1. It’s really expensive and acceptance is by no means guarenteed.
Being a medical school applicant is really, really lame. Whenever someone asks me, “what do you do?” I have to admit that I wish I had something else to say, like dog-walker or insurance sales-woman. But no, I sheepishly answer that I am currently in the process of paying thousands of dollars to apply to medical school when we all know that less than half of all applicants even get their foot in the door to an allopathic medical school during each application cycle. The lame part of this confession is that it reveals that the sole focus of my present existence is to get into something. I am in a state of perpetual hoping, waiting and anguishing over an event that might not even happen.
2. All I can do is check my phone to see if X school loves me or not.
The other lame part of applying to medical school is that is takes up so much time that there is hardly time leftover to devote myself to anything else in a serious way. Between traveling to interviews, writing update letters, spending 2-3 hours obsessively refreshing applications and apartment-hunting in cities of medical schools that haven’t even accepted me yet, how I am reasonably expected to do anything else? For goodness sake, I would not want to miss the moment that Awesome-School-A takes me off hold, or be deluded for an hour longer than necessary that Harvard is going to accept me after all. I should note that my life is not quite as lame as it sounds: I do go to school (part-time), teach the MCAT to pre-meds and involve myself in a smattering of medicine-related-volunteer activities.
3. If I’m lucky, I get to pay lots of money to travel far, far away, wear an uncomfortable suit, and still face possible, if not probable, rejection.
Then there is being an interview candidate. Having been to four interviews thus far, it starts to feel like I am in some sort of pony in a show. I get all dressed up, in some cases fly half-way across the country, prance around an enormous medical campus in ridiculously uncomfortable shoes, get evaluated face-to-face in interactions that all seem extremely positive, and then wait in despair as I wonder what it all meant.
4. I’ve exhausted everyone I know with news from the medical school application front.
Additionally, with my spouse, my family, my friends and even new acquaintances, I can find very little else to talk about besides my current state of non-acceptance to medical school, primarily because it is all that I think about. So, until I get that golden ticket delivered into my inbox/voicemail/mailbox, my apologies to just about everyone I come into contact with.
5. Every day I worry I might become that poor soul who never did get accepted to medical school. We all know one.
We all know someone who “was” a medical school applicant. (“Johnny was so bright, we all thought he was going to medical school to become a doctor but he never could get in…”) At least if we made it this far, we avoided the fate of being “formerly pre-med,” a term that describes at least 50% of the people I went to college with. Instead, we have put ourselves out there into this vulnerable position, with far more potential for public humiliation than we ever thought possible. So what I will leave you with this: no matter what happens this cycle, let’s all vow that we will NOT become failed medical school applicants but future physicians, even if reapplication is what it takes! No other outcome is worth this much current and past suffering.