Wow, these past few weeks have gone by so quickly. I had my last day of class yesterday in which I admitted that teaching these kids has been my absolute favorite part about working in Cambodia. I'm pretty sure that without them I wouldn't have made it through my service. We're having a small get together this afternoon. Originally it was supposed to be a lunch thing. I had bought pasta and sauce from Siem Reap and I was going to make it for them. I'm still doing that, but for some reason they didn't understand that it replaced lunch. Instead this will be second lunch for them...
As going away presents for most people I printed out a couple of pictures and I've been giving them out slowly each day. Just like each day my room gets a little emptier, but somehow manages to look just as messy as before. It's weird going around and thinking that this might be the last time I bike to the health center or almost fall face first in a pile of mud and cow shit. Yes, I even miss the slippery muddy ditch filled roads because I know that New York City won't have anything like it.
I've been pretty busy these past few weeks which is why I haven't been updating so much. I submitted my application to matriculate into medical school in August 2013. That was about 2 months ago now...and since then it's been a furious race to write and revise essay after essay. The way applying to medical school works is that you spend months/years preparing for the MCAT and the AMCAS application. The AMCAS is considered the primary application which you must submit to all the schools you're interested in...this year it cost 160 for the first school and 33 for each successive school. I applied to 16.
Once that's done you wait for about a month (I submitted June 5th the first day available). Around the beginning of July schools start sending you secondary applications which cost between 70 to 120 dollars each to submit. On average it's 100 bucks a pop. In addition to all the money you're giving them you also have to write all these essays. It wouldn't be so bad if the schools coordinated and set similar word limits or questions, but each school just has to do their own thing. One school might ask a typical question such as "What did you do after you graduated?", but they would have a 300 word limit whereas another school has a 2000 character limit and another has a 100 word limit. It just drives me batty trying to keep track of it all. Especially, since at the peak I had about 5 drafts being written and revised simultaneously. I definitely couldn't have survived this without Kurt helping me revise almost every essay and my other friends who came in when I needed a new perspective. It's really really hard to find people to help your writing when you're the most fluent English speaker around for 16km and people in America are super bad at replying to emails.
I think something that I didn't expect to happen was how much more I value face-to-face conversations. Even if it's just to make a simple request I really prefer to do it in person because email and telephone just exacerbate the breakdown of communication. I've also realized that the majority of people don't know how to listen and they don't know that they don't know. It's also much harder to ignore someone than to ignore an email. I understand that sometimes you save an email for later, but so many people just forget. If I came up to you in person you'd give me an answer right away. Unless you're extremely rude, I don't think you turn away and mumble to yourself about saving it for later and then forget about me. That's why there are some people I almost never email and if something needs to be a done a phone call or personal visit is the only way. I think for those of you that knew me before Cambodia you can tell from this preference how much I've changed over the past two years.