Getting rejected is never fun. It can be especially painful when you get rejected at interview for a coveted medical school place. You have worked so hard for what can be many years and then you fall short at the very end. But what if you could turn a negative experience into a positive one?
After being rejected during 3 application cycles (including one interview rejection), before being accepted at my 4th attempt, here are 3 things I learnt.
Accept that you have things to improve
It is natural to feel sad when we do not achieve what we want. We may even think that we were better than the other applicants and that we should have been chosen over others. It’s okay to feel disappointed. But, you have to accept that there is a good chance that other applicants performed better than you and that you have things to work on.
Immediately after my interview rejection, I refused to believe that others performed better than me. Over time, I critically reflected on my performance and there were many aspects of the interview that didn’t go to well. Once I accepted reality, I started to work on my weaknesses until they became my strengths and I finally achieved a place at medical school.
Rejection can lead to new opportunities you never considered
It might sound strange but looking back I’m grateful that I was rejected those three times.
I had the opportunity to use the extra time granted to me by not being a medical student to pursue a Master’s degree, qualify as a personal trainer and develop interests in business and entrepreneurship. I got valuable work experience in areas I am now passionate about and which are now my career ambitions. These opportunities helped me to mature greatly. Now that I am at medical school, I can focus my efforts on activities that will give me a bright future after medical school.
In hindsight, I don’t think I would have been mature enough to discipline myself the way I do now, if I had got a place at medical school earlier.
Become more resilient
Rejection, setbacks etc, will develop your character and will make you a better doctor in the long run. You also get to ask yourself, if you really want what you say you want as badly as you say you do.
You become stronger when you face resistance which prepares you to face any difficult situation. Obstacles are inevitable but if you stick with the process you will grow into the best version of yourself. Use rejection to fuel your ambition.
From here, I wish you the best with your journey into medical school. It may take longe than you expect, but remember your 'Why' along the way.
Until next time.
BSc, 2nd Year Medical Student