Sarah is in the process of applying to med school. This process is, to put it bluntly, “freaking complicated.” Let me tell you, the people who want to go to med school in North America really have to want it. Most schools have between 150 to 200 spaces available and get over 2200 applicants. While I was in Canada over labor day, I tried to help Sarah make sense of it all. For instance, I was reading in some of the documents that she brought home that in 2015, McGill accepted 166 students into their medical school program. 75 premed students straight out of CEGEP (Collège d’Éducation Génerale et Professionel in Québec) and from the 91 that came from University, 55 came from within the province of Quebec, 18 from other provinces and 18 from international. Most Universities in Canada use the same concept. In province, rest of Canada and international. Some universities in the USA flat out say, in state only or US only. Non-residents need not apply. Some universities wanted to know the parents’ education level as well as siblings. American universities are always telling you how expensive medical school is and you better be prepared financially.
The process includes: writing the MCAT (and get a good score), writing the CASPer exam (CASPer (Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) is an online screening tool designed to evaluate key personal and professional characteristics for successful students and graduates. Getting three to six reference letters. Writing a personal essay no longer than 5200 characters with spaces. Writing about three personal experiences no longer than 1325 characters with spaces. And get a decent GPA. All this for the first part of the application. Then each school/university has a process for the second application part and if they like what they see, you will be called to interview.
Anyways, long process. Deadlines are approaching fast etc. What brings me to “time goes by too fast” is the part of the application where Sarah had to say where she came from? Where did she spend the longest time of her life, and she had to elaborate a little on what that place meant to her. She just looked at me and said, well? Where did I live the longest? Where should I say?
Sarah’s life in a nutshell! “Hum? Let’s go back. You were born in Ottawa. 2 years later we moved to Burlington, Ontario. Two years later we moved to Manchester, NH. Seven years later we moved to Bermuda. You were in Bermuda with us for three years and then we sent you to boarding school in Quebec. You have been living in Quebec for seven years. So the longest period of time living somewhere is Manchester, NH and Quebec.” She just looked at me and said, wow, I don’t know which one was more important? I really loved Bermuda too. I used to visit even though I didn’t live there for the last three years you were there.
I don’t know which one she chose in the end. I remember thinking at the time about my own timeline since I met Peter. You see, I met Peter on Oct. 10th or 11th, 1986 (depending on how you want to look at it, we met in a bar around midnight). Almost 30 years ago! WOW! Man time flies. Good thing I am not filling out any applications of any kind with time line. I would have to write the following:
First apartment together, Sept. 87 to July 88. Pine avenue, Montreal. A hole in the wall but cheap. Happy times!
Second apartment together, July 88 to July 90. Little Burgundy basement apartment. Broken in once. The occasional manhunt outside on the street and our cat ran away and then a few months came back. Happy times!
Third apartment together, July 90 to July 92. Third floor walk up on Sir George Etienne Cartier square. We were moving up in the world. This place was huge, Victorian looking, high ceilings, old windows. You sweated your ass in the summer and froze your butt off in the winter. The cat still with us no longer wanted to go outside. We watched old men playing pétanque on our balcony. Happy times!
July 92 to July 97, Kanata (Ottawa suburb). Cookie cutter house in burbs. Got “hitched” in 93. Cat went out and got hit by a car! Sarah was born in 95. Happy times!
July 97 to August 99. Burlington, Ontario (Toronto suburb). Cookie cutter house in the burbs. No animals, we already had Thing 1 and Thing 2 was born in 98. Happy times!
August 99 to June 2006, Manchester, NH. Gambrel Cape, in nice neighborhood. I loved that house. Two kids survived, we got Monty. Happy times!
June 2006 to September 2012, Bermuda. First house was a townhouse. The second house was a typical Bermuda cottage with swimming pool and pool house studio. Two kids still with us. We brought the dog. Heck we lived in paradise with little to no commute and good family time. Happy times!
September 2012 till now, London, UK. 3 floor townhouse for the first two years and we have been in a mews for two years. Empty nesters, the dog was with us for the first two years until we shipped him to Montreal to be with Sarah. Both kids were in boarding school or university. Still happy times even though we both miss them a lot.
There you have it. 30 years summarized. 1812 characters with spaces.
What is your timeline?