Sunday, June 14, 2009

So exactly why are you putting yourself thorough this again?

This has been the question to myself for the past few days, why in the hell am I putting myself through taking the MCAT again when I have a perfectly decent, albiet not a very competitive (30+) score?

Well part of it is the simple fact that the past 4 times I've taken the test I wasn't as prepared as I should have been because I was too f$#@&^ stubborn to retake the preqs required for the test. And strangely, not one of my mentor/advisors suggested it, not one! So the fact that my score didn't change very much (and even went down one of those times) simply isn't a suprise. Second, I have very somewhat illogically limited myself geographically for family reasons so that means I have to present the absolute best application package I can. Third, in the most unexpected situation of all, most of my grad pharma courses are NOT averaged in with my BCPM, resulting in an overall BCPM being 3.3, no where near the 3.75 I finished my MS in Chemistry with or the 3.8 average I have in my Pharmacology program. Now I admit fault in earning 5 grades below "B" in 2 different graduate programs I started but didn't finish one in 1995 and the other in 2004, including a 4 credit "I" that became an "F" ( a course I thought I dropped when I started having problems with my pregnancy 12 years ago). Once again, it's 100% my fault and I have to take responsibility for it but more than that, I have to take responsibility for the fact that this makes my goal that much harder to obtain. I also have to deal with how bad it looks to start programs and not finish them. It was different 10 years ago when I transfered from the program I started in 1995 to a program at Chapel Hill, because UNC has a top notch Chemistry program and I received a scholarship and fellowship. But to do that again in 2004, looks like I'm running around chasing my tail, a sentiment that wasn't lost on the psot bacc program I was recently rejected from.

Moving on, it's been quite a challenge to start from scratch, re-learning basic chemistry a subject I've mastered a few times in my life previously. But like most skills, if you don't use them regularly, you will loose them. So today, the goal is to remember to make sure I for example, have all my numbers in the right units so I can calculate the right answers. And THIS has been far more of a challange that I thought it would be, ie gotta check that ego and get to work. OTOH, I'm really enjoying this process perhaps because the course at MIT takes a physics/calculus based approach to general chemistry which makes it far more difficult but will obviously pay off later when I retake Physics 1 and 2 later. For example a question about density will lead to a question about the free energy generated from a specific mass. More than that, this chemistry book is structured wiht real life examples interwoven in the lessons, making them far more interesting to learn. And given this approach, which I'd certainly want to use should I return to teach college chemistry, it's no wonder kids from MIT do so dam well on the MCAT (and I previously thought most of them were simply smarter than the "rest of us" which is simply not the case).

So with that said, I return to doing my chemistry homework problems while remembering that if I want to calculate the energy in Joules correctly every time, I MUST rememeber to convert my given mass in grams to kilograms, LOL!! :)


  1. how did you pick that book? where did you hear about it?

  2. This is the link to the course and book requirements for the Chemistry class I'm auditing through MIT:

    As I mentioned before, this is the best organized and interesting course I've ever seen for general chemistry. As expected, the course materials are also superb and I got those VERY cheap from amazon for around 20 bucks for the book and study guide/solutions!! I should also mention that the course has been changed since I first started taking it, in that they are now using the 4th edition of the main chemistry text whereas I have the 3rd but so far, I haven't noticed any major differences between the two books as far as the material presented is concerned.

    Again, I'd highly recommended both this course and the book with study guide/solutions!

  3. thanks, i checked it out. it is well-organized. thanks!