Applying to Medical School: Seemingly Endless

By Katerina Loupasaki (@kat_loup)

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

But what if you’re not having fun? What if you’ve just applied to medical school and you’re waiting to hear back from them, or stressed about entrance exams and interviews?

One thing I learned from applying to UK medical schools is that the whole process is one long, and often frustrating, waiting game.

Picture this. It’s the beginning of November and by now, everyone has applied to university. Instead of focusing on school while waiting to hear back from uni, like the rest of your friends are doing, you still have a long, long way to go before you can relax.

Here’s why:

· You’re still waiting for your BMAT results, if you applied to certain universities.

· Unlike a lot of courses, all medical schools require you to attend an interview

· Interview period usually lasts until mid-March

So no, your journey is not over yet, it has only just begun.

While you’re preparing for interviews and trying to balance that with mocks and schoolwork, it seems that your friends have it all figured out. My friend, who’s now studying physics, didn’t go through interviews and had received five offers before Christmas break. That’s when the commitment that applying to medical school entails really hit me.

It’s easy to look at others and feel disheartened that you’re still working hard for something that seems so far away, while most people have already received their offers. But please, don’t despair! It gets easier, I promise.

It’s only natural to feel pressure during your final year of school, especially if the process is dragging out so much. It’s completely understandable to feel discouraged or unmotivated.

So here are some tips to hopefully help you escape this mindset and persevere through the stress:

· Remind yourself of what you’ve achieved so far. Applying to uni is, in itself, a huge accomplishment and so is receiving interview invitations.

· Set small goals like: “I will practice one interview question” instead of general ones like: “Today I will prepare for my interview.” Examples of small goals: reading one article to prepare for an interview, researching one section on the university’s website. This will help you remain productive by taking everything one step at a time instead of thinking about everything at once.

· Take a break when you need one. It’s better to clear your head and get back to work the next day rather than being stuck on something all week

· If your subconscious won’t let you rest, do something on your break that’s still productive but irrelevant to uni applications. Examples: exercise, start working on an assignment for school, hang out with your friends (this is still productive because socializing tends to help you put your own thoughts into perspective and relax/have fun).