This naïve little girl had it plastered in her mind that she was going to be a doctor. She grew up to become a hardworking student .I can confidently say that she consistently did well, but that does not mean she was the best. She allowed her drive to develop into an “overachiever complex” where even in getting a B would stress about why it wasn't an A. For the most part this was a good driving force but this mentality disallowed her to celebrate her achievements. She constantly felt less than and was never good enough; even though to the outside world she was close to perfect on paper.
My rejection story : My journey into science you can say is quite cliché. A hardworking student that thought the best way to channel her love for biology was through medicine.
I applied to 4 medical schools. The application process was long and tedious, but this was something I really wanted. Having to submit on that deadly October deadline months before anyone else didn’t help. The worst part was, although I submitted early I didn't start getting responses till after Christmas.
My peers were getting offers left right and centre just weeks after they had applied. Slowly I started getting responses...REJECTIONS. Devastation was an understatement of what i was feeling.
What was I going to tell my parents? Being a child of West African Decent the pressure was immense. In my mind I had to reach this unattainable standard of greatness not only to meet my parents standards they had in their minds but most importantly MY OWN. I did well in school, so to my parents who didn’t fully understand how competitive the application process was took a while to understand how their “smart” child got rejected. They threw solutions all over the place, but then I didn’t want to hear a thing. In my mind I had FAILED IN LIFE ( i am quite dramatic). Had I already failed at the age of 18? Had everything I worked and studied for gone in vain? I was completely broken. Back then becoming a Dr was where my future had to go, anything else was a defeat. I hadn’t done proper research into science careers, so I had no clue what my alternatives were. It honestly just sucked.
Before you apply for medicine, I would strongly advise to look into other courses and have a true feel of what the science world has to offer. You never know what you will find. Read the course descriptions and be thorough.
The NHS careers website has beautiful descriptions of potential career paths that could be of interest; also check out my other blog posts with students and professionals currently working and studying in different life science fields.
What will you do if you get rejected?
If you do get rejected, do not feed yourself the narrative that you aren’t good enough. This narrative helps no one. You are a very smart individual that has only had one minor setback. This life is a funny thing and sometimes what you have planned isn't what is best for you.
If you are anything like me, your only plan B might be the 5th option you fill out in your UCAS form. You have no intention of actually doing it but fill it out because you have to. I believe if you are academically strong, academic disappointment may not be something that you have come across. Up until this point you were unstoppable. The rejection will weigh heavy on you and that is completely okay. It's how you deal with this rejection that makes a difference.
You may still want to continue down the medicine pathway and if so, graduate medicine is a still a route you can take. Researching science careers is very important. If you want to get into graduate medicine, you do need good results,so studying a degree you are genuinely interested in will only work in your favor.
From experience, your motivations for medicine should always stem from the goodness of your heart and wanting to serve humanity. When I say serve, studying medicine is a sacrifice to other sectors of your life and it should be a sacrifice you are willing to take. Every fibre of your being should want to do medicine, you will need that motivation throughout the years of studying. IT SHOULD NEVER BE FOR THE MONEY!.
Patient care is much bigger than a single professional. It takes an extremely diverse network of individuals to deliver excellent patient care.I came into first year without properly knowing what medical physiology was, thinking I was just going to get a degree and then straight away apply for medicine again. My attitude was not positive, i only considered my degree as a means to an end instead of starting with the aim to enjoy it for what it was .By the end of my first year, i had learnt so much more about myself and life sciences that being a Dr was no longer my benchmark for success. Now at the end of my second year, I can confidently say I am much more aware of my course and where my future will take me. I am probably going to work in some lab, but this is something I am excited about.
Looking back at my rejection , it allowed me to grow and change my perspective on life.