The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Monday, 6 June 2016


Today is June 6 2016 and tomorrow is my first OSCE examination at medical school. 

I haven't felt able to write recently and I'm not sure why. My mind feels like it is racing at a hundred miles an hour. I have sat in front of my laptop lots of times, trying to type out my feelings and write something humorous and entertaining, but it has felt impossible. 

I have been working hard, but it doesn't feel like it is enough. I feel inadequate. Medicine is a vocation I have wanted to pursue for a long time, and I still do. This year has simultaneously made me question my reasons to do it, as well as reaffirm my passion to become a doctor. I've had doctors make me feel rubbish and others who praise my skills, and told me I will be a valuable contribution to the profession. 

Failure is not something I am used to, and I suppose that goes for most medical students. I don't think I can put into words how scared I am of failing this year. I failed both of my written exams last year and retook them. It honestly pains me to admit that. Fortunately I had approved mitigating circumstances and was allowed to do the retake. Somehow a year has rolled by, and I am in the thick of revision and filling out mitigating circumstances forms. 

Doing that retake last year was the biggest shock. I was at my lowest. But when I found out I had passed, and in the top quartile, I literally screamed with joy. At that moment I told myself I would never get into that position again, I am never going through the miserable process of doing retakes, not to mention the embarrassment. A year later, I don't know if I have done enough. 

I know that I have worked much harder this year, but that isn't difficult when I think of how little I did in my first year. Now that I am even more passionate about medicine, it hurts even more to think that I am not good enough. It feels horrible. I try to take the advice I give my peers: that I wouldn't have been put on this course if I wasn't capable of completing it. But it can be very hard to take your own advice, and we often are our worst critics. 

I really hope that I don't feel like this in the run up to every medical school exam. If I am dedicating so much of my life to medicine, I don't want it to take away my self-esteem and confidence in the process. I hope that at some point I will feel more comfortable and accepting of the challenges put in front of me, and that I will relish them like I used to before beginning uni. As much as I want more than anything to be a doctor, I'm not prepared for it to take away my happiness or sanity. 


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