No two digits had ever had such a negative impact on my self-esteem or perception of life itself as the numbers that were on my computer screen that Autumn day in 2006. My heart fell into my stomach, my face got hot and flush, and my mouth went dry.
35% – the grade I had just received on the first midterm of my university career. I had walked through the lush green paths of McMaster University as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed First Year, thinking the world was my oyster and that though the path to becoming a doctor was going to be a “challenge”, it wasn’t anything my brilliant mind couldn’t handle. But, there it was, as clear as day – a measly 35%. As far as I was concerned, my hopes and dreams were dashed; I’d end up homeless, abandoned by all my family and friends, panhandling outside Toronto’s hospital row as I watched successful people who had passed their chemistry midterms walk by.
As it turned out, that first midterm kicked most the First Year’s butts, and served as a much-needed wake up call for many of us to buckle up and fly right. We were in the big leagues now and Mommy wasn’t going to spoon feed us anymore. A month later, I studied my little tail off for the second chemistry midterm, and this time managed to score a whopping…55%?!? A telling improvement, but absolutely no where near med school material.
It dawned on me only half way through my undergraduate degree that I really suck at chemistry. In fact, I basically failed the chemistry section on the MCAT as well! I wasted years of my life thinking that if I studied really hard, that one day, just one day, I would understand and master chemistry and own life.
Spoiler Alert: That never happened.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you’re going to suck at some things, and that’s OK.
You tried, and failed, and now you can move on with your life knowing that you suck at _________. And I hope you do move on, because forcing something that was never meant for you, or doing moderately well at it, enough to lead to some menial, unfulfilling “career”, is really sad. Move on, keep trying new things, and perhaps after discovering that you suck at a lot of things, you’ll discover that one thing that you are really great at, and then do that.
As for me, I think I’m still in the process of learning and trying and discovering…or, maybe I’ve found “my thing” and I’m doing it? I’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.
Here’s to slaying the verbal reasoning section of the MCAT (telling, no?)…