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I always knew I wanted to go to medical school…or at least I thought I did…

 Hi guys! Thank you for joining me on this crazy blogging journey. If you’re new here, find out why I decided to re-brand my blog in my previous welcome post! Otherwise, keep reading to find out what I was up to during my VERY VERY long hiatus from the blogosphere!

I’ve been pursuing medicine my whole life. Even from a young age, if anyone ever asked, I would say I wanted to be a doctor. What kind you wonder? The specialties that appealed to me changed many times throughout the years, with my latest goals being either a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Some of you who might be on the medical school journey yourself might be thinking “WOW! Those are really hard specialties to get into!”, and you would be absolutely right in thinking that. But to me, it didn’t matter, because those are the specialties that I thought would make me the happiest, and even now, I still think that if I were to continue to pursue medicine, those would still be my goals. However, this blog post isn’t about how you can study for MCATS, help on your applications, or about discussing interview tips. If that’s what you’re looking for, there are SO MANY other resources for you, and if you really need help, just reach out and I’ll definitely point you to some good resources! No, this blog post is really for those of you who feel or might have felt, even at all remotely, that maybe this path really isn’t for you. For whatever reason, maybe you’re having second thoughts, maybe your parents like the idea of you being a doctor more than you do, maybe you’re not even on the medical school route and you’re just lost, that’s fine too! I hope that in sharing my struggles in the past few years, I can help or inspire even just one person from feeling how I did. 

Where to start? Like I said, my pursuit of becoming a doctor started from a young age and every decision I made, from what schools I attended to what extra curriculars I did, all revolved around my ultimate goal of getting accepted into medical school. Things really started getting put into motion during high school– I purposefully chose to enroll in as many AP classes as I could handle, participated in multiple school clubs, volunteered after school and on weekends, and continued this cycle into college and beyond. Now I must say that even though I’ve always excelled in school and truly have a great love for learning, I don’t particularly enjoy institutional education at all. Some people love that classroom environment and really thrive when they’re at school, but nothing bores me more than sitting in a classroom for 8 hours only to come home and be a slave to my books and lecture material. Those years were a struggle to say the least. Besides not feeling like I fit in at school, I struggled with a passionate dislike of the school system mostly because I felt like it was so impersonal and based more on test scores and statistics than actual learning. I actually had an academic counselor in college tell me that I might as well give up on my pursuits of medical school purely because I wasn’t a biology major because in her mind, it would be too difficult for me to finish the vigorous medical school requirements with good grades in addition to my chosen major. Now I don’t know about you all, but having someone tell me that I would fail, especially when it was this person’s job to help me succeed, didn’t sit right with me. Not being one to give up or be told what to do, I spent my remaining years in college literally fighting for classes, working my butt off, and trying to prove everyone wrong. I was able to graduate within 4 years on the dean’s honor role and finished my major requirements and all my medical school prerequisites as well. I had done it! Little did I know, I had only achieved a small victory.

I spent the next year prepping and taking my MCAT (I took the test twice) and gaining clinical experience through volunteering at local hospitals and organizations. As much as I hate studying, I’m very disciplined and goal driven, so I saw prepping for the MCAT as a challenge to myself. I studied for 3 months straight each time I took the test, starting from 8AM all the way until 8 or 9PM every single day, Monday through Saturday. Although I learned SO much about myself during this time and am so grateful for the experience, it was one of the most torturous time in my life and I really never want to ever go through that again. LOL!!  After 6 months plus of studying daily and enduring the MCAT twice, I really felt as if I had lost myself– I had forgotten all the things I used to enjoy doing and it was during that time that I put my blog on the backburner and started shying away from social media without much of an explanation for my followers.  (sorry guys!)

I spent the next couple years accumulating more clinical experience as I began to prepare my applications. I applied to medical school 3 application cycles in a row–over 100 applications, thousands of dollars, and countless tears. The first year, I will admit that my applications were slightly rushed. I didn’t realize the importance of really getting those applications submitted early and thought, “Why? The deadlines are in December.” (So to those of you still reading this post and are still on the journey, take this as your warning. GET THOSE APPLICATIONS IN ASAP!!!!) Needless to say, that first year didn’t end up very well for me, and looking back I really set myself up for failure by not submitting my applications early. Always one to learn from my mistakes, the next 2 application cycles, I really poured my heart and soul into my essays, submitted my applications early, and by the end I was beyond proud of them. Each subsequent year, I thought to myself, “This is it! This is going to be my year!,” only to be disappointed yet again…

And this is where my story becomes a little difficult to tell—For me, I became very frustrated after 2 unsuccessful attempts at attending medical school and yet here I was a third time. What’s the worst that could happen–another rejection? At this point, I had received and read so many rejection letters, that I really no longer cared about them anymore. I learned to detach myself and really started looking introspectively. On paper, I was the perfect candidate—I had great test scores, my grades were awesome, I was very well rounded with my extra curricular activities, and had THOUSANDS of hours of clinical experience, yet I still wasn’t able to gain acceptance into a school. It was like being at war with myself. If not medical school then what? I had worked my entire life for a goal that seemed so close, yet so infinitely far away. Half of me struggled with thoughts of what I would even do if medical school didn’t work out. I wasn’t one to have a backup plan and I rejected everyone’s suggestions to try Dental, Pharmacy, or PA school, much to the dismay of my Grandmother. The other half of myself also realized I had “given up” the things that I did FOR ME and my happiness. I gave up my blog, other extra curriculars, and even relationships to pursue something greater for my future, and I was severely unhappy. 

 The exact moment I had an epiphany was actually during my last medical school interview when one of the interviewers asked me “You know when you attend medical school you will have to give up blogging right?”  While I hadn’t blogged or even posted a photo in months, in my mind my blog was still alive, it was just in a dormant phase while I figured out my medical school situation, but to give it up entirely? That was not something I wanted to do or was even willing to do, because at the end of the day, my blog was one of the few things I ever did in my life that was solely for me and my enjoyment. I realized in that moment that I had sacrificed so much of myself to pursue a goal that was quite literally making me miserable. Not only did I forget parts of myself, but I didn’t even like many parts of the person I was becoming.

After that last interview, something in me sparked. I started to make choices for ME and I really just wanted to work towards being happy, whatever that meant. I made the decision that if I did get accepted into any schools this year, that I would most likely defer the acceptance to the following year to keep my options open. Medical school as a backup plan? WHO DOES THAT?! Me. I really wanted to give myself enough time to really consider if this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, because lets face it—doctors have the highest rate of suicide among any other profession and I’m sure we all know someone who’s gone down that path or a similar path who is completely dissatisfied with their current life, even though they have more than anyone could ask for.  I wanted to start living life on my time, not a time table that society, friends, or family expected of me.

I started reading more about self improvement and realized that my goals  and values have always been the same. I want to help others, take care of the people I love, travel the world, and ultimately I really just want to be happy (having nice things along the way wouldn’t hurt either 😉).

So here I am. I’m not sure where I’m headed just quite yet, I just know that I have life goals that I’m working towards every day. I look back on the last decade of my life especially, and see all the struggles that I endured as truly a blessing in disguise. The reason for this post is to let those of you who might be in a similar predicament know that IT’S OK to be unsure of your future and it’s definitely OK to close chapters of your life and even to walk away from something that no longer serves you or helps you to be the best version of you!! I’ve traveled through what seems like a very long, dark tunnel, and finally feel like I have come out of the other side, and you know what? It feels AMAZING! I’m now focusing on the things that make me happy which include blogging again (yay!!!), growing personally, engaging in meaningful relationships (which also includes all of you whether it be through here, in person, or through other social media), and traveling more.

Anyhow, I wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who have been on this journey with me, through my hiatus, and to all the new readers and followers as well. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share my story with you. And really, If any of you are or have struggled or are struggling through the same kind of journey, feelings, experiences, I’d love to hear about them! Shoot me an email, send me a DM on social media, tweet me, I’d love to hear your stories!

Until next time,

Minou

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