Why Ross? 2 – Fear of Failure

It is always awesome to receive comments from readers (especially encouragement from pals back home [thanks, JJ!]) but by far, my favorites are the ones from people who stumbled across this blog who also want to become doctors. I think we share a special sort of kinship because just last year, I was exactly that person – anxiously waiting for interviews, filling out applications, lamenting my sub-par MCAT score and trying to figure out what I’d do with my life if I couldn’t be a doctor. And now here I am, a little bit closer to one of my most cherished dreams, scuffed and battle-worn from the first set of challenges but still on the road, still training, preparing for the next phase of the war. I guess it’s more like a conquest, kind of like my favorite sort of video game. At each stage, there are obstacles (some minor, some major) as well as rings or treasures that you need to collect. You pick up skills along the way and these prepare you to fight the boss at the end of the stage. I guess I’ve just cleared stage one and fortunately, I didn’t have to repeat it (so…I guess I get a time bonus?). Still several levels to go, but I’m going to beat this game.

I received a comment yesterday that I just had to respond to, especially this bit:

There are a lot of people that want to become doctors but are too scared to fail…like me.”

At the risk of sounding like my dad, I’ll say what he has often told me: never be afraid to fail. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn more than once and each time, it’s been hard. The best thing about Ross is that it gives people who have had setbacks and disappointments or failures in the past a chance to pursue their dream. They sure don’t make it easy but then, nothing worth striving for has ever been easy, has it?

On the transport from the airport to campus, a third semester shared his ‘Why Ross?’ story – he’d had a decent GPA and a good MCAT score but for some reason he’d been rejected time and time again by admissions committees. After 3 rounds of the admissions cycle, he took a regular day job and decided to start preparing for the DAT; maybe he could become a dentist instead? And then a friend told him about Ross and he decided to apply and now, he’s nearly halfway to becoming what he always wanted to be. Apparently, he also met his wife in the interim so that’s nifty for him too.

In the admissions game, each ‘no’ feels like a failure but don’t let a ‘no’ deter you from becoming what you want to be. Be honest with yourself: have I worked as hard as I can? Have I explored every avenue available to me? If the on-shores don’t open their doors, try applying to DO schools, offshore schools or postbacs with linkage. There is more than one way to get to where you want to be. Two other things you need to make clear to yourself: Do you really want to become a doctor? Yes? Okay. Now, are you really willing to do whatever it takes? Endure another year of the admissions cycle? Apply to 15 more schools? Live in a “third world” country for 16 months? Yes? Okay, then. Keep trying. Failure is scary (and painful and heartbreaking) but even so, don’t let it make you too scared to keep trying.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2nd Semester, med school, thanks

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