What to Expect Following Medical School Interviews and Mentally Preparing for Admissions Results Part 2

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Catch up on points #1-4 in Part 1!

#5 Stay Off Online Forums (If You Can)

During this time where you have no sense of security or control, it is easy to look for more information. You can spend endless days calculating probability, searching the darkest corners of the internet for information about other candidates in this admission cycle or previous cycles. It can make you feel VERY VERY bad about yourself. I will warn you now to avoid it as much as you can, especially forums that compare MCAT scores and GPAs with the probability of admission. I can guarantee you; we all know someone with a perfect GPA or perfect MCAT score who did not gain admission. We also can remember people with less favourable GPA or MCAT scores who did gain admission. You cannot change these metrics now as you are waiting, so avoid comparing yourself to others. It is not helpful right now.

#6 Planning for “The Day”

My biggest advice is to remember to be kind to yourself and others on this day. We often envision all our dreams coming true, we forget that this day is not just a day of celebration. It is a day where a dream may be achieved (or crushed). You may be faced with unexplainable emotions with a waitlist position. Your social media may be flooded with acceptances when you did not get an offer. This is the reality of this day. I would recommend taking the day off from work if you are able to. If possible, also let the people around you how you want the day to go. Did you want to be asked how it went? Did you want to be the person to tell others when you are ready? That is something you can tell people ahead of time. A lot of the times, this is not just your dream. I promise you, you have so many people rooting for you, and they are equally (if not more) invested in you achieving your dreams. They are also eagerly awaiting the results. So, try to do everyone a favour and communicate your needs before you are overcome with emotions on that day.

#7 Preparing for the Uncertainty of the Waitlist

You often thinking of this special day as a yes or no situation. Unfortunately, there is a third option that can be really complicated to navigate. The dreaded waitlist. On one hand, you know there is still a chance. On the other hand, you cannot celebrate yet. The feeling you had of “holding your breath” and having all your fingers crossed continues past the day you were expecting. It is also a variable experience at every medical school. Some schools will not tell you your waitlist position. Some schools will tell you the waitlist position you have, but the number they reached each year is variable.

How do you navigate gaining admission to a program far away from home while getting waitlisted at your top choice school close to your family and friends? Unfortunately, there is no magic way to handle these situations. I have even had classmates gain admission within 2 weeks of the program starting. Things happen. I promise you years from now, no one (not even yourself) will remember or care if you were admitted right away or got off a waitlist. Time will fly by, and you will be grateful for the journey regardless of where you did your training.

#8 Try to Enjoy Life and Free Time

We all have this notion that once we gain admission to medical school that everything will get better and work itself out. I don’t like being the bearer of bad news, but the truth is, the journey can feel like a never-ending competition, full of tribulations and challenges. Once you get into medical school the focus can turn to research projects, course grades, securing a mentor, career exploration of specialities you like, failing courses, clerkship experiences, residency references and applications and many more things. The journey is tiring and far from over (I’m Sorry!). Next thing you know you find yourself writing this blog as you yourself are awaiting residency interview results. Take these months leading up to medical school starting to travel, to have fun, to live your life. I am sure you have spent some significant time prioritizing this journey. You have made sacrifices with the intention to make it up to yourself later. The time is now! Why do it later when you can enjoy life now? I promise you; you won’t regret it. And please please please do not spending time studying before medical school.

In summary, this waiting game is torture. There will be many days in this journey you will feel like this is a game and you just do not want to play anymore. I hope you find some of these tips useful as you balance planning ahead while you take care of your wellness. Keep in mind, these are just things I found useful in my journey. You need to find your own balance in anticipation of this exciting day. Everyone has different needs, so don’t feel pressured to incorporate some or any of these suggestions if they don’t work for you.

Lastly, remember any journey has its ups and downs. It will be all worth it no matter the outcome if you take care of yourself and know the reasons why you have this goal. Most importantly, remember your worth is not determined by the outcome of this one day. Be kind to yourself and others, and best of luck!

Check out our other blogs!
What to Expect Following Medical School Interviews and Mentally Preparing for Admissions Results Part 1
The Waiting Game: The Period Between Medical School Applications and Medical School Interviews

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