Running my own race, at my own pace

Updated: May 24

I am writing this blog, more as a reminder to myself, but in doing so, I truly hope you will gain something from it.

A pivotal moment happened a few days ago in the Anatomy Dissection Hall. It was my second practical tutorial as a second-year medical student, and a buzz of excitement and overwhelm ran thick in the air (amongst the potent smell of formalin). Our tutorial was based on bones, and even though I had my notes and all four textbooks, I still felt very much unprepared. We were placed in groups of five, and together we had to figure out this tutorial so that we could hand in our work with our list of answers by the end. To our advantage, we had two amazing girls in our group who had well prepared for this specific tutorial. Needless to say, we were guided pretty well by our colleagues A and B.

For reference, I have completed two degrees prior to my medical acceptance, and as a result, I have been exempted for some of my modules. Keep in mind, however, that Anatomy is not one of them as I have never done it before.

In the hustle and bustle of attempting to complete and grasp the tutorial in the given time period, I found my mind running away with countless thoughts as the feeling of anxiety slowly crept in. Colleagues A and B were on a roll, and any question slightly trickier to me seemed perfectly fine to them. In a single moment, I started questioning my capabilities.

“Surely having prior varsity experience should give me the upper hand?.. I should be the one to know this.”

Doubt filled my mind and all I took from the tutorial was that I do not know enough. That I was not going to succeed as well as I would have hoped in medical school. If colleagues A and B, with no other tertiary experience knew more than me, how am I, a two-degree holding candidate, going to make it? I felt beyond stupid…

In hindsight, that entire experience stemmed from comparison where comparison should not have even existed. Yes, technically, I am more qualified but that means nothing in my new environment, where we are all faced with new information.

I realised that I put so much pressure on my self to prove my “worthiness” of being a medical student. That having prior knowledge should automatically place me at an advantage, and if I do not feel as though I am performing well ‘enough’, or if I do not know ‘enough’, then I have failed myself.

I now understand that having two degrees does not position me towards the front of the medical race; that I am not forced to win the race at a record-breaking pace. All I am required to do is to utilise my experiences to run my own race, to the best of my capabilities, at my very own pace.

I can be anything, but I cannot be everything. And that is fine because I do not have to be everything.

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