October 22, 2013

Succeeding at the MCAT: Rejecting Fears of Failure

I am going to interrupt our regularly scheduled blog post to talk about something that makes pre-meds queasy. No, not a subject, I’ll save Organic Chemistry talks for later. I’m talking about failure. Yes, I said it FAILURE. Over the years students come to me and say, “This is too hard”, “I don’t want to take the MCAT anymore”, or my favorite “my parents want me to be a doctor so bad”.  The fear of failure runs rampant through the pre-med world but it becomes taboo and no one wants to talk about. Whether in fear of seeming weak, or troubled by the whole pre-med experience and pressure, some students simply don’t want to talk about the fear of failure.

I am here to tell you it is completely normal. Everyone goes through self-doubt. EVERYONE. Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.  Every doctor had to take an MCAT and apply to medical school.  These things might seem scary but the worst thing that can happen is you don’t do well.  You can always come back and re-group, rally, and get it done. With the MCAT season gearing up in the next 3 months I want to pass on a quote that was given to me the day before my own MCAT.  Was I afraid? Sure, but I remembered I had prepared well, and I had great support from family, friends, and my own MCAT teacher. Good luck!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

For those of you taking your MCAT tomorrow, good luck! And strike that fear from your mind! If you still have some time before your MCAT, there are always extra ways to prepare like free practice tests and additional study courses.

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