My first job blogging was a paid job. Although I have nooooooo problem talking about myself and my opinions on various message boards, I have been conditioned to think of Mom’s Tinfoil Hat as a place to strictly talk about things that would make paranoid parents paranoid, not about me. As my former bosses made clear to me, most people would be scared or turned off by my real freaky nature, anyway. Funny that Mtv thinks I am too alternative for middle America.
Well, I have been composing blog posts in my head that are too introverted for message boards, and really wouldn’t fit in on my food blog. In the meantime, I have been reading more and more blogs. On even the most professional topic-driven blogs, I find bloggers feel free to let down the curtain and chat about themselves every once in a while.
So, here we go.
I read an interesting article recently from the New York Times, written by a Harvard alum who interviews Harvard candidates who never get in. Here is the link, but you have to pay for access. It was a fantastic article about the pressures that all students face, even the brightest of the brightest. And, it was about how, sometimes, their dreams don’t come true.
I really idolized the idea of going to an Ivy League school when I was a kid. A few of my classmates, all ranked under me in grades and scores, and with same or similar extracurricular activities, went to a few of them. Some were Hispanic, (I have NO problem with affirmative action in universities and I am not at all bitter about this, but it was a fact of life in a school in Miami) and many had parents with more money and/or more emotional support (I was thrown out of the house a good part of my senior year of high school and during my admissions process and SAT testing time).
One of those people dropped out, owes HUGE loans and lives with his mom. I haven’t kept track of all of the rest.
My parents always told me it mattered more what grades I got for less money at a state school, and I could always go to a great school for grad school. (High expectations in my family.) My dad went to two Ivy League schools, I think. He went to U of Penn (which is one) for a year when he was only 16 and was too young for the Naval Academy (which is its own exclusive beast, you need a letter from a Senator to get in, I think) and then he got his master’s at MIT (Isn’t that one, too?). Now, this was in the 1930′s and 40′s so, needless to say, things were a generation different than the contrast presented in the article of the author’s generation and today’s generation. I don’t think my dad took an SAT.
For me, my early preoccupation with Harvard was that I was always on top. I don’t mean to be a snot wad, but I am pretty smart and a good test taker, my mom ended up being a teacher and taught me a lot of educational stuff at home, and I am also lucky enough to be able to draw and play and sing music. So the stuff in elementary school, I tended to always be told I was at the top of the class, no matter what it was. Now, top of a class of 30 and getting into Harvard are two TOTALLY different things. But try to tell that to a 10 yr old on a trip to Boston who buys and AWFULLY racist shirt (I thought it hysterical at the time, geez, they would never have that shirt now) with a fortune cookie on it with the fortune “You velly smart, you go to Harvard” in the Harvard gift shop.
Boston was the coolest city I had ever been to, and the shirt said all I had to be was smart, and hell, people told me I was smart all the time! Wow, what a big surprise it was by the time I got to high school, and it slowly dawned on me there was no frickin WAY I was going to Harvard.
Now I am in a different but comparable situation. I finally got into med school. It is a DO school. Some people have a little snob thing going on that DO schools are easier to get into than MD school, which is probably pretty true. There is a rumor that only 1 in 17 premed students get accepted to med school of any kind. Once I heard that, it was hard not to look around in my chem class or in my lab, and try to figure out where I fell in that arrangement.
Well, I was on top of the class, grade wise and teacher reaction wise, again. But, I had the deck stacked up against me, again. I was in my 30′s, had one then two kids, a divorce, was working full time, had no MCAT prep class money, and no university committee recommendation when my slow part time classes finally added up to enough prereqs. I wasn’t a graduate of their program, and lots of those teachers who loved me had forgotten me over the years or left the school.
But somehow, again, I had my dreams about being on top realized once again. I applied once in 2004 to only one MD school, and got an interview. Funny thing, I was also five months pregnant. Two years later my obsession led me to apply again, late in the cycle and half-assed. My MCAT scores were good but stale (apparently they have a 2 year shelf life), so I took the MCAT again and did better. I begged a local school for an interview, when they told me I was a strong candidate but was too late in the cycle for an interview. I got my interview, and I got in.
Sorry. Not trying to brag here. What I am trying to say my small pond has been shrunk again. I am with the 1 in 17. I wonder how I will do? Part of me thinks, “You will rock. You always do well, you have a great work ethic, you can handle this.” The other part of me says “You are such an egotistical freak! You are older, slower, and have more going on in your life than most people in med school. They are all the smartest of the smartest, and those smartest say it is grueling. You’ll be lucky if you don’t lose your house and end up with huge student loan bills when you drop out. You can’t even write a budget!”
Sigh. Not looking for people to tell me I’m smart and I can do it. I am just venting.