reread(yeah right) so keep yourselves busy. As for me, I'm still trying to figure out good answers to why I want to be a doctor, why I chose to apply to school xxx and other rhetorical questions I might be confronted with. Wish me luck guys and keep me in your prayers...the ball is in my court now...SCARY!

By the way...I gave in and added one more school! Long story but let's just say I'm trying to avoid second guesses and certain people have been on my case for the last week or so.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I have no clue what to do with myself these days people. No essays to write, no deadline to beat, nothing...just work, tutoring and volunteering. That sounds more than enough right? But the thing is that I only tutor once a week now and volunteering is also only on Saturdays so the rest of the week is just...BLAH! I technically don't even need to tutor any more, thanks to a surprise 50% raise I got at the end of the summer. 50% of not much, is a little less than not much but add that to not much and it's still better than what you started with, you follow? Thank GOD for little mercies. But like I said, I need to keep busy if not I'll really begin to go crazy. I'm already checking my email every 20 seconds for any kind of news from the med schools and if I stay at home too long, I might just begin to sit by the mail box and slide tackle the poor mail man to find out what he has in the bag for me. If that doesn't spell emerging insanity, I wonder what does. OK I realize I'm just blabbing right now, but there really is a point to this post. REALLY.

In all this free time I've been blessed with lately, I've been looking back on my short life and trying to think of everyone that inspired me in some way or the other. Most of the people on the list might be familiar to many of you but others might not. I know you are probably expecting a long list of Neurosurgeons, Cardiologists and such but ironically, only a few if any make my list. Each person on this list has a certain quality I call the ABBEY MAGNET. It is something that makes me remember them in certain life situations and thinking of what they'll do in these scenarios usually comes in only second to "WWJD?". I'm hard to please so for me to actually list a name on here, the person has gone through various screening processes. So sit back, relax and maybe edumacate yourself...

(PS: I decided to go multi-media on y'all today so seriously ENJOY cus putting up these pics were a pain, maybe I'll get better at it)



Isn't she something? She is more than just the gay woman in the pant suit and white sneakers tickling your funny bone at a 100 tickles/min on day time TV. What strikes me is her desire to be different. In an interview with one of them magazines(sorry I don't remember which, but I can never forget what she said), the interviewer asked her something in the line of why she never cursed or used loads of sexual innuendos when trying to be funny, you know, like the numerous other stand up comedians on TV today. Her answer? Taking that road was too easy. All you had to do these days was throw in a few four letter words and go into details about your sexual escapades and people burst out laughing. Creativity, optional. She didn't long for easy/cheap laughter. She took the high road, the path less travelled and she's bringing her audiences to tears daily with her dance steps and creative humor. And that my friends, is her ABBEY MAGNET.

DENZEL WASHINGTON: Yes the brother is fine, but so are Blair Underwood, Morris Chestnut and arguably Samuel L. Jackson. And yes he is as charitable as they come, donating money and more importantly, his time, to numerous charities world wide. But his ABBEY MAGNET is his SELECTIVITY. People have argued that Samuel L. Jackson is just as good an actor as Denzel, and the latter's greater popularity can be attributed to his killer looks. Every time I am just starting to get convinced about this fact, Samuel finds a way to screw it up. I mean...Snakes on a freaking Plane? Every movie of Denzel's has been on point, he has drawn me into whatever character he plays. I remember the first movie of his I watched, it was his potrayal of Malcolm X. I fail to disclose my age at the time I saw this movie, but I went on with my life thinking Denzel was actually Malcolm himself. Is that some good acting or me just having a very long Jessica Simpson moment? I like to think of it as the former.

MOTHER DEAREST: How many women, actually, AFRICAN women, go back to school at age 40 to get a Law Degree? This woman has given me no excuse to do any thing but follow my dreams. No matter how many of us "bundles of joy" come between.
ABBEY MAGNET: Her reputation for whooping lives into shape since 1982 and simultaneously following her passions. Nuff said?

: Let me use this opportunity to explain a few things. Even though many people might see my profile picture and assume I am an ardent Grey's Anatomy Fan, I really am anything but. It takes a bit more than residents sleeping with their attendings to catch my attention. I actually enjoyed the first season (watched the DVD this summer) but this season so far requires me to switch off all higher thought processes to allow myself be entertained. What other way would I be able to watch two grown men agree to vie for one woman's love and attention, on her orders? What chivalry. So am I just listing Shonda on here to bash her show? NO, I am well aware of the topic of the post. Her ABBEY MAGNET comes from her ability to REBOUND. No not that kind of rebound...hopping into that new guy's arms isn't going to cure the pain the last one caused...but let me not divert. After many trials and a few errors, movie scripts that never went into production and other tv show ideas (source: The NY Times) Shonda finally came out with a winning formula and and about 23 Million Americans say AMEN to that every Thursday night. She has got me too, maybe more out of curosity than anything and I have to give her credit for that.

PS: I found out a few years back that Gray's Anatomy, emphasis on the 'A' in grAy was actually the holy grail of human anatomy in medical school hence the name of the show.

Dr.K aka Mr.Miyagi:
You met this character a few posts ago. He taught me not to look for 'cool' bosses, but instead, the ones that supposedly can never be satisfied. Cus let's face it, no boss is really that cool, the 'cool' mask usually comes off the minute they step into that board room to "recommend" you for a promotion with the powers that be. Dr.K's ABBEY MAGNET? This one took me the longest to discover...but I eventually did. It was the importance of patience and TOUGH love on a learning child.

NATASHA BEDINGFIELD: Was introduced to this aussie by a very dedicated Ghanian Fan and gradually acquired a taste for her music. One of her songs "Unwritten" actually inspired this blog and everytime I listen to it, I feel empowered to make a difference in my future. Pardon the "clicheness" of that sentence...but there really is no other way to describe her effect on me. Here is a small part of the song:

"Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words you cannot find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitons
Feel the rain on your skin..."

You just have to listen to it to appreciate it.

MARK ZUCKERBERG: 22 year old Creator and CEO of the second most popular social networking site This cultural phenonmenom has had some of the biggest .coms saying Yahoo! at an opportunity to purchase it for a $1 billion price tag, awww...if only Mark was selling. ABBEY MAGNET? His ability to nurture an intsy-bitsy idea that started in the walls of Harvard to a 10-million-member global phenomenom and still be humble enough to interact directly with his customers from his tiny one bedroom apartment. Mark will you be my friend...please?

MIKE ADENUGA JNR: Arguably one of the richest men in Nigeria, this man has a holding in almost all of the country's major sectors-telecommunication, banking, oil, you name it.
ABBEY MAGNET: His ability to recognize a good business opportunity and take educated risks. Another person with a similar ABBEY MAGNET is Donald Trump. Watching his show, the Apprentice, is equivalent to obtaining a 1 hour MBA degree. Init?

WILLIAM "BILL" GATES: How many people will have as much money as this guy does and decide to use a good percentage of it to cure a disease that he had almost a 0% chance of acquiring. He is one of those people you know deserves every penny he has to his name, all 5.5 trillion of them.

WILLIAM "BILL" CLINTON: Slightly different from the other Bill. Less money more personality. This man is a true people person. How else would one describe a president that got two families all the way in Nigeria praying that he did not get impeached despite his gravely misguided escapades during his term? Even in the fight against AIDS in Africa, Bill Gates provides the capital but Clinton connects with the people, even little kids that never saw him before are drawn to him for some weird reason. During one of his recent trips to Zambia, he actually stopped the tour van him and Bill Gates were riding in to spend some time with the people on the sidelines cheering him on(source: The NYTimes). Now that's a people person right there not some celebrity signing autographs on the red carpet.

The moment I post this up I'm going to remember a hundred other people that I should have added to this list, but that's OK it is a dyanmic list. Some people may lose their ABBEY MAGNET as time goes on and others might acquire it. OK just remembered some people for my honorable mentions list:

KIRK FRANKLIN: For being brave enough to show that christians are real people struggling with various recurring addictions too.

A CERTAIN GUY: For instilling in my brain the concept of "Human beings make the rules, so every one of them can be changed/bent". Once I finally imbibed this concept, getting a "NO" response from a person/company/med school has come to mean nothing more than a "Show us how badly you want it".

ANDERSON COOPER: For his self motivation. Even though everything was laid down to him on a platter of gold, Ivy League Connections, huge family name, etc he left it all behind and created a name for himself.

SYDNEY SHELDON: An amazing story teller. I love his ability to convert you into a recluse for a day or two all in an attempt to find out how his stories will end. The diversity of each of his stories is also spell binding...unlike John example of someone that lost his ABBEY MAGNET.

Who holds your "insert your name here" magnet?

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Ok so unlike last week, I got not so great news in the mail this weekend. My first official rejection is in, from Vanderbilt University(Vandy). I was expecting it though. I called the admissions office on Thursday to find out what was going on with my application. I had not heard back from them since I turned in my primary app. Spoke to this very nice lady. But I knew something was amiss when she asked for my ID # and brought up my information. All she said was:

"Hmmm, (softly and pitifully) you'll get a letter in the mail informing you about the committee's decision"

All I can say is thank GOD I already have two interviews if not, I would have probably done something financially stupid like applying to about ten more schools. But I really kinda woulda liked to get in at VANDY, their program is world class and they give good aid, but that's OK. Can't win 'em all!

In other application news, I have officially finished all my secondaries as of this Friday. I technically have one more application to fill out but I don't think I'll be completing it. The app is from University of Minnesota, nice school and all, but they are asking for a bit too much (8 essays) and to make matters worse they don't give financial aid. So why bother?

In summary I started out with 21 schools, filled out 16 secondaries, withdrew from Geroge Washington, UCLA and U of Minn, rejected from 1 and awaiting news from 1 more.

Anyways, hope you're having a great weekend...mine is so so, I've been working one day of the weekend for the last month or so but I can't complain, experiments are going GREAT! Also went shopping on Friday. I finally got that suit. A very cute one at that from MACY's for $88(yay!), a black shirt from Express $14.99, supposedly "on sale", Shoes from ALDO(ballet flats) for $60 :o, and $60 on other minor distractions which I had no business buying.

I briefly toyed with the idea of buying another suit since the first was way cheaper than I expected, but I decided otherwise for a variety of reasons. So if you happen to be interviewing at any of my schools, I'll be the black girl in the ash skirt suit and black shirt, or white if the black gets dirty. I'll also be the one inspecting and cleaning every seat with windex before sitting on it, can't afford to seat on someone's gum or donut crumbs with my one in town suit.

Till we meet again, I'm off to my in house "Rejection Therapy"...

*Assumes complicated yoga position*

VANDY, you are not the boss of me... (x3)
VANDY, if you don't want me, someone else will... (x3)
VANDY, I gave you my all but it wasn't good enough for you...
VANDY, you tried to kill my spirit, you tried to kill my hope
VANDY, see you at the top

(But if you change your mind, you gats my number, HOLLA, I just might reconsider, some relationships are worth a second chance, no?)


Friday, October 06, 2006


The very moment I got those MCAT scores back, my body went into crisis mode. Unlike the first time when I had a genuine excuse for not doing well, there was none this time. I had studied my butt off every night that semester. I might as well have been paying my rent to the library too cus I was there more often than I was at home. I went into the exam really confident that I was going to land well in the mid 30s this time. So you can imagine my shock when I did only 3 points better than my first trial. I began to question myself.

Why had I left Nigeria in the first place? Back home I had passed what I consider one of the most difficult and controversial exam in the country - JAMB. I got somewhere in the higher 200's out of 400. That might seem low to a lot of people but my Naija peeps know that is considered a very high score especially if you were not opportuned to take advantage of the numerous and convenient exam question "leaks". I had gotten into University of Lagos, doing Medicine. Again without a need for the famous connections you almost had to have to get in for the major you wanted. So when I saw those MCAT scores, I felt like I had personally altered my career destiny by leaving Nigeria on that August day in 2001. I began to wonder if I was ever going to make it to med school in the US, being an International Student and all. Even if I got in, was I going to get any Financial Aid? I could not think of an American Citizen offhand that would be willing to cosign a loan of $200,000 for me. Heck, I don't think I had the guts to even ask anyone to do such.

Every international student I knew that got into any medical school had gotten a 30 and above, at least that's what they told me. I was so close, yet so far. A Nigerian brother at KYDU advised me to see their Minority Recruitment guy, Joe and talk about my chances. The meeting was very depressing to say the least. He pretty much reiterated everything I was thinking. He told me KYDU might accept me but my chances of any scholarship were slim to none because I did not make the 30 cutoff. Ol' boy even had the guts to question the quality of my school's science program, claiming it might be responsible for my sub par performance. He wondered how I could get a B or better in all my science classes and still not do great on the MCAT. I countered his statement in the most polite way possible, YES, my school was not ranked among the top 50 undergrad institutions, hell, not even the top 100 and NO, our science program did not need any revamping, thank you very much. I tried my best not to get rude cus for all I knew, he might be on the committee reviewing my application, whenever I decided to turn that in. It's funny how you complain about your school when you're in there but the minute an outsider says one bad thing about it, you get all voltron on their behind.

Anyways, from the way things were looking, I was going to have to make some tough decisions. I had not yet volunteered in any clinic whatsoever so there was a big hole in my application. I had three options:

Option 1:

Apply with my mediocre resume and hope and pray that I get accepted somewhere and at thesame time run the risk of throwing $6000 down the gutter if I did not get in anywhere. There was also the small issue of where I was going to get the money that point all my three jobs in school paid me a total of about $4000 a year, I also had no credit card to my name so the option of getting Uncle Sam to pay for it now, and proceeding to pay him back for the rest of my life was out of the question. My sister was also still in school at this point and she had her own problems to worry about so again no show on that side. Well there was always my parents, I could ask them for the money too...but naaaah, gotta start dealing with my problems myself.

At this point someone might ask where my faith was, I could apply to a few schools and look unto GOD to sway their hearts to accept me. But I'm a big fan of keeping things as real as logically possible. Like my pastor in church back home always said to us students "Study like there was no GOD, and pray like that was the only thing that determined your success". So in this case I had not done everything in my power and I was expecting GOD to...

Option 1 was looking shady from all sides

Option 2:
The application process takes a whole year. So if I wanted to get in immediately after graduation (August 2006), I would have to start applying immediately(June 2005). But seeing as I was not exactly in best shape, I had the option of waiting a year, improving my resume, working for much needed money and applying concurrently. The only problem that I faced here was finding someone to hire me for just a year. Of course I had the option of conveniently forgetting to mention this on my resume but what would I do when I had to leave town for interviews? Call in sick for the fifth time in one month?

Option 3:
This option will only come into consdieration if option 2 was adopted. If I was going to decide to take a year off, I might as well try to take the MCAT again and see if I could attain the much coveted score of 30, or maybe higher. Of course this raised a lot of other questions. Unlike the JAMB exam back home, taking the MCAT multiple times looked bad for your record. You also did not have the choice of picking which score you decided to apply with. The medical schools saw all your scores. There was also the small chance of doing worse the 3rd time, *Shiver* let's not even go there.


So these were the options I had. Damned if I did, Damned if I didn't. I spent numerous hours on the phone during this period with my "Senate Committee on Career Issues". Most of its members advised me to just apply and HOPE for the best(option 1). But Hope in this case was going to be a few thousand dollars too expensive. Another small percentage suggested option 2 and only 1 suggested option 2 in combination with option 3. But this was my life and not a democracy so regardless of what the senate decided, I called my own shots.

As you must have figured out by now, it's October 2006 and I'm not a med student yet, so for sure I took option 2 and along with all the job search heartaches that came with it. But deciding whether or not to take the exam again wasn't that easy...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Humble Pie and a shot of Patience, on the rocks

THE PAST, Part...

Summer 2005, a memorable summer. Finally took a trip to Maryland from “The Ends of the Earth” and got to see a bunch of my high school friends after 4 years and in the process also got my Nigerian spirits recharged by attending quite a few of our infamous parties. You don’t know what you’re missing until you steal a taste of it. I needed the relaxation anyways. Last semester had been hell, took a VERY healthy load of courses and had to take the MCAT in between all that craziness. But the fun could only last for so long. Before I knew it, it was June, and time to head out to “Know Your Dilutions University” (KYDU).

I was excited to be there though. A new town, a top 20 medical school and at last my first research experience. I could finally add that to my premed resume, good timing too cus I was planning to apply that summer. I was supposed to start work on Monday but I arrived on Friday and my over-zealous self wanted to broadcast to Dr.K that I was in town and ready to start work the very same day if need be. Trying to get my personal rating from a 100 to about 120. He just looked at me and made an “mhmmm” sound. That marked the beginning of my rating's plunge. In the coming weeks I eventually understood that sound to mean “Good Try, but simultaneously…Very Stupid”.

My Comedy of Errors:
Monday came, work started and so did Dr.K and I's love-hate affair. I considered him some kind of slave driver. I was in lab from 8am till whenever he chose to let me go. He had a mini project for me (…wow I was going to be allowed to cook my own dishes, the importance of this dish to him though, is a completely different question), and everyday after working on my project he proceeded to teach me what every other person in the lab was doing(PhDs, Post Docs and everyone). Along with all this I was expected to read and give him an oral summary of different research publications every week. Remember how complicated I told you those things were?
My first few attempts at these summaries were nothing more than "Look how much I can B.S" sessions and generated numerous "mhmmm"s from Dr.K. I could have sworn I heard his guardian angel and the devil arguing over his shoulder as to a logical reason not to kick me out of the lab for good. What was he to do with a girl that didn't know jack and was at thesame time stupid enough to believe she could fool a veteran.

The first three times I tried to present these papers, he sent me back at the end to read them again. I knew that was not a good sign. Note to self: DON'T ask Dr.K for a recommendation unless you REALLY have to.
Personal Rating: 60

To add salt to the wound, it was my first time doing research so I had to do almost every experiment twice and on really bad days five times. Imagine spending a whole day cooking, then your boss tastes it and kicks you right back to start over. I used to be so pissed off, all I can say is he should, or rather, I should be glad he wasn't Mel Gibson in "What Women Want". Cus if he knew what was going through my mind, I would probably have been thrown in some kind of jail for slander. The worst of all my issues with Dr.K though was in preparing solutions.

The science inclined of you will know the formula C1V1 = C2V2 used to dilute solutions to specific volume. Thing is I knew how to use the formula in theory but not practically, had never had to. So I always ran into problems. At first I tried to verify my solution concentrations with other members of the lab but soon enough he found out for himself that I wasn't so skilled in this area. I summarize this to be my worst day in his lab. He straight up told me he would not have hired me if he knew about this problem earlier. The devil had defeated his guardian angel this time. I'm not sure if I went home and actually cried that day but I know I spent the rest of the night figuring out those dilutions. A little too late I thought to myself. (Replay Note to Self, but this time add one more "REALLY").
Personal Rating: NON-EXISTENT ("Captain to Control Tower"... "May Day!")

Things improved a bit over the rest of the summer, I guess there was no where else to go but up. Got that rating back to right about a 70 or so and actually squeezed a few complements out of Dr.K. But he still had more complaints. In research you are supposed to write down every single thing you do so that if something went wrong with an experiment, you could back track to figure it out. I understood the reasoning behind this but I didn't see the point of going into detail about everytime I added an extra pinch of salt to a dish, or if I added some more water to the soup. So I wrote very vague notes. Not only did Dr.K complain this time, but he compared me to a certain Jane Doe he had in the lab last summer that took better notes than me. He had to go there. If there was anything I hated it was to be compared to someone else. But what could I do, he was the boss. I just nodded and smiled.
Personal Rating: 65 and plunging

I had about a week more at KYDU and about the same time to get my rating back to at least a 90. Maybe if I did one good thing at the end, I will leave a good taste in his mouth. Maybe.

I had to present my project to the rest of the faculty at the end of the summer. It was some sort of competition among all the students. Cash prizes for the best two. I had been working on the presentation for about a month now. Not just for the money, but to at least impress Dr.K in some way. I even suggested to him that I present it to him and the rest of the lab before the final one. He smiled. (Wow! Mr.Miyagi could actually smile). Everyone in the lab loved the presentation and I was a bit excited. All for them to leave and Dr.K called me to his office and proceeded to tear apart my presentation.

I downed one shot of patience all at once and quickly too. Unfortunately, I would need a second one in a minute.

He went on to "suggest" that I wrote out everything I wanted to say on paper. Not just the main points guys...every word I was going to say at the presentation. And rehearse with that. He claimed this would help me correct my terminology errors. Someone hand me that second shot quick along with a piece of humble pie! I never said a word during all this. Just nodded. I did not trust myself to open my mouth without raining "blessings" on him and other innocent members of his family scattered around the globe. I nodded again and walked out, the session was over.

A Little Victory:
Presentation day came, presented my project to a panel of judges and way too many professors. But I might as well have been presenting to Dr.K alone. All through out, I was wondering what he was thinking, was I sounding stupid again. I tried not to look at his side of the room. That would only make me more nervous. My five minutes of fame were eventually over, they clapped, of course they will, they always did. Got a few questions, tried to answer them the best I could. Afterwards at the goodbye reception, Dr.K came up to me.

Dr.K : "Nice presentation. You explained your project well, that's why they had questions. Some of those other students were pretty bad"

Wow, was he actaully giving me credit? I took a quick glance at the sky to see if there were any pigs flying. Could have sworn I saw a couple.

Me (Smiling and trying to restrain myself from giving him a hug): "Thanks a lot"

Dr.K: "But on that last question, you really should have said blah, blah instead of blah, blah, blah"

At this moment, the two pigs I had seen in the sky crashed right back to earth, they had lost their wings. I wanted to tell him I really didn't care about the correct answer. I was just glad it was over. I just nodded again...looking around for the waiter carrying another much needed shot of patience. None. Oh well, still had some of the last shot working in me.

The judges came back and announced the winners. I was one of them y'all. I went up to get my check. I looked at it as payment for the stress I had gone through and I quietly thanked Dr.K in my mind. Still had too much reserved aggression/pride to tell him that writing out the whole presentation made all the difference. I would eventually send him a very emotional email later that year after getting back to school.
Personal Rating: INDETERMINATE

Like there was not enough tension that summer, in the middle of my time at KYDU I got my MCAT scores back. For some reason, I decided to tell Dr.K my scores.

Me: "I got my MCAT scores back"

Dr.K: "How did you do?"

Me: "A 28P (V=10,PS=9,BS=9)"

Dr.K: "What score do you need to get into Ivy League Que?"

Geez, how random

Me: "Usually about a 33, but anything above a 30, you have a good chance"

Dr.K: "mhmmmm"

PS: There is a reason I'm not putting real names on here, I will do so at a time I deem appropriate. So please I don't expect you to help decode the real names on here if you happen to know it. For my own good...please.

And to the "anonymous" person who tried to call me out, only few people know these details about me, and of those few, only a very small number will try this TWICE. So believe it or not, I know who you are.