Med school is coming up in a few months and there are two things that I can’t stop thinking day by day: getting over the anticipated demoralized phase and the adjustment phase
Anticipated demoralization. That’s what I call it after accepting my fate that I will not be studying medicine in my dream school. Don’t get me wrong, okay? I am demoralized right now, knowing that so many of my friends will be studying in top medical schools or their choice of medical schools while here I am forced to stay in this one medical school where I don’t even see myself being successful.
But that’s one half of the equation. What I’m anticipating (but hoping it won’t happen) is when things finally become too much for me and I just start losing it. It’s the point where everything comes crashing down. The heavy workload of medicine in general, the lack of rest, the feeling of loneliness (maybe), the realization that most of your friends are in better medical schools, the realization that you’re not really a bright person.
In my mind, the logical side of me is telling me not to make a big deal out of this whole situation.
“Hey, self, don’t think about the whole “you’re no good” just because you’re in this school while others aren’t. Our goal is to become a doctor, not a branded doctor. Does it really matter if you come from a particular school? Well maybe now it does, but in the future? I don’t think so, man. We’ll all be doctors no matter what! Chin up, man!”
I’m completely aware of that and I think it’s a good thing that there’s a part of me that’s already looking on in the future.
But I also can’t just ignore the reality of the present.
There’s also me thinking about the adjustment phase because we all know that medical school = new environment = new people = adjustment…again. I have already accepted the fact that I don’t possess the qualities that society wants. I’m not outgoing, people oriented, very involved in the real world and I definitely don’t see myself doing something about it soon. I just wonder how long it will take me to adjust to a new environment. Also how am I going to adjust? Am I going to be that person who will desire company but will also be a slow to warm up person? Or am I going to be that independent person who will be seemingly better off on his own (but not really)?
Only time will tell.
Yesterday I received an email from one of the medical schools I applied to, the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH). I was able to qualify for the interview phase, but was unable to make it to the final list of accepted applicants for the coming school year.
I immediately made a letter of appeal for reconsideration after seeking advice from a current professor in the ASMPH. I submitted the letter to the Admissions Office on March 13, 2017 and I regularly called their hotline to get updates. I was informed that decisions on appeals will be emailed personally as soon as the committee has a decision hopefully by April 5. On my second call, I was told that they will probably email decisions to those who appealed (not accepted) and to those who were waitlisted (accepted, but placed on the waiting list) at the same time.
Personal take: ASMPH, shouldn’t you be approaching the waitlisted applicants first since they are technically accepted? Why consider granting admission to those who appealed and to those who were waitlisted at the same time? Isn’t that unfair to the waitlisted applicants?
Fast forward to April 7, the day I got my rejected letter of appeal. Here is the email from the admissions office stating why they cannot grant me admission:
ASMPH rejected my appeal for reconsideration primarily because of my overall admission score not meeting their cut-off. Well, ASMPH, isn’t that the point of making an appeal for reconsideration? Applicants present new information that the admissions committee has yet to know about when writing an appeal. Usually these kinds of information are ones that could provide an angle as to why the applicant ended up with his/her credentials. Anything that was not typed on the application form that the applicant believes can help overturn a previously made decision. If the appeal is successful, rejected applicants are moved into the waitlisted pool of applicants.
When the ASMPH mentioned the overall admission score, it appears that their admissions committee never took into account the contents of my letter. The overall admission score is already a given and that is what probably led to me not making the final list of accepted applicants in the first place. This is exactly what I am appealing about and yet you’re using this as the reason as to why my appeal for reconsideration has been rejected.
Then there’s that reason about the slots being filled up by the accepted applicants. If all the slots were filled up by the accepted applicants, then why are you still entertaining appeals from rejected applicants?
I talked with my friends about this and I got some interesting information. My friend, Anja, has a friend who was previously waitlisted. I found out about this through her tweet before talking to her about it.
Based on my friend’s tweet, it’s safe to say Ysa was informed about the change in her status from waitlisted to accepted by April 3 4:10pm
At this point, I will no longer put names of my friends in order to protect my identity. I decided to talk to my other friend who was also waitlisted and congratulate her since I was assuming that the waitlisted applicants should have been approached by now. It turns out, however, that it’s not so.
Lastly, another friend, let’s name this friend as TS, texted me that she has a friend who received an email from the ASMPH the same day I did. Her friend was also rejected but is now given a chance to be admitted to the ASMPH.
With these images, it is clear that something is wrong in the ASMPH’s system of taking in applicants for the next school year. I can accept the rejection on my appeal as I know my credentials aren’t exactly excellent, but this whole experience leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. The admissions committee could have just said that a second look at my credentials was done with respect to the contents of my letter of appeal. They could have just said that they still can’t grant me admission without the reasons they stated because in the letter.
The ASMPH is my dream medical school and I am positive others have the same sentiment and are also going to great measures to get into the ASMPH. However, with the latest developments, I can’t help but feel disheartened by the ASMPH’s recent actions.
Sorry to say this, ASMPH, but I think I deserve better than this.
Everyone has their own fair share of ups and downs in life. For some people, however, it feels as if there’s just too much sadness in their lives. You may feel as if your existence is defined by the pain that only subsides once you temporarily leave the realm of consciousness. It may seem as if the soul is wandering along a tunnel in what seems to go on and on.
These feelings are valid; they will always be. We are all going to get hurt one way or another, which allows us to feel our own pain and nurse the wounds inflicted to us.
But I want you to know that you never have to be alone in this journey. You are also allowed to cry for help. I know it seems like a daunting task, but I need you to trust me on this. Speak up and don’t ever mistake your reluctance to open up as a sign of weakness. It’s not, my friend. It is rather an act of courage because you choose to face whatever issie you have inside by going out of your comfort zone and by trying something different.
There will be times when no one seems to be listening amidst your pleas for help. Don’t let this dishearten and further dampen your spirits. I need you to hang on and keep fighting. Because in the end, I can assure you that everything will be worth it. Sooner or later someone will hear you crying for help. It could be your family, your friends or perhaps even a complete stranger. It can be anyone! I can also assure you that they would want to help you see the light amidst the darkness that seems to engulfs your existence in this world.
Again, I ask you to acknowledge your pain, cry for help and hang on. After all, you never give up on someone you love despite the circumstances that threaten to take you into free fall. That someone is none other than you. Don’t ever give up on yourself and on your quest to be happy and full of life once again. Don’t ever think you’re not making any progress because you are not alone, even if you believe you are. I want you to tell yourself that there is at least one person out there who cares for your well-being. You have me and I hope you will always remember that.
Take care and start smiling, my friend!
My Thought Depot
Yesterday we went to an outreach program hosted by my aunt. The event took place at a public home for girls who were either picked up from the streets or left by their parents who could not take care of them. When we arrived, they were all in the mess hall having a snack and they were just about to finish. We spent a couple of minutes watching and entertaining some of the kids before we all went to another room where the program was supposed to be held.
Inside, my aunt formally introduced all of us (my family, her family, another uncle and another family from her husband’s brother) before having a mini speech dedicated to the kids. Once that was done, we watched all of them perform several times before giving out the donations.
The kids were so full of energy! There were a number of kids who caught my attention in particular. The first was a young girl who was involved in almost all of the performances. I swear she could be a professional dancer if she would just continue dancing and performing at the level I saw. Then there’s this young girl who may have Down Syndrome. Apparently, she was there because one of the houseparents of the public home was working. Maybe the houseparent could not afford to leave her home, I guess. Lastly there was a 15 year old girl named Aya. They named her Aya because all she could ever pronounce “Ay”. Apparently she’s been staying there for 8 years already. They found her wandering in the streets one afternoon. They asked around the place where they found her but no one claimed to know her. They even made headlines just to find the kid’s parents but to no avail.
Thinking about all these stories makes me sad, but hopeful. I believe they are there right now because they can’t survive outside. Inside the public home, they can be taken care of. Someone will attend to their needs, ensuring that there’s a balance between leisure and work. Inside, they can get to study, do different household chores, strengthen their value formation, be taught catechism and relax. By adopting this mindset, I was able to be optimistic towards what was happening to them.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same to what is happening to me. At 20+, my life still has no purpose. I still have no purpose while others are starting to find or have already found meaning in their lives. It makes me jealous of everyone around me. My dad organized a similar event for his 50th birthday and another aunt and her entire family organized the same event for children with special needs. It must have been so uplifting for my dad and my aunt’s family to do such a thing. And what about me? What have I done to contribute to the world? Nothing.
I want to do something similar to what was done. For once, I want to stop getting caught up in my own world. What I’m feeling and going through will always be valid, but I see that it’s going to be unhealthy if it’s all going to be about me for the rest of my life. Focusing primarily on myself won’t bring me satisfaction and happiness, but maybe I can find what I’m looking for if I step out of my own boundaries. I’m thinking of spending a day with kids with special needs as well since we have special kids in the entire clan. By default, I’m a serious person and I would often try to be as rational as possible. With them, however, everything is thrown out the window. It’s really emotional fireworks around them like cuddling, hugging, tickling and saying words of affirmation. More than that, I feel like I have a connection with them. When I’m in their presence, it’s like everything is calm and serene. Communicating with them doesn’t become a task that entails responsibility, but an enjoyable activity that comes so naturally over time. (I’ll dedicate a post about my affinity for special kids in the future).
I don’t have plans of telling my parents about this. If I do, my dad will find out and I’m only going to be overwhelmed. I don’t want to be continuously nagged about the topic. I don’t want to be reminded about my goal all the time when others think I’m starting to forget my goal. I don’t want to be continuously told what I should do and what I shouldn’t do. I want things to happen without generating pressure and that’s going to happen if I plan with the help of my mom and maybe possibly my aunt and her family.
For now I just plan to lay low. I’ll probably wait for a few months before I open up to my mom about this.
Everything in its own place and time.
Image from: https://talahado.wordpress.com/2014/01/
Hi all! I apologize if I haven’t been updating my blog for the last two months as I have been busy juggling academic work, org work and most importantly my preparations for the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT).
Anyway, the NMAT took place last Sunday which means I now have more free time on my hands. Hopefully I can update you all regularly with the latest development (I actually do plan on writing a new blog post right after this quick message).
That’s all and hope to see you around!
Sometimes I’m just really tired of living because of the different layers of negativity clamping down on my soul. There’s the complicated dynamics I have with my parents, the frustration I have with my friends and then recently the death of a good friend.
For now, the issue with my friends and the death of one friend are what currently bother me. I am heavily frustrated with the way my friends have been treating me. It feels like I’m not a very significant person in their lives judging from the way things have been turning out. There’s my blockmates aka my first set of friends in college who were in the same course as I am. We were basically together until I had to shift courses. My time with them was greatly reduced and very limited time was spent (like only meeting in the hallways for fleeting moments) and this went all the way up to graduation. I only got to talk to them for a long time only when graduation was done. I met two when we were at a restaurant having lunch. During those times, we talked about current issues like politics before exchanging grad pics with specialized messages. Another one I talked to on Messenger with promises of hanging out after so many years.
I was really happy that I was able to talk to them again and also because I was touched with their specialized messages at the back of their grad pics. In the end, however, I was disappointed not just with these people I met but with everyone. This is mostly due to what I saw on Facebook. Another block mate hosted a graduation party and I found this out only when the party was soon going to take place. Call it low but I was really expecting that I was going to be invited. This guy, after all, was also my friend back in high school. There was no invite yet one of my thesis mates, whom he has known only for the year, was invited.
Another source of my disappointment was from the fact that the promise of hanging out was never fulfilled. I could ask and follow up again but my past experiences with that remind me to do otherwise. It will never push through. In the end, I did not do anything. I just simply let it as it is because she would remember her promise if my time with her really matters. Now that I’m looking at our messages again, I can say that they’re just empty words. Including the specialized messages that they all gave to me because their actions seem to contradict what they said in their messages to me.
There’s also several friends whom I consider close because I have been consistently opening up to them about my secrets and hidden feelings. I often fill them in on what has been going on with my life and now I am beginning to regret doing so. I want my secrets back if I don’t see them doing the same to me. I’m not expecting them to tell me everything but at least give me a general gist of their life. I am, after all, interested to know how they have been doing lately. But there’s none. I know nothing about their lives since they’re not talking to me.
Again, it is so frustrating. The way I regard them as a friend is not the same as to how they regard me as a friend. I am honestly thinking of slowly moving away from them. Truth is I have begun to unfollow their posts on Facebook and I have also begun to turn off chat because I am only going to get hurt and jealous when I see the next post that shows my friends being together. As for the chat messages, I’m turning it off so as to avoid conversations that will simply lead to empty promises. Besides, we are all going different ways now that college is over. I don’t see any reason to be filled in on their lives especially when I won’t be seeing them again.
It’s not that I don’t care about our friendship anymore because truth is I really do. I had always tried to get together with them but somehow the plans end up not pushing through. Common excuses include unavailable due to school work and also due to personal commitments. I don’t blame them for that, okay. I can’t take that away from them but I do believe they can suggest to meet on a different day. I mean you’re not always busy, right? But there were no suggestions. Each conversation I picked up simply ended like “oh sorry I’m busy on that day”. No “but I am free…….are you free on that day?”. Nothing.
And that is why I choose not to do anything this time. Because I know what’s gonna happen. I will get my hopes up and then it will only be crushed later on.And I have had enough of having to go through that. So goodbye, friends. Last week was pretty much our last meetup. You will no longer hear from me except on Twitter. From now on, I will simply be a ghost friend to all of you. You will know I am around but you will never see me nor hear from me.
Thank you for all the memories. It was fun while it lasted.
PS. I will talk about the other issue on a different day. It’s getting late and I have an early class tomorrow. Besides, I don’t want to put in two very different stories in one post since this post will end up being too long.
I was always made to believe that kindness is something that is inherent in people and that they are capable of showing this to others. This is a life teaching that I always brought with me throughout the years which is why I always like to believe that there is somehow a measure of kindness and empathy within the hearts of all kinds of people. This teaching enabled me to extend my patience and tolerate acts which are directed against me and my community. I guess you could say that I was quite an optimist back then.
But this thought, which has been my life mantra practically throughout my life, is slowly being replaced by negativity as I continue to mature. As I grow up, I am continually exposed to the other side of life. The side of life which all my teachers have failed to show me when I was younger. The side which depicts a society that is bent on carrying out their personal interests regardless of whether it is at the expense of other people or not. The side of life that exists behind a overly romanticized portrait of the world where we live. As time goes by, I slowly undergo a process of intellectual reawakening. I am becoming aware that I exist in a world where widely held ideologies don’t match with widely occurring instances. As an example, most countries, if not all, strive to achieve world peace and this can be done if everyone is united with one another. Growing up, however, we are conditioned to believe that all human beings are unique. How then are we supposed to come together as one society if this is contradicted by a belief such as this?
The process of reawakening is quite excruciating. As the days pass by, I continue to be rejected, to be betrayed and to experience negative emotions such as rage, sadness and emptiness. The sources of these come from different people like my parents, my house helpers and even my friends. It feels as if I am trapped in a realm where pain and suffering know no bounds as these continue to occur over and over again at the hands of people whom I treasure deeply. The heaviness in my heart is so immense that I sometimes have to take a few moments to regroup and compose myself. It is a pain that I have never felt anything like before given my inclination to push suppressed feelings into further suppression. Yes, it is that strong.
There are moments when I want to cry but I find that I am unable to do so. It seems as if my tears have run dry and all that’s left is nothing but grief that has evaporated into nothingness. Perhaps it could be due to the fact that I was already aware of society’s true colors but this knowledge had been scraped off my brain as teachers and parents, who in themselves are also immoral in their own ways, attempted to mold me into an overly optimistic person.
This is all water under the bridge now though as I am starting to awaken. I have seen the alter ego of this society as well as its intentions. The phenomenon is comparable to a person being stripped off his/her clothes. Society puts on a variety of clothes in order to mask what is not readily seen by the naked eye. Society attempts to justify their immoral acts in order to avoid labels such as “greedy”, “lustful”, “selfish” or “proud”.
My drive/motivation to be a person for others is slowly diminishing as the scenes of a society characterized by inhumanity continue to play out in front of me. I am inclined to become cold and calculating as I realize that I am going to continue to experience everything: the rejection, the sadness and the emptiness. The need to adopt a cynical and critical view towards humanity arises. After all, why should these people deserve my kindness if they themselves cannot be kind towards me?
Yet there seems to be something holding me back from doing these completely. I realize that doing so would make me no different from the people I have come to abhor. I would only be mimicking the actions of those who have hurt me and I would only be inflicting pain on an unsuspecting person who has no ties with me. I do not want to become that person but I do not want to be the person on the receiving end of all the painful experiences.
As I end this entry, the question of what really is the awakening becomes a central issue to talk about. One can claim that my realization on society being wicked is the awakening after living in a world of good ideals but maladaptive practices. However, I think that the true awakening happened when I realized the implications of my being cold and distant towards society in general. Yes I got hurt but retaliating would make me no better than the rest. It is for this reason that I choose not to return the favor of what everyone involved has done to me.
This does not mean, however, that I will be stoical amidst all this. I will nurse and lick the wounds which have been inflicted by different kinds of people. I will live in solitude and attempt to look at the meaning of these experiences which will hopefully pave the way for the development of resilience towards negative events in life. Finally, I hope to have better resolve in my character which I believe should be equipped with rich knowledge and experience from the past.
Good luck, self. You have a tight task ahead.
A few years ago, one of my professors in my major was talking about the concept of autobiographical memories. Autobiographical memories, to make it short and simple, are like your own personal album. It has all the most significant and powerful information about you and your previous experiences. These memories are so powerful that they affect you in the present moment even if these happened a long time ago. Aside from this, they also help you create your internal sense of self which you use to identify yourself with other people.
Going back to my prof, she gave us an example of an autobiographical memory by sharing a personal story to us. Her son, who was performing in front of a large audience, had a case of stage fright which caused him to commit a mistake. After the performance, her son felt bad and could not get over it. My professor, being a psychologist, knew she had to do something because the performance could be a potential autobiographical memory which could consequently lower his self-esteem.
So what did my professor do? Sugarcoat reality for her son? Nope. She did agree with her son but she was quick to point out that there were other kids who had worse performances. The trick worked. Her son didn’t dwell too much on the issue and got over it. Whenever the topic is brought up, her son is able to remember that experience but he is able to point out that his performance wasn’t so bad. In short, the memory doesn’t affect him negatively.
When I think about that one lecture now, I realize that the words we speak are so powerful that it has the ability to change the meaning/context surrounding an issue and the mood of everyone affected. The words thrown at us can either crush us and put one’s soul to shame or it can heal us and free us from internal suffering. The impact of what is said can be felt across time. It stays with us for the rest of our lives as it is deeply embedded and etched inside our minds.
These words. They either act like a silent doctor or a silent assassin. Their work is not seen by the naked eye. The power of words can go undetected because there are times when they fail to show hints of liberation or oppression. This is the case for those who are stoical. They refuse to show or express what they are feeling. Instead, they choose to keep everything to themselves.
So what do we do now? Be all praises towards one another? The answer is no. The words we speak matter and it’s important to remember that it’s not only approval that can help us maintain a good sense of well-being. There should be room for constructive criticism (not simply criticism!) in order for us to look at areas where we could be better at which ultimately leads us to become better people. As freedom of expression is important, we should voice out our views, our stance and our opinions but only after much consideration. We should consider the T.H.I.N.K. questions before saying something.
- T – Is it true?: What we say should be backed up with evidence which leads other people to agree with you. Not everyone will agree with us but at the very least the argument we want to raise should be based on sound reasoning.
- H – Is it helpful?: What we say should positively affect others.
- I – Is it inspiring?: What we say should push others to become something greater than what they are right now.
- N – Is it necessary?: What we say should arise from something we perceive as a need. This need we see may not be considered a need for other people. However, our ideas may lead these people to look at things at another perspective.
- K – Is it kind?: What we say should come from good intentions.
With this framework in hand, I think a lot of people will be spared from having to deal with emotional pain but do remember that I am a psychologist in the making. Not everything I said may not be absolutely true for you since I am merely speaking from personal experiences. I recounted what I learned from my major classes and reflected on those. I’m just putting this here to share my thoughts. What I can only say with confidence is that there’s work to do for the sake of humanity.