My question for you today is ( like always :P I know )
What do you think is your greatest asset to you? Your looks? Your grades? Your wealth? Your connections? Your accessories? What is it? Something material?
Something which is immaterial which no one can ever take from you. Ever.
Something that is so priceless that you can't even begin to imagine. Do you the answer yet? If not, read this to find out what a teacher had to say about it.
Sometimes strange things happen which are unexpected , but leave a lasting impact on your life forever. This is one of my those treasured moments where I discovered there is always more to us then we believe. This is something I will never forget. Whenever I fall down or lose way I am going to look this up and read it and realize that I have all that it takes. So do you. Each one of you.
From the time I recall; getting into med school was my one of my greatest dreams and I always thought that getting in was the toughest part. Once I get in, it would be all a bed of roses. Like not that studying would be easy but there would be nothing stopping me from my goal, right?
Turns out I was mistaken. Getting in easy now actually seemed the easiest part. The joke's on me. I never thought after getting in something which might seem very trivial to the majority, might become so big a hurdle for me to get across that I actually in the first time felt like questioning my dream in the first place and wondering if I could even do it? Whatever made me think I could? Ever?
So. Well. I faced the all the usual issues of fitting into a new place, not knowing anyone at all and having to make new friends and trying to fit in and being afraid somewhere I never might. Feeling lonely and not knowing what was actually going on. It was like I was from this different planet where there was a different mind frequency than the one I was attuned to.
At times I felt I was just pretending to be a part of it all and in reality I would never be. But this never deterred me from what I was there for because I was already expecting all of this. Everyone I know was going or had gone through this. I was coping with all of this when Anatomy happened. This was my realization sometimes even the merest of hurdles are enough to trip you.
Yes. I am not kidding. To others it was merely a subject like the rest of the other 6 disciples you need to study in first year of med school. But to me it was like a death sentence. My very own personalized version of it. Studying anatomy or more accurately, I should say trying to study anatomy became the toughest challenge of my life.
Something I just couldn't accomplish no matter how much I tried or time I invested in it. I was so disappointed with myself not to mention, extremely hard on myself since everyone around me was doing so well with it. Like nobody I saw struggled the way I was. To me, they were all super geniuses around who used to memorize everything within minutes no matter how long and hard a topic seemed. Be it anything.
And then there was me. Who would sit for hours and hours trying to absorb a simple topic and when I thought after ages, finally I got it. And when I woke up the next day it used to be with absolute zero recall memory of whatever I had supposedly learnt only the night before. This started having a serious diminishing effect on my grades, GPA and more importantly, my self esteem and confidence.
Since I saw and felt no one else going through the same. I was the only one barely holding on.
I felt so dumb. I felt stupid and even wondered if I had gotten in med school in the first place by mistake. I was almost convinced I was never going to make through my first year let alone the rest since you need to clear all seven disciples. And the rate which I was going at I was never going to pass Anatomy and flunk spectacularly. If that day hadn’t unfolded that way.
We had this grand anatomy exam which formed a major part of our grade for our GPA and I was very nervous. Even “very” being an understatement.
As I sat waiting in turn for my viva I was literally shivering with fear, my hands going cold and numb due to the mounting tension and my mind turning blank. I even debated with myself of what could happen if I actually missed my exam because I didn't think I would be able to go through with it. That was an other first for me. I had always done well at school and I had never earlier even dreamed of such a day. A day where I actually thought about missing an exam. Ever.
While I was still convincing myself that it was just an exam and not the end of life, my name was called. With clumsy limbs, refusing to move I went into the examination room where a senior professor was waiting to conduct my viva.
I went inside and sat down without even glancing up and looking at my professor because I was that afraid. He asked me to relax since he noticed I looked really nervous and said “you look like you are being taken to be hanged”. I realized what a pathetic sight I must have presented.
It began. He asked me the very first question and I answered that. So the second and the third. But. The next question shook me to my toes since it threw me off balance. I couldn't remember it’s answer and there, I panicked. I almost forgot everything I had learnt. I almost climbed off the stool I was sitting on and rushed outside to hide my face since I was so ashamed and embarrassed.
As my professor realized I couldn't recall the answer he asked me to skip it. He asked a next question and I couldn't recall that either. On not answering my second question the teacher raised his eyebrows and looked at me. I was done for.
I expected to be shouted upon and be scolded very strictly since my teacher would had every right to do so; as it was questionable that what had I been doing all those months in Anatomy lectures, if I couldn't even answer basic questions.
But I was surprised by what came next. Instead of being scolded my professor just closed the grading book and rested his hands on the table.
"Having trouble studying it?" He questioned.
I was taken aback by his reaction. Instead of scolding me as expected he was actually asking me?
For a second I thought about lying and pretending I was just unprepared, because I didn't want my teacher to know what a miserable failure I was. But I ended up answering.
"Yes. I can't do it. I am just not able to. I think I will never become a doctor now because I never will be able to study and clear this exam".
He smiled and said" I am sure it’s not like that".
I muttered" But it is exactly like that. I just can’t do it. Everyone else I know is so amazing at it and accomplish so much of it in so less time but there’s me. I am helpless. I am totally a failure".
He replied" given up so easily? You are only a failure when you give up and believe you are one".
I said “but I don't have a choice. I just couldn’t. I did try. But I failed.
I was told “You always have a choice. You can do it. But only if you want to”.
“ How? Its seems impossible to me the way I see it” I responded.
To which he replied “Change the way you see it then. You know what’s the greatest asset you could possibly have?
I was baffled. I didn’t even understand where this was going. What was he talking about ? It wasn’t making sense to me. At all.
I answered honestly “I am not sure”.
He said" Your willpower. That’s the greatest asset you have. Anyone could possibly have. You can do anything if you will it so."
I was confused. Because I had tried.
“I did try. It didn't work”.
He said “Well. In that case try again. But this time. Believe you will outdo it. You will then”.
He said “Well. In that case try again. But this time. Believe you will outdo it. You will then”.
I told him “but I m not intelligent enough like the rest. It takes so much time for me to do it unlike my classmates”.
He said “Well. You are intelligent. Don't compare yourself with anyone else. You are sitting here is proof enough. Just because you can't do it in little time doesn't diminish your ability. Everyone’s different. There must be things you can do and others can't and they think they aren't intelligent. If everyone starts comparing themselves, no one will ever succeed that way. Trust me. I have experience more than your age”.
I was still not convinced.
“But how?” I asked.
He just said” you just need to find what works for you. Maybe the conventional way of learning this subject doesn't work for you. But that doesn’t mean that no way would. There are so many other resources and techniques to study from. For example. Audio visuals, models, museums, presentations etc from the book. Trial and error. See what works for you.
To what I said “But I did try. Nothing worked.”
He said “It will when you decide it will for you no matter what.
He said “Let me give you an example. This is the best explanation I can give you. Once there was a girl and her mother woke her up and asked her for a glass of water in the middle of the night. She got so irritated because her sleep was disturbed. She grumbled because she didn't want to get up. She felt lazy. And she felt no inclination to do it.
But the same girl, when she herself became a mother and her child asked her for water in the middle of the night. She got up and got it without any second thought, even though her sleep was disturbed again that day. And she continued getting up like that. No matter how many times. No matter how tired and sleepy she herself was. Wasn't she still the same person? But her motivation both times was different. And. So was her will power. When your driving force is strong enough you can do anything you set your mind to. Believe you can. So the question for you is: Is this subject being difficult more important to you or your goal to be a doctor?
I was speechless. I never saw it that way. I realized then’ there was nothing actually holding me back except my own thoughts. I had caged myself in a mental block where on the first struggle, I had decided that “I wasn't good enough” like the others to do it. I had to do it myself.
I wanted to be a doctor. I wouldn't let Anatomy take away my life worth dream. So what if it was tough? I am tougher.
And so from that day on wards, I have never looked back. I freed myself from the unrealistic expectations and negative thoughts I had.
Yes. This doesn't mean that it’s a piece of cake for me. I still struggle. It still takes me more time than others. I still have to work extra hard at it. Put more hours than usual. But the only difference is now I believe I can do it. And that’s why I am able to do it. Now.
Thus, hopefully after, I am now going to be continuing with my med school after all. So never give up. You already have what it takes to get there. You just need to realize it like my professor made me realize. And thus, it was my lesson of inspiration from there to here.