The MCAT has Ruined my Life and the Lives of Millions of Others
When I, a naive, young Harvard premed, already in my junior year, arrived in LS2 on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 11:57:23 a.m., my friend sat expectantly with her laptop screen open to the dreaded purple banner and subpar page design of the Association of American Medical Colleges website. MCAT registration was opening today, TODAY, in two minutes and 37 seconds. To me, this was semi-interesting news as I supposed that I could sign up for the January test date whenever I saw fit. I wisely decided not to worry and attempted to enjoy the riveting lecture.
But as my friend’s screen began counting down the seconds to registration opening, I began to wonder if I was missing something. When my MCAT friend turned to me and exclaimed that all her preferred test centers were full ZERO seconds after sign-ups started, I knew I was missing something. And when her check-out total of $325 flashed across the screen, I KNEW I was missing A LOT of things.
As a typical Harvard premed with little individuality, too much confidence, raging imposter syndrome, and a predictable obsession with boringly good grades, I’ve been constantly debating for years whether I want to sell out, cry, drop out, or start studying for the MCAT. Unfortunately for me, on August 1, 2021, Anki ensnared my soul. One would think that software with such a cute little name and its own reputation on medical school TikTok would provide all the sunshine and rainbows necessary to carry you to easy MCAT success. WRONG.
I repeat, Anki owns my soul. Every day, two hours a day, it’s flashcard after flashcard. Wow! Did you learn 30 new cards today? That’s great! Now here’s 200 from previous days you can review. Miss a day? No problem! Here are 400 reviews and 60 new cards xoxo. How long could this really last, you might ask? My deck (I’ve been using MilesDowns for anyone looking for a special kind of torture;)) contains 2,888 cards. I’ve been going for 74 days. No food, no sleep, just Anki. A moment of silence for myself and all those who have suffered under the thumb of this astounding software mind controller.
Every day, for the past 37 days, I have considered the beautiful dreamland that could be awaiting me in the world of biotech consulting. After the PS2 midterm, when I sat in my bed reviewing my 123rd flashcard, I thought my career in medicine might already be over. The very next day, after the LS2 midterm, with my sanity teetering and awakeness fading, I pulled out my laptop and opened the dreaded Anki once again because IT NEVER STOPS *sniff sniff*.
All this leads me to think about what happened to my social life. Not that I have time for any non-premed thoughts, don’t get me wrong. Did I ever have time for hanging with friends and going out? I’m too busy studying for the MCAT to study for the MCAT, let alone to have a spicy night (or day). On top of that, today I pledged 325 beautiful dollars to the test-taking demon corporation that does an even better job of crushing hopes and dreams than orgo<3.
Lower the barriers to entering medicine, they said. We need doctors, they said. Hahahaha, hang in there my premed friends. Would love to rant more, but I need to go study for, you guessed it, the MCAT. January 21 test date is only 95 days away baby.