The Dawn of a New Beginning

March 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

So here it goes…

These last two weeks have been a whirlwind. The beginning of week one was marked by a meeting with Wanja Nilsen, a counselor/coordinator with Bjørknes Høyskole in Oslo, responsible for providing students with the information needed to study medicine internationally. We got hit with the news that we could actually apply to medical school now and that, wait for it, the entrance exams were in 10 days time. The following days were study, study, study! We did our best to review the 3 x 100 page review manuals Bjørknes had provided us with. The day before the exam was meant to be a pure review day, but was instead a scramble to put together our applications for the schools.

With such little and poor quality time to study, I was quite expectedly NOT prepared for the exams. English was fine, of course, as it should have been. I answered the questions to the best of my ability and waited outside for Skjalg and Christian to finish. We had a couple of hours to kill while they graded the exams and posted our interview times and decided to walk down to St. Hanshaugen to find a café. Along the way, we processed the exam and this milestone in our lives. We all felt such a sense of accomplishment, even with the knowledge that we might have just failed our entrance exams (the exams can be retaken in June with no extra fee). Regardless the outcome, this marked a moment that could change the course of our lives forever.

Christian and I dressed for our interviews

Our interview was set for 09:00 the following morning. Skjalg went first, followed by Christian, and then me. I felt lucky to have the opportunity to discuss the interview with Skjalg while Christian had his. It made me more nervous to discover that I would be pressed to discuss certain aspects of biology and chemistry in-depth. I warned the interviewer that I, like Skjalg and Christian, had only two weeks to refresh my knowledge of the subjects and that I had learned most of the topics before – but 5 years ago! I had a rough start. I found it hard to verbalize the names of different compounds and the steps of certain processes. My last two tasks were to describe the structure of an atom, list the organelles in a eukaryotic cell and how they differ from a prokaryotic cell. I was lucky – these were two things that I had reviewed and knew well. After I was finished he said, “I am going to change my mind about you. At first, I thought I would recommend that you come back in June and try again. But now, I see that you know much more than I first thought. Like your brother, I can tell that the intelligence is there. But you must review. You must review a lot. You cannot begin medical school without knowing these things. There will be no time to review the basics once you start.” He then proceeded to make some changes on my form and marked the top with an asterisk. “I will fight for you”, he told me, “But it will be hard to prove because your scores are not so good. But I will tell them that you know more and that you will review. I cannot guarantee anything. But I will tell them.”

Only four days later, on Thursday the 8th of March, we all got our acceptance letters to University of Pecs Medical School. This was shocking news to say the least. We had gone into this as a trial run, expecting that we would have the “real” test in June. But we got in this round – and all three of us!

Since Thursday, Skjalg and I have scoured the net for information about the different schools. We had originally planned on Szeged as our first choice, but Skjalg discovered that the Medical School there is not acknowledged by California. That narrowed it down to Pecs, Semmelweis and Charles University in Prague. Semmelweis is now our first choice – hope that we get our letters soon!

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