Road Trip to Cape Girardeau, MO
It’s a strange thing, getting rejected from medical school. At first, I was distraught and paralyzed by my failure. I had always thought I was going to be a doctor.
When I was five, I used to dress up in my mother’s scrubs or nurse’s uniform and use her stethoscope to listen to the hearts of everyone that would let me, and I knew that I was meant to make people happier and healthier from that very young age. This early sense of purpose lead me on a long journey through AP courses, EMT certifications, shadowing experiences, a dual major in life science and psychology, research positions, and a long and rather expensive medical school application process. I thought that if I worked hard I would be able to be part of that steeply declining percentage of medical applicants that are accepted. That was not the case.
Month after month I waited for that letter or email that would inform me that I have been invited for an interview. Nothing. The rejection letters ensured me that their decisions to reject me were challenging and that their ultimate decision was not a judgment of my potential to become a physician, rather an unfortunate consequence of a large applicant pool with too little openings for their programs. This response almost made me laugh. If their rejection is not a judgment on my potential to become a physician, I do not know what is. To this day there are several schools that have not given me a response, not even a rejection. This fact infuriates me even more than the rejection letters. I put so much effort and money into the applications for these schools and to have no response whatsoever is upsetting and unacceptable.
After the realization that was not going to be accepted, I felt hopeless. What would I do now? Years and years of preparation and ambition seemed wasted. Yes, I could reapply the next year. But in reality, what were my chances of being accepted? I could have done a post baccalaureate program that may have increase my chances of being accepted, but they are not guaranteed and most are very expensive. Even if I did choose to pursue that option, it would only have prolong my time in school and made me feel even more like a perpetual student. Then, I was faced with the really difficult question. Could I choose a different career path?
At first the idea was unfathomable. I had always pictured myself as a doctor, how could I possibly do anything else? Then I thought about why I wanted to be a doctor in the first place. Surely it wasn’t title, the prestige. It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t about authority. Or was it? Had my goal of making people happier and healthier been tainted by ambitions of high status and wealth? The more I thought about it, the more I was able to admit to myself that those things were an influence in my decisions to become a doctor. Society tells me that I am only worth something if I have a title and a lot of money, and that was unfortunately a large factor in my decision. It’s a sad fact that I’m sure is true for many doctors in the system today, and possibly a reason why so many physicians fail find joy in healing those who seek their help, as their oath stated, and instead find delight in emptying the pockets of those same people.
Once I was able to accept that I could still help people without becoming a doctor, realizing that other healthcare professions are not inferior to that of the physician, but rather equally important, I was able to discover my new passion, my new sense of purpose. I chose to pursue nursing. I am not “settling” for a nursing position, instead I am, wholeheartedly, taking on a role in which I can make an impact in peoples lives and become the advocate for patients that I always wanted to be.
More than half of medical school applicants were rejected this year. I was one of them. Fortunately, I was able to get past it because I realized that I could make an impact in people’s lives without the title. If you truly have a passion for healing people and making their lives better, there are so many options for you. However, if you are in it for the wrong reasons, I fear that through acceptance to medical school, you will only cause unhappiness for others, and through rejection you will only cause unhappiness for yourself.
Do not get caught up in societies’ expectations, and do not let rejection ruin your life. Be the kind of person that you wanted to be when you were five years old. Only then can you be happy and make other’s happy.
The Pennsylvania State University clarinet section 2008-2012. A Montage/ Game Day hype video.
Pennsylvania State University: A view of Old Main from Sackett Building
FAMILY TRIP TO LONDON
Kirkstall Abby (Leeds, England):
I’m not sure how I didn’t know about this amazing place before yesterday. It is located just 15 minutes by foot from my flat. Kirkstall abby is so impressive because it is one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abby in England. The abby was built between 1152 and 1182 AD. Now it is surrounded by a beautiful park bordering the River Aire, where many locals come to picnic, socialize and walk amongst the historical ruins.
Well, I guess you can call me a Cumberbitch.
THE LAKE DISTRICT, ENGLAND:
With blistered hands and facial muscles, sore from an exorbitant amount of smiling and laughter, I return home from the Lake District. I believe that, in time, I will regard the trip as one of my most fondly remembered experiences.
The clouds, in dampest region of England, gave way to the bright and shining sun. I was pleasantly surprised by this change in weather, as England has been doused with rain for what seems like an eternity now. The further our coach carried us away from Leeds, the more beautiful the landscape became. The rolling hills gradually grew into mountains and roads were replaced by fields full of flowers and, of course, sheep. I had been determined to forget my worries about finals, MCAT’s, and work, and to fully commit my day to pleasure and relaxation. This, I found, was not a difficult task.
We arrived first in Bowness-on-Windermere, a small but bustling town on the banks of Lake Windermere, the largest lake in England. We took a 45-minute boat ride around the lake, catching glimpses of beautiful homes on the lakeside as well as ruins, boats, and wildlife. I was completely taken away by the true beauty of the place, and immediately, I understood why people such as Beatrix Potter, well-known children’s’ book author, strove to conserve the land for future generations. I was happy to be on a boat again. It seems like ages since I have been on my family’s boat on the Chesapeake Bay. The splash of water and the cool breeze brought back wonderful childhood memories.
When we arrived back on land, I went, with a small group of girls that I met, to the Beatrix Potter Museum. We didn’t go on the tour, but instead browsed the shop. I bought myself a copy of Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten, two of my favorite Beatrix Potter storybooks.
After a quick lunch of some tasty sandwiches and ice cream from a local shop, we hopped on the buses once again, this time heading to Keswick. The views on this ride were even more spectacular than those of our previous drive. It was quite hard to tear my eyes away from the window. The scenes were so surreal.
When we got off the coach, we decided to take a hike down to Friar’s Craig. The path brought us up to a large hill. Both the hill itself and the surrounding scenery reminded me very much of the opening scene of “The Sound of Music” where Julie Andrews runs up and begins singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music!” What made this place even better was that a herd of sheep situated themselves on this hill and there must have been one hundred little lambs frolicking. It was a bit difficult to leave them, but we continued our walk.
Our walk was interrupted once again by the site of rowboats for hire. Annie, Kathleen, and I decided to leave the group and take advantage of the opportunity. For only £4.00 each we were given access to a small wooden rowboat for an hour, and wouldn’t you know it, we are all rowboat prodigies. I was really impressed about how adept we actually were at getting that boat around the lake. We sang songs, shared stories, and laughed more than I have in a long time. Only when the wind picked up did we falter, but then we put two people on rowing duty, and screamed, “pull” so that we could coordinate the strokes. I could hardly contain my laughter as we made our way back to shore, which we did in very good time, if I do say so myself. Getting out of the boat, we found ourselves a bit wet from the splash of the ores and the waves, and it was only then that I realized that I had acquired a few blisters on my hands as souvenirs from our wonderful adventure.
As we walked back to the bus, I was sad that it the day was over. I know that I will be back again someday, to once again enjoy the true splendor that is the Lake District, a place that captured my heart from the moment I arrived and will pervade my memories for some time to come.
Sunday in The Park
City #10: Barcelona, Spain
City #9: Nice, France:
City #8: Rome, Italy
City #7: Venice, Italy
City 6: Munich, Germany