So my first semester of medical school is over. I’m back home in London for the holidays and it’s been great getting to see my family and friends, especially as I hadn’t been home since I left in September. Before I came back though a requirement for the course was to write a reflection which I’ve decided to share with you guys:
My first semester at medical school hasn’t been the greatest. Having done an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree, I’m trained to go into great depth. Whereas I’ve learned that medicine, at least at my current stage, is more about breadth than depth. This is something I’ve really struggled to do and I find that my learning isn’t as efficient because of it. However I’m getting better with it. Aside from the academic difficulties, I’ve experienced social difficulties related to adapting to life in medicine in general.
Despite wanting to study medicine since before I was 10 years old, I always doubted myself. Whether I was good enough? Whether I could? Whether it’s really what I wanted to do? What if it’s too hard? What if I fail? I’ve survived an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree. But I have never questioned my abilities more than I have since arriving here at Warwick Medical School. There are days when I still do think I was admitted by accident and I don’t have what it takes. Especially when I spend too much time studying a topic in greater detail than is perhaps necessary.
My bad experiences have been associated with my own self-doubt and days when I’ve felt particularly down because the pressure and the weight of it all threatened to engulf me. But the good experiences far outweigh the “bad”. The benefit I guess, of having been riddled with so much self-doubt, is it has forced me to take a really good look at myself. Both as a person and as a medical student. I now actively engage in mindfulness which has proven to be invaluable. Rather than focusing on the negatives, I am choosing to focus on the positive things in my life. Aside from identifying the academic areas that need improving, my social life has improved. I’ve made several good friends who have been an invaluable source of endless support, I have joined clubs and societies that are of great importance to me. I feel like I’m in an extremely positive environment. Most importantly, I feel like I’ve found somewhere I belong.
I have learned that I really do want to be here and there is no other career I could envisage pursuing besides medicine. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I can do this. A quote I once heard “If you think you can do it then that’s great. Go for it and don’t stop until you do. But if you think you can’t, you’re probably right”. This just shows me that my biggest obstacle is my own self-doubt. Everyone struggles and faces difficulties. I’m no different. But if I continue to doubt myself, then my struggles will forever remain struggles.
I feel the only thing I could have done in this situation would have been to not doubt myself. But that’s far easier said than done. Also, I think I could have spoken to people about my issues earlier and possibly resolved them earlier.
Now I’m planning to review blocks 1 & 2 over the Christmas holiday. But if ever I find myself in a similar situation, I think I would read this reflection again. I’ll remind myself of why I’m here at medical school and how I got here. Everything I’ve accomplished along the way. Everything I’ve been through. The good, the bad. Everything.
Happy holidays everyone 🙂