The air is cool and crisp with the promise of fall and upcoming deadlines. Maybe you’ve just registered for your first MCAT. Perhaps you’ve just penciled in the due date of your general application to med school. You might have already paid your cousin at UPenn to write your personal statement.
Like any typical pre-med student, your life is comprised of lists right now. If you’re in serious med school applicant mode, you need to have a comprehensive list of things to check off before and during your application process. You have a list of professors to kiss up to. You have a list of childhood traumas to avoid mentioning in your interview. You’ve stayed up late to put together a list of people you’d hypothetically screw to get into med school (uggos included). What you probably didn’t consider was the most important list of them all: the reasons why you won’t get into med school. It’s time to take a pause from your conventional methods of preparation and focus on all the things you did (and are currently doing) wrong.
- That cursed Egyptian amulet that’s been hanging around your neck since freshman year is still there, and you’re not sure as to why you’ve never taken it off. You should probably take it off when you shower and when you go through the application process. Can you even take it off? Does it glow red and make you dizzy when you try removing it? Do you ever get the urge to start chanting in a language you’ve never learned when there’s a blood moon? As an aspiring physician, it’s your job to keep an eye out for these symptoms.
- You never forwarded that good fortune chain email to ten people in your contacts list in the eighth grade. It was either that or the email about the child ghost murderer, and you decided to play it safe. You may not have been murdered in your sleep by the ghost of a nine-year-old girl, but your good fortune might as well have been. Your lack of foresight may cost you your shot at admission into your first choice school. How diligent have you been in managing the other aspects of your luck? Have you been making your 11:11 wishes? Balancing your hopes and dreams on an eyelash? After all, being a pre-med is all about planning ahead.
- You didn’t join the Black Student Association to emphasize on your resume how cool you are with black people. It’s not all about the grades. Medical schools want to see that you’re a person too. They want to see you involved on campus. You have to quantify your personality somehow, so you’re nothing without a fleshed-out list of well-rounded extracurriculars.
- The séance you hosted in order to contact Alexander Fleming, who first discovered Penicillin, went horribly wrong and one of your classmates ended up temporarily possessed. It’s very hard to compete with the nation’s top-ranked applicants when you’ve got that kind of thing on your permanent record.
- Your top choice school Googled you and found the tweets you made in 2010 concerning the Eminem/Mariah Carey feud. Note that they were not impressed with your expletive-filled reiteration of your feelings toward the singer/songwriter/actress and her role in the 2009 standout track “Obsessed.” You really should have remembered to private all your social media accounts.
- You kept saying you were excited because being a doctor was going to be “just like Grey’s Anatomy except less sex” to your interviewer while making intense eye contact. This is an understandable error to make. If it worked when you were trying to rush, why wouldn’t it work now? Despite that sound logic, it did not fly with the head of pathology at UT Southwestern.
- You didn’t give your Spanish professor a lap dance before your final. You can’t afford rookie mistakes like this, especially if you’re hoping to score some groundbreaking recommendation letters. You forgot the most important trait you need to exhibit as a prospective medical student: commitment.
- Your scumbag boyfriend Jared dumped you the night before the MCAT and your scores really reflect that. Spending the morning as a sniffling mess and thinking more about your mucus than mitochondria didn’t help you on that test. Remember, you’re competing with applicants all across the country and your MCAT really matters. Besides, he’s probably never going to pay back that $800 you loaned him before the breakup, so you’re really going to need that M.D. now.
- The admissions board didn’t believe you when you listed Dr. Who under “shadowing experience.” Granted, it wasn’t really your fault that the doctor you shadowed was Indonesian and changed the spelling of his name to make it easier for people to pronounce. No one ever said things were guaranteed to go smoothly.
- You matched your interviewer on Tinder the week before your interview. One really important part of the application process is the investment you put into networking. You should have kept that in mind before you told her that she “wasn’t your type.” So what if you disagreed with her take on the ending of Stranger Things?
- Your lab TA overheard you comparing him to Steve Buscemi and now he keeps failing you on your lab reports because he, in fact, is rather sensitive about his looks. The tear stains and red marks on your returned papers only add to the mortal wound of your pre-med career because, as any med school hopeful knows, you need those lab grades to cushion and maintain a competitive GPA.
- You co-authored a book about supernatural phenomena early in your undergrad years, and now the scientific community won’t take you seriously. Random fanatics keep showing up, asking for your help solving their spooky predicaments. Even then, when you asked your co-writer to take the book down from Amazon, she tried to recruit you into investigating an outbreak of local ghostly activity. This is not the kind of extracurricular activity med schools like to see on your personal resume, and besides, anyone will tell you there’s no funding in that.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when going through the arduous process of getting into medical school. The question remains, since you’ve committed all of these blunders, is there still hope for you? Can you pick yourself up out of the ashes and present yourself as a likable applicant?
Yeah, probably not.