PMD 8: The Waiting Game Of the Application Cycle

Session 08

Today, we hear from a premed who is struggling with the waiting period after submitting her app, feeling like the waiting itself is like a daily rejection.

[01:16] Caller of the Week:

“I have always wanted to be a physician and dedicated especially these last few years to making myself the best person and the best applicant that I could be. So when it was time to actually submit an application and get to show admissions committees who I am and why I want to do this, I was really excited.

I submitted my application really early and after that, you get all the waves or one big wave of secondary applications… after all of that is done, for the first time in this whole premed journey – silence.

Before all of this, you get to work really hard on your grades and then you work really hard on your MCAT, your extracurriculars, your volunteering, your clinical experiences – and all these things. Sure, you continue some of those after your applications are in. But it is completely out of your hands. And that has been really hard for me. I was expecting a little bit of relief but honestly, I have been just so anxious. I ended up getting one interview invite in August which was awesome. And I’m very fortunate to have that. But since then, I have had just complete silence and one rejection yesterday from a school that I really wanted to go to.

I just wanted to share that even if you feel like you put your all into this, there’s still a process. And it’s really hard to wait and to feel like it’s a personal rejection when you either get rejected or have to wait another day, check your email, and still hear nothing. It’s just been really hard and I thought that other people might be feeling the same way. Not everyone is the people on Facebook or anywhere on the internet that has 7 interviews and 2 acceptances already, and deciding what school to go to. I’m so happy for those people but some of us are still in this waiting game. And it’s certainly not over yet. It is only October but that doesn’t necessarily lessen the anxiety that comes with the day to day drag of hoping to hear back.

I really just wanted to share that in a community of people who probably understand the struggle and have been through it or are going through it right now. I tell my parents, family, and friends and my significant other. And they’re all awesome and so supportive. Say how confident they are that I will get in or it’s not the end of the world. There’s always next year – which is all true and all very encouraging. But it just feels like no one quite understands that day to day pressure.

I really wanted to call and be vulnerable about that and let people know that there are lots of us who are still waiting and there’s lots of time still. But thank you guys for making this podcast and giving a place for premeds to come together and share in a lot of the struggles…”

[05:45] A Place to Be Vulnerable

It’s a gift to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. What a compassionate and a giving person you are.

Struggling with the application cycle waiting period is so understandable. It’s such a hard process with so many steps in it. As a premed student you’re very used to putting your all into something and working hard. You have a lot of control to a certain extent in those challenges to be able to do the very best you can in each of those.

However, once you submit your application, there’s nothing more you can do. You have zero control. Once your application has been submitted, the only other time you can make a point of how great you are and sell yourself is during the interview. So also, make sure you prepare yourself well for that.

'You're going from a situation where you have a lot of control and you're putting so much hard work into something and then you have zero control.' Click To Tweet

[08:28] Be Positive!

Whatever you can do to keep yourself focused and having a positive mindset that you will get in will help you. Being anxious is normal but to allow it to grow too much can quickly become consuming. It can become negative and it can drag you down.

[09:08] Understanding Your Journey and Getting Through Anxiety

Having the support of family and friends is indeed crucial. But it’s true that it’s hard for other people to understand your world or your journey. It’s a very unique path and it’s one that is hard for other people outside of it to really fully understand.

They’re right that if it doesn’t work out this year then there’s next year. But that doesn’t take away the anguish of not getting in and how hard you’ve worked and how you might have to do it all over again.

Anxiety is something which can become consuming. Talk to people, exercise, or do something that is just about fun. Just doing something to take your mind off of things for a while and keep you happy is really important.

'There are moments throughout this path in which you have to wait and the anxiety can be crippling at times.'Click To Tweet

When you feel anxious, take a look and reflect back on how much you’ve done and be proud of yourself. Be proud of what you’ve done! Taking the MCAT, volunteering, and getting through all the premed classes, and getting good shadowing experience are all huge milestones you’ve already done.

'When you're feeling down, think back just on how far you've already come.'Click To Tweet

[12:05] Should You Need to Apply Again

You’ve already taken the MCAT and done what you’ve done. So this won’t be a matter of doing it all over again. But it’s a matter of course-correcting and figuring out what you could do better the next time.

[12:50] Applying to Medical School vs. Residency

It’s actually so different when you’re applying to either. When applying to medical school, you’re just hoping and praying that one school will accept you. But applying to residency is so much different. You’ll enjoy it so much more. It’s like a “wine and dine” experience. And it’s more of a two-way street as they will try to get you interested in them as much as you’re getting them interested in you.

'The residency programs are as eager to get you interested in them as you are interested in having them be interested in you.'Click To Tweet

[14:00] Don’t Give Up!

It’s still early and there’s still loads of time, Some acceptances even come through April. So hang in there. Keep talking to other people about this – your family and friends included. And don’t listen to those getting multiple acceptances. Who knows if it’s all true, anyway. There are other people in this community who share with your experience.

Getting a rejection is indeed heartbreaking. But we can be so focused on what we don’t have that we lost sight of other opportunities and other great possibilities out there. So just keep yourself focused. Hang in there!

[16:45] Share Your Thoughts and Feelings with Us!

Call 1-833-MYDIARY and press 5 if you want to leave feedback. If you want to leave a diary entry, press 1. Share with us where you’re at in this journey and tell us about your highs and lows!

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