Something that looks different to all of us. It riddles some, and leaves others unfazed.
I live on the riddled side of things.
This image of myself as an indefatigable pre-medical student was challenged heavily by a recent failure. Despite my efforts*, I was not admitted to medical school during my first attempt.
*I do not say my best efforts, because that wouldn't be true. My life was filled with temporary and volatile mathematics. Adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying all over the place. The movement, literally and figuratively, distracted from my best efforts. And whether as a result or not, I did not achieve my goal of matriculation.
I recently attended an annual Harvest Party held for a family vineyard. As the sommelier led us through a tasting, he introduced this idea of loss. My mind immediately translated the word, loss, to failure. For me, they are one and the same. If I lost something, it is because I failed. I didn't do my part, I didn't work hard enough, I didn't persist.
This is an unsustainable idea.
Because although I did suffer many extreme losses last year, I gained some of the most incredible wins of my life.
Not getting into medical school was undeniably one of the most important wins.
Because of this win, I have had the opportunity to expand my understanding of medicine. Caring for marginalized elderly patients who lack resources, care, and love, and seeing how this affects their health outcomes, sparked my new interest in geriatric medicine. I have developed a curiosity for the prevention, detection, and treatment of dementia and related diseases. My goal is to expand my curiosity into investigation and knowledge, so that I may offer solutions as a physician.
Because of this win, I have met new people who have enriched my understanding of life. I have found happiness in myself that I didn't know existed. I have been given a chance to expand into a new idea of what failure looks like to me.
Because of this win, I am learning the hard way how to accept myself as a person who can find success in failures.
So, as I embrace the next cycle of medical school applications, I will continue working to redefine failure for myself. Though my motivation is low, I will give it my best effort. And try to be ok with whatever happens. If I take personal responsibility for every setback I encounter, I am bound to a bleak future. I choose to redefine failure as a positive thing, and embrace the possibility of redirection according to things I cannot control. How scary is that? (Yes, I'm dead scared)