I’ve been debating on whether to update you on my story or just keep going, and I don’t think it would be fair to leave you guys hangin, so here goes. I started medical school in the fall of 2013. August 2, in fact. Unfortunately, I got called the day of orientation to be accepted, and had to pack my bags and be down there the next day. Having my slight hesitation being overwhelmed with the fact that I just got accepted to medical school in state, I accepted and went. I can remember the day like it was yesterday. I got the call and thought in the back of my head, what if this is the school? & I also didn’t know anyone from there besides the medical school. I didn’t have good service at my house so I stepped outside, answered the call, they told me I had a seat for the class of 2017 if I wanted it, and I dropped to my knees in joy, thanking and praising God. I worked my last shift at work, and packed all night into the early morning.
My mom assisted me and drove me down the next morning which is about a 3.5 hour drive. I was running on no sleep, was not hungry, my stomach was in knots because I was so nervous and anxious and still thrilled about being accepted. I got there the first day of orientation, only knowing one person. As I found my seat next to my friend from undergrad, we sat in the back row…our class size is about 230 mind you, so the lecture hall was huge. I went to all of my assigned activities, but started to get really dizzy, nauseous, and weak. THERE WAS SO MUCH TO DO. I had to set up financial aid, find an apartment, get my laptop, keys, etc.etc. buy books, FILL OUT MOUNDS OF PAPERWORK, and I managed to get most of it accomplished. My mom even lucked out and found an apartment THAT DAY. Keep in mind, this is the next day after they called me telling me I was accepted. So after having an eventful day, getting sick, vomiting in the bushes so none of my classmates would see me (HOW EMBARRASSING), I decided I’d had enough for one day and was ready to come home to get the rest of my things. We packed up and headed home that night, still sick, I had to pack the rest of my things because I was headed back to school the following day for good.
I moved everything into my apartment thanks to my wonderful parents and got squared away…the entire first week of classes. I felt behind from day 1, and I was to be honest. I had a hard time adjusting not only to the coursework, but new surroundings, new environment, people, life in general. It was hard, but I managed to pass my first course and get it together (barely).
In September, starting our second course of SKIN/Musculoskeletal, we had to learn the entire list of nerves, muscles, arteries, veins in both of the upper and lower limbs and the back. HELLO BRACHIAL PLEXUS. Anyway, we had to accomplish this in FOUR DAYS. FOUR DAYS!!! It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but that’s med. school. Anyway, the ball kept rolling. However, I was hit again with another unfortunate event. I got a call from a friend telling me that my best friend died in a car crash unexpectedly. She was my best friend in the entire world. Dying at my age, 22, knowing how short and precious life could be, I never dealt with death before and it hit me hard. I failed that exam, which meant failing the course. I had never dealt with failure before, ever, but nonetheless I picked myself up and kept moving along trying to bury my emotions because medical school WAITS FOR NO ONE.
After that course ended, we moved on to cardio/respiratory. I was doing okay in this course, still struggling to stay caught up, with Angela (my best friend) in the back of my mind. My grandmother (62 years old, who has no wrinkles and blonde hair — not your typical old grandma) got suddenly very ill. Her hip transplant was recalled and leaked substantially high levels of metal into her blood. She got an infection and was hospitalized. This too weighed heavily on my mind because she meant the world to me. She lived right beside my house, as you can imagine, I went to her house every single day from the time I could walk. While she had to go through many hip surgeries, and developed an infection that even vancomycin could not conquer, her time came as well, and I had to say goodbye. I raced from my apartment in school, getting permission from the dean to be excused from yet another test to make-up (the month before I was in the same situation with my best friend passing) and rushed to the hospital as fast as I could. Remember the 3.5 hour drive it takes from my home to medical school? I made it in 2.5 hours but I was too late, and although she was still alive, her blood pressure was 60/30 while she was on 3x the recommended dose of vasopressin, and two other blood pressure medicines that I could not remember. She passed away, needless to say, the test I had the week after, I failed as well. This too, meant failing the course so here was my dilemma.
At my school, you can fail up to two classes and re-take them in the summer. If you pass them, you continue on with your class. But if you fail more than two classes, you either repeat the entire year or they can ask you to not come back. I had passed one, failed two. So I asked myself…do I continue, knowing my mind is elsewhere, having a hard time dealing with the deaths of two extremely important individuals in my life, do I continue to just get by, barely pass? Do I continue to go on, knowing I’ve failed two classes, haven’t changed my study habits, and could possibly fail a 3rd and be in a position that they would ask me to leave? OR do I take a semester off, clear my head, better prepare myself for next year, allow myself time to mourn and grieve, handle all of my personal issues and family issues and come back better than ever ready to kill it? Do I take care of myself, learn from my mistakes, realize what problems I faced, overcome these, and come back? And I did. I took personal leave. I did not fail out, nor did I quit. The dean granted my personal leave, gave me his sincerest sympathies, and told me my spot was saved for the class of 2018 when I am ready to return.
I’m a strong believer in everything happening for a reason and timing. This year was just not my time. From getting called the day of orientation, 2 back to back family deaths, the odds were stacked against me. I do know God has a plan for me though, and I’m sticking to it. Here’s what has happened recently. I’ve cleared my head, I’ve been working, I already have a house for next fall with two amazing roommates and will be in the class of 2018 also! Did I tell you these apartments are the nicest in town and I envied them last year! SCORE! I already have roommates, people I know, friends, and I signed up for a class which teaches you specifically how to study for medical school and pharmacy school because I can assure you, some of the techniques that worked in undergrad will fail you in medical school trying to learn and memorize so much information. Everything is in order, all of my paperwork is completed, and I am on the ball ready to get back in class come July! I do have to repeat the entire year, including the course that I already passed. But THIS fall, I am prepared, know what to expect, have a clear mind and heart, know what I need to do, am much more strong, able, and persistent, and determined to be the best physician I can possibly be.
So all in all, I’m being honest about my story, what’s happened, and to show you guys that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. This is why I haven’t been tweeting much medical-related info lately if you’ve been noticing. I just didn’t feel right not being in class, so I only retweeted what you all would send to me and of course tweet encouraging positive things to you guys! I feel like I needed this break from medicine, I needed these struggles and challenges so I can help others who have ever been in this same situation or might be in the future (though I wish that on no one!) I needed all of these adversities and difficulties because at the end of the day, it will only make me a stronger physician. I can truly sympathize with a family over a death of a patient now, because I’ve experienced it firsthand. I’ve experienced failure, something I have never seen in my life, everything coming so easy to me. This was the first true adversity I’ve ever had in my life, and for that I am privileged to have been through so much, learned so much already, and know exactly what I have to do in order to succeed! I hope my story inspires you, and lets you know that it’s OKAY to not be perfect!! It’s OKAY to fail sometimes. It’s OKAY to not have a deadline on your dreams and to take life as it comes. It’s OKAY to step back and take care of YOURSELF! Because if you learn from your failures, well, then they weren’t really failures at all were they? 🙂
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.” Success is the result of perfection, hard work, LEARNING FROM FAILURE, loyalty, and persistence. Remember that! Thank you guys for reading, continue to work hard to get where you’re going. BELIEVE in yourself and ALL that you are capable of doing, because I promise you’re capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.