Saturday, May 21, 2011

When the Scores Say You're Not Enough.

This post is a little text-heavier than usual, but it's about something important to me. Still, I know none of us have unlimited time, so if you're not my Mom, who's obligated to read every word, you can get the highlights with the bold and colored sentences.

What do you do when the results don't match your efforts?

This is the analysis of my first practice Boards, taken April 12, about 5 weeks ago. To make it simple, good scores have blue lines on the RIGHT side.

Mine, clearly, are on the left:


This was a demoralizing thing to see 5 weeks ago, and I don't want my Boards breakdown to look like this. 

In fact, it can't look like this, I would have to take it again. Good thing I'm studying just as hard as I possibly can. 

Thank you SO much for all the supportive comments on my whining about Boards studying. It's wonderful to know I have so many people pulling for me that I can't even see. 

I've been getting through and working really hard this week, but right around 7 this evening I hit quite a wall and I'm glad it's Sabbath. Time for a day of rest.

The Boards countdown is now 7 days, or actually 6, not counting the day of.

I feel like it needs a name, like B-day, but that just makes me think birthday. U-Day for USMLE? S-Day for Step 1?

What about P-D-E-M-M-D-T-A Day? For "Please-Don't-Ever-Make-Me-Do-This-Again Day"?

I know my life will be full of other Boards and tests and evaluations and recertifications etc. for a very long time, but something about this just feels like such a big deal. Not so much for my career. I know that even if I don't do that well, as long as I pass I'll get where I'm going eventually, even if it means an interlude for residency in rural Montana instead of my dreams of Oregon Health Sciences.

It's more about how I'll be able to see myself, my brain, my ability to learn and all the work I've put into the past two years. I was never the kid who was good at finding things to like about my talents that were unmeasured by grades. I was great at feeling proud because I worked hard and got exactly the grades I wanted. I wasn't particularly artistic, athletic or musical, and I was very result-focused. These past two years have really challenged me to find other strengths, other sources of self-worth, because at the medical school level, I can no longer think of myself as excellent.

In fact academically, I feel I've become  rather completely mediocre, despite working as hard as I can.  


And I will freely admit, sometimes no matter how much I know there's more to my life, these failures feel like the whole world. 


What else is there when my life's been primarily defined by academic achievement?

The question becomes, Who are you if you take away what you thought you were good at?


________________________________________________


Pass or fail, medical school is helping me form an identity that relies on traits, passions and joy that isn't meant to be quantified by acheivement.

I'm a fiercely protective and proud sister.

I am completely unashamed of my rather loud and squeaky laugh.

I love people fearlessly. My friends, my family. Sometimes that means my heart hurts because I miss someone, but it's the way it should be.

I love making health fun, and I care enormously about the health of those around me. Medicine's where I feel at home, but I know I can find a way to feel helpful with or without an M.D.

God made me perfectly, and that includes my brain.

__________________________________________________

And I just couldn't resist (although it may be categorized as achievement) 

I make an awesome bowl of oatmeal:




__________________________________________________

No matter what the result, I plan to come back to this post in 7 weeks when I get my scores, to remind myself how little influence they truly ought to have.

Whether the scores say we're smart or not, they will never define any of us. Not them, or our jobs, or our degrees, or the number of successful parties we've hosted, or loaves of bread that have risen, or races we've run, days with clear skin, pounds lost or notes played in tune on our musical instruments.

We're worth more than the sum of achievements, 

So tell the scores to shove it.

2 comments:

heywhoyesme said...

The irony of me coming across this post 5 years later after it was penned (or typed😁) and one day before my step 1 results are to be released is enormous. I enjoyed reading it and thanks for the much needed perspective.

heywhoyesme said...

The irony of me coming across this post 5 years later after it was penned (or typed😁) and one day before my step 1 results are to be released is enormous. I enjoyed reading it and thanks for the much needed perspective.

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