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Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Accepted!

In applying to med school, medical school on October 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know I’m failing, but I swear I’ll do better to make a conscientious effort to blog more frequently.  Anywho, the main reason I did not update you this past week was that it was the dreaded, highly anticipated, Decision Week 2009.  For those unfamiliar with the med school application process, October 15th is the earliest date schools can officially notify applicants of acceptances.  In other words, it is one of the most anxiety-ridden days…that is if you were an applicant blessed with an early interview or two.  I, like many of my fellow SDNers and pre-med applicants, was a nervous wreck leading up the 15th.  I had heard rumors that last year there had been a glitch in computers and emails about CBCs (criminal background checks) had accidentally been sent to those who had been accepted to schools, but had yet to be notified.  This year, I do believe CBCs won’t be conducted until the first of the new year, however that did not stop me from increasing my compulsive e-mail checking in the days leading up to the 15th.

Unfortunately, I did not received any news (good or bad) on the 15th.  Nothing but emptiness filled my inbox 😦  However, I did receive great news on the morning of the 16th – I was accepted to a school I absolutely loved!!!  That’s right folks, I am going to be a Medical Doctor!!!  Woooo-Hooo!!!!  I tried to predict how I would respond to an early acceptance.  My original guess was that I would pass out, wake up and run around the block beaming from ear-to-ear, call my mom, post the good news on twitter, facebook, and AIM, send mass text messages, and then part-tay!  My real reaction wasn’t too far from this.  I had actually just gotten off the phone with moms when I found the lovely little present from God sitting in my inbox.  I immediately hit redial and shared the good news with her.  From there, I’m not 100% sure what happened.  It was a mixture of being unable to breathe, a few tears were shed, I think I almost passed out, and in the middle of all this I managed to simultaneously electronically post and text messages about the great news.  When I got off the phone with mom, I ran around the house in circles, like a dog chasing its tail.  When I finally tired myself out, I sat on the big leather sofa, stretched out my arms, looked up towards heaven and repeatedly exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus. Praise you God!” Rinse and repeat until I was light-headed and out of breath.

Really, this was all in Divine timing.  My grandmother just so happened to be visiting from down South and I was able to share the good news with her in person.  I am her only grandchild, the last of the bloodline, if you will.  My grandmother has suffered numerous bodily ailments since as far back as I can remember, and since I started down this road to the M.D., my mom has been praying that my grandmother would live to see the day when her only grandchild would become a doctor.  Through all the pain she lives in, the news made her spring out of her seat and hug me – not an easy task for someone with scar tissue wrapped around her spine and arthritis all over the place.  Of course, more tears were shed and the rest of the family was immediately notified.  Everyone on both sides of the family said, “I never thought I’d see the day when we would have a doctor in the family!”  Really, I never thought it was that big of a deal.  I am just following my heart, my passions, and where God leads.  When I said this to my mom, she responded with, “Are you kidding me?!?  You have no idea what an inspiration our story has been to other single mothers…”  I guess she’s right and I have slightly underestimated how monumental of an achievement this is for my family and my situation.  In the past few days, it has slowly been sinking in.  All I can do is smile and praise God!

I must say, I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders, for I know that no matter what happens during this long, tiring cycle, at the end of the day, I will begin training to become a medical doctor at an institution I absolutely love!  What an AMAZING, INDESCRIBABLE feeling!!!  Just the thought makes me beam.  Now, I’m not a smiler.  Actually, I have been told that my neutral face looks on the mean, cold, standoffish side of the spectrum – good thing I’m usually laughing 😉  But, I’ve been smiling ever since the good news was delivered.  God is beyond good!  I’m still eagerly waiting on the acceptance packet to arrive in the mail (and a little nauseous at the thought of having to come up with the deposit money in my current financial situation…oh, the sacrifices I make), at which point I’ll probably get that great adrenaline surge again 🙂 

Now comes the debate on whether I should withdraw my application from some schools or just leave them alone and see what happens.  But, more on this topic later…

To everyone out there – Keep the faith!  As a friend of mine put it, I am the poster-child for re-applicants everywhere!

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2 Down, 1 to Go…

In applying to med school, interviews, Rants on October 6, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Two interviews down and one more to go before I sink into the silent abyss awaiting a new interview invite.  Yikes.  I liked having my first interviews spread about 1.5 weeks apart.  It kept me on my toes!  I prepped incredibly hard for the first one, then having another one so close to it made me stay on that elevated state of being, pumped up on epinephrine and endorphins.  The same thing is going on now.  I admit, my anxiety, and consequently, energy level has slightly declined since my first interview, however, I’m still up in that realm.  What’s going to happen when I finish my last scheduled interview next Tuesday???  Will I be able to motivate myself to stay up-to-date with the health care reform debate or the latest medical developments?  What if I don’t get another interview until January?!?  That’s a good 3-4 months away… Will my anxiety level ratchet back up?  Will I lose some of my interviewing “finesse” I have been refining??  Will I be a hot-nervous wreck , checking my e-mail roughly 100x a day?!?  

Now, that last one I can answer – YES!  I know me, and I know how I’ve already been this application cycle – frantically checking both email accounts (in case an email accidentally gets sent to an old email address) hourly.  smh.  Patience is not my strongest point, but I do believe God is using this time to help me develop some of it.  I honestly don’t know how I’d do sitting for the next few months without hearing a word from anyone.  To be quite honest, after a few weeks, I’d probably pick up the phone and give one school in particular a ring to see what exactly is going on – not quite sure what I’d say, but I do have some words for them…  Otherwise, I guess I’d start working on update letters, as well as letters of interest.

Even in this crazy process where there seems to be ample amounts of quiet time, don’t be mistaken – there is no such thing as down time.  If SDN has taught me one thing, it’s this – anytime you’re sitting back relaxing, chilling, cooling out, or just breathing, there is some crazy neurotic, desperate pre-med out there doing whatever they can to give their application a little bit of an edge.  People are out there volunteering hours they don’t have, doing activities they don’t want to do just to add an additional 40 hours of service (like that will really stack up against applications with 100s of hours of service over years…eh, let them have false hope), sucking up to family friends who happen to be doctors for an additional letter of recommendation to add to their file, etc.  In sum, there are some out there constantly doing.the.most. around the clock.  Now, do I really think this will pay off for them?  Eh, probably for some of them.  I like to think that AdComs can see thru the b.s., but experience has showed me this type of nonsense works sometimes.  Anywho, as annoying as these people are (often also the most verbal of the SDN gang), they keep me on my toes.  They remind me that there is never a time to slack off or grow comfortable – someone is always there, positioned to take your seat!  So, to the obnoxious SDNers that keep typing away nonsense online, trying to make others as paranoid and anxious as you, I say THANK YOU! Mwah!

EDP = ???

In applying to med school, Rants on October 1, 2009 at 10:43 am

To apply through the Early Decision Program (EDP), applicants must follow these guidelines:

  1. Apply to only one U.S. medical school by the stated deadline date (August 1 for schools that participate in AMCAS);

  2. Provide the school with all required supplemental information by the stated deadline date (August 1 for those schools that participate in AMCAS); and

  3. Attend only this school if offered a place under the EDP.

If these guidelines are met, applicants will be notified of the school’s admission decision by October 1.

If not accepted under the EDP, applicants will automatically be placed in the regular applicant pool by the school and may then apply to additional schools. EDP regulations apply to both AMCAS and non-AMCAS participating schools.

For the 2010 entering class, 79 medical schools will offer admission through the Early Decision Program. Since most participating schools only admit a small portion of their entering class through the program, only applicants with an excellent chance of admission to a particular school should apply under this program.

I just don’t understand WHY in the world you would do it?  For instance, I was checking SDN yet again :: surprise, surprise :: and I come across a post of someone doing EDP at a school I already interviewed at.  They’ll find out Oct 1st their fate, while I’ll find out Oct 15th mine.  Perhaps if the window of time between EDP notification and regular decision notification was statistically significant, then maybe I could see some benefit to doing EDP.  HOWEVER, logic tells me to just apply as early as possible and wind up in the same boat.  I don’t understand the value of being locked into one school (even if it is your so-called “top choice” <– a concept I’ve never really identified with).

There are too many variables.  What if you get in early but get a lousy financial aide package?  You’re screwed.  What if you don’t get in?  You’re screwed yet again, because now you’re late for applying elsewhere that cycle and you basically have <14 days left to select the schools you want to apply to and need to rush in getting secondaries submitted.  I know there are pros as well, provided you get in – guaranteed early admissions and thus reduced stress for the remaining months of the application cycle, significant reduction in out-of-pocket expenses required to apply to numerous schools in order to secure one spot, etc.  I’m all for big risks and big potential rewards,i t’s just that, to me, it is way too big of a risk, for a relatively small reward. 

Once again, I don’t see why you wouldn’t just apply as early as possible, hope to get in the first round or so of interviews and then potentially have some acceptances waiting for you mid-October.  If you like your choices then, you can stop submitting secondaries, decline interviews, etc and still save some money.  Plus, you’d have some leeway in deciding how much money you’re willing to shell out for med school by being able to compare financial aide packages offered to you.  EDP just seems like a horribly shaky game of Russian Roulette…You have one shot to secure a spot at a school you love and hopefully their financial aide office will look kindly on you.  I don’t know, maybe the people that do EDP are loaded and money is of no thought to them for med school…but then that negates the whole advantage of saving money by doing EDP.  Hmmm….

Also (so out of order, but objections keep popping into my head), as the AAMC website says, EDP applicants should have stellar marks and ECs – i.e. the whole package – since very few spots per class can be filled by EDPers.  If you are that strong of an applicant, why on Earth wouldn’t you cast your net out to other schools that pique you curiosity (surely you were not only attracted to one school, right?) and just apply early.  As a strong candidate, you’d probably get a bunch of interviews (at least more than 1) early and be in the same boat, but with more options.  I.do.not.get.it.  Maybe these EDPers are the type that are indecisive or just hate the idea of having to make a decision this substantial come May 15th?  But, doctors need to be decisive, so I’m sure that’s not it…Hmmmmm… 

(Back to EDP) Even if it’s only a total of 5 schools you decided to apply to, but you applied early, you’d be stationed in a much firmer position strategically and not significantly in debt, as compared to doing EDP.  Especially when you consider that hefty price tag the AMCAS makes you pay for just selecting one school to send your primary to.   Might as well maximize that initial deposit and get a few more schools out of it for a couple of bucks more, while simultaneously maximizing your options and opportunities.  I know I’d be pissed if I applied EDP to a school I swore up and down was my top choice, then got a crappy financial aide package I was stuck with, and then was left to wonder,  Hmm, I wonder how much money I could’ve got from School X…

Or, maybe I’m just a greedy, controlling pre-med that likes to think they have some sort of control in this unpredictable process.  Personally, I’ve never been the one to have a top choice anything.  I’ve always had a few “tops” in any category, and differentiating them based on “like” was never possible, for they each had their own pros and cons which basically evened-out.  I like being able to have choice at a given point in time.  Perhaps I’d like to think that having 5 options instead of 1 will be advantageous, and that I then have the power to chose out of a multitude of options my destiny.  I love the power of choice and the opportunity to choose.   I believe that freedom of choice make life worth the living; knowing that you chose one out of several options presented to you and consequently move one more step down the path of life, embracing whatever lies behind that door.  Now that’s fun.  That’s excitement.  It’s like playing a game where you chose from Door 1, Door 2, and Door 3 and you get whatever lies behind.  It’s not fun to play the same game when you only have Door 1 to chose from, right?  That’s just scary.  And, to me, EDP vastly limits choice and is like playing that game with one Door: whomp whomp.  Your choice is which one school do you want to risk your life on.  That’s not really fun.  But, I guess you can view EDP as a shotgun to the regular process, for in the end of regular admissions, you still have to chose which school you want to marry.  Once again, I just don’t get it.  It seems boring and risky and not worth the potential reward. 

At this point, I’m sure I’m sounding like a broken record: Why EDP?  Throwing all eggs into one basket… It’s nonsensical. Why EDP?  Throwing all eggs… blah blah blah.  Perhaps someone can enlighten me.  I am truly curious and have yet to find one person who can give me a convincing reason for choosing EDP.