“We regret to inform you that after further consideration…” This is how most medical school rejection letters started out. Now, imagine receiving 10 of these. When I applied to medical school for the 2016 application cycle just two years ago that was my reality. Rejection from every school I applied to. Crushed was an understatement of what I was feeling…but I still had hope. There was no way my story would end there. I had faith in God that even though it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, it would work out the way He wanted it to.
While I was applying, I wasn’t sure how things would turn out given my low MCAT scores and the submission of my applications being so late that cycle. But I chose to ignore that feeling and apply anyways. Have you ever had this idea that if you just “try your best,” or “do what you can,” then surely God will handle the rest right?
Wrong. Well, at least the reasoning was wrong. Through this experience, I learned the importance of God’s will. I strongly believe it was not God’s will for me to gain entry into medical school the first time around. But as to be expected, I couldn’t quite grasp that concept at the time.
Would you believe me if I told you that during the Fall of that application cycle I had a dream that I would be accepted not into medical school but into the MEDPREP post bacc program at Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale, IL? I kid you not this actually happened. Now, it wasn’t exactly clear in the dream that the acceptance would be for the MEDPRPEP program, but it was clear that I would be accepted to “SIU.” I tried to bend the and interpret the dream that I would be accepted to the SIU School of Medicine. You ever get a vision or inclination of what God has planned for you or actually ask God what He wants you to do in a certain situation, to which He answers, but then somehow you try to make that answer fit what you want to do still? Tsk Tsk.
Funny enough, as the rejection letters kept rolling in, I did end up applying to the MEDPRPEP post bacc program later in January. In fact, the day I interviewed for entry into the MEDPREP program in March was the same day I received my last medical school rejection letter. That was it. No medical school for me that year.
Wow right? Now I know some of you may be somewhat skeptical about what I just said. Disclaimer: I am a spiritual person, I am a Christian, and this was my reality. My goal here is not to force anything on you but to share with you what I personally experienced. As you know, I am now currently finishing up my second year and Masters degree in Biological Sciences at MEDPREP at SIU in Carbondale, IL. Mind you, I had no intention of moving down to Carbondale, I didn’t even want to apply to MEDPREP! But I truly believe that God intended for me to end up here to receive better MCAT and medical school preparation, but also for the life lessons and spiritual growth I received and continue to experience while being down here.
The post-bacc program helped me a lot with MCAT prep, but it was still on the individual to take advantage of that preparation and maximize it. With the help of my professors I was open to new ways of looking at and approaching problems, but I also had to do some major introspection and fine tune my study habits and the way I processed information. Gone were the days of pulling all nighters because I had to learn how to space study. I sat in the front row of most my classes and frequently went to office hours. I basically took all the study skills and lessons I had started to develop late in undergrad and fine tuned them even more to account for the large amount of info received in medical school. I actually believe that I became smarter as time progressed. Grasping concepts came quicker and processing information became easier and easier. Things just started to make sense to me more so than they ever did before. Now..onto the life lessons…
Non-academically speaking, I learned a lot about myself during this period of my life. During this short time in the little town of Carbondale I have experienced the most growth emotionally, physically, and spiritually that I would not have otherwise received had I not came here for this program. To stay on top of all classes, exams, and later MCAT studying while maintaining my own personal needs and well-being brought along some stress and took a lot of effort. The frustration, the tears, the amount of times I questioned God and his plan for me…it was a lot. (I wonder how I’ll survive med school!)
However, I learned a lot about myself, friendships, trusting others, when to lean on others, how to be vulnerable, when to be vulnerable, when to laugh, when to cry… But most importantly, I learned that God was with me every step of the way. I saw the best in people and also saw the worst. All in all I learned how to be…me and more of who I was and wanted to be. Things I did and did not identify with both in principle and in action became more apparent. I had to search deep within myself to figure what exactly I wanted out of this life. As a spiritual person that answer was simple, to do whatever it is that God has called me to do which I believe ultimately lies somewhere in the field of Medicine as far as careers go, but also to truly help others. In finding myself I also found God. I found my identity in Christ as I drew nearer to Him, which I believe was His ultimate plan. I don’t believe I’ve “figured it all out” or anything like that. I am still learning more and more each day about myself and even about my beliefs. I am not the same person I was last year and I hope to continue to grow and change each and every day.
With what I know now, and have learned over this time I finally see why it didn’t work out the first time. Getting rejected from medical school was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me. During the time between my last and current application, I gained knowledge, wisdom, bettered myself academically and mentally. And I can now proudly say that through hard work, perseverance, tears, blood, sweat, and God on my side…
I have been ACCEPTED into not one, not two…but multiple Medical Schools..so far! From receiving zero interviews during my last application, I have now received many interviews and still counting! Wow what a journey. Finally. I did it. Im doing it. I’m going to medical school! To think that just 2 years ago the opposite was true. But my story does not end here. I still don’t know which medical school I will end up in or what specialty I will ultimately practice, but I do know this:
All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord who have been called according to His purpose
I hope to have inspired you with this story! Please let me know where you are on your own medical school journey or if anything I mentioned resonated with you in the comments below!