A 3-lb English springer spaniel puppy with floppy ears, silky-soft fur, and brown freckles has pancaked herself across my Medical College Admission Test prep textbook. I nudge her squiggly body and try to read “under acidic or basic conditions, esters undergo hydrolysis, which produces a carboxylic acid and an alcohol,” but then she’s back. It’s the summer of 2004. My life is on hold as I study at my parents’ home. Somewhere outside my friends are enjoying themselves at the beach, pool, park, concerts, and parties while I remain inside for the eternity of each day invested (literally and figuratively) in Kaplan Test Prep, studying for a test that will dictate my future as a physician. But no time to think of all that: I have to study.