It has now been a month since I have whole-heartedly committed to studying for the MCAT. While there is a tremendous amount of content, it is not as horrifying once you actually sit down and begin the process. That being said, I am beyond thankful that I signed up for a preparatory course. I’ll admit it, on record now, that I have absolutely no self-discipline when it comes to studying. That, and I forgot almost everything science-related that I learned in college, so it’s nice to have a little review. And it’s not as if my review course is torturous or boot camp-like (flashback to those 9-hour Saturday sessions for SAT) – on the contrary, I have been loving everything that I have been
learning re-learning. My instructors are thoughtful and eager to help us succeed. The only unsettling factor that has been nagging at me for the past four weeks, is that my Verbal Reasoning instructor is – in all honesty – Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s doppelgänger. Yes, Buffy is teaching my class and brings the same “kickass, no bullshit” attitude. So you definitely do not want to argue with her when she’s telling you that it is necessary to skip a passage on the real VR section. She also has a tongue piercing which is hard to not stare at during the two and a half hour-long class.
I know, it’s ridiculous, but don’t think that will stop me from inquiring one day whether she realizes that she could be the Vampire Slayer’s twin.
So am I living, breathing, consuming MCAT material yet? Nope. Maybe ask me again when I hit the two month mark in a week? But for now, I am still on a somewhat lax schedule where I include time to gym, work, watch an episode (or two), and read. You would think after scrapping both Facebook and Tumblr out of my life, I would find less to do online. Wrong. Discard those two platforms, and I have now turned to NPR, blogging, and somewhat surprisingly – Yahoo! Answers. No, I am not kidding – I think I may have a new addiction and this is answering questions on Yahoo! Answers. How? I have no clue. Perhaps it’s my rebound as I fill this void that Facebook has left. Haha, but really, there are so many trolls on the internet nowadays, that I think people are genuinely grateful when you can pause and explain an answer thoroughly to them. Personally, I know how frustrating it is to be working on a problem late at night or early in the morning and turning to the internet to seek help that you cannot get from friends, parents, teachers, or tutors. So one day, I just casually went on the Education & Reference section and began to answer a few homework questions in depth. That’s when the “Best Answers” began to hit and before I knew it, I was playing a game, trying to raise my percentage and get to the next level. Which, let me tell you, is such a high! And a total self-esteem boost when you’re battling with the MCAT. And look, now I have a nifty little crown!
Comic relief in the form of a lookalike and Yahoo! Answers. What else is getting me through this long and daunting process? Driving. New York might have four seasons, but along with being ridiculously cold, it thrives on public transportation. Which is great for the environment and all, but what I have discovered is that driving, on my own, is therapeutic for me. Throw in some songs from John Mayer or The Civil Wars, and I can handle a long commute to work or driving home from class. What about traffic? As much as I despised the 405, traffic isn’t horrible. Especially if I’m not competing with time. And that’s just another lovely commodity from my gap year. For once, in my life, I am not competing neck-in-neck with time or finances. Work is on my time and studying is on my time. I dictate when it’s go time and when it’s time for a break. In a way, I am getting to know myself better as I form these boundaries in sync with no one else’s schedule but mine. And living at home might have its drawbacks, but to not have to worry about money for rent, food, clothes, and utilities is bliss. And to be safe, secure, and surrounded by my support system of best friends and family, I can finally focus on my self-respect (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ring a bell?).
That is one of the most valuable tidbits I have learned so far from the past three months. They say college is where you find out who you truly are. But in my opinion, it’s when you fail, withdraw yourself, become attuned to your needs – that’s when you start to create your identity. For most of my life, I saw myself as others tended to view me. I am just now realizing that there is so much more to me that even I have not yet figured out. An example? I have been told since I was six years old that I was extremely mature and “mom-like” for my age. But the more I learn about myself, the more I realize that this, in actuality, was not true. It is my lack of maturity that has brought me to this point in life.
This is not just about becoming a physician. This is about leading a life towards self-actualization. Hopefully the two will coincide as I continue on my path towards my own aspirations and desires.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”– F. Scott Fitzgerald