A Thank You Letter to The Most Supportive Group of People I Have Ever Met
The night before my MCAT, I was in a Las Vegas hotel room with a fever of 102 degrees. In addition to the normal anxiety everyone has about a 7.5 hour medical school entrance exam, I had to worry about the possibility that a temporary cold might negate six months of sitting in the Doheny bookstacks, waking up for early morning study sessions, and missing out on football game days. Miserable, I took my next dose of Tylenol and tried to ignore my parents’ pitying looks. I was crushed, and had already resigned myself to studying for a second MCAT.
But just as I was about to let out another frustrated cry into the hotel pillow, my phone started going crazy with text notifications--from known and unknown numbers. Little messages of encouragement from Helenes kept popping up.
“Good luck on your MCAT tomorrow! You’re gonna kill it!”
“Heard you were taking the MCAT tomorrow and that you’re feeling a little under the weather. Hope you feel better! You got this”
“I heard you were taking the MCAT. Good luck, Claire! I believe in you!”
Those texts made my day. Helenes who probably had a million other things going on in their lives took the time to show their support for me during a scary moment. I didn’t even know how they knew I was taking the MCAT (I later found out that Kylie reminded a group of Helenes. Thank you for that). Buoyed by everyone’s encouragement, I went to sleep feeling calmer than I had all day. When it came time to take the test, I pushed through it. I got my results back a month later, and ended up being really happy with how I did!
Before now, I hadn’t really had a chance to publicly acknowledge the people who made such a big difference during that important day. So here it is: thank you, Helenes, for being my support system-- on the most important days and on every single ordinary day. For the last three years, your faith in me has given me the courage to succeed. I am a more thoughtful friend, a more hardworking student, and a more active member of the community because I have Helenes in my life.
Thank you to Kylie, who has encouraged me more times than I can count. You believe in me always, and our friendship makes me want to be a better person.
Thank you to Hannah, who drove me back to our apartment when I felt too sick to walk home in the cold. You are one of the warmest people I know, and I have learned a lot about kindness from being your friend.
Thank you to Stephanie, who has more wisdom than people much older than her. You are the best Little anyone could ask for.
Thank you to all the inspirational people-- past, present, and future-- who wear the Helenes crest with pride. By being yourselves, you create space for someone like me to dream and grow without limits.
I am going to medical school this fall, and starting the next chapter of my career. There are times when I look towards an unknowable future, and again I am the terrified girl I was before test day. Despite my anxiety about what is ahead, one certainty keeps me going: There is a group of inspiring women out there who build each other up, who care deeply about each other and the world around them, and who make it impossible to be anything but brave. This group of people is you, Helenes, and I am forever grateful to get to call you my friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you.