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, April 22, 2007

I'm sorry for deserting you all for this long. There just hasn't been any ground breaking news. I'm officially in the middle of the toughest part of this cycle-Staring at the clock and willing it to be May 15th already. But as if TIME itself knows I hold my breath, it drags its feet, counting every second twice before proceeding to the next, and then counting that four times.

Having so much time on one's hand is also bad in many other ways. The nerves have kicked in. Summer is approaching and in a few months I will be starting the path to my future career. It's hard for me because not only do I wonder if I'm ready for this journey, I also have to deal with committing myself finally to one career path-something I have thus far subtley avoided. In college I had two majors just in case medicine didn't work out, even as I get ready for the real thing, I have already started mapping out degrees to add on just in case I don't enjoy medicine as much as I think I will. But that has to stop! The running is over and my hand is just about an inch away from the plow and once it lands on there...there is no looking back, cus going back to one's vomit is just straight up gross.

But this brings up other issues. What if I just don't have the energy to continue? I was jumping ahead a bit and looking at some of the class schedules for some schools. I remember seeing a two-and-a-half hour free block of time in between classes in one of them. Seeing as classes that day would have started at 8:30am the first thing I thought was "Yes, nap time!" Ummmmm NO! This will no longer be undergrad where you delay studying till a week before the test and still ace it, this is med school in which everything I learnt in one year of anatomy would probably be taught in a month. YIKES!

24 days till May 15th - the day the floodgates openeth and those that wait upon the lists might eventually stand a chance

RIP Virginia Tech Victims

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bedside Manner Where Art Thou?

Hope everyone had a good easter! Mine was great! If I was back home, I would have had the pleasant opportunity of having friday and monday off but oh well. Speaking of which, why do people celebrate Easter Monday again?

So what did I do for easter? A family at church was nice enough to invite us poor no-family-nearby "students" to Easter dinner at their home. So there I was trying to be social and mingle with the other guests before the formal dinner began when the following took place:

Man: So what do you do?

Me: I do research at the Med School

Man: Oh nice, what are you researching?

This is always a hard question when you don't know what background your audience has. There's a thin line between try to speak in layman's terms and talking down to someone.

Me: It's loosely related to Disease XYZ

Man:(Stares on like he's waiting for further explanation)

OK...he must be some kind of scientist. Our host was one so it would not be too far-fetched to assume some of his guests will be too. I proceed to explain further in moderate details. Sensing I was beginning to lose him, I can back up to the surface and rounded up.

Man: (Nods) So why don't you study "Disease (Insert completely unrelated and obscure autoimmune syndrome here)"

Me: (Mentally flipping through my Med Terminology IOI textbook and trying to split up the syndrome's name into logical parts-complete with very confused look sweeping across my face)

Man: (Laughing) just kidding

Me: Well you got me

By the way, before this day, I had tried to brush up on the little science I knew seeing as our host was a seemingly big shot cancer scientist for a definately big shot pharma company. Yes...I know it's just an Easter dinner but it is also one of the many opportunities to make a full of yourself over a dinner table of 20 or so people...yeah on occasion, I'm more Type A than I like to admit

Me: So where did you pull that name out of?

Man: Well my wife has the syndrome

Ok time-out. Man just pretty much revealed to you that his wife has some syndrome that you have not had the opportunity to Wikipedia yet. Wife is present at party so you know whatever it is, the syndrome is probably not debilitating enough to confine her to bed. She looks very normal etc. So what would be the best response to man's statement?

Aristotle:(The-Must-think-very-deeply squad) Hmm that's a pity have you considered how this may relate to the alignment of certain astronomical bodies?

Hippocrates: (The-Must-do-no-harm squad) I'm really sorry to hear that, how hard is it to manage?

Me: (The-Must-perpetually-and-stupidly-think-every-disease-is-cool squad) Hmmmm Interesting.

As the words left my mouth, the extent of their stupidity and cold heartedness struck me. This was not immunology class where every pathway was something to drool over, this was a human know...the soul behind the pathway and the first words that come out of your mouth is that?! Needless to say the conversation ended a tad bit awkwardly and my attempts to dig myself out of the ten foot hole I dug seemed essentially futile.

I proceeded to kick myself for the rest of dinner.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I have struggled to find a minute amidst all the craziness I'm currently trying to juggle to update you on what has been going on in my world. So here goes:

Well...another waitlist came in last week. Not even from a school I want to attend but all the same the thought of being on three waitlists can be very depressing. It means I really won't figure out where I'm going till May or later. It's looking like a long summer already :(

Unto relatively more exciting stuff, I went for the seminar and reception for Ben Carson and it was pretty inspiring again. I remember him walking quietly into the room while everyone was outside where the food was. I was sitting in the empty room at this time and as he casually walked over to the podium to set down his stuff I kept thinking
"Wow this is him?! This is THE guy"

It was weird to meet the man behind the book and actually hear him refer to many of the stories in there during his speech. I felt like I was meeting a fragment of my imagination in person because I had formed a personal image of him that fit perfectly with the way he told the story. I also got him to sign my book and in between the hand shake leading up to the signing, I kept reminding myself that I was currently holding the hands that had been in the central processing units of the highest of God's creation, and here the hands were, looking like mine and yours. And he also does do this thing with them too while talking to you (the whole rubbing together at chest level thingy) that makes you do nothing else but just stare at them. I had to force myself to make eye contact during our two minute encounter. His wife was also there too but I really didn't get to talk to her.

The next book I ordered and I'm currently awaiting is "The Language of God" by Dr.Francis Collins one of the Chief Scientists behind the Human Genome Project. Hopefully by the time I finish it, it would be June and I would know for sure what prestigious institution of medicine I will be indenturing myself to for the next four years...ahem...PSYCHE!