Friday, November 5, 2010

day 9 : as balls drop

Week 6 of the quarter is always a bitch. These past few nights punched my midnight bedtime in the face and left me bruised and wounded for the rest of the week. Perhaps it need not be said that one of these past nights was occupied by frosting two dozen cupcakes in preparation for a fortnightly meeting with a group of volunteers. Anyways, the week is thankfully almost over. I dropped the ball - rather, many balls - on a lot of things this week. At least now I can pick this one back up.

As everyone in the world knows, third year is super-special-important in the life of an undergraduate, and this week (of all weeks) seemed to be the kick-off for discovering why that is.

Chicago Careers in Health Professions: Application Seminar I - the first in a series of five mass meetings that aims to lead me, the needy but motivated pre-medical student, through the long, treacherous timeline of medical school applications. Today, I was given the proverbial now-or-never for my future in the deceptively innocuous question: is it the right time to apply for medical school?

The anxiety is two-fold. Am I ready to apply? I have to get my ass movin' if I'm going to. If I apply next year instead, what will I be doing in my gap-year? Adding another dimension to the great wake-up call, I have yet to tell my parents of my decision either way.

Our pre-med advisers ask us for a personal statement by January, MCAT by mid-June, and recommendation letters by yesterday. There are application fees and prep courses and the long and daunting process of cultivating relationships with credible and successful people who will "provide evidence" that I am, in fact, the perfect candidate.

I am at once enchanted and disenchanted by the process. It is thrilling to imagine building this image of myself that will endear me to an admissions committee and potentially secure my ticket to the intellectually and emotionally rewarding experience that med school promises to be. An acceptance would lay the tattered red carpet for the next half-decade of my life and finally, finally put me on the path to becoming a real person. But all the hurdles I have to jump. Playing to pre-med advisers, courting faculty for recommendations in science courses and non-science courses and outside activities, standardized testing...and even harder than all of that, maybe, having to articulate to a panel of people (who've surely heard it all) why medicine is a good fit for me.

It's all very scary to think about. So, on the eve of yet another midterm (physics this time) and a biochem quiz looming tomorrow (today), I'll leave it at that - let it simmer some more.

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