You came to this blog either because you’re curious to see what this article is about or you may be having feelings of self-doubt.
So, to answer your question regarding if you’re smart enough for a medical school, the answer actually lies within you.
How bad do you want to become a doctor?
If you REALLY want to be a doctor, then damn right you’re smart enough for medical school.
The Career Challenge
In 2013, I decided to switch careers to become a medical doctor. I had finished my required courses and took the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). My MCAT score was highly uncompetitive and I was rejected from all of the schools I applied to. I eventually discovered a Master’s Program that could help me get into medical school.
I started my master’s program, feeling really defeated by the MCAT. I thought to myself, “maybe I’m just not as smart as I thought I was, or as I used to be”. I knew I was a smart girl, but perhaps, just not smart enough for medical school. I suffered feelings of inadequacy and mediocrity for a very long time. The master’s program gave me another shot at my dream of becoming a doctor. This program challenged me in so many ways.
It challenged my spirit.
It challenged my will power.
It challenged my intelligence.
The master’s program was comparable to completing the first year of medical school. I took medical school courses alongside first-year medical students and was taught by medical school faculty. When I started the program, my first class was Anatomy. According to the syllabus, the first exam would cover 20 lectures. My heart sank, thinking about the number of muscles, arteries, and nerves I had to memorize. The brachial plexus became the villain who stole my confidence.
In every health science program, there are classes that “weed people out”. It’s usually the class that a lot of people fail and have to repeat. I was sure Anatomy was this class. It was a 7 credit course, and If I failed, it would severely tank my GPA.
I couldn’t envision myself doing well in Anatomy. I felt my brain was incapable of storing that much information. A few days after the start of classes, I called up a friend and told her that I would quit the master’s program. The plan was to withdraw and rethink my career choice before I did real damage.
Often times, our friends and family believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. She instantly talked me out of it and told me to buckle down and invest in a tutor.
So, I did.
Why do we choose to make things harder for ourselves?
If you can’t figure something out, ask for help. People have aced anatomy and lived to tell the story, so obviously, it’s not the end of the world. One of the biggest mistakes we can ever make is not reaching out for help. Help comes in the form of professors, peers, tutors, Youtube videos and even online forums and Facebook groups. There’s a lot of people in the world who want to see you win and are willing to help.
You are doing yourself a great disservice by not seeking guidance if you are struggling in your classes.
We are only human. We are not perfect. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.
Needless to say, I found an Anatomy tutor on campus who told me that everybody, including himself, shared similar feelings of inadequacy when he was in my shoes. But he said, there’s a difference between people who doubt themselves and succumb to it and those who view doubt as a hurdle that they’re willing to jump over and attack. He told me that everybody, even the “geniuses” felt defeated during their first week, but most will never tell you that. He basically gave me the option of sulking in the land of the impossible or being the person that just does it and will do it and subsequently succeed.
That really stuck with me.
He encouraged me to read my personal statement again. My personal statement was essentially my love letter to medicine, explaining my most impassioned muses for wanting to become a doctor.
The feeling of inadequacy had infiltrated so much of my psyche that I was willing to forfeit the passion I beheld.
Are you willing to do the same?
Are you willing to jeopardize the career of your dreams because you are crippled by the fear of seeking help or believing in your success?
Reading my personal statement reminded me of why I even started this journey in the first place. The re-reading process was quite an emotional moment as I recalled how deep my hunger and thirst for a career in medicine once was. At that moment, I witnessed how self-doubt could’ve easily taken me off of this path.
If you could hear my passion through the papers, you’d never believe that same girl wanted to give up before she even started.
So, to those reading and feeling defeated, the battle does not end with surrender. We stand up tall and keep our heads high in the face of ‘seemingly’ imminent danger.
If you have already written a personal statement, I suggest you go back and read it. Even, if you don’t have a personal statement, you should have a conversation with your friends and family about the career you’ve always wanted. Let them remind you of the things you had said in the past and tell you how much you’ve always wanted to become a doctor.
Perhaps, after reading this, you can write a personal statement yourself. Let this essay be your love letter to the field of medicine.
Write your goals into pursuits.
Speak your dreams into reality.
Ask and Answer these 3 Questions :
- Why do you want to become a doctor?
- Why do you want to go to medical school?
- Do you want it badly?
If you answered YES to question #3, then you’re more than smart enough to become a doctor, so it’s time you start acting like it!
You are capable.
You are brave.
You are intelligent.
You are worthy, so don’t ever forget that!
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