It’s that time of the year again. For second-years, USMLE Step 1 is around the corner. For third-years, it’s Step 2. For fourth-years, their future careers are just months away.
At times, the pressure of medical school looms and the daily challenges that students face become disheartening. That’s why I like to be reminded of short stories of people who did not necessarily go through medical school, but were faced with many hardships. Some were even told they would never surmount to anything. And yet, they overcame the odds and proved everyone wrong.
I always used to ask myself why I entered medical school, what made me work so hard to get myself into something so arduous and challenging as this field demands. And when I stop to think about the reasons, I am reminded of why I do this and why I keep pushing forward.
Remember that it is not the type of challenges we must face, but how we deal with them that determine the outcome. So you had a bad test day, did not get the away rotation you wanted, or did not get “honors” in that one class you were hoping to do well in. So what? Do you really think your patients down the road are going to care what grade you made in neuroanatomy?
Nah, the only thing they are going to care about is how you treat them and how you can help them. Remind yourself that these minor hardships you are facing now will be worth it, for seeing your patients walking away whole, healed and happy ten years down the road is better than a temporary honor.
It’s all going to be worth it! Hang in there and hope you are encouraged by some of these stories of famous people who took the lemons in their life and made them into sweet lemonade.
J. K. Rowling: A single mother who was penniless, severely depressed and dependent on welfare while she was attending school and writing a novel. In fact, she was riding on a train when the idea of Harry Potter came into her mind. Not only is she now the famous author of the Harry Potter series, but she is also one of the richest women in the world due to her hard work, determination and perseverance to never give up.
Stephen King: When he wrote his first thriller, Carrie, it received over 30 rejections, causing King to throw the manuscript into the trash. His wife dug out the copy and told him to resubmit it. The rest is now history, with King having published hundreds of stories and becoming one of the bestselling authors of our time.
Stephen Spielberg: He was originally rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school elsewhere, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, he returned to school in 2002 to finish his work and receive his BA degree.
Oprah Winfrey: Not only did she face a rough and often abusive childhood, but Oprah also faced many career setbacks, including being fired as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
Michael Jordan: He was cut from a high school basketball team. But that didn’t stop him. In fact, he always says: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”