Don’s Note: My guest writer today is Areej Quraishi. Areej attends Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in Newark. Areej is applying to medical school for the entering class of 2014. Find out how you can become a guest writer, too.
What has been the most challenging hurdle that you had to overcome on your journey to medical school?
Looking back on the past three years I’ve spent as an undergraduate, I can certainly say that I have overcome many hurdles on the road to becoming a doctor. And by that, I don’t mean the things that I learned on paper, like all the information I’m going to get out of my future medical school classes, or things only being on call can teach me. Many obstacles I have to overcome are within me — for example, I still have to learn how to receive a less-than-favorable grade and keep from wondering, “Why?”
Truth is, I already know why. I didn’t give it my all.
Another obstacle I’m learning to overcome is how to adequately hold my own as I overexert myself for days at a time, so that the people I do it for when I’m a doctor can have more days of their own.
My journey as a pre-med hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was about five years old; fifteen years later, my goal hasn’t changed.
Here are some “lessons learned” that I can share with you:
Be proactive. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t ever let an opportunity, however small, slip by you. Wherever you are in your pre-medical career, begin planning your next move NOW.
Never let anyone discourage you or tell you what your capacities are; you alone can discover what you are truly capable of. If you know that this is what you were meant to do, never take it lightly. Never, ever give up.
Don’t let disappointment stop you. As a pre-med, there will be many times when you’ll have to face disappointment of all and any kind. Don’t let it stop you. It’s never the end of the world and it’s never too late. There is always help. There are always people who want to see you succeed. You have your professors. You have your advisors. You have your families. And if all else fails, you always have yourself.
I understand that there are so many factors associated with becoming a doctor — you could be going through issues concerning financial barriers, time constraints and the like. But at the end of the day, the most challenging hurdle for me to overcome was … myself. All our major problems lie within us, as do all our solutions. Once you learn from your mistakes, your weaknesses become your strengths. Once you stop underestimating yourself, you’ll realize that you already have the potential it takes to succeed. The most essential lesson there is to learn is how to harness that potential. After three years, I can say that I’ve learned my lesson.