The Admissions Decision…Working Through Disappointment

This is a difficult post for me to write. I received the medical school admissions decision on Friday and found out that I was put on the waiting list. So close to getting in, but did not quite make the cut. I felt utterly disappointed when I first found out the news. I had been put on the waiting list the first time I applied to medical school in 2012. It was like déjà vu and I just felt crushed by the news.

I had applied in a very competitive category (the non-traditional pathway) for applicants who have been out of university for several years and whose science prerequisites have “expired” (more than 8 years old). There were 127 applicants, 17 interviewed and 3 spots available in this category. I was so happy to have made it to the group of 17 who were interviewed. If I made it to the waiting list, it means I am probably in the top 4 to 6 applicants.

Processing this news has been difficult because I felt that I got so close to my goal. It is there looking me in the face but just out of my grasp. It was hard to share the news with my friends and family who were eagerly waiting to know what the decision was. They have been so amazingly supportive and positive.

There is of course a chance that I will make it off the waiting list if one of the three accepted students does not take their spot. The waiting list remains active until the first day of classes in August so I have possibly another 3 months of waiting.

Because I am a person who tends to keep my struggles to myself, I am looking at this as an opportunity to learn to lean on others for support and to not stifle my emotions. I am going to “grieve” this news and allow myself to sort through the feelings of disappointment. I am not going to allow myself to feel like a failure because I know I gave it my all and there were circumstances beyond my control.

In all of this, I have to remind myself that God has a plan, the best plan for me. Right now I don’t understand this outcome. I don’t understand what the bigger picture is. But I have to trust that God sees that bigger picture and he is working behind the scenes to bring about something wonderful.

In the next few weeks as my husband and I figure out what to do next, I will try to remain focused on the great things in my life, like my beautiful children and awesome husband, my wonderful mother and big brothers…and all the amazing friends and family who continue to uphold me and encourage me.

Now is not the time for embarrassment, self-deprecation or negativity, but a time for reflection, a time to go back to God for more direction and a time to heal from this immense hurt that I feel.

 

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…Try Again With the Right Attitude!

When I applied to one local medical school in 2012, I remember the process being quite harrowing. I felt enormous pressure to succeed and I didn’t want to disappoint or let anyone down. The days seemed to crawl by as I waited for months to find out if I would be invited for an interview. Once I did get an interview, it was another few months of waiting to find out if I had been accepted. When I ended up on the waiting list post-interview, it was yet another few months to find out if I had gotten off the waiting list which unfortunately did not happen. It was essentially a full year of waiting to find out that I had ultimately not been accepted to medical school!

I learned a lot from that application cycle and my interview experience will certainly be useful if I receive interviews this application cycle. This time round, I feel so much calmer, at peace and I don’t think about my applications all the time like I did in the last application cycle. I am learning to appreciate each day with my children and I find it’s making life so much more enjoyable. I don’t feel on edge or anxious. Last time, I felt like my sense of worth hinged on my acceptance to medical school. What would people think of me if I didn’t get accepted? Not so smart after all! Last time I barely even announced that I was applying to medical school, not wanting people to know I was trying lest I be rejected. But I feel in the last few years, my perspective has changed significantly. It’s not about what people think of me but about being honest with myself about what I really want to achieve and saying to myself, “even if I fail, at least I tried and will not spend my life with regrets”.

I have realized the importance of support networks and how much I need people’s support to help me through this process. This time round, I have shouted it from the mountaintops that I am applying to medical school. I am proud of it and I love the energy and enthusiasm of the whole process. Each week, there is at least one email or message asking how things are going with my applications, MCAT etc. and I just love it. I feel like I have a whole cheer-leading squad behind me. And that same squad will be there when my MCAT results come out, they will be there if I get invited for interviews and they will be there if I get accepted. They will ultimately be there whatever the outcome. I do not have to handle this long, painstaking process on my own. Even though I still have a long road left in this application cycle, I am not dreading it. I don’t feel as impatient as before and I am just thankful that no matter the outcome, I still have amazing blessings in my life.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers who were envious of him and it took many years of hardship and imprisonment before he rose to a position of great eminence in Egypt. Through all this time, he conducted himself with excellence and never complained about his circumstances. I love his example because it reminds me that even though I have many steps to go through to get to my goal, I can still conduct myself with excellence in the interim. I can still be at my best in whatever I am doing as I wait to find out the future of my medical school dream, be it raising my children, doing chores, volunteering etc. This perspective has made me feel so much more at peace knowing that each day matters and each day deserves my best effort. I will eventually get where I want to go!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net