OK, so finally I think every college and high school and middle school has finally finished exams and projects and has let out for summer. Congratulations to all you students out there for getting through another year full of academic and social and personal challenges.
So, for those of you who don’t feel this way at the end of THIS year, this post is for you too. Life is full of challenges and surprises and unexpected twists, so even if this year went perfectly well for you, not every year will, and that is OK.
I know you are sitting there and reading information that I, as a medical doctor, put together, and you see my bio with my undergrad and my medical school. But I want to share with you some Real Talk about my path to this point in life. Life is not a straight line, and success is not a constant, but neither is failure.
- I failed tests in high school.
- I dropped a required class in college because I didn’t work hard enough and had to take it again, this time, with the required effort!
- I took a year “off” between college and medical school – I got a regular, boring, 9-5 job and paid my rent and fed myself for a year while I made sure medical school is really what I wanted to do next.
- I got fired from one of those year-off jobs too!
- I failed the first 2 exams in medical school.
- In college and medical school on more than one occasion, I called home and cried on the phone wailing that I was sure I was going to fail out and amount to nothing (sorry, Mom).
- I got mad at my parents, some of my teachers, a few of my bosses, and often (and this is the hardest, you will agree) at myself.
- I am sure along the way I disappointed some people and I know along the way I have times I have disappointed myself.
So, you know what else I did?
I. KEPT. GOING.
That’s right. I just kept on going. I picked myself up and tried again. After getting over the shock of failing a test in a tough class in high school, I made sure I mastered the material for next time and did fine. That college class I dropped the first go-around was organic chemistry. The next year, I took it again (it was required for pre-med, so no dodging that!) and did fine. That first exam period in medical school, a whole bunch of us failed those first anatomy and biochemistry tests, but we all picked ourselves up, got some help, figured out what we needed to do and kept going. Taking that year off in between college and medical school and working a basic job that wasn’t that interesting nor challenging but taught me that I could in fact take care of myself, was a huge life lesson that helped me get through the challenges of medical training. There have been plenty of times I knew I could do better, but just as many that I failed at things I was sure I could do well. But all of that is life experience, and before you know it, all that life experience shapes how you tackle all sorts of life problems.
So, the point I am trying to make is this. If this past year or semester or exam period didn’t go the way you wanted, and you feel disappointed in yourself or angry. It’s ok. Experience your feelings. Don’t wish them away – that never works. But then, pick yourself up and KEEP GOING! Figure out what you need for next year or next challenge – Extra help? Extra time away from your screens? More balanced course-load? A new path? And then go, Go, GO, GOOOO!
On that note, enjoy your summers. Take a break. And as next year approaches, just keep on going!