1/8 a doctor.
This post has quite literally been a month in the making, but for some reason it didn't feel right to post just yet. Anyways, ya girl is 1/8 (and some change) a doctor!
I made it through my first semester of med school and I lowkey can't believe it. It was quite ghetteaux there for a while, but I made it through by the grace of Big G. I've passed all my classes so far and I have an optimistic outlook for this current semester. I'm in a new module now and I've had my first set of exams, so I decided to sit down and finally write this post.
I used my winter break to reflect on fall semester and set some goals for this one. I thought once January came, I'd hit the ground running. I was wrong - the ground hit me instead. The first couple weeks of the semester were rough. Jumping right back in work mode wasn't as easy of a switch as I thought it would be, I'm in another complex module, and I didn't rest the way I needed to over my break. I honestly felt defeated up until like a day and a half ago. I was feeling like I'd never be able to somehow pull myself out of a place of just barely passing. I also didn't think I'd be able to do well in school and still manage to be more than just a med student, If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen an update I posted to my story talking about how rough it's been on me lately. I didn't feel ready for my exams. I was stressed about school and life stuff. I'm having some physical issues that I'm trying to deal with. I wasn't sleeping well. And my skin was going crazy. It was a rough week for the kid.
That changed this weekend. After my exams, I decided to take this weekend off from being a med student so that I could rest and regroup the way I needed. I was nervous about it at first, but I'm so glad I did. I got some rest, got to pamper myself some, and I've had a chance to get my head together. Outside of my academic goals for this semester, one of my biggest goals is to feel like I have a life outside of my med school responsibilities. I want to be able to do more socially, with extracurriculars, building my brand, and just taking better care of myself across the board. The first thing I know I need to do is establish a working routine, and this is gonna be my first full week trying that out, starting today.
I was listening to a podcast called Blessed + Bossed Up and one of the things the host said really stuck with me. She said we need to shift our focus to prioritizing instead of focusing on balance. I've heard this before in another way, but it hit different this time. Maybe because I'm a real adult now and not just college grown. Maybe because I've really been going through it. I don't know. It just hit different. Moving forward, that's my goal. School is most definitely my first priority right now, but that doesn't mean I can't make room for other things and enjoy the other aspects of my life. My classmates and plenty of other med students do it, so why not me?
To close out this post, I just want to share some of the biggest lessons I've learned so far in my medical school journey.
Giving myself grace is a hell of a lot easier said than done. If you've been around this blog for a while, then you know I'm really type A and I'm my biggest critic. Being in med school has magnified this to the nth degree. My mentors and friends tell me literally all the time, but giving myself grace is one of my biggest challenges. Because I am so type A, I really struggle with finding the balance between pushing myself and pacing myself. I have this constant feeling that I should be doing more or doing better. When I add that to the thoughts I have of feeling lazy when I take my foot off the gas, we get the picture of me the last two weeks. Worn out, unmotivated, and having breakdowns in my shower from feeling so overwhelmed.
Comparing myself to others is one of the worst things for me to be doing right now. Whether I'm comparing myself to my classmates, other med students, the med student influencers on Instagram, or even people who aren't in med school, it never ends well for me. Ever. It always circles back to me feeling like I'm not doing enough with my life at a ripe 23. I see classmates and other med students who appear to be doing exceptionally well and seem to have everything figured out or other people around my age living their best lies while I'm living my stressed life, and it makes me question myself. I end up beating myself up and it's just not a pretty picture. I'm working on this every day, but some days are better than others.
Perspective is everything. This is the biggie. My prophyte and mentor told me this right after I started school, but it makes more and more sense the longer I'm on this journey. Impostor Syndrome is real and I doubt myself a lot. Way more than I should. Sometimes I try to figure out how I even got accepted to med school on my first try because for a while, I really didn't think I was going to. Whenever I feel these feelings creeping up or I feel myself questioning if I should really be here, I have to remind myself of this one thing. Out of the literal thousands of people who applied for one of the 110 seats in my class at my medical school, I was chosen for one. I have to remind myself that I didn't get accepted on a fluke or to meet some diversity quota. I was chosen on purpose for a purpose, so I need to carry myself like it. I deserve to be here just as much as anyone else in my class. No matter what our paths were to get here, what our MCAT scores were like, or what our life experiences were, we're in the same class and we're all going to have that MD in a little over three years.
I don't have it all figured out and I don't know if I ever will, but I appreciate y'all coming on this journey with me anyway. Your support really does mean a lot to me. Talk to y'all later.
- brena b, (1/8) md.