Hi, My name is Rachel.

And I am back.

One thing you probably do not know about me is that I am very, very, very competitive. Like competitive to a fault. I have learned to tone this particular trait down a bit in recent years, but I will be the first to admit it: I am out for blood when I compete. It isn’t pretty. When I want to win, I want to open a can of whoop-ass, and some people don’t really take kindly to it if they are not of the same ilk (ie, DB), so I try hard to only let it manifest in appropriate ways.

I was an athlete in college, and my coach really emphasized letting our performance do the talking for us. If there is anything that I learned in college, it was this: be quiet. If people are going to think you’re awesome, it isn’t going to be because you told them you were. Like all messages I’ve ever learned, I am not the best at doing this, but I certainly try.

When I was in first grade, my little language arts class had this phonics workbook to use. I remember it quite distinctly. I also remember quite distinctly that this girl, Leah (really her name, too), was determined to complete more pages than I did each night. And I remember being determined to beat her, too.

I don’t remember who won, but I do remember that we finished that stupid workbook by, like, November. And it was supposed to last all year.

My point is: I am competitive. In a respectful way competitive. Or at least I try to be (respectful).

I have *NEVER* resorted to backbiting, cheating, or any other low-life form of competition to win. NEVER. NEVER NEVER NEVER. I fight HARD for ethics and honesty. My sense of justice is acute and I tend to have very few gray areas. I went to an undergraduate school that immediately kicked students out for ANY indication of lying, cheating, or stealing – no questions, no excuses (seriously – watch the video!  It hasn’t changed in 10 years) – and I *still* take issues of integrity very seriously. And, more than that, I fight hard for social justice. I fight hard those who can’t fight for themselves, for underdogs. So this whole mindset of “I’m going sell my soul to obliterate you” aspect of premed life is something that is ENTIRELY foreign (and sickening) to me.

The minute I stoop to that level is the minute I will never seek to matriculate a medical school. If it does that to me, I want no part of it. I’m serious.

Today, I had to make up a lab for physics. I was sick for my original lab (9 – midnight – UGH!) and this was the first available to make it up. I was paired up with two girls. I was actually a little excited because my normal lab partner is really clueless, and I do a lot of the work, and I was looking forward to, you know, TEAMwork. Like a shared experience.

It was fine, whatever, we did our little experiment, and at the end, one girl says to the other, “Are you going to take the exam on Tuesday?”

I look up, a little astonished. Because in this class, the professor will drop the lower of two exam grades, so to *not* take the second exam is to say that you did really, really, really well on the first. Like I am not embarrassed about my 1st exam grade, but there is nothing my head that says I would just SKIP the second. But, you know, I wouldn’t skip it even if I had 100% on the first exam. That just seems so…wrong. Or at least if I was going to skip it, I certainly wouldn’t announce it to everyone else.

The second girl says, “I don’t know. You’re not going to take it? I think I’m not going to study for it as much as Bio, but I am going to take it.”

The first girl: “Well, I wasn’t GOING to take it, but then I started thinking: I don’t want all of those slacker kids who didn’t get off their asses and study to benefit from ME NOT TAKING THE EXAM. I mean, what? They just SAT on their asses and slacked off and bombed the first test, so they got a tutor and whatever and now they have some *support* [snort] and NOW they’re going to get a free ride? I don’t THINK so! I don’t want them to be able to benefit from the curve if I don’t take it.”

She kept going. “I mean, we’re all trying to go to medical school and we’re all going to be graded against each other. So I’ll probably take it.”

My head exploded. I was about to puke. I think I saw stars. Really.

She kept going, but I honestly don’t remember the rest. Just come up with some head-exploding phrases in your head and hold them there and imagine that that is what I would like to type here.

I did speak up at the time, with some restraint. I think I said something to the effect of, “There are lots of reasons people don’t do well on exams, and if I were you, I’d really watch my audience when you are saying what you are saying.” (Ie: shut up already.) (It worked.)

So you know what? Maybe this is bad, and maybe it is unhealthy, but my sense of justice and my sense of competition and my sense of I AM GOING TO SLAUGHTER THOSE MEAN GIRLS is ALL intact now. I thought maybe I had lost it, but oh, no, baby, it’s back. I am not a “good” premed person, like I am not all cutthroat and evil and backbiting, but I am a good competitor. Like when I finally decide to do something, if I lose, it is not because I did not give it my damndest.

I made a beautiful outline of my section for my Bio study group (we work together and share notes and tips and stuff. WE ARE HEALTHY AND WORK TOGETHER!)

My study partners are going to hear about this, and we are ALL going to get mad about it.

And I am going to use that energy.

I have been sitting in Panera for 3 hours studying solidly, and for 3 hours before that, in the library.

I am back.


P.S. But how sad is it that it took that evil girl to give me a kick in the ass?

P.P.S. Consider this the announcement that I am really not blogging until Tuesday.

P.P.P.S I will never admit I am “premed” because of all of these connotations. I mean, seriously. Which is why I categorize these things as “new career paths” (and it’s framed that way at the top, too) – because WTF would I want to be thought of as THAT girl? Like that Old Cutthroat Soul-selling Premed Girl?

Ugh. Shudder.