Taking a (Practice) Step 1 Exam

When I started my embarrassingly long trek toward medical school three years ago, I studied for and took the MCAT. That exam was hands down the worst testing experience I’ve ever had – a six-hour MonsterTest covering basic science. I wrote about the studying process while cloistered in isolation in my Charlottesville apartment, where I didn’t see the sun for three or four days at a time. It was often hard to stay focused, which I covered.

Periodically I would take a practice test, a soul-sucking exercise in self-flagellation that I, of course, also wrote aboutContinue reading

Show Me Something

A couple of weeks ago, the program director for my postbac program sent me an email asking if I’d participate in a panel discussion for this year’s current inmates (the kids going through the wringer like I did last year) about the interview process. It dawned on me that my cohort is exactly a year removed from when we began the application process last year.

If you’ll remember from my timeline post, The Long Haul Begins, the primary med school application doesn’t even open until June. On the advice of this same program director, we were told to start our personal statements over winter break – for me, just over a year ago. Continue reading

Performing Tumor Surgery, Or Why You Need Physics

I complained for the duration of my entire postbac program about physics.

Why do premeds have to take a year of physics plus the associated labs? What possible relevance does shooting metal balls out of a rubber band launcher, and tracking how far they fly, have for medicine? Why is my professor such a disinterested teacher? Why do I have to sit through an hour of tutorial a week?

This morning, all my questions were answered. I, with the help of the electronic circuits unit from second semester physics, successfully performed surgery.

Am I a doctor? No. Am I in medical school? No. But I, surgical instruments in hand, spent my early Sunday morning removing a tumor from a patient – an unsightly but benign tumor that was causing significant distress to the patient’s family members.

I am of course talking about the buzzer on my dryer. Continue reading

A Whirlwind Week… and a Surprise

The last two weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of stress, triumph, starting a new job, and a huge amount of writing. When I got back to the States, I had about a week to wait for my MCAT scores and convalesce from whatever bizarre mystery infection I picked up in Cambodia. And it took that full week.

You probably don’t care or want to hear about me moving, so I’ll skip that part. I also started a new job on Monday; I’ll skip talking about that, too, mostly because blogging about your job is a traumatically bad idea.

What I WILL tell you: the first date for “data transmission” to medical schools was June 29. If you remember The Long Haul Begins, you’ll recall that this was Step 3 – when your completed application goes out to the medical schools you’ve listed, sans any scores or grades you haven’t gotten yet. For me, this was before my MCAT score came in – so my twenty or so schools got everything but. Continue reading

Diary of a Procrastinator

I am a 24-year-old young person. This means that I am still within shouting distance of college, and since I just spent the last year taking more classes I can credibly claim to do what all twenty-somethings credibly claim to do: procrastinate like a boss.

My procrastination, though, is especially nuanced this month. As I’ve written before, the MCAT is a mere five days away (May 31!), and my desire to avoid studying, paradoxically, has steadily increased as the fateful day nears. A semi-true to life chronicle of the last few weeks is below, as dictated to a fictional diary.

(I DO actually have a diary, but I only write things in there when I’m emotionally compromised. This means the vast majority of the entries consist of transcribed feelings. Gross. It is the single most depressing collection of words in existence, including the Oregon Trail you-have-died-of-dysentery notification, letters of rejection from employers, and even the old UNC ticket email that begins, “Hello, you have NOT been selected to receive tickets to the Duke game, rendering your weekend completely worthless.”) Continue reading