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A Touch of Catholic Science Geek Humor

As can be imagined, there are quite a few med school hopefuls in the lab. Every science program has at least one student that wants to go to med school. I've gotten to know plenty of med school hopefuls in the past 7 years. I've known med school hopefuls from all walks of life....from all sorts of backgrounds. I've known some that made it to med school ,some that haven't, and some that dropped out of med school once they made it and realized that medicine wasn't their cup of tea after all. Regardless of their intentions and backgrounds, med school hopefuls have one thing in common: they have to take the MCAT (the Medical College Admission Test). This exam is pretty arduous and tests your ability to write, think, and memorize a bunch of crap information you will probably never use in medical school. Essentially, from what I gathered, it is an arduous exam-based method of torture. It takes 5 odd hours (or 8, I'm not exactly sure), involves months (or years) of studying, and pretty much determines your chances of actually getting into medical school.

When I was an undergrad, I took a practice MCAT. This was during my first year of school...when I had NO IDEA about what I wanted to do with my life. I remember sitting in a small, cramped room with a huge stack of exam questions in front of me. I took one look a the exam, and spent the next 30 minutes pretending that I knew what I was doing. All the other students in the room were sweating, and had a look on their face that is normally reserved for life or death situations. I, on the other hand, pretended that I was some med school hopeful genius. I pretended to work through the problems, writing gibberish on scrap pieces of paper and looking pensively at problems I still wouldn't know the answer to....even with a few degrees under my belt. That was the day I finalized my decision that I would rather teach science than go to medical school. I'm not one to mindlessly memorize things and regurgitate them on a piece of paper. 

I was one of the few that gave up on medical school early on in my career. As a result, I wasn't affected by that dark cloud that tends to hang over every college science department whenever MCAT scores are returned. Furthermore, I ended up avoiding the heartache and stress associated with all the MCAT practice exams, the thousands of dollars-worth of MCAT practice books and classes. In short, I saved myself a lot of sleepless nights and hair loss. I can't say that I did not poke a little bit of fun here and there at the expense of the med school hopefuls over the years...but I have come to sympathize with them. It's a tough that I could never take. Over the years, I've tried to help a med school hopeful here and there. I've been a middle man to MCAT prep book transfers. At one point I had at least 50 pounds worth of MCAT prep books (from a good friend to gave up med school dreams for PhD awesomeness) in the trunk of my car...which I later transferred to the back of a med school hopeful's Jeep in an abandoned parking lot...under the cover of night. When I was an RA, I enforced "Quiet Hours" a lot more when I knew I had a student studying for their MCAT. I've also prayed for my med school hopeful friends because  I know that they need all the help they can get. The exam really is that terrible.

Now that you know my med school hopeful history, flash forward to today. I was in the elevator going downstairs for coffee with two fellow lab rats, when two more fellow lab rats come in with their bags in tow. Their MCAT is in about a week and a half. 

Me- You guys going home for the day?

Med school hopeful #1- Yeah, we're going to take a practice exam.

Me- Oh, cool. I will keep you guys on my prayer list for the exam.

Med school hopeful #2- You have a prayer list for MCAT takers? 

Me- No, just a prayer list in general.

Med school hopefuls #1 and #2- Thanks Barbara!

Med school hopeful #1- Thanks, but if I take this exam and don't do well, I'll know it's your fault. (This was said in good humor, so put the torches and pitchforks away.)

Me-(in good humor, not one to let another get the last word) Well, in that case, I'll pray to Saint Jude...(dramatic pause)...he's the patron saint of lost causes. 

I know, I know...I'm such a jerk...
Pax Vobiscum


  1. Hahaha....I knew a fellow Catholic would appreciate it! :)