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, March 22, 2007

Ok too good to be true I know...but I get this sudden epiphany to check my work email which I check like once every two weeks. I see an email from this lady whose mails always talk about one seminar or the other. I'm like "Ok let's see what seminar it is this time"

Guess who the speaker is?

Ben Carson?!?!

I promise you I don't make this stuff up, apparently the truth is really stranger than fiction!!!

And they're giving a free lunch too..I'll really have to be crazy not to go. It's in a few days(like a week plus) so I'll let you guys know how it goes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

BOOK IN REVIEW: "Gifted Hands"

So after a few nudges, I ordered my copy of Ben Carson's book.

I got those few minutes of "if a 'ghetto' kid from Detroit can do it, I definitely can too"

But I also got the few scary moments- One of these was his very point blank statement about how it was his gifted hands (aka "extraordinary eye and hand coordination") that made him a great surgeon and even though there were many surgeons out there, just as many who didn't have (or learn) this skill were plagued with complications in their surgery.

The scary thing was the fact that you didn't have to have this gift to become a surgeon, so you might very well hustle all the way for 10+ years of your life all for you to find out you're just average and could have been better at something else? As in there's no conspicuous gnome with a big bright red flag on the way that yells out "WRONG DIRECTION!!!"? Or maybe there is and we just ignore it?

Also very comforting were his words about putting competition aside and just trying to be the best you can be. I was forced to learn this at work because it's not class where you know there's going to be an exam and you can actually aim to be the best in class. There's no one else in this class but you. And the goal is simply to be better than the person you were yesterday. A much harder task because there is really no finish line.


There was also the part when he was in med school and had pretty much digested his text books so much that he knew more than the neurosurgery residents. Apparently, a few of them ended up handing over their pagers to him and getting him to answer their calls while they caught up on sleep. Like he said, some people would call this being taken advantage of, but really, it's a textbook case of a symbiotic relationship - Partner A benefits by getting extra sleep and Partner B by gaining extremely useful hands on experience.

So here I am a few more months to finishing work and I remind my boss that I would be checking out early summer and starting my three month fun-albeit-broke-vacation before I start med school. You can imagine my surprise when he comes back to me in a few minutes and starts to attempt to arrange for me to stay longer. I'm trying to explain that it's not a choice but rather a necessity seeing as my work authorization would be ending. Even more to my astonishment, all sorts of wheels started rolling to make a legal stay extension possible. For a few minutes I had to catch myself and put it all in perspective...Dear GOD, is this the same me that was always mad at myself for not being better at my work and thought they were probably counting down the days till my depature? I remember talking to one of the kind people helping me with the paperwork and she expressed that they were just probably trying to use me as much as possible before I left etc. Call me ignorant, naive, insecure or whatever but the fact that I am even considered "skilled" enough to be "used" is kind of a big deal and can we exactly call it USING if I'm learning more and simultaneously smiling all the way to the bank every Friday? My word for it - symbiosis good people, S-Y-M-B-I-O-S-I-S. I'm the crocodile bird giving the croc a free tooth pick and simultaneously getting my dinner.

We'll see if the paper work comes through. And even if it doesn't, it's the thought that counts.

All in all, Gifted Hands was a good and inspiring book, some parts were so cliche though that I felt I could predict what would happen. But I guess cliches are cliches for a reason-most knowledge really is hidden in books all over the place, and hardwork and faithfulness to GOD really does pay off eventually.

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think about it?
Thanks for recommending it "Aunt" I really needed it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I apologize for my recent AWOLness.

So all things being equal the story of my third MCAT was supposed to be my last post in the whole application process. I was supposed to keep everyone wondering whether or not I took the exam again(like u were even thinking about it) and finally let it all out the day I knew where I will be attending med school for sure. You know...something in the line of "And after all the MCAT I am going to my dream school, blah blah blah".

Ummm....YEEAAAHHH, all things are so not equal.

Here I was a week and a half ago basically living in cyberspace waiting for admission results from that school that had been playing dodgeball with my heart(and hundred other premed's) for a week or so, under a kind of pressure I never knew I could feel. It was then that the whole journey of the last 2.5 years started flashing before my eyes, and again I started reliving every single MCAT I had taken...the last one being the most traumatic and thus giving birth to my "Blast from the past". But the daydreams come and go and I'm currently enjoying a hopefully longer period of peace from them.

For the benefit of those who didn't quite understand the details of my last post, the "war" was my third MCAT. "Battle 1" - the Physics Section, "Battle 2"- the Verbal Section and 3 - the Biological Sciences section.

So yeah I walked out of the exam feeling like I completely bombed the whole thing. This would have been especially harzadous to my whole situation if I didn't at least show an upward trend in my scores. But what could I little shading bubble sheet was probably awaiting it's turn in some "little shading bubble sheet reader thingy" hundreds of miles away and nothing I could do could change anything. No matter how many times I woke up in the middle of the night to work out one of the exam problems I happened to remember to verify my answer...crazy days maan, CRAIZEEE DAYS. Anyways, 8 weeks later(yes they kept us waiting for about 2 extra weeks!) the results did come out.

I did one point better than my second MCAT. One point! I scaled through it by the skin of my tooth. The Physics that I thought I monumentally screwed up ended up being thesame score as the last time I took it (miraculously) Bio finally came through and I got an almost perfect score in that section. So maybe that was the only good that came out of the whole thing. I never got the 30+ score I wanted or thought I needed so bad. It was a 29, darn close.

At the risk of sounding extremely cheesy...realizing I was that close but yet not quite there made me realize that the battle was not going to be mine this time. If I had probably done very well on the exam I would have gone into this process on a very high horse and would only be setting myself to be thrown off later. So hey, better now than later right? (*Kneeling and Praying* Plss GOD I have really learnt from this-don't let it happen to me again)

PS: My AWOLness was due to trying to dig myself out of a waitlist. Yeah after the dodgeball game they left me sitting on the fence....I spent all of last week conveying in writing to their dean that the first words I uttered in my life was their institution's name. Half way through, I figured I might as well send an update to whatever other schools I was still interested in. I promise you premeds out there, if you want to reduce the chances of you becoming a serial scribe...seriously...kick butt in every single blessed way! SEERREEUSSLLEEE!!!!