The end of high school was the last time I remember feeling completely like I was in the driver’s seat of my life. I finished school with strong SAT scores, great grades and the exciting dream of going to med school. When I realized that I would be going to a state school- my safety school- for undergrad, my heart hurt. I chose to go to a state school under the influence of my parents, the financial supporters of my education. I listened in envy at my other friends who told me they were going to private schools like NYU, feeling embarrassed that I worked so hard in high school for what? My safety school??
Well, I went to that state school and even though I tried hard to hate it there I ended up having an amazing experience 🙂 Looking back, going to the state school was the best decision I could have made. I knew I wanted to go to medical school eventually and by choosing state, I was fortunate enough to have my parents pay for my whole undergrad education, plus some of my medical school bills. If I had gone to a private school, I’d be drowning in loans already.
I graduated with a solid education, participated in undergraduate research and had enough time for some extracurriculars in between. The problem was, my MCAT score was less than stellar. I mean…really less than stellar. Come to think of it, the undergrad research and extracurriculars were probably my saving grace. I scored under a 30 which is pretty much the silent cutoff for most MD schools. That’s when I looked in DO schools. I knew some upperclassmen who were attending DO schools so after some research, I applied to 10 DO schools (and 2 masters programs in case I didn’t get in). I ended up getting into my first choice DO school close to my parents’ home where I eventually moved back into. Taking the MCAT, applying to medical schools with the uncertainty of acceptance and preparing alternative plans if medical school didn’t pan out that year (I even started cram studying for the GRE’s!)… those were the most stressful months in my entire life to date. Even during medical school, I have never felt so lost and uncertain of what I was doing. So to all those going through the process right now, trudge on and know that the process of getting in is one of the biggest hurdles to jump. Since getting into medical school, when I’m feeling burnt out or stressed, I always remind myself that one year ago I was crying because I didn’t even know if I could go to medical school. That thought gets me through many long days of studying now.