Limited Seating

Leaving in the middle of class to catch a break on the couch in a neighboring lounge I ran into a small group of classmates. The conversation was not at all hushed, but was far enough away from the doors as not to leak into the lecture hall.

Student 1: “Saturated man. That’s what they said.”

Student 2: “Saturated? Who?”

Student 1: “S—-. S—- said it. So you know its true. Man, I’m going into a meeting with Admissions to see what’s up.”

Student 3: “I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t Admissions just tell us? Why do we find out stuff like this through a focus meeting? Not even an e-mail? There’s got to be at least half of us still pushing for school next year and we’re competing for seats not even available anymore?”

Student 2: “That’s fucked up man. I bet they think we’d just give up and the program will deflate if we actually knew.”

Student 1: “I’ll let you know what Admissions says. Man, I can’t believe this. They were saying that we’re all good candidates, but that there’s just not enough room…”

The thing that sealed it was the name Student 1 said. The name said it all. As one of the faculty that consistently supported and encouraged out class with phrases like “when you’re in medical school next year,” or “you’ll see this again next year,” if he said something so definite then it had to be true.

I imagine it’s hard to decide from an Admissions stand point who gets in and who doesn’t. Certain things are easy to qualify like MCAT scores and GPA’s, but while these are good indicators of academic prowess they do little to show ability to function as a dynamic social-medical component. But I get it – it’s a matter of risk.

It all seems quiet smoke and mirrors to me though. Why not just be more upfront so at least 70 people can figure out how they’re going to rearrange their lives next year? Maybe it’ll all make more sense in the next couple weeks.

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Dear Dad

My days continue to pass with little unseen stress in the world of academia. Although tests take their place among my Google Calender like mini-obelisks vying for my attention, my mind remains hard to restrain from other tasks. This week all I thought of was my dad.

An outpatient surgery is really quite minor in the grand scheme of things. My father’s eyes have constantly been an issue so it wasn’t a surprise when I first heard he needed some work done. Despite my outer confidence though, a deep fear nestled itself in my chest. I have a great deal of trust in the medical system if you play the cards right, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my moments.

Seeing my dad in a hospital gown is not an image I care to remember. Minor as the surgery was, it was just so distasteful to my senses to see the man (and machine) that was my father in any sort of weakness or distress. The man rarely gets sick and rarely takes holidays. His work ethic is solid and I am convinced that when he puts his mind to something he’s unstoppable.

But seeing him in that gown planted an unsettling seed. He’s not as unstoppable as I’d like to believe.  Watching my mother, her arms folded and holding sentry over him, only sent my heart higher up my throat.

This is such a cliche post, but made me think about what nearly every son has to go through at one point or another. When he stopped wrestling with me while I was growing up I felt I was finally strong enough to be his son. Now, seeing him in that gown made me doubt if I’ll ever be strong enough to take care of him in the future.


Mutual Friends

The ice days really screwed up our schedule, but I think some good came out of it. Although Histology is still on Friday, the CardioPhys test got moved to Monday – giving a full weekend to go over the lectures for actual absorption. If I can finish the tenth and last lecture today and get started on memorization for the early lectures then I can call the day productive.

An e-mail just got sent out about a Facebook group for our incoming medical class. I’ll get around to joining eventually, but as we start in July I feel like I’m putting the carriage before the horse. I share the same sentiment with friending people I have yet to meet. What if  I shouldn’t be your friend? What if you shouldn’t be my friend?

At the center of the feeling though is a sliver of disappointment as I read through the list of fresh faces. Under the “mutual friends” category I’m able to make out who will be joining me from my Masters program. While I’m certainly excited for my fellow MedSci’s that are already listed, I think about those close to me who await their fates. Last semester was a personal hell for so many people and will continue to be until May.

It’s just not a great mix of feelings as I read the posts of my future classmates and see the struggles of my current ones.


No Parasympathy

After four snow days the first day back is kind of a hassle. Never mind I missed the one question quiz that all but pointed to the answer but most importantly I missed my morning shower in my effort to get here. Of course, had I known it was a one question quiz I wouldn’t have jumped through such a flaming hoop. One question? That’s nothing. Dry skin? That’s itchy – and that’s a problem.

The revised schedule sent out has crammed many of our classes together, but I still think its all manageable. The Cardiovascular test is this Friday no matter what, and the GI Histology got moved to Wednesday (it’s been moved four times). I can’t fault the administration too much, but the quiz this morning seemed unnecessary.

It felt like a tiny yet noticeable slap in the face.

Maybe I care about it more than I let on. It could also be the dry skin talking.


Information Flow

The flow of information in academia is a peculiar thing. Although the profession we are preparing for has its fair share of competition, it should not take away from the significantly more important goal for people work together when it is to everyone’s mutual benefit.

Often times a student will make a study guide and choose to keep it to themselves. This is perfectly within their rights and even advisable if the guide is in any way a summation of the material or brief snippets of the information. The summary and briefings are a subjective idea of what is high yield information worth knowing. However when you make something comprehensive is when you get into a dilemma.

This is because an additional comprehensive resource could be the tipping point for others to grasp the material, understand it better, and become better trained for their future careers. That last point might be over dramatic, but it holds traces of the truth. When something can stand as a source for study on its own the responsible thing to do is to share it.

Of course, there are places where competition can triumph over compassion for your classmates.

Another snow day spent whittling away at Physiology. Hopefully the gym and a quick exodus to the grocery store are in my future.


Prologue

Thank you for your interest.

However.

We regret to inform you.

Best of luck in your future endeavours.

These are the four basic components of any good rejection letter. It begins with a sincere enough premise: the institution you have applied to is grateful that you have laid bare your life’s worth to them and increased the competitiveness of the pool they select from. Then the tempo switch. The ‘however’ is the first nail in your coffin. Rarely has this word ever been used for good save for near the end of movies where the protagonist is on trial and is rescued by the juxtaposition of tones. 99% of the time this word will screw you.

Next, someone is regretting. They are. You are. Basically there’s a fair amount of regret happening. The institution would love to have you, but at the current moment you’re a liability rather than an asset. We’ll get into that later, but medical schools have arduous application processes because it is costly to enroll someone and then have them fail out. On the flip side, you regret the hours/days of filling out the application and paying the additional secondary fees. In some instances you might have  even had to fly out to the place. At this point it’s become a bad first date. Only you’re out about $400.00. You could have bought a PS3 with that type of scratch.

Finally, the send off. You’re a swell girl/guy, so it’s only a matter of time before you do something amazing! You just won’t be doing it with them. If you were set on getting in your first time to your first choice then chances are you didn’t plan for any other future endeavours. This is a pity, and often the catalyst that can send you into depression or a life of self destructive habits.

However, the letter in my hand is no such letter and I have little regrets that it took this long to finally get in. After a sizable stack of well wishing rejections I could only come up consistently with one endeavour.

I hope to keep this blog as a companion through the days leading to the white coat ceremony and the four years of medical school after. I intend to remain as anonymous as possible so as to be as sincere as I can.

And of course, thank you for your interest.