Acknowledge your achievements

At the moment, UCAS is just starting to enter my mind again, but for now lets start from the beginning.

So in my lower sixth year something just told me to be a doctor, no joke. It had always been in the back of my mind but I just ignored it, doubting my ability. But then I was like, “No, this is for you”. How did I know? I didn’t, and still don’t but what I did know was that when reading about other possible courses, I didn’t even flinch, so Medicine it was.

I got my work experience sorted, went on numerous courses, did my UKCAT (got an average score), went on open days then decided on the 4 medical schools to apply to in the UK.

In October, I received good news in that I had a CONDITIONAL offer for my insurance choice of biomedical sciences. Although this wasn’t Medicine, I was bouncing off the walls because it meant that someone, somewhere liked my application and thought I was capable of doing something. But then I thought, did they accept because they knew I wouldn’t get into Medicine as my personal statement was jeered towards that and they could just sense a failed application?.. I’m still yet to know…

The long wait came from October to January.It was torturous as my friendship group is academic so there were offers from Oxbridge, Durham, St Andrews and Edinburgh flying all over the place. Then I got my first bomb. UNSUCCESSFUL read the computer screen next to one of my choices – to be quite honest I didn’t really feel anything because it wasn’t somewhere I longed to go, just a  filler. So I continued in my wait, checking religiously for any hint of action by the universities, then boom, UNSUCCESSFUL (hahaha this is so melodramatic, sorry!). Again not a favourite choice so I wasn’t too distraught.

With my favourite two uni’s left I started to feel confident I would go to a uni where I enjoyed the prospect of living for potentially 7 years of my life. One uni sent me an email stating I had progressed to the next stage of the application process, then the next day the same uni, UNSUCCESSFUL. This was when I started to really worry, but calmed myself with the thought that all it takes is one interview, just one.

Two weeks later; UNSUCCESSFUL.

That was it, my application over, I stared at the computer refreshing the page, my eyes glazed. Then I just walk around the house lifeless, in some sort of daze. “Gap Year it is then”

I wasn’t really sure on who to tell first, Mum? Dad? Gran? Well, I’m still yet to tell Gran… she just thinks I spontaneously decided to take a Gap Year. I just couldn’t face seeing disappointment in her face… I rang Dad, told him the news and he replied with “what do you mean?”. Here I got frustrated, what else is there to “I’ve been rejected from medical school 4 times so I’m not going this year?”  Saying that aloud create a fresh stream of tears. Although, it was not Dad’s fault in any way shape or form, I took my upset and anger out on him. They say, it’s always the ones you love most…

Next I told Mum who was much more sympathetic through her “don’t worry darling, we can get through this”.  For which I can say, nearly a year on, I have!

School the next morning was challenging. My ‘editing my novel’ friend already knew as I told her the previous night but I had to tell my Head of Sixth Form. I tried to get the words out but then yes, I cried. (Crying – a reoccurring theme you’ll be pleased to know) She was supportive and gave me much needed reassurance but I didn’t really take it in until weeks after.

School became unbearable for about a week, I was just crying all the time and not really focused on my work at all. Talk of uni just made the lump in my throat reappear, and then there was the explaining to people who thought I was clever why I didn’t get into uni. “But you’re so clever” was the response to with “I didn’t get in.” This made me feel worse and was a blow to my confidence as ultimately I did doubt my aptitude.

After a week or so of high emotions, I decided to not let this defeat me and prove to medical school that they were in the wrong by not accepting me. I ferociously attacked my A levels to the point where my Head of Year had to send me home after too much after school revision. I started to be known my favourite motto, stolen from another medic blog; ‘sleeping is cheating’. In a sense not having an offer was like swings and roundabouts. It meant there was less impending pressure but also felt like I had nothing to work towards, yet felt more pressurising as if I didn’t get the grades I couldn’t reapply – which yes, was what I decided to do from the words “gap yah!”

Then August 16th came and it was results day…  I hadn’t withdrawn from my biomedical sciences offer, so in the morning I knew I had at least ABB as I had been accepted. I went into school and couldn’t bring myself to open the brown envelope. My future, on a piece of paper, that’s how trivial yet big it felt. I found a quiet corner and opened them and “Biology A, Chemistry A, History A, EPQ A, AQA Bacc Distinction’.

Why wasn’t I happy?

I felt like crying really.. not one A*, not one!  Again, I just felt like an average student.. nothing to differentiate me from everyone else just your average 4 A’s. Yet, this was good enough to do Medicine but I wasn’t satisfied… and this was when I realised my biggest weakness, always striving for perfection causing me to not acknowledge my true achievement.
So now I question again; ‘why, oh why?’

why put yourself under increased pressure? why not choose a simple admission course, then you could apply to Oxbridge? why do you doubt yourself? why is 4A’s still not enough?

why did you choose medicine?
because I know at the end of this, I will have achieved my perfection.


One thought on “Acknowledge your achievements

  1. I failed to get into medicine first time. My colleague on who I work with at the moment failed to get into medicine first time. My housemate failed to get into medicine twice. Six and seven years later, we are all doctors – it’s just a matter of perseverance as the odds of getting a medical place even with excellent grades are just not tipped towards a first-time success. Getting the grades just permits you a spin on the lottery of places –

    Use your gap year to do some medical stuff and some travelling, and enjoy it! Perhaps have a look at xtremeeverest who are doing an expedition for medical research in 2013 – wing them an e-mail and see if they want a prospective medical student to be a body in the labs in Nepal. Getting involved in something like that, even as a trekker, is brilliant personal statement fodder.

    Above all, good luck. It’s a tough entry and a busy course and a frenetic job but I love it.

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