Post-MCAT depression (+3 coping tips)

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This article will discuss what is Post-MCAT depression. It will explain why this may happen to some people, and what it causes them to feel. Aside from that, the article will show what are ways to cope with Post-MCAT depression.

What is Post-MCAT depression? 

Post-MCAT depression is the feeling of sadness, emptiness, and even concern that one may experience after they have taken their MCAT. This test, which is an extremely difficult one, can raise many emotional reactions in the person that takes it. Which can go on even after the test is done.

After you have done the MCAT you may become extremely worried about the score you have. You may have prepared for it for a long time, it takes a lot of your energy. And as you started to study, you may have defined a score goal, so you could get into the medical school of your choice.

Waiting for this information can lead you to feel nervous, and constantly worry. Some people say they even have nightmares about getting low scores on the MCAT. Showing how big a concern this can be. 

Some people may also experience Post-MCAT depression because this is a time of suspension, of the unknown. As deciding to go to medical school is not a simple thing, you may have spent most of your life thinking about what you wanted to do as a doctor, and what were your hopes in this career path.

So after you are done with the exam, although there can be some sort of relief, you may also feel like your future hangs in the balance. You don’t know what to expect of it. 

If your ideas and dreams will come true, or if you will have to deal with huge frustration. There is a big fear of facing yourself and a possible failure. All of that can take a toll on your emotional well-being.

It is important to highlight that while you are dealing with this wait, you may not be dealing only with your expectations. Family and friends may keep asking you about the score results, or how well you think you did, making it even harder for you to relax after your MCATs.

Another reason some people may experience Post-MCAT depression has to do with the time and energy they invested preparing for it. During that time, your whole life may have centered around MCAT. You may have isolated yourself from your friends and family, and you might have lost your interest in everything else, except the exam.

As the exam ends, after you have some time to rest, you may feel like your life has lost its purpose. All of a sudden you have so much free time, and you don’t know what to do with it. This can make you obsess even more while waiting for the MCAT scores. 

All of this can affect your mental health, and lead you through a dark path as you wait for your MCAT results. If you feel like this, know that there are some things you can do while you wait.

What are ways to cope with Post-MCAT depression? 

If you are experiencing Post-MCAT depression, and have been worrying about your results, or what your future will be like, know that there are a few things you can do.

Accept your feelings and congratulate yourself

Although it may be a difficult time to recognize what you have done, you should have in mind that the preparation, and taking the MCAT in itself is already a lot. Give yourself some credit for all the effort you put into it. And have in mind that no matter what the result was, you did the best you could.

Try to accept how you feel at the moment. Know that this is momentary, and it has to do with the huge expectations you have on the MCAT. If you start to force yourself to feel differently, it may even make you feel worse. Embrace how you feel, and keep in mind that it will end.

Consider focusing on other things

Now that you have a lot of free time, you may want to direct your focus and energy to things you couldn’t do before. You can take care of things that you left behind, for example, go to the DMV if you had something to care for, or even do that renewal in your house you have been wanting to do for so long.

If you want, you may even consider getting a temporary job. This will help you focus your attention elsewhere rather than just expecting your MCAT results.

Exercise  

Exercising can be a huge relief in those troubling times. It will help you focus on something besides your MCAT, and it will also help reduce your stress levels. Aside from that, because of the endorphins, you will get from it, it can even improve your mood.

Be open about your feelings

Being able to talk about your feelings at this moment is important. You may share with family members, or even friends that are going through the same thing as you are. Talking it out helps you take off some of the weight the situation has.

Just be careful to share with people that will support you, and not add their expectations to yours. This can make it even harder to deal with.

Open yourself up to new activities  

You have spent so long focusing on one particular activity that it may be important to branch out. Find new things that you are passionate about, or allow yourself to try new things.

It doesn’t need to be something big, or that you will discover a new calling in life. But simply try to find activities that will show you how you can achieve things.

Set goals for your future 

Although your future may be a bit blurred right now, try to set some possibilities of goals. Consider what you may want to do depending on your MCAT scores. 

Having some possibilities open for you may help you keep in mind that getting that determined score you want is not the only thing that matters. There are more possibilities in life.

Get professional help

If you become too anxious or see that waiting for that result is being too hard on you, you may want to look for professional help. By talking it through with a professional, you may get a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings. Which may help with how you react to them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What is Post-MCAT depression? 

What is situational depression? 

Situational depression is a form of depression that one can develop when going through a new situation in life. It is usually a form of depression that comes when 

people need to adjust to something new. 

For example, Post-MCAT depression can be a form of situational depression, in which the person needs to adjust to life after the test. Situational depression is usually resolved after a few weeks, once the person integrates this new moment or situation in their lives.

How can I care for myself as I prepare for MCAT? 

If you are preparing yourself for the MCAT, there are some things you can do to care for yourself in the process. Try to discover what is the best place for you to study at. Think that you should do it in a place that you feel you can focus on, but also that you may feel supported in. 

As you are preparing for the MCAT, although a lot of your energy will be directed to it, you should find some time to take breaks and do other things. Although it may seem difficult, taking some time away may help you to return more motivated to your studies. In this context, you can try to exercise as well.

Another way you can care for yourself as you prepare for the MCAT, you may want to keep some uplifting notes to put on your wall, or your fridge. Reading those may inspire you, and keep you focused when you feel tired.

Why is MCAT so difficult? 

MCAT is a difficult test because it is a long one. But it also asks you to know in-depth about many fields of knowledge. And not only that, but the test will also demand you to not only know theoretical aspects of each field, but also practical ones.

Aside from that, MCAT usually asks the test takers the ability to integrate their knowledge of multiple areas. So they may ask you to answer questions that join different fields of knowledge in one, and that can make the test extremely hard.

Is it worth it to get a tutor for MCAT?

If you have a chance and can afford one, it may be a good idea for you to get a tutor to help you through MCAT. Having a tutor will allow you to focus only on your learning process, and not on how to organize your study plan.

The tutor will organize the best study plan to suit your needs, keeping in mind the score you want to have on the MCAT, and what are the things you find harder in your learning process. This allows you to only focus on learning.

How can I deal with MCAT burnout? 

Feeling burned out as you are preparing for the MCAT can be common. But there are also ways you can prevent it. The first thing you can do is to put some breaks between your study schedule. Having some time for yourself, and seeing something else will prevent you from feeling drained. 

Listen to your body, and when it becomes harder for you to focus, try to take some time off. During that, try to do things that can make you feel good. Having hobbies, or other passions will allow you to build your energy back to study. You may even exercise during this period, which can help reduce your stress levels.

Care for your eating and sleeping, since it will also help you feel energized, and improve your ability to focus. Spending time with your loved ones, friends, or family, and finding a balance between study time, and personal life will make it easier for you to focus when it is study time.

Conclusion 

This article centered around Post-MCAT depression. It explained what it is, and how it can affect some people. Aside from that, the article explained ways one can cope with Post-MCAT depression.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/post-mcat-depression-syndrome.314663/
https://blog.cambridgecoaching.com/blog/bid/250891/beat-the-mcat-blues-dealing-with-depression-and-anxiety
https://blog.cambridgecoaching.com/advice-on-mcat-breakdowns-depression-and-stress

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