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What Repeating 1st semester taught me!?!

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Here’s what happened my 1st semester of medical school. I Failed. But what happened after was much greater than I expected.

I began my journey in May of 2019. Before that, I was in MERP*, so I thought I was more than capable of handling medical school. I started MERP, December of 2018 and finished March of 2019. (Check out previous post about my Merp experience)

As 1st semester began, I was extremely excited. I was finally in medical school after years of hard work. I received my white coat and was truly mesmerized. Before my first mini exam I was terrified. I didn’t know how the questions would be presented or how taking an exam on the computer would be. Sitting outside the test room I felt my heart racing. Doing my best to keep calm and avoid paying attention others. Once called into the test room, we were seated next to and in front of each other. I never took an exam where I could see anyone's face in front of me. I remember trying so hard not to be distracted by the person's facial expression as the were also stressed. I focused on the screen and blocked everyone around me. I left feeling uncertain how I did. It wasn’t the greatest, but I passed.

However, my second mini I did horrible. This was the first exam I ever cried over. I felt the pressure of myself and my family to be the first generation doctor. After, a night curled up in a ball in bed. I calculated my grade to see how much I needed in the next 3 exams. I don’t remember what I needed, but if I had a chance to pass I had to do something different. I went for tutoring and back to how I studied in MERP. It helped, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. My hard work didn’t pay off. I felt I failed myself. I knew I could do better.

Why wasn’t my hard work showing up in my grades? I allowed upper semester student's studying ways influence my studying methods. They had great ideas and offered what helped them, but what works for them didn’t work for me.

Even though, I failed the semester there was some hope I could move on to second semester. I was eligible to take the remediation* exam. So, I went back to Barbados a week early to take the exam a day before school started.

Sunday night, I lied in bed wrapped in blankets, logged in, downloaded my exam grade, and all was silent. There was nothing I could do, but get up the next morning and register as semester one student, all over again.

I didn’t want to get out of bed. I stared at the ceiling contemplating getting up. I tried not to talk to people that day. Avoid at all cost! When the registrar person asked, “What semester are you?” It burned with every fiber of my being to say, “semester one”. I tried to say it as low as possible, yet she yelled, “O, semester one!”. “Um, yes”

As time went on, the sting stung a little less. I have friends who supported me and who I can count on to lift me up.

When I took the first mini again I was confident and ready. I was wrong. I did worse than the semester before. Something had to be done. I knew what I had to do. Be me.

I had to stay true to who I am. Make a plan and stick to it as much as I could. Have room to change, but make sure I got everything done. I woke up everyday at 5:30am, got to school at 6:30-7am and stood studying until 8-9pm. Made sure not to study at home unless there was a test the next day. I made sure to not veer off much. I made sure to listen to me. I listened to my body, heart, and mind. Not studying at home gave me a space to relax, unwind, and clear my racing thoughts. ( Harder nowadays )

I reminded myself everyday why I am there. I Reminded myself that the thought of repeating was never a question, but why green scrubs?( We had to wear scrubs for Anatomy lab that was all computerized)

Last Day to wear them, again!😁

Repeating first semester was a whirlwind. Criticized by some. Encouraged by most. It was not easy. It was mentally and physically exhausting. I am humbled for my experience. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of being a doctor more intently and with long lasting knowledge. What I learned about myself I will forever appreciate. I learned I am willing to go through anything to become a doctor I’m meant to be. I learned, that to do great things I have to listen to my heart, mind, and body. Repeating, showed me that the support of people who actually care about you is all you need to keep pushing.

Going to medical school is a journey not for the faint of heart. It’s for people with drive, love, and compassion. Isn’t that what makes a good doctor great?!

To Everyone, who has failed a test, semester, or year. It’s okay. You’re not alone. You’re all meant for greatness. You will learn so much about yourself when you decide not to give up! 💖🤗😁🎉I'm rooting for us!!

*MERP- a program organized by Ross and AUC for students who they believe have potential. These people may have been out of school for awhile or might have not had the best performing MCAT score(Me).

*Remediation Exam- A final, before next semester starts for each semester student who is no more then 5% below MPS (Minimum passing score). Pass with 70 or more. Eligibility does change so check with school.

P.S. I’m current studying for step 1. Keeping a schedule has been a true challenge. Keeping my home stress free this past year has been also hard.

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