Tuesday, October 24, 2017

facing failure

As is common amongst us millennials, we share everything. Well not everything. We share what others will envy, we create picture perfect facades on instagram, present pretty packages on twitter, and we do it all without telling the whole story. Basically, we share everything, but we don't really share anything at all. 
I'm just as guilty, especially with this blog...sharing the best parts of my life. But I promised myself that if I was going to open up in this space, it can't just be about the good things. Because I assure you, that is not my life. I have my struggles too. So I want to share about facing failure, particularly a failing I've had with dental school lately. Because in the medical profession, there is this extra pressure to be the smartest and the best at everything. But the reality of it is that doctors make mistakes too. And I recently made a big one. This past summer, I started to practice a few times a week for the first portion of my licensing exam. And in the last month leading up to the exam, I practiced every single day for a month; 6AM early morning sessions before school during the week and all day practice sessions on the weekends. I got lots of positive feedback from the work I was doing and never felt more prepared for an exam in my life. And then I failed. Failed for the stupidest mistake. It was like the equivalent of taking a test, answering all the questions right, and then forgetting to write your name on the paper. In hindsight, I now know that my nerves and anxiety simply got the best of me. 
And while I can talk about this somewhat calmly now, this past month, I have been going through every emotion possible. ANGER. Angry at myself for messing up something so simple. In my book, it's almost better to make a major mistake then to fail for something so simple. I know better. GUILT. Guilt because now we have to pay for me to take this exam all over again and it is not a cheap one. STRESS. Stress about the fact that now I have to go through this whole process all over again. FEAR. Fear because I don't know whether or not I can handle things better next time around, especially since I basically cracked under the pressure. SHAME and EMBARRASSMENT because I was worried about what everyone who had faith in me will think now. And finally ACCEPTANCE. Accepting that I'm not perfect and that I don't need to be. It's hard when you're constantly being bombarded with only smiling faces and perfect lives through social media to remember that everyone is also struggling too. It's just the one thing what we're not all willing to share. 


  1. It takes so much courage to share what you have. If anyone can relate I definitely can, and I know you’ll over come this the next time around. I’ve found so much of social media and the “pop-up” bloggers to be so contrived and such a turnoff to blogging. I always look forward to your posts and admire your authenticity and consistency. I’m glad to read you’re in a better place since the exam where you can share what happened. I know this will be an encouragement to so many who experience the same thing but never hear a voice that says “Me too” and you can do it and overcome this. You’re totally not alone, I’ve found recently this happens more than people admit and I know from my own experience. I can’t wait to see where you’re career takes you. You’re an awesome person and will be a great dentist and whatever else you decide to do.

    1. Thank you dear Ele for your sweet words. I did feel conflicted about sharing this because one of the harder parts of failure is that it feels so solitary, as if your the only one. I'm glad I could actually hit the publish button on this one. And we will both be all the better for our struggles when we make it to the other end