I take comfort in what is certain: there is one day until my birthday, three days that I will spend in Atlantic City, six days until I move into the house I rented for the summer, eight days until I submit the AMCAS, and thirteen days before I start my senior thesis research. Numbers. They’re never wrong; this brings both an feeling of security and an aspect of fear this is (as you fellow premedical students can relate) inextricably linked to my academic career.
Post-finals, my morning routine is as follows: (1) check the Her Campus Princeton email, instagram, tumblr, twitter, and facebook accounts, (2) read the New York Times and Ivy Gate Blog, (3) check semester grades on SCORE, and (4) eat breakfast, sometimes. With each grade posted, my anxiety increases. How will that score look to medical schools? Am I more or less competitive now? Should I be more worried about my academics at this point or the other characteristics that will round out my application? With medical school applications coming around the bend, it’s increasingly hard to ignore the horror stories.
Here, I’ll share one: a Princeton student with a GPA within the range of 3.9-4.0 and a MCAT score over a 40 was not admitted to any medical schools. Take a moment to let that sink in. This information was provided in a table that presented how Princeton students fared in medical school admissions. We left the medical school information session terrified. Some of my friends decided at that meeting to take a year off; some of my friends decided at that meeting to pursue other paths (PhD, MPH, etc); some of my friends were devastated. Likewise, I was worried until I realized that the numbers couldn’t tell the entire story: where did the student apply? to how many schools did the student apply? did the student submit their application late? was the student unable to interview well?
Nonetheless, I’m sure the student was surprised to receive rejection after rejection but medical school applications (much like college applications) are a crapshoot. The application process generally yields unexpected turns which just so happen to be the story of my life.
This morning, I woke up on the floor of a hotel room. That was of course my fault. My parents and my two younger siblings (Dapo and Sade) flew up from Louisiana to spend a week in Princeton for a number of reasons: my twenty-first birthday, Princeton reunions festivities, and I won’t be going home for the summer. I applied for interim housing far too late and so I was swiftly kicked out of my dorm room last Saturday. Now, my family is sharing the presidential suite. It’s a long story–booking information was lost, the rooms were quite untidy, etc.–but multiple phone calls later my family shuffled into a penthouse suite. In short: this was a complete surprise.
In reflection of what has transpired today, I am reminded that not all unexpected turns are negative. Some bring tears while others bring incomparable joy. I think this is something I need to hold onto: although I am unsure of what will come this application cycle, I can’t let the fear of failure or the fear of rejection keep me from pursuing what I love. What I do know is that I will be a doctor. Someway. Somehow. Someday.