check-up | march 20-21

original post date - march 21, 2020

What do you do when there's a chance that Plan A may not work out? When a dream you've been waiting for your whole life looks like it may not become a reality? What do you do?

First, I want to address the irony of this post. It's Match Day, which is basically like signing day for 4th year medical students. They find out where they're going for residency to begin their careers in their chosen specialties. It's ironic I'm writing this today because I finally heard something from the two medical schools I interviewed at in early February.

I got waitlisted. For both of them. Not a yes. Not a no. A long email to tell me maybe. I'm not going to lie, it hurt and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I'm doing my best to stay positive, but the whole truth is, I still hurt about it some every day. I having a constant feeling of inadequacy because I keep trying to ask myself what I could've done (besides get a better MCAT score) that would've given me a guaranteed yes instead of a professional maybe. I was confident and prepared on both of my interviews and everybody seemed so sure that I'd get in. I feel like I disappointment to those people, but most importantly, I feel like I disappointed myself. It's been quite a journey to get to where I am now, and the hurt part of me sees it as a waste. The time. The money. My anxiety kicking my ass. Not hearing a definite yes right now kind of makes me feel like it was all a waste.

Now, I have enough common sense to know that being on a waitlist is exactly what it sounds like. It isn't necessarily a bad thing because it's not a straight up no. There is still a chance that I could get into one or both of these schools within the coming months. Many people often withdraw admissions from one school if they have multiple offers, so I just have to wait and see how this is going to play out. I already tried to find information about the likelihood of someone from a waitlist getting accepted, what the waitlist for each of these schools looks like, and their individual stats about accepting waitlisted applicants. I found nothing. I am in the dark and it's not a fun place to be. The sucky thing about the waitlist is the lack of information you can get about what that means. With one of the schools, I was told I was in the upper tier on the list, but with the other school, I just know I'm there. That's all the information they can give me right now.

I know it may not sound like it right now, but I do still have hope deep down that things can and will change for me. It's still early. More importantly, I know that no matter how I feel or what things may look like, I have to trust God and the path that He has for me. He knew how this journey would end before it started, so I just have to trust my process. I talked to a current med student and he mentioned the possibility of me sending an update letter, and I'm supposed to be having a talk with a mentor of mine soon. I still have a list of graduate programs I wanted to apply to just in case medical school does not work out for me right now, so I think it will be time for me to revisit this list in the near future. Some of the programs are more focused on my research interests and some are more geared toward helping make me a better applicant for medical school specifically. I haven't decided which route I want to take or when I'm going to start the application process again. I'm not jumping into applications right now because 1) things could still change with waitlist movement (especially in April), 2) these application deadlines are still a little ways away, and 3) that's money I don't have right now. My life is just one big "we'll see" moment right now, and I'm having to accept that as my new normal for the time being. Regardless of what happens from this point, I have to trust that I did my absolute best and I have to let God do the rest.

Right now it's the morning of March 21st. I started this post yesterday afternoon, but I had to step away because I got some news that broke my heart. My graduation is now postponed until December and I'll be receiving my degrees in the mail. I worked as hard as I did for four years to get my degrees... in the mail. My classes are moved online for the rest of the semester. All events on campus have been canceled. My senior year is over.Just like that. If you're reading this and you have friends or family members who are seniors in college, please check on them. Check on them and don't minimize or invalidate their feelings right now, especially if 1) you've already had your last traditional semester in undergrad complete with events, banquets, and the commencement ceremony you looked forward to for years or 2) you can't relate to what they're feeling for whatever reason. None of us could have imagined that when we told our friends bye for Spring Break that that was it. We all knew our senior years would be coming to an end, but we thought we had two more months to live it up and finalize our plans for life after undergrad. The athletes will never compete again as Claflin University athletes. Senior Greeks who were initiated this semester won't have any time on the yard. Music students will never have their senior recitals. Me and my fellow Honors classmates will never get to present the theses we've spent years conducting research and preparing for, nor we will have our final Honors Celebration. Now, there's a major chance that May 9, 2020 is going to feel like a day of loss for a lot of us instead of one of the greatest days of our lives so far. Lots of moments we have worked for over the last couple of years are just not happening and there isn't anything we can do about it. It's hitting me particularly hard because I am a problem-solver and this is a problem I cannot solve. This wasn't something I could prepare for. I don't exactly know how to cope and I can't really ask anybody what to do because this is completely unprecedented. I'm doing the best that I can to be positive and shift my perspective on this whole thing into something better, but right now all I can do is feel my feelings and work through them one day at a time.

Again I ask...

What do you do when there's a chance that Plan A may not work out? When a dream you've been waiting for your whole life looks like it may not become a reality? What do you do?

You keep going.

In complete transparency, this post has been a hard one to write for several reasons. Being open about what can be perceived as failure and loss is not easy, especially not on the internet - a place where everybody and their mama has an opinion and often don't mind sharing their two cents. I considered not writing it at all and just being in my feelings about where my life is right now, but that's not fair to me or to y'all. I invited y'all to come on the road to Dr. Black Barbie with me, and it would be a disservice to all of us if I only shared the high points on my journey. The lessons aren't only in the right ways to do things. The lessons can exist in the low places too. The reward isn't only going to be in the destination, but also in the resilience, strength, discernment, and even confidence I accumulate on the way there. And I am going to get there. I don't know when and I don't know how, but I will. I am going to keep the faith and the work will continue. That is a promise.

See y'all next time.

- brena

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