Long ago, I decided that my life verse was going to be 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I can’t read that verse, see its impact on my life, and not share the following.
Dear Adam, After conducting a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform…..
For the 23rd, and almost assuredly last, time, I have been rejected from medical school.
Before we go any further, a few answers to questions:
1) No Dad, I’m not quite sure what I am going to do next.
“I’m going to be a doctor when I grow up.” I’ve been saying that sentence for around 8 years.
I still haven’t been able to quite spit out that sentence with the word “not” put into it. It feels funny in my mouth, like a taste bud that decided every word was going to taste poisonous.
It’s weird, because deciding that I wanted to become a doctor meant pushing out virtually every other career possibility from my mind. When you have a mental option of not being a doctor, it is a lot harder to pull your third all-nighter in a row to study for organic chemistry.
But now, I am back to square one.
So, no, I don’t know what I am going to do next, but I will do something. I promise you that.
2) No Mom, Northwestern wasn’t a waste even though I didn’t get into medical school.
I have been incredibly blessed that most things in life have come easy to me. I have been able to accomplish virtually everything that I have set my mind to, including attending and graduating from what turned out to be my dream school. But that doesn’t mean that everything was a dream at Northwestern.
A constant question for myself when I was studying was, “Is this worth it?” Was it worth it to be slaving away for B’s, when maybe I could have gone to a less rigorous school and been able to maybe set the curve for once? For consolation, I turned to the stats. 78% of students with my GPA from Northwestern get into medical school. Over 95% of students with my MCAT score get into Medical school. Even if I wasn’t perfect, I would still be ok. Medical school was still out there for Northwestern students just like me.
Until it wasn’t.
So, your question is a logical one. Was attending Northwestern worth it?
See I might not be matriculating into medical school like I dreamed, but I gained things from Northwestern that I could not have even dreamed.
Friends, both near and far, that I know would drop everything for me, friends who are quite literally changing the world as we speak, no matter their age.
An education that taught me how to open my own eyes, and see the world in a brand new light; an education that would inspire me and shift me into brand new places and thoughts.
Mentors, coaches, and friends that inspired me to tell stories and help others tell their stories, something that still warms my heart as the coach of a high school speech team.
I might have gotten better grades with less effort at a school that wasn’t Northwestern, but I know from the bottom of my heart that I wouldn’t be who I am without Northwestern.
Even if I’m not preparing to don a white coat, I think I am exactly who I want to be, and I am so incredibly blessed that I can say that.
3) Yes, Adam, you’ll be ok.
I think the most important part of this is the realization that I will be ok. No, I don’t know what my next step is, yes I am frustrated, but I’m going to be ok. It will take me a while, but I’ll be ok.
It might involve some tough choices, but I’ll be ok. I might think that a doctor is the only perfect profession for me, but I’ll be ok. Seeing friends in med school is going to hurt for a while, but I’ll be ok.
I’ll be ok.
I’ll be ok.
I’ll be ok.
That is the most important thing.
I always felt called to be a doctor because I loved pursuing health, solving problems, and relating to people through effective communication. Personally, I think those things done well make an incredible physician, and I was so excited to do them.
Hearing the news that I won’t get the chance to prove that hurts. It does. But I am called to rejoice in my hardships, my trials, my weaknesses, and so I will.
There’s certainly one thing that warms my heart.
Each year, we receive thousands of applications from talented individuals just like you.
Every rejection letter that I received had some version of that sentence. That means that we are going to have some absolutely incredible physicians coming through the pipeline as those applicants move towards their practices-physicians that care, physicians that want to improve health at every turn, and physicians who are going to start changing how our health care looks from person to person. I want the best possible physician to greet every patient that walks through their door, and based on that sentence in every single rejection letter I received, we very well might have a future where that is the case.
I think I would have been an incredible physician. I’m hoping that the medical schools I applied to thought the same. I am so incredibly encouraged that they all found people who fit the bill better than me.
So, I get to find the next thing I will be incredible at. I’m hoping I can find what makes Christ’s power most perfect through me. It will be a journey, but I’m ready.
P.S. I better not hear anything about a physician shortage at any point in the next 50 years or so 🙂