MCAT Flashbacks

I am on call again this weekend.

As I walked in to the hospital where I did my undergrad early-ish on this foggy Saturday morning, I was brought back to an earlier time.

Generally only music seems to bring me back like this, but Saturday morning hospital had a similar effect today.

When I was doing my undergrad, I was also studying for the MCAT (big giant (redundancy is necessary there) exam needed to apply for medical school).  I wrote twice… Once at the end of the summer between 2nd and 3rd year and once in January of 3rd year.  Both times involved much studying over holidays and weekends when the hospital is less busy (less is the necessary word because hospitals never really sleep).

Today, the hospital looked almost just like it did when I was in the middle of that fun.  And I had to run to the library to try to research something and the library was creepy empty, just like it was when I was studying.  The table arrangement changed.  There are computers where my favourite table by the one window that didn’t leak (probably because it is still the one window that doesn’t leak).

Studying for the MCAT was a form of torture.  For one, it was above and beyond everything else I was doing.  And, as I alluded to previously, I spent a great deal of round two feeling extremely self-defeated.  There was stuff on there that my non-traditional degree program never covered.  I spent weeks with an organic chemistry textbook trying to learn enough to pass. I memorized amino acids.

The studying invaded my life.  I helped with a youth group camping trip and wound up with my book on the beach for part of the day just to meet my self-imposed quota.  I would go to the hospital to be at the library for the afternoon before going out with Patrick (please note, we had just started dating and I am pretty sure he thought I was bat crazy… Not far from the truth).

I am a bit odd.  I actually love to study and learn.  LMCC studying wasn’t too bad for the first while (it got old once the pressure was on, but still…).  The MCAT was never that fun.  It was either stuff I consider impossible to study, stuff I had never heard before and then the stuff I already knew.  Very minimal in between.  I still embraced the MCAT studying for the most part.

Sitting in that library brought me back to the beginning.  How wide eyed and ambitious I was.  How awful that studying was compared to the things I am learning now.  How much less naïve and somehow more knowledgeable I have become.

The whole thing made me crave McDonalds and pop slushies (the study food of champions) and miss my MCAT study buddy, J, who is now in theatre school halfway across the country (a bit of the opposite end of the spectrum school wise too).

It is strange how something that seemed fairly terrible at the time with little hints of fun can, in retrospect, bring back almost fond memories.  I look back at that time and feel glad that I am where I am, but I kind of miss the job I had at that time and some of the people I spent time with and that library (though, I am here for two months, so I am sure I will see more of that).

Love the flashbacks.

Now, to end with a music flashback circa my MCAT season playlist.  


2 thoughts on “MCAT Flashbacks

  1. A very interesting post for me as my youngest son is considering when to take his MCAT and depending on that answer, when to take the course to help him prepare for the MCAT. (Did you take such a preparation course?) He has a very difficult course-load starting this fall at school and wonders if he should wait and concetrate on his GPA instead (which is already very good). If he waits to take the MCAT, of couse that will push everything back, adding a year to his Med School plans (assuming it all works out, etc.)

    We are encouraging him to do it however he deems best, but whatever the decision, to give it his all. Even if he ends up deciding to do something else (like your friend in theatre school), I don’t think he will ever regret trying and will regret it if he does not try at all.

    • That is awesome! Good for him. It is a buys time but well worth it! And trying is important. My MCAT study buddy chose to work a few years and take a few courses on the side and went back to school for theatre, which has always been his passion, but I think he was happy to have his options open. Who knows what the future will hold.

      I didn’t take a prep course. There weren’t any available in my city, so I would have had to pay for the course, take a few weeks off of work and find a place to stay. I used one of the Kaplan prep books, some of my old textbooks and the Kaplan online resources (and another book I can’t recall the name of).

      A year in the grand scheme of things isn’t that huge, though it feels that way to most people. GPA is important, but every school is different for how the weight things. The thing with the prep course is you can always do it and choose how much you put into it based on how much time you have (or at least that is what I have heard). I studied for the MCAT while in classes the second time around and it did complicate things, but I kind of looked at it as another course and scheduled time accordingly. I know others who did it over the summer so that there was more time to focus.

      I am sure whatever he does will do great. I don’t think there is a perfect time for any of this stuff. The good part is that the MCAT is just one piece of a bunch of things that play into med school.

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