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How do you deal with rejection?


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I'm a multi-year applicant and every year around the time of acceptances I get really sad when I hear of friends getting into medical school, but I haven't yet. It makes me more sad when I see people get in on the first try and I'm still struggling to get an interview after 3 years of applications. I'm really proud of my accomplishments but rejections from medical school really make me question what I'm doing wrong and what I'm missing from my application. I know this application does not say anything about my self-worth but it gets really hard when you're not able to pursue the career that you've wanted for so long. The whole process of applying to med can be exhausting year after year and really tests your patience too.

I'm sure a lot of you all can relate, so I was wondering how you guys deal with these feelings? What keeps motivating you to reapply after each rejection?

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If it makes you feel better I know someone who finally got an interview for the first time and acceptance after 5 years of applying. Sometimes you have to figure out what you can tweak to give you that extra boost into the interviewing category. For that person, it was an MCAT rewrite, but it really depends on where you're applying and what their criteria for selection are, so if you know a bit about that that can help you strategise as well.

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I so hear you. Being rejected multiple times is crushing, and it takes a lot of resiliency to do it all over again every year. I applied 5 times. So by the time I was finally accepted, I had many friends who were one year into residency already. I know it is better said than done, but try not to compare yourself with friends, it can't help you and will just make you feel bad about yourself (l learned that the hard way). 

Personally, I got an interview during my 4th cycle applying, and an acceptance after my 5th time (just like IMislove so there's a pattern ;) ). Tbh, there was not much difference between my 3rd time applying when I didn't get an interview and my 4th time when I did. Grades and MCAT were the same, ECs were also pretty much the same with a couple additional things. I have no idea what made me get an interview that fourth time. For my 5th application cycle, I applied more broadly and one of the school that I had never applied to ended up accepting me right away. So don't give up, especially if you know medicine is the career for you. In the meantime though, I find that focusing on interests, hobbies, and building my resume with research projects I enjoyed really helped give me hope for the future, or at least gave me other things to think about. Also reading news about health and health policy kept me interested and sharp for the interviews. And spending time with friends not related to medicine helped give me some perspective also. Those are things that worked for me, and I hope this helps. But know that you are not the only one. I have definitely been through those feelings as well. 

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I hear your pain. Would it help to shift your focus slightly differently -- admission to medical school is not the end goal, and ultimately practicing medicine and being a damn good doctor for your patients is?  I know the former is a prerequisite to the latter, but think of all that life experience you are having right now.  It may not seem much right now, but among other things, you are learning humility and empathy and the fact that there is a much bigger world out there, one that patients live in.  Try not to compare yourself with others.  I wish you good luck.

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