Delay is not Denial

“Delay is not denial”

These wise words from Ps Att Boshoff will forever be my motto!

I matriculated in 2015 with an average of 86.7% and achieved 8 distinctions in all 8 subjects. I was also the deputy head girl and throughout my school career I achieved gold at the South African Championships of Performing Arts. This seemed like the perfect recipe to secure my placement at medical school! But of course, life had to take me through the scenic route. The filter of an idealistic world was quickly removed when reality hit and a few rejection letters from various universities across South Africa came my way.

“Dear Raquel

We regret to inform you…"

These words had super magical powers that could reduce me to tears at any given time or day, despite the amount of times I read them. However, the burning passion was far too great, and giving up was not even an option; so, it was time for plan B.

I commenced my academic career in 2016 at the University of Pretoria where I studied BSc Biological Sciences. I had 6 months to prove myself as elite- grades would secure my placement in MBChB by the second semester, which would mean that I would start my medical journey halfway through 2016. But to my dismay it was not my breakthrough. I sat with eyes full of tears and a broken heart while reading the infamous words, “We regret to inform you…” But still, the passion was unquestionable and so it was time for plan C.

I continued my BSc in second semester where I majored in Human Physiology, Genetics and Psychology. I was not one for zoology, microbiology and all the other ‘ologies’, so the triple major was indeed the best option for me! Throughout the degree, I applied to all varsities in South Africa, yet again, rejection letters seemed to love my inbox.

During my final semester in 2018, the rejections started weighing down on me and my self-confidence and self-esteem deteriorated. This was undeniably the most challenging, yet pivotal, time in my life. I went through a major mental health downward slope where panic attacks became a norm. I questioned my decisions and battled with the choice of continuing the journey. It was so confusing -a blur. But the passion burned brighter, and my focus was still on the prize. I had a wonderful support system who helped me fight and regain my power! A HUGE shout out to my family and friends, especially ‘Meh,’ for getting me out of that rut! God truly blessed me with the best.

I graduated cum laude in 2018 and furthered my studies in BSc (Hons) Human Physiology, where I graduated in 2019. By the end of my postgraduate degree, I had received 20 rejection letters. But still, the passion did not stop burning! Certainly, nothing could deter me from my biggest aspiration – becoming a medical doctor. So, onto plan J (I think).

Truthfully, I was convinced that medicine was a distant dream and that I was about to embark on my career in research. However, through faith, I applied one more time. There was finally light at the end of the tunnel, as I received my first acceptance letter to MBChB on the 26th of January 2020 at exactly 21:58. Subsequently, I am currently a first-year medical student at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

In hindsight, I am grateful for the journey. I learned a great deal about myself, and through it all, I made beautiful friendships. I hope my story encourages you to follow your dreams, and remember, “Delay is not denial”

It is yours; it is only a matter of time.

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