Friday, June 3, 2016
“I regret saying that I am denying you visa to the US”
“Why?” asked me!
“Because your scores are very low and I do not feel that you will be able to do anything with these there”, said a slightly surprised visa counselor.
“Who are you to judge my scores? You are not qualified to do so. I know my scores are not good. But I have done my background research before deciding to commit so much of time, money and effort to this. It is tough but it is not impossible! When there is hope, why should I give up on my dreams?”
There was a whole minute silence. The shock on the counselor’s face was screaming that no visa candidate had ever argued with him like this. But for my pounding heart, it was a do or die moment!
“Ok, you will get one chance and only one to prove what you can do”
And so I got my first EVER international visa stamp, that too into the US and thus my journey to the States began!
Hi all, I was reading Neil's blogs and thought to share my experiences in the USMLE journey so that others who are in similar situations like mine are motivated to see through it until the END!
That being said let me start at the beginning.
In 2013, I was one amongst the thousand's of US residency aspirants and by no means a lucky one! I literally had every hurdle imaginable to an IMG.
Citizenship: I am from a third world country and NEVER visited any foreign country.
Exam scores: My USMLE step 1 score was below the 90thcentile and step 2 in low 90s.
Graduation: I had been working for 2 – 2.5 years after medical school and so I wasn’t a fresh graduate.
Past 'Research' experience: I did do some clinical research work after graduation, but nothing too fancy.
US experience: I had a very short (2 week) observership in one of the University hospital's (from where I was lucky to get a good letter)
Interview call: of the 70 odd pediatric programs that I applied to, I received only 1 interview call.
Match day! – of course, to no surprise for all, I did not match :(
However, I feel God must have heard my prayers, because on the day after 'Match' day – I received a call from the program coordinator of the hospital I interviewed at stating “One of our matched candidates is not able to make it to the residency program. Are you still interested in joining us?”
And I was SHOUTING in utter disbelief! “Yes, I am.” J
Finally, when I did go to get my H1B visa stamped, the visa officer who denied my visa in the first place, saw me and looking at me came out, smiled and said: “Well Done!” Oh, the joy of proving someone wrong, Incredible!
So here I am, almost at the end of my pediatric residency and still living a dream! The sole purpose of writing my path to USMLE is to encourage you to keep trying! Don’t give up on your dreams, no matter how crazy people think you are! You never know what life might have in store for you. I faced hurdles, extra hurdles, in every step! Every person I knew looked at me as if I am crazy to pursue USMLE further. But I knew what I wanted and I was determined to do all that I can! So saying I end with this
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost