Getting into the Correct MCAT Mindset
What is the correct MCAT mindset?
Have you ever jumped out of a comfy bed?
Taken a cold shower?
Sprung into a jog?
Dived into a swimming pool?
Started driving the first time?
These experiences are doubtlessly painful.
However, something almost miraculous happens, if you allow it to.
You overlook the pain, and begin to trust its purpose.
The purpose wasn’t to make you sleepy,
nor give you cramps,
nor make you wet,
nor kill you.
It was to:
cleanse you and awaken your mind,
keep you healthy,
dust off your muscles,
and get you places.
Healthy pain is the sensation of change.
What is changing isn’t your habits: it’s you.
Here’s the first key to a beautiful MCAT mindset:
Every day, we encounter decisions to embrace or reject pains of growth. A hug is an exchange.
The same is true with the correct MCAT mindset: where we exchange the pain of learning with its utility. Often, it is the very pain that makes knowledge memorable!
Consider yourself right now.
Are you making the most of the time you have?
I know I wasn’t. Why was this? Because I wasted more time at the edge of the proverbial pool than diving into it.
It is an impetus to jump into a net of painful safety.
The MCAT mindset is to do this daily: to battle the forces that seek to destroy life. It’s in our mission statement! Fear is one of these forces.
Don’t go back to bed.
Don’t get out of the shower.
Don’t stop the jog.
Don’t quit swimming.
Don’t yeet your car out of traffic!
THE BABY CAN’T GO BACK INTO THE WOMB
Let’s be realistic. We’ve all sighed into a slump, taken out our phones and thought “Enough!”.
Sometimes, our conscience – in its quiet mouse-like voice – squeaks, “What about the exam tomorrow?”
Sadly, more often than not, we don’t listen to this poor mouse.
It is easier to listen to lies: “it’s all too difficult, there’s not point, and I’m not up to the task.”
Nonsense. The MCAT’s only four exams.
This is only a step in the journey: it’s barely begun.
You have been given a brain, heart, and lungs like most of us.
The greatest enemy to acing the MCAT is yourself.
How do you defeat this central antagonist?
MEET YOUR CONSEQUENCES
In almost every journey, there is a scene where the protagonist faces the truth about what will happen – given their inaction.
My favorite movie is the Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring. In perhaps my favorite scene: Frodo – the protagonist – is asked to look into a mirror and see events of the past, present, and future. The intimidating elf queen – Galadriel – shows him scenes of his homeland pillaged and burned. The next scene, she showcases what will happen if she decides to take on Frodo’s task: she succumbs to evil and becomes more powerful than the eponymous Lord of the Rings.
Both characters are motivated to do the right thing because of their horror at what will come to pass.
This horror is precisely what leads to the correct MCAT mindset!
You need to meet your consequences. Don’t take this too far. If you flunk the MCAT, you flunk the MCAT. This does not devalue the majesty of your own life.
Free will applies to our choices, not our consequences.
Take some time to inspect your most time-consuming habits. See what keeps you from getting the score you need. What is your activation energy? What will get you past certain slumps? Please discuss this in the comments below.
The correct mindset is one of gratitude.
One final warning: don’t try to study everything. Simplify, prioritize, and focus – the details will come later. There are two types of people in this world: someone who tries to fit the heavens in their heads, or someone who tries to fit their heads in the heavens. The last mindset is that of an MCAT-acer.