Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Finally pre-med

A late afternoon picture of Cleveland's Little Italy. Very little relevance to the post below, actually

Recently, I was admitted to Boston University School of Medicine's class of 2020. I got the news in Safeway,  wept in public, and am still riding the bliss of knowing that I do have a future in medicine, that I will become a doctor. So ended my agony of the cycle, washed away all plans of gap year jobs and reapplication, and undermined many of the self-loathing/doubting/destructive thoughts that have been lurking in my brain these past few weeks.

More importantly, I realize that I have to shift my way of thinking of myself and what my work must be for. For the last 3.5 years, I have predominantly seen myself as a college student working towards becoming a medical school applicant. Now, it is clear that I must reevaluate myself, and redefine myself: I am a future medical student, and a future doctor. My goal now must be what I had always wanted it to be. I must strive to become a good person, a good physician, and learn to practice medicine.

The title of this post references my discomfort with the term pre-med, which I've written about before. In short, I've never liked identifying myself as such, since there is so much uncertainty in college anyhow, no matter how resolutely I believed I wanted to become a doctor. Also, early on in college, I felt alienated from other bioengineering majors for feeling strongly about applying to medical school. Until recently, when I learned that a significant portion of graduating seniors pursue consulting jobs (Deloitte, Accenture, etc), I felt like an inferior black sheep of the BioE flock because I one of those losers that wasn't going to become an engineer and use her degree.

The shame of being an engineering quitter is unreasonable. It's actually completely stupid since I've known since childhood that I wanted to be a doctor. Berkeley engineering has taught me valuable lessons, taught me how to think critically, design methodically, and solve problems logically, but it was ultimately a means to an end. My research lab has been a home away from home, my graduate student mentor become a general life coach, and my fellow undergrad worker bee a close friend. For a long time, I illogically felt unwelcome in BioE. Let me add, too, that some of the other pre-med BioE people participate in many more engineering-related things than I do.

I digress. The point of the title is that now, only now that I've gotten into med school do I feel comfortable with that descriptor. I am pre-med: for the next few months, I will be a person in the prologue of my medical career. In August, I will matriculate. It's just a stupid phrase. It's silly that I should feel the way that I do, but I'm understanding that now. In the next few months, I need to work on myself, my self-esteem and confidence, and my emotional health. I need to work on broadening my understanding of the health care system in this country, and read and write as much as possible.

Before I end this navel-gazing post, I must add that I am thrilled to have been admitted to BUSM, and to potentially live in BOSTON for the next 4 years. Between elation at attending one of my favorite schools I interviewed at and the staggering anxiety at the amount of information, skills, and responsibility that I must take up during med school...I'm kind of drained.


  1. Congrats, that's amazing news!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so lucky to be where I am.