The morning that I arrived at the testing center to take the MCAT, I was amazed at the rigidity of the security rules. I had to temporarily part with my mom’s gold signing ring, which is a constant symbol of what can be done by a determined, strong woman. They made me leave my lucky scrunchy (yes, scrunchy) in my purse, which was locked away. The people working at the center didn’t seem to have any patience or understanding for anyone who wasn’t aware of the ‘rules.’ Anyone reporting to take the MCAT is probably experiencing the most stress they have experienced in their recent lifetime, is it really necessary to refuse to empathize when we aren’t aware of the rules?
Luckily, my anxiety-ridden self had only read the rules about 17 times before reporting for the test. When I arrived, I discreetly asked the very stern woman if I would be able to access my purse to get a tampon on my break; I was on my period and didn’t want any distracting ~accidents~ to take place at any point during the test. When I asked, she softened a bit and explained that yes, I could access my bag on the break. She kind of smiled and shook her head and said “sometimes it sucks to be a girl.” I shrugged and said “yeah, but anything they can do, WE can do bleeding.” She softened a bit once I said that, and the exam proceeded without consequence and ~accident~ free.
This exchange kind of broke the ice for the day I think. The day I took the MCAT was a brutal and stressful day, and I was not in any mood to be treated like I didn’t deserve to be there. The stress probably made me more sensitive than normal, but then this small moment of uncomfortable humanity reminded the both of us that there’s no reason we can’t exist as allies rather than enemies. She’s just an uptight test lady and I’m just super duper nervous and BLESSED by mother nature on this day. I’m just trying to make the rest of my life possible, here. The MCAT was insanely scary and difficult and has kept me up at night for the last several months, but then mother nature swooped in to remind me that, the next time she visits, this will be over.
I was fully drinking the cool-aid, twisted in knots over the 5 questions I had been completely stumped on in the practice exam. Then this awkward, but COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE obstacle that every female faces brought me back down to earth. The MCAT is important, but it’s not a force of nature. I am. The things that make me, me, are completely unrelated to how the MCAT went or will go. All of these things associated with my upcoming med school applications are important for my future, but none of this will affect who I am.
I am the girl who can make friends with a brick wall, who can win over the coldest of hearts. Not because I care about this happening, but because my candor and sincerity is something that everyone can appreciate and relate to. Everyone has said (or thought) some of the shit that’s actually PHYSICALLY left my mouth before. When people get over the surprise at whatever I said, sometimes they find that they can relate.
I am the girl that has survived things most people would consider their worst nightmare. I am the girl that has carried on in spite of this horrible accident, and has in fact done better with her life than she would have without it.
Those are the things that are important to the grand scheme of my life. The MCAT too, but significantly less so. A few years ago, getting my ~period~ would have sent me into a tailspin on such an important day, but not this day. Because that’s not the biggest disaster I can think of.