“Yo! You’ve reached the voicemail of U.S. News and World Report. I can’t come to the phone right now, so leave a message at the bleepity-bloop. Later skater.”
Um, hey, U.S. News and World Report, it’s me, Harvard Medical School. I don’t exactly know how to break this to you, and it’s unfortunate that Valentine’s Day is coming up. But I realized that this year, I want to be my own valentine. Of course, I still care about you. I don’t want you to think I didn’t notice all the times you put me first. I just need to learn to put myself first. To be clear, though, it is you, and not me.
Sometimes you made me feel like the only medical school in the world. But, every now and then, reality would set in, and I could feel NYU or Johns Hopkins breathing down my neck. They were waiting in the wings — ready for me to slip. Fighting tooth and nail for your attention has distracted me from the research for which you value me so highly. But I must admit, I’m no saint. I’ve twisted and contorted myself to fit a form I believed you could love.
After shifting my decision-making from my heart to my brain, it’s all become clear now. Amid the ample acclaim surrounding your medical school rankings, I’ve often wondered what place I rank in your heart. Those are the numbers you never release. But is it so elitist to want the prime portion of your affection, your tenderness, and your devotion?
Is it too much to desire to be your one and only, and not just your number one of many? I don’t want the pedestal ranking, if the higher I go, the further I am from you. I wanted to know all of you — the good, the bad, and the truth of your methodology. Forgive me for believing this was something you were capable of revealing.
In the process, I came to see that, as little as I know about you, you know even less about me. I’m lost behind your gilded vision. For too long, I tried to diagnose you, thinking I could cure your cold demeanor. I now know better than to run an EKG on someone without a heartbeat.
I should have listened to my sister, Harvard Law School, when she told me about you. Alas, I ignored her researched argumentation and her critical examination. I knew she had a tendency to judge, but in this case, her concerns were legitimate.
I don’t need an X-ray to see right through the games you’ve been playing. I’ve come to realize your love for me will always be smaller than my acceptance rate. I’d rather be a loner with only my pet MCATs to keep me company than continue in this relationship with you.
It must take some courage to boldly rank medical schools to their faces. You’ve got enough guts to be an organ donor. But, you know, you’re not the only one who can create a ranked list. Here’s one of my own — titled “Top Reasons I’m Leaving Your Ass.”
1. You’re a high-browed snob.
2. You can find my spot on a list, but you can’t find it in bed.
3. You keep entertaining Yale.
4. You pit me against my friends.
5. You don’t deserve the brilliance of my curriculum or the curves of my grades.
Now I could end it here, but because I’m loyal unlike you, I couldn’t leave my best friend behind. So I told Columbia everything. Check your phone for the notifications; they’re leaving you too.
Now that you’re lonely, don’t try to hit me up with a half-hearted “I’m sorry.” It continues to surprise me that I’m the medical school, yet you can stitch together an excuse with better technique than I’ll ever achieve. Come near me again, and you’ll be needing an ambulance. But, hey, maybe NYU can provide one for you. Goodbye forever.
— Associate Magazine Editor Jem K. Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jemkwilliams.