Well, I started by applying to University of Colorado because I lived there. Never got an interview, so I applied to DO schools. I was raised from a homeopathic viewpoint, so it wasn't a leap of logic for me, like it is for many misinformed pre-meds. I only applied to CU because it was local (and thus *cheap*).
So anyway, I only got one interview, in Iowa. My dad had a heart attack and was in the hospital still when I flew out for my interview. I left my driver's license at home, so when I got to Omaha (cheaper flight), I couldn't rent a car to drive the remaining 2 hours to Des Moines. During that homeless night in Omaha, waiting for the bus to take me to Des Moines at 6:00 in the morning, I was almost gang raped by a bunch of drunk college boys. I got to Des Moines in one piece, with about 1/2 hour of sleep in the last 36 hours. In the interview they asked, "what has been your greatest challenge in coming to the decision to attend medical school."
I said, "well getting here alive was quite a challenge."
So I got accepted, but my dad needed me so I deferred for a year. I almost lost my spot the following year because they thought I had asked for my deposit back (and thus passed on the opportunity), which I didn't.
I got here in August 2001, then the September attacks happened. That didn't directly affect me, but a month after that, my dad died. I failed Anatomy and Histology because I was gone for so long for the funeral and grieving. I tried to go into the "5 year" program, where you take first year over two years. They wouldn't let me. So I kept going. Then, although my class grades averaged to a B, I failed Step 1 of boards. Twice. I finally passed on the third try (June '04) and haven't looked back since.
I've been told on multiple rotations that I'm the best student my attendings have ever had. I wouldn't have met my husband if anything had happened any differently. I'm happier than I've ever been.
Don't let the standardized tests and people who don't know you tell you that you can't be a good student or a good doctor. Keep going keep trying. You'll get there eventually.