It’s Spring of 2015, and I’m back (again) a little bit older and hopefully a little bit wiser. I was watching an interview recently with a person who said that she keeps journals to always look back at. I’m still undecided about whether I want to keep a physical journal or online blog; physical journals are somewhat cumbersome and easily lost while everything online and social media-related is fickle. For now, I’ll stick to this so that I can insert photos and motivate myself to write without having to physically pick up a pencil (which feels weird in my hand nowadays with all the computer work I do).

Anyway, hello! It’s good to be back. It’s been quite a year, to say the least. It’s hard to describe the magnitude of the highs and lows I’ve been through in 2014 – taking the MCATs, medical school applications, rekindling a relationship, adjusting to a full-time job, moving into NYC, 10 interviews – but I can actually say that I’m glad it’s all over. I’m usually a very optimistic person and I tend to never regret the challenges that occur in my life (after all, we only grow through trials, right?). For once, I acknowledge that last year was very trying and pushed me past limits, albeit all for the better.

I’m about to fly out for my final medical school interview in Palo Alto. This was a completely unexpected invitation that arrived when I was 99.99% sure that all schools were done with their cycle. Apparently due to an IT issue, I never received the initial interview invitation so the email I read opened with “Dear Student, Are you still interested?”

You should have seen my face, as I stood frozen in Williams and Sonoma on 59th street on a snowy cold Friday night. You should have seen me screaming down Utopia Parkway as soon as I got off the Q27 as I ran home to tell my mom. You should have heard me say “I’m going to change the world!!!” as my heart filled with euphoria. I immediately took a spot on the last interview day and enjoyed a delicious dinner with mom.

Funny story. As clearly as I remember that miraculous night, I also remember the summer night i was working on my supplemental application. I was reading about a Stanford professor in academic medicine discussing her journey in the field as a woman. I left the Weill Cornell library really late, as usual that summer, probably around 11 PM or so. I remember being so preoccupied with academic medicine and motherhood, trying to envision how I wanted to shape my career. I got to the M15 bus stop, anxious to get home so I could write some more and sleep a few hours before work. I was waiting for the bus, probably looking so lost and distracted. Somehow, a bus managed to pass me by even as I ran after it. I remember running and feeling so frustrated, small, incompetent. Why was I even bothering to apply? Did I really think I even had a chance? Why would anyone think I can make a difference in this world? I was emotionally beaten down from a long summer of work and essay writing, all compounded by lack of sleep, frequent caffeine crashes, and self-imposed isolation from loved ones. Missing the bus meant waiting another 20 minutes or so for the next since it was so late. In the moment, I lost it. I cried and sobbed, all alone on 72nd and 1st. I had never felt so unworthy in my life.

Sometimes I wonder when I’ll inevitably go through similar nights as a medical student.

I expect nothing to come out of this interview since it’s such an incredibly selective school. I’m honored to have even received an interview! Especially with my UCLA and Emory acceptances, I feel less anxious even though it will be MMI format (note to self: must read and study!). Perhaps it’s because I had already mentally concluded my interview season or maybe it’s the fact that I have two other amazing options, but I find my normally anxious self a little less anxious. This can all change next week when my trip becomes real but for now, I’m hoping to prepare as best as I can and talking to as many people as possible. Godspeed, self!

Some advice I repeat to keep myself grounded:

1. Be genuine

2. Be thoughtful

3. Be open to other perspectives and opinions

4. We are all humans, one and the same


Author: sarachoister

Documenting the journey of being a medical student

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