Accepted: a future D.O.
By Chris Sutton
After three years of working towards this, I have finally made it. October 20th, 2019 is the date I received my first acceptance letter (E-mail, the actual letter came a few days later) from medical school. I was in the car with my buddy. We were driving back to the garage to continue work for the day after having dinner at our small-town restaurant down the street when I saw an email from yet another Osteopathic program in my inbox.
I had long since stopped getting excited about these things. It was always a regret to inform me that I would not be considered for further review or an advertisement for something else about their program. I have even received repeated denial emails from the same school over and over again — some technical error on their side. Like come on, I get it, you don’t need to continue to rub it in. Anyway, I opened this email like any other one, finger hovering over the back button, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It wasn’t registering in my mind. I was reading that I had been accepted to a small DO school in San Antonio Texas.
I didn’t understand. Accepted? What does that mean? What are they talking about? I read it again… yup, the same thing again. I began to tear up a little. I read it one more time just to be sure. I couldn’t believe it. It was like the heaviest weight imaginable was just lifted off my shoulders.
I’m not sure I have ever cried tears of joy before. It just happened so quickly. It was at that moment that I knew how real this was and how much this meant to me. I’ve certainly never worked so hard for anything in my life. The immediate relief of not having to retake that horrible exam and not having to go another year with uncertainty was just so intense. It didn’t feel real. Not to mention this school accepted me only 10 days after I interviewed.
I remember reading something on StudentDoctorNetwork.net years ago about someone explaining how it isn’t impossible for someone with a low GPA to get into medical school. This guy in particular stated how he had been at it for about three years. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, that’s terrible. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be working so hard for so long after something that you aren’t even sure will ever pan out." I never imagined that it would take me just as long to make it. And it hit me that it didn’t even feel like I thought it would back then. I had been so intensely motivated and driven to get to this point that I was constantly looking for that next step, and I barely thought about how long it was taking or how long it would take. I was fully prepared to take the MCAT again and apply again the following cycle. I was almost sure that I would have to.
I interviewed like a well-oiled machine. It was truly beautiful. I couldn’t do it the same again if I tried. Deep down inside I knew that I had won their admissions committee over. San Antonio was beautiful too. I loved the weekend I spent there. Weather, people, history, activities — such a nice place to spend four of the most stressful years of my life.
The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM). If you aren’t from Southern Texas, you likely have never heard of this school. UIW is a catholic university in San Antonio Texas and just recently opened the doors to their Osteopathic medical school south of the city on the grounds of the former Brooks United States Air Force Base. The base was decommissioned in 2011 after nearly 100 years of service, and the area has been repurposed. The buildings are all well-kept and up to date as they are still government owned. There are apartments, businesses, and stores all around the school and a ton of interesting medical, military, and aerospace history surrounding the grounds, now called Brooks. So, immediately, I liked this place.
You may look up some of the history of the area on your own, if you are interested (https://livebrooks.com/about-us/history/). I encourage readers to also read about Old Hangar 9, the last surviving all wooden military aircraft hangar of its time, found at Brooks. Super cool piece of military history and an official historic landmark.
I’m 28 now. I may have had some ups and down in my life, and changed my direction once or twice over, but I finally landed on something real. I cannot stress enough, if someone like me can do this, anybody can! I even received another letter of acceptance to TouroCOM in Middletown NY. Never in my life did I imagine that someone like me would be “formally declining” an offered seat in a medical school class.
I was ACCEPTED with a 3.12 undergraduate GPA and a 498 MCAT. IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU! But you have to want it. You might consider going to a grad program (I completed the Biomedical Master's Program at the University of Pittsburgh) for a year or two and take out loans. While daunting, it can be done! I am living proof. There is a tiny percent of people who did what others said couldn’t be done. I want my story to serve as real motivation for those of you who need it most. Don’t listen to the popular misconceptions of medical and graduate school programs. Set yourself apart from the rest and make your own path.