Some people have told me I'm a "bad ass". Others have told me that I'm confident. One time...one time like for real- I was told... wait for it-
that I looked like a combination of Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence.
One of three things just happened:
1. Eye roll. (if my grandmother is reading this I vote that as her move)
2. Jaw drop. (unbelievable I know, this whole time I reminded you of someone and now you've figured it out)
3. You've shut the computer because you can't believe how arrogant I am.
It was just a dream really. For a time, and obviously in this moment, I secretly wanted the latter to be true. Who wouldn't? ScarJo has won the sexiest woman alive twice. (how does she continue to wake up in the morning) Jennifer Lawrence won sexiest woman in the world in 2014. One night I took this to the next level after getting a confidence boost with one too many margaritas. I went to Facebook with a public post, polling myself against these women- "Which one do I look like more??" I asked. Neither- Sarahbeth- neither.
The thing is, I want how people think of me, see me, to sometimes be how I see myself. It isn't "sexy" to be fearful- but the truth is I have lots of fears. The fear of words is: HippopotomonstrosesquiPedaliophobia - I think I have a fear of words.
No it isn't exactly a fear of long words, but words none the less.
I first realized this was a fear of mine in medical school. Our performance in school boils down to tests. What are tests? Well, they are words on a computer screen. So much anxiety is centered around those words that they string together in the form of a question and the answers they list as options. What if you don't choose the right answer? Which really means, what if you don't choose the right words?
This fear of mine is stupid. I've thought about it many times. Am I really afraid of the words? No. I do not have nightmares of letters and words. But I have nightmares of failing. Of not passing a test. I have night sweats and lack of sleep leading up to an exam because of the ridiculous amount of pressure I put on myself.
My first medical school exam I really thought was a joke. See, you're such a professional student that the school creates a calendar of all your classes, mandatory events, tests and syncs them to your iCal. For my first test, they blocked out 1-5pm on our calendar. I literally laughed and said out loud, "That's a joke". WRONG.
I was in that room on my computer from 1-5pm answering 150 questions for over 50 lectures worth of material that I learned over the last six weeks. I LITERALLY nodded off during my exam because I was just giving up. No I did not pass that first test. Actually half of us didn't pass. For weeks leading up to the exam they told us we wouldn't. So why would we? We knew we were going to fail- so why not?
The second test I failed. Afterwards, I challenged myself on how much pizza I could eat from Dominos. I missed a mandatory event the next day claiming I was ill and proceeded to not leave the house. Two days later I chatted with someone in academic affairs, who very kindly said I needed to see someone. For the rest of the year I saw either a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
No I'm not crazy, but I 100% support counseling. I don't think you need to be crazy to see a counselor, in fact I think it shows you are smart. See I needed help figuring out what I needed help with. I learned that a lot of medical students view exams as this "lion chasing after you". A test is not a lion. I've faced many lions, lions we aren't going to discuss just yet. Which is why I was am so angry with myself that I have a fear over something so stupid! Of words on a screen! Of failure!
In order to learn we have to fail.
In order to learn we have to fail. In order to learn we have to fail.
The word fail, is not a scary word. In general, failing is a good thing. We want to fail, so we can be better. So we can learn. So we cannot fail next time. For me to become a faster cyclist
I have to go out and ride with people who are faster. No, I am not as fast as them, so they beat me every time. That could be considered failing, but thats what will make me faster.
Medical school is full of exams, but there is one in particular that is of utmost importance- Step 1. Instead of just a licensing exam, deeming you fit to move on to working with people, it determines your future. I went into medical school thinking I could be any doctor I wanted to be. I do not come from a family of doctors, I come from a family whose parents didn't go to college. So maybe it wasn't that absurd of a thought, thinking thats how it worked. False. Step 1 quantifies the type of doctor you will be.
To study for this test you have to immerse yourself to test like questions. You take tons of "blocks" which are essentially tests. The average (which they compute from everyone else using these questions) is 63%. Which to anyone that has taken a test ever- is a D. But 63% is good. Thats where you want to be! If you are scoring that in this program it is a reflection that you'll pass the actual exam. Thats the life I'm living right now. Trying everyday to be more than 63%.
Putting myself out here like this is very risky because eventually someone who I want to hire me might read this and not like what I'm saying. However, I only think challenging life circumstances are worth going through if what you've learned can help someone else.
I am a wannabe racer, gunnabe doctor. Yet I have taken a year off because I couldn't face a test, Step 1. Those words are so hard to read. There is some backstory, but honestly a big reason why I'm where I am is because I did not believe where I could go. I'm still a medical student. I just pushed my life back a year. Until November 15th I have to wake up daily and study for this test. I have to wake up everyday and tell myself I'm going to fail today, so I don't fail tomorrow.
Now, whose ready to fail today?