I’ve Been an Applicant for 597 Days and Today Might Be the Last

Helllloooo everyone! Despite my worst thoughts and fears, I made it through foot surgery!

Do I kind of look a mess? Yes! Am I struggling on crutches? Definitely! But all those horrible things I imagined like coding under anesthesia, not waking up at the end of the surgery, losing my whole foot, none of that happened. I had a wonderful support team, I felt comfortable as I relaxed on the table about to be anesthetized, and I woke up quickly and feeling great after the surgery was over.

And honestly it’s a big Match Week Mood. We’re all creative, reflective, anxious people whose minds can come up with the most dramatic and horrible things that are sure to happen. I am considered low-risk for anesthesia complications and yet I was in pre-op thinking “When I die today, will Buddy think I abandoned him? Will Zach find a new wife?” And with Match, I have a reasonable chance of matching (ok, not quite like the 99.5% chance of having 0 anesthesia complications, but still a good chance) and yet I’m dreading Match Day all the time and assuming the worst!

In these last few days, I’ve been trying to let go of my tragic-Match-Day horror-fantasies and just be interested to see how things turn out. It probably won’t turn out any exact way I’m expecting. So I’m just try’na chill as best I can. Trust the process and that I did my best. Nothin’ else I can do!

I wanted to spend this post reflecting on this cycle. It’s been tough and wonderful! And it’s only made me more sure I want to be a GC! I definitely spent some time crying on the floor but I also met amazing GCs and future GCs, ate rootbeer-flavored chicken wings, and started a blog that’s now grown to 1000s of views per month!

This cycle I took on more advocacy and patient-facing experiences, and not just to build my app. I truly love my spike captainship and NICU cuddling and will definitely miss them when they end. Doing those things has helped me cope through every moment of this cycle. I’ve definitely talked through my problems with babies in NICU and crisis counseled teens to get my mind off things.

Just a few weeks after Match Day last year, smiling and crisis counseling. Life goes on!

I got three interviews this cycle. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough! It was enough to introduce me to three great programs, of which I’d be so happy to attend any of them! I really came to understand what I love in a program, and sometimes those things are found in places I might not have expected.

I also learned this cycle that this process isn’t always fair. You get rejected from places you thought you had a great shot at, you get unexpected interviews, maybe you connect with one of your interviewers in a special way and get the golden ticket into GC school. So much of this process is plain, dumb luck! If I get in, it might just be I got dumb lucky!! And if I don’t, it might be a case of the dumb unluckies!!

So what can we do on this last day before Match but appreciate where this cycle has taken each of us?

ReFlEcTiNg in some interview clothes I tried on

It is unhelpful for me to look back and say “I still wish I would have gotten in to Augustana last year so I could have been halfway done with my education right now”. That didn’t happen. It just didn’t. And after tomorrow, it will be unhelpful for any of us to look at this cycle and woefully wish for a different result. What will be done will be done and we can only feel our feelings and then move forward.

Last Match Day, on the way to graduation, me and my husband blasted “[I’ve Had] The Time [of My Life]”, The Black Eyed-Peas version. (aka Dirty Bit). Why? Because I’d had the time of my life in that application cycle, as well as my undergrad years, and as that song says, “This is the beginning. For every ending is mega starter.” Even though a whole phase of my life–plus, most likely, my dreams of going straight into GC school after undergrad–were about to end, it was also just the beginning of my first year as a fully-functional adult. The beginning of my 2nd cycle of GC apps. The beginning of summer, and most importantly, the beginning of Disneyland trip. :)))))

And if I don’t match tomorrow, it’ll still be a beginning. It’ll be the beginning of us choosing our new home, the beginning of summer and Disneyland again (yes, I’m literally 5 years old), and the beginning of another year of having unexpected wonderful experiences. It’s okay that it would be a sad beginning. Time heals. Just because it would be a sad beginning doesn’t mean it’s condemned to be a sad year.

All in all, tomorrow is just a day. It’s an emotionally charged day, but it does not determine anyone’s ability to be happy for the upcoming year. It’s just a day and Match is just a moment. Life will go on no matter what. And it never has to mean the end of anyone’s dream to be a GC.

But also, I may well match tomorrow. This could be the end of this applicant phase of my life. It’s been a long road and one I didn’t even feel sure I was good enough to start down. Matched or not tomorrow, I’ve proved that I was worthy to try and I know I can be a great GC student and genetic counselor when I’m given the chance!

I’ve focused a lot on this idea of not matching, but in reality, I’d like to think I will! I just empathize more with the unmatched prospect because I’ve been there. I have no idea what getting matched is like. But maybe I will soon!

Whatever happens, I will definitely be in Disneyland tomorrow and I will be chowing down on self-care Mickey pretzels!

Take care of yourselves today!! We made it through this cycle together– applicant friends, other friends, family, and strangers. Your continued support gets me through this. Thank you. 💖

-Laura Cooper-Hastings

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    Hi Laura! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences as a second year applicant! I’ve been relieved after reading some of your posts knowing that you’ve shared similar thoughts and experiences as me throughout this application cycle! All the best tomorrow for Match Day!


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