The three cycles


Full Member
Jan 15, 2013
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
    Hello everyone, I am writing the following essay partly as a reminder to me when I am feeling stressed and to the people that have been completely sucked dry of motivation by the medical school application process. I know how bad it can be, as I went through it three times myself. It was one of the most stressful and surprisingly one of the most educating experiences of my life.

    My application, my thought processes, my motivation and my mindsets changed with each cycle. The first time I took my MCAT, I was as cocky as they come. I didn’t have the stellar grades to boost my ego either, but I thought I could conquer the MCAT by studying during the weekdays of my junior year’s week long spring break and take it that saturday. It was the stupidest decision I’ve ever made. I took a practice test before and I was getting around 55th percentile and I thought the test would be different, alas it wasn’t. I got a similar score on the test too. I should have learned from it, but I did not. I decided to take the test again in the August of the same year, with the summer to study for it, while I was applying for schools too mind you. Neither studying nor applying happened that summer. Just procrastination. I studied for it 2 weeks this time and I did better, but just by 3 points. I submitted my primary in October, and only to the top tier schools with my state school being the exception. I figured I would near the bottom end of their GPA and MCAT ranges but who cares if they got in I must have a chance right? Wrong, especially with no significant research or activities to speak of, my late application (with my secondaries being turned in the last day due to procrastination) and my non ideal MCAT AND GPA. I got a courtesy interview at my state school, did awesome at it. Rejected.

    This experience definitely humbled me. Here I thought I was better than a lot of my classmates and, they got in. I figured I don’t have the smarts and the work ethic. I decided work on it and apply again. This time, I was going to apply early. I was going to apply smartly. I was going to get in. I took the MCAT again; 80th percentile. I did apply early, by relative to the last cycle, in August, but I blundered in my application by not filling out the work activities section at all. I repeated the same procrastination with my secondaries and I emailed each school my work activities section with an apology letter. I lost my false confidence that I was going to get into the top tier schools, so I had my fingers crossed for my state school. I got the same courtesy interview and the same mail. Rejected. I graduated. Moved back home.

    This time though, I was devastated. I was just blank faced, I spent my entire college years towards this. My younger sister who started a year after me, now graduated with me and she already got into medical school. I just didn’t know what to do. I decided to not apply again at all and switch careers. I didn’t have a job, friends and I was living with my family while my sister gets ready to start school. Everyday I am faced with my incompetence and how I let myself down. These thoughts got to me and I started researching online, visiting forums and self-diagnosed myself with ADHD. I decided only medication can help me, but I hate taking them. I figured/hoped I can go to a therapist and he would steer me away from my thoughts and find a solution. I did go and after my first session I walked out with a prescription for Adderall (I tried everything with the therapist to steer away from drugs but that is what he landed on). I tried it, for two days, I got efficient and I got organized but it wasn’t me. So I stopped taking them, the nearly full bottle is right in front of me as I type this.

    This stint and the realization that most of my identity was tied up in me becoming a doctor made me decide to apply again. It was also the logical thing to do, I have no experience nor education in other careers. But this time, there will not be any mistakes, no procrastination. And I will have the best application that I can submit. I cold called doctors in my city, and I started shadowing a couple. I volunteered at a hospice. I volunteered at a free clinic. By the month of may, I have been shadowing and volunteering for two months now. I wrote the best personal statement I can, got around 10 recommendation letters (a few had to be good), I completely filled my works/activities section and I submitted the application two days after it was open to submit. I also submitted the DO application. I made a rule that I was going to submit every secondary I receive within the week I received it. I never knew that I had that in me. I wasn’t passionate about medicine anymore, I was just angry that I can’t get it. I don’t think I wanted to be a doctor as much as I wanted to be a medical student. Let’s just say 2014 sucked. It sucked big time. No success with my job applications. Nothing seemed to working out. I wasn’t getting any interviews. Not even from my state school or DO schools. Then I finally got an interview from my state school; apparently due to a technical error my interview email as delayed. Anyway, I went to the same interview for the third time. This time, I wasn’t starry eyed during the campus tour, I wasn’t mesmerized by the cadavers. I was seeing them for the third time, and I knew I wasn’t going to be seeing them ever again. So, by November everything I could do was done and then started the waiting.

    This was the most depressing time in my life yet. Every week I received at least one email saying that I wasn’t given an interview, after all I applied to 25 MD schools and 10 DO schools. I hated that I was jealous of my sister. I go to my sisters white coat ceremony, awesome yet secretly depressing. I see my friends and colleagues white coat ceremonies on facebook, more depression. I visit my sister at her school for thanksgiving with her friends, more depression. More rejection emails, more depression. No friends, more depression. No job, no money, more depression. Doubts that I have ADHD, more depression. Doubts that I will ever amount to anything, more depression. The worst of all is having the knowledge that I was still having an amazing time relative to the many many poor people in the world and complaining about it, further depression. New years eve came around, more depression that I am getting older but doing nothing worthwhile. It was just an ever compounding cesspool of sadness. I made friends with local baristas to keep myself from going crazy and into depression.

    Then in the middle of January, my state school started sending out acceptances via email. The SDN thread was just ‘I got in!!!’ ‘yay’, you know the drill. Me, I got nothing. Then that day, I got a phone call from my professor. ACCEPTED. Finally! The first feeling I had wasn’t happiness, it wasn’t elation. It was relief. It was as if I removed a tonne of iron bars off my back. It was as if the filter someone inserted in my nose that only let quarter of the air through making me barely survive was punctured and I could breathe fully again. I was sweating, my T-shirt was visually soaking in it and tears were rolling down my cheek. The first time I cried during the ordeal. Coincidentally, I was watching a documentary about the metamorphosis of a butterfly at that time. Then came the happiness, then came the sharing and then came the realization that I was going to become a doctor.

    Now, here I am getting the immunizations, the financial aid and the housing ready to start medical school. With every act, I am surprised that I am here, I am motivated by my failures and I genuinely believe I am am a better person and will be a better doctor because of those rejections. Throughout this time, the support of people around me felt like taunts and I hated them but I think without that support I would have crumbled further. Most importantly, this process humbled me and filled me with a different kind of confidence. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today, if it weren't for those rejections. To all the people who are in this boat, I am not going to say don’t be depressed as I myself couldn’t stop from being, but I will say learn from the mistakes and maybe use it as fuel to your motivation. I will work my butt off in medical school because I know what happens if I don’t. I never want to be in this position again in my life, a position where I hope. Hope, contrary to what movies/books say, is the worst feeling to have in the world. F*uck hope, I would rather work hard and earn mediocrity than hope for the best.

    PS: Thank you for reading this for. I will be glad to answer any non identifying question, even if they are personal.
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    Full Member
    10+ Year Member
    7+ Year Member
    Aug 31, 2008
    1. Attending Physician are certifiably awesome. I admire your persistence.

      I had a very long day today...challenging cases...trying social situations...late patients...tons of phone traffic...and you made me realize one very important thing: do not take it for granted.
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      Full Member
      Dec 15, 2014
      Ilex Forest
      1. Pre-Medical
        Its 2:40 am on a Friday morning. I have been prognosticating for 2 and half hours now. Exam in 3 days.

        Thank you for motivating me, not just for this exam, but for this semester and so many more to come.

        Kind of got teary eyed reading this entire post. Everything was a familiar tone and reminded me why I am doing all this for.

        ITs hard sometimes to find role models and good examples of success throughout this entire process. We are mostly surrounded by negatives, rejections and roadblocks. But you overcame so many. Everything happens for a reason.

        Congrats on your acceptance !!!


        Full Member
        5+ Year Member
        Jun 11, 2015
        1. Resident [Any Field]
          At first I wasn't going to read this because it was too long, but I'm glad I did. The maturity and self reflection in your post is pretty darn inspiring. Congrats on your acceptance, man. Good luck.
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