The Big Interview

on 15 January 2015

I'm sure that most of you have read this news on Facebook, but Chris had a big fancy interview at UNC's school of medicine. 

Let's review:

He came up with this crazy, hair-brained scheme to try for med school one last time, last June when we were effectively homeless.  He had applied for 6 different jobs in 3 different states, all of them out west, and I wanted to be anywhere but HERE for a variety of reasons, and so I was desperately hoping one of them would come through.  And one by one the rejections came in, and Chris had this series of serendipitous and very encouraging conversations with various physicians that he works with.  Which meant that one night he came back to the house where we were house-sitting and sat down on the bed beside me and told me that he wanted to retake the MCAT and reapply to med school.

I honestly couldn't decide if I was going to laugh or cry.  But I try to be a good wife, and I whole-heartedly admit that I am very good at that part of my job which is to see in him the very best of himself.  So the next day I ordered him some MCAT study books and set about taking the kids out of the house, or at least away from him every single morning so that he could study before going in to work that night.

We revised our house-hunt from "small house out in the country where M can have a big fat garden and some chickens" to "small townhouse no more than 20 minutes from UNC and no yard to take care of" since UNC was our school of choice.  I continued to try to protect his study time and I'm sure he would say that I nagged and quizzed him within an inch of his life, and in the meantime, we found our townhouse and I learned the hard way how to organize the requisite paperwork for a mortgage. 

Chris sat the MCAT at the beginning of September and I was so nervous for him that I felt sick the whole day.  THEN, because the administrators of the MCAT are cruel overlords, we had to wait a MONTH for the results to come back in.  They finally came back, he did ok on the biological sciences, the physical sciences could have used more study time, but he got a perfect score on the verbal reasoning section.  It was quite funny because everyone he told about the results was impressed by the verbal score, and he would hang his head and admit that he felt a lot of pressure to do well on that because if he hadn't, his wife would likely take all of his Fun Books and make him read nothing but Classics until he brought it up.  (And he was right.)

So then he began working on his applications, now, Med School applications are expensive because you have to apply in 2 phases.  They charge you an initial fee and then the individual school decides if they want to see more of you and then they charge you another fee for another application.  I was all in favor of JUST applying to UNC, but Chris was reluctant to put all of our eggs in 1 basket, so he put together a list of 5 schools and I told him that would be his entire Christmas so he should enjoy it.

Then he set to work on the secondary applications that came in.  Of the 5 schools he initially applied to, we did 4 secondaries.  Once those were in, we had nothing left to do but wait.  That was all right before Christmas, so by "nothing left to do" I mean just on the med school front because we still had Christmas to deal with, a leaky roof, and another human being to grow.

Of the 4 schools that we submitted secondary applications to, we got exactly ONE interview, and that was with UNC.  So all of our eggs ended up in one basket anyway.  (And I would just like to go on the record as saying that I was RIGHT and we could have saved a lot of money if he had just listened to me to begin with, but that could also sum up the last year of our life together.)  Chris got a call about mid-January from UNC to set up an interview and the kids and I danced and whooped around the basement while he set it up.  Chris couldn't decide if that was funny or sad that his family was so anxious to be rid of him.  I smiled and said it had nothing to do with being rid of him, but rather with his being HAPPY.

The end of January came and he headed to campus for his interviews.  May I just say, the hardest part about marriage isn't the living together, it isn't the finances or parenting or time or any of that.  The hardest part of marriage is that my life is so bound up with him, and I live and die by his successes or failures, and there's nothing much I can do about any of it.  Oh, if wishing made it so, I would have gone to that interview with him, sat quietly to one side and then told them in no uncertain terms that HE WOULD SUCCEED.  Because he is smart and hard working and awesome in ways that standardized tests don't measure.  And also because he has me and when he is tired and discouraged, I look at him and say, "well, we suck it up.  Let's get back to work.  We're scrappy, we can tough it out."  But I can't go with him.  So I took the kids to my parents' house and tried to hide from the stress.

He joined us once the interview was over and he was so happy, it was positively infectious.  He felt really good about it, he felt like he did his best to address any concerns they might have about him having been out of a classroom for so many years, or his MCAT scores, or having a family, or whatever.  So all we had left to do was wait.

They told him it could take up to 8 weeks to hear about acceptance or not, which I thought was cruel and unusual punishment (and said so).  But there was nothing else to do, so we waited.