A Story

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Onceuponatime, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Onceuponatime

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    This morning I was staring at the criss-cross patterns on my window pane dreaming about my future. I am 19 years old. Home now after one year of college, I’ve finally found time to reflect on the mental and emotional strains of school. You might ask what in the world a 19 year old has to worry about but then, you don’t know me. I’m always worried yet, a few years back, my type of worrying seemed good. I mean, I was a straight A student in High school. I graduated with AP and IB credit and I got into one of the leading universities in the country but this past year, my worrying became compulsive.

    I worried that I couldn’t make the grades to get into a good medical school so I studied till 2 or 3am every night. I worried that my parents might not be able to afford the private school I go to so I worked 20 hours a week. I worried that my teachers and peers might not see me as a good person (you know, the one everyone wants to write recommendations for) so finally, I worried myself into such a frenzy that I dared to cheat on an exam. Well…that’s not quite true. I didn’t cheat on the actual exam. I altered my answers after I got the exam back but it’s the same thing. Somehow, in the back of my mind, a B on a chemistry test just wasn’t good enough. Of course, I was caught and I willingly paid the price because the guilt was just too much to bear but what made me turn this way? What made me start thinking of myself as numbers and letter on a piece of paper instead of the person I use to be?

    Well, if you are one of those people who think I’m stupid and overreacted, you’re wrong. The whole catastrophic event built up slowly and I’m only sharing this in the vain hope that no one else will go down this road. Let’s start from my childhood. I was born and raised in Beijing, China; an over-congested city with buildings touching each other. My parents immigrated to the US when I was three and I grew up with my grandparents. Even at a young age, I felt pressure to make something of myself because all my family seemed to live vicariously through me. Every time I received a present, I remember my relatives telling me that no thanks are necessary because when I grow up, I could repay them. At the age of eight, I came to the United States but this country wasn’t what I dreamt it would be. English came hard for me and even then, I couldn’t bear failure yet when my parents divorced, I had to face failure head on. For a long time I lived with my mother in a rundown house that took all my effort to clean. Now, to those out there that love your mother, I envy you because somewhere along my short lifespan, that precious maternal bond broke and my mother stopped loving me. She got remarried, had another kid and I was left looking down a road that led to a high school diploma at best because that’s what she told me.

    Thankfully, when I turned 11, the courts overturned their custody ruling and I was allowed to live with my dad. From day one in my father’s house, I had vowed to be the best daughter he could have because I was scared he might change as well. Thus, when high school hit, I did everything…debate, mock trail, national honors society, etc. I was named most intelligent in my graduating class and I went on to college with the confidence that I can be anything I want. Ha ha. Little did I know that college would prove to be extremely difficult. I was far away from home and it was the first time since I moved in with my dad that I had to fend for myself so emotionally, it was traumatizing. I don’t party, I don’t drink, and I don’t have means to get off campus so I basically depended on the people I lived with for emotional and social support.

    At 19, however, your dorm mates aren’t the most reliable people in the world. Plus, I got caught up in the premed track. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor and I still do but I got stressed over what classes to take when; what GPA I must have to get into a good medical school; what activities I should do to boost up that all-important resume; and whether it’s better or not to follow the mainstream and get a B.S. in Biological Sciences or pursue some unknown passion in the vein hopes of standing out in an applicant pool. I think I must have called home at least once per week that first semester crying to my dad because things just wasn’t going my way. Even with my family’s support, by second semester, I sunk into depression.

    The people I loved didn’t even understand the extent of my mental and physical deprivation and when I told them what I had done towards the end of second semester, they were so shocked that it was almost impossible for me to bear. By then, I was sleeping three to four hours per night and eating maybe one or at most two meals per day. I didn’t know how to stop myself so in a way, I’m thankful that the events of my life haven’t led to anything worse.

    I am lucky though. My advisors understood, my professor understood, and even my parents understood. Today, I still find it hard to stop worrying but I’m trying to slow down and put my life back into perspective. I have so many hopes and dreams but to my colleagues out there, I hope you can put your dreams aside for a few minutes each day to enjoy the time you have now. After all, perhaps you could learn from my mistakes as I’m desperately trying to now.
     
    #1 Onceuponatime, Jun 1, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
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  3. ejay286

    ejay286 Member

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  4. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    Best of luck to you, OP.

    We can't change our pasts, but our futures do depend on what we learn from our mistakes. You sound like you are learning important lessons that will serve you well.
     
  5. wannabedocta

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    Keep your head up and keep trying to reach your goals. I also suffered through bouts of depression and anxiety in college because I had always compared myself to others. But, I quickly realized there will ALWAYS be someone better than you and there was no point in worrying. Hang in there. :oops:
     
  6. 135892

    135892 Guest

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    My advice... don't take life so seriously. Sure, getting good grades and getting into med school are important, but they shouldn't control your life...
     
  7. SiR99

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    Keep your faith in God and everything will be alright :thumbup:
     
  8. Cegar

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    :rolleyes:
     
  9. armybound

    armybound future urologist.
    Physician Moderator Emeritus

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    your personal statement's going to be a good one, from the looks of it.
     
  10. georgearms

    georgearms i am a girl

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    Hey onceuponatime, I sent you a PM. I agree with wannabedocta, hang in there!
     
  11. TexanGirl

    TexanGirl runs away from trees

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    Wise words, OP. I think we can all relate even just a little to your story. Perfection is nice thing to try to achieve, but going through life expecting to do well on every minute thing only invites continuous rejection, disappointment, and unhappiness. It's the beginning of a self-destructive cycle.

    I hope you've found peace of mind now. Remember even failure is just another opportunity to find success in another venue or direction. :)
     
  12. A Wall

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    As Armybound said, I think you have the makings for a gripping personal statement, and you may eventually even turn the situation into a positive on your application. You have three years plus any time between college and medical school (which I _strongly_ recommend, though I recognize that you may have personal or familial pressure to go straight from undergrad) to show what you've learned from the experience. All you have to do now is figure out what that is. If you take a mental step back from the pre-med mentality, you may find that you have room in your life to enjoy college a bit more and find some interests or even passions outside of medicine. I wouldn't be at all surprised if you then found that it wasn't quite so much of a burden to maintain a "competitive" GPA and relevant extracurriculars while still having time to relax, enjoy yourself, and sleep! Good luck; I'm sure a summer away from school will do wonders.
     
  13. bodonid

    bodonid Dr. Spaceman

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    "Compulsive" worrying as you call it is not healthy. Participate in a few clubs or sports or something. There is no reason to go through life with that weight on your shoulders if you don't have to. Worrying doesn't help anything.
     
  14. chunglee

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    changing answers is the same as cheating, if not stupider. They will obviously know.
     
  15. 194342

    Physician

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    The Irony.
     

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