Hey followers! I am back from the depths of studying to take time on this lovely Sunday to talk about one of the taboos of medical school-the struggle that every student feels at one point or another.
The title of this post is all too real right now, and the more I have thought about writing a post, the more that I have tried to always put on a happy facade or trying so hard to be optimistic but I couldn't. I honestly write how I feel, and there were numerous points in the past month where I started a post so chipper and happy, when really I was feeling the opposite. So I deleted it until I felt ready to lay it all out on the line.
So here I am, saying that things suck right now. And I'm okay with that. Fourth semester ended on a good note, I ended up getting Dean's List, which means that for all four semesters on island, I was able to maintain above a 3.5 GPA, I am extremely happy [and burnt out], about my commitments, and the RUSM Sports Medicine Club is well on their way to making an amazing mark this semester. So those are two things I am really happy about!
So why the struggle? What's going on? Well..that is an excellent question. After fourth semester ended, we had the dreaded COMP exam, which is a four hour exam that was to encompass sixteen [!] months of material, and after passing that allows us to sit for the USMLE Step 1, which is our very first board exam for us to be able to practice in the U.S. [and yes..you guessed it..there are more steps..four in total-yay]. That exam was the hardest exam that I had ever had to take in my life. I don't know if it was due to the lack of time we were able to study for it [10 days], the burnt out feeling that I was hardcore feeling at the time, me wanting to go home in that time frame, or that fact that my schedule completely changed in that time period. Those ten days completely sucked after fourth semester. They consisted of me getting up at 7am, then study from 8am-10pm, then me not being able to sleep because even though I felt exhausted, I felt like I never did enough that day. I completely changed my eating habits, I had numerous cups of coffee, ate on campus [which I NEVER do, I always eat breakfast at home, pack a lunch, and be home for dinner], I didn't work out AT ALL [again, not like me], so those days studying for that exam, I was not myself. I hated the way that I felt, the food I was eating, the lack of sleep, lack of exercise, that feeling of never getting enough done, and you can predict that the score on that exam was not reflective of my personal best, and I am mad at myself for that. I was extremely mad.
So here I am, on a Sunday afternoon collecting my thoughts after a practice COMP that was completed yesterday, more than a month later of my first experiences with those awfully worded vignettes, and I SCORE THE EXACT SAME. THE EXACT SAME SCORE PEOPLE. I was at a loss yesterday, I felt like crying, I felt like closing my computer and just throwing it across the room, I felt defeated, but the most scary is that I felt doubtful. Doubtful if I will ever pass Step 1, doubtful if I will ever become a physician. I have worked SO HARD at Ross to maintain a great GPA, and I got to thinking: "why?...why did I work so hard to fail now?"...and I answered my own question in that moment. "I didn't work this hard to fail...and I won't...I'd be damned if I am going to let one practice test get me down" and so I woke up today with more fuel in my body than ever before. And I am mad, but a different mad.
I have realized one thing about social media is that people never post the bad stuff. They post the rewards, the prizes, the successes, and the "my life is perfect posts!", while we all know too well that life is not all about winning. I decided last night to post a picture to instagram [@d1todr] about my struggles yesterday, that after almost three weeks of studying, I still feel like I am in the same spot. I talked about how I am terrible with standardized exams, and how I am very nervous for the board exams that it takes to become a doctor. I never expected the amount of love that I have gotten from everyone, and it honestly makes me teary-eyed thinking about it. Here is one message I got from another Rossie:
"Aww thank you. You always brighten up my day. Seriously I have the worst nightmares looking at step 1. I'm so nervous and scared because I suck too at exams. Like super suck, no matter how much I try and study... but I know that this is the only thing I want to do. And I know that God is guiding me just like he is guiding you! I'm praying for you and you can do this! I'm looking up to you even more for now because I know that if you can do this, then so can I! Always stay strong my love. Always. You never know who you are inspiring. Xoxo"
So amazing right?! I definitely needed to read that after feeling like I did. The fact that other students can see that other people are struggling, and feeling the same sort of feelings is so empowering, and if I can help just one person feel better, then it is all worth it to me. So never be afraid of failure, I have realized looking back on my past that I have failed a lot. [Almost too much for me to be as optimistic as I am today]. But my mental toughness is what has pushed me through when I physically thought I could not do it anymore.
So inhale the bullshit-exhale the good shit. That is my mantra right now. We all are put on this earth for a reason, and if takes a couple kicks at the can to follow your dream, well then my can may have A LOT more dents, but I am totally okay with that. Okay, I am on a ROLL with metaphors today. BAM, just made that one up ;)
Alright folks, just wanted to let you all know that I am surviving, and that I have completely accepted the fact that these next two years before the M.D. degree will not be easy. I will give it my all, I will do more NBME practice questions and exams, I will fail multiple times, but when that day comes when it all clicks and I get my grade back from Step 1, it will only be more proof that this is where I am meant to be in life.
Failure is only going to make success taste that much sweeter.
Bye for now,