The hardest, longest year of my life. Here\'s the timeline:
9/2008-1/2009: Beginning of my junior year roller coaster ride. I started my weekly Kaplan MCAT course very early on, but I slacked and took everything in stride. I took physics during this year (the bane of my existence), and college physics is harder than what the MCAT tests. Plus, I aced my other pre-med science courses, so I was not worrying excessively...
Winter break 2009: Reality begins to hit! During winter break, I went on an Alternative Breaks trip to Atlanta, GA. To guilt myself into studying, I brought my books with me for the road trip. Not like I really ended up studying after all that lugging. Basically, I started catching up on all the practice problems and hw assignments I pushed aside. I actually opened up the books to read all the BS and PS chapters for the first time.
March-April 2009: Crunch time. Reality is sinking in around now. I started to panic around now. I was taking Biochemistry and Physics, which I just pushed aside to devote ALL my waking hours to AAMC tests, practice sections, etc... I spent my days in the Kaplan center or the university library, enmeshed in my books or glazed in front of the computer screen. I took a break from volunteering, exercising, studying for my classes, or even going to classes, just for this one test. Oy.
4/18/2009: The big test day. I slept well, woke up early, and made myself a power breakfast (cereal and fruits). I hated the testing center in Manhattan. Throughout the exam, all I heard were the screaming sirens of ambulances or the creaking radiator next to me. The headphones sucked, hurting my ears the entire time and barely tuned out much noise. I came out of the test feeling like I just bombed it. I think it went downhill after the PS and VB section, when the time ran out and I was not confident in my answers; I nearly imploded. When I get super-nervous (like that day), I get sensitive to noise and my uncontrollable anxiety... such a stressful day. Plus, I couldn\'t even void my score, I needed it for my NYU ED app due at the end of April.
4/30/2009: I submitted my NYU ED application- personal statement, activity sheet, transcript... and hopefully a good MCAT score by next week. Praying for an interview and luck on my side for the next few weeks...
May 2009: Most depressing month of my life. My score came back in the first week, 25R. All I could think was \"Crap, I screwed up big time. I failed in my journey to be a doctor already.\" I moped around for a few days, before I motivated myself to pick up the pieces and to hit the books again. I was not sure how I could improve my study habits, because I gave whole energy into studying the first time around. To boost my VB score (my lowest), I used Kaplan & Examkrackers 101 VB passages religiously. Oh yeah, I read lots of challenging papers and magazines like the Economist (I got hooked after the junk mail piled up at the reception desk) and gossip news... In addition, I practiced more on BS (Examkrackers 1001 questions) and PS some more. I also made pretty notecards and colorful diagrams, and pasted them like a museum exhibit along my walls (thanks to the inspiration of a fellow friend).
Summer 2009: APPLICATIONS, ESSAYS, MCATS... an endless cycle and road to no end, seriously. Who knew that med school application would be like a full-time job! Now, I didn\'t have the pressure of school, but I did have to balance 2 \"full-time\" jobs between lab research assistant and operations assistant at my residence hall. Running between the medical center and my residence hall was not just exercise, it was hellishly hot in the heat of Manhattan. Here\'s my daily schedule: wake up by 8 am, get ready, take the bus to the medical ctr, take an hour VB exam at the med school library so I could focus and find quietude, run up to my lab, do some experiments, take a lunch break (not really, I checked my passages and did more online practice, blah blah...), run back up to lab, finish and leave. Weekends and evenings were more studying and drawing fancy organ systems to amuse myself (then they\'d get plastered on my wall), while working the front desk and all that jazz.
7/17/2009: I went back home to Long Island to take the test. I took off a week from my lab to focus and prepare myself for the 2nd biggest day so far, all without letting my boss know I was retaking. See, retaking assumes you screwed up the first time around (which I definitely did), and I didn\'t want her to probe around, ask questions, or yell at me for taking time off to study (she was a bit of a tough cookie to please). To get off, I said I was going home to help my parents move, which was not a complete lie. This time around, I did NOT sleep well, but my mother did feed me well up to the last minute; perhaps it was the anxiety and pressure to do well this time around or else I will never be a doctor and I must study all over again. All night, I think I fell in and out of sleep, but mostly out of sleep. Surprisingly, I woke up strangely fine and energized, not sleep-deprived or tired. No panda eyes or lethargy. Still, I drank a small cup of 7-11 coffee to get my lucky dose of caffeine. This time I brought ear plugs to avoid those painful headphones (it\'s actually allowed, but after some inspection). I liked the Melville testing site, the staff was friendly and the environment was quiet. I took the test in stride, only running out of time for VB (again) and BS this time (last time, I ran out of time for PS). I stayed calm and took the whole exam in stride, but with a heavy anchor on both my shoulders.
Afterwards, I got back to work and moved on. That one month period, I was productive with my applications and schools, but the persistent reminder of my MCAT kept ringing. Each day was a countdown, closer to the final judgment day. I was in a loop, where I could either succeed or fail again. I did not want my hard work during the process go to waste, so I religiously hoped I did well and moved on. Each day was like a time bomb, seriously, ready to explode.
7/26/2009: AMCAS finally submitted after arduous revision of my personal statement and activities list and careful school selection (~20 initially)