Medical School Reapplication: The Perspective of a Reapplicant

Last Updated on June 27, 2022 by Laura Turner

I am a reapplicant. Those are four words that every reapplicant shies away from and for understandable reasons, having been one myself. Those words are full of fear, self-doubt, and perhaps some shame. And that’s okay.

My journey as a reapplicant was painful. I was waitlisted at my top school the first time around and was reassured that I had a high chance of gaining admission that very year, but still did not make it. The intensity of emotions that followed was more intense than anything I had imagined. But then again, when does life work out the way we expect it to?

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Dealing with the devastation of the reapplication process

Let me first start with this. I was incredibly and deeply devastated. My dreams were crumbling down before my very eyes, and after months YEARS of pining for it, the only thing I wanted in my very sheltered life was taken away from me. I have always been a driven girl who goes for what she wants, beats out the competition, scores well on standardized tests, and is awarded scholarships, and I was disappointed in myself. If I had done so well before, what was stopping me now? Why me? I eventually realized that I could not answer these questions. Actually, no one could, so why was I trying to? For the first few months after my rejection was solidified and reality had sunken in, I took it personally. Extremely personally. Everything I touched, did or even experienced, that brought the least bit of joy, I felt I did not deserve. I had not achieved the ONLY thing I had ever so badly wanted. What good was my life, and what good were my efforts if they all went to waste? Why was I dealing with medical school reapplication?

Never, I repeat, never think like this. Thoughts like this are poisonous and will not only bring you down but will take others with you. The only way to beat this is to pick yourself up (I know it’s hard, but stay with me), reapply to medical school, apply to some backup options such as grad schools, jobs, etc. (believe me, the peace of mind alone makes this worth doing), and to let yourself enjoy your life. Who cares if you didn’t make the first cut? You’re in very good company (approximately 50% of all applicants, I believe) and are a very smart, very talented individual that deserves that white coat just as much as everyone else wearing it. Believe this.

Keep on believing

Once you believe that you deserve to enjoy your life just as much as the next person, it will only get better from there. Catch up with that friend you’ve been meaning to call. Knock on a neighbor’s door and get to know them. Meet up with people in your school or workplace. The point is to get yourself out there. Immerse yourself in people and hobbies that are important to you. Soon you’ll find yourself thinking less about what you could have been doing and more about what you ARE doing.

Even after all of this trouble to get your life back in order, you may find that some of those pesky, nasty feelings about reapplication weasel their way back in somehow. That’s okay too. As long as you can accept this as a temporary feeling (after all, you’re only human), shut them out, and move on, it’ll be over before you know it. Lean on loving friends and family to help out with this part.

Things will fall into place. You will get that coveted seat in a medical class one day, whether it be this year, next year, or the following year. As long as you figure out that that’s what you want, you’ll get it. One of my favorite teachers in high school used to say this and I’ve never heard anything ring truer, “whatever happens is exactly what was supposed to happen.” You cannot always control what happens to you, so stop comparing yourself to others. This includes medical school reapplication. Stop thinking about how you pictured your life to be at the age you are now, and start embracing whatever comes your way. In regards to all the haters, judgers, and overall naysayers, even if they couldn’t hate on you for this, they’d find something else to judge you for instead. They always do. So who cares? Go live your life!

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