Hello everyone, Eid Mubarak and welcome to my last blog post of my summer break. I truly cannot believe school is about to start soon, I am excited to be in person and see my classmates but also anxious about the work and second year in general. A lot of medical students agree that the first two years are the most challenging; M1 year for the adjustment and M2 for being more fast paced and taking the beast, Step 1 (uggggghhhh x1000). Be on the lookout for a one month update on how second year is going.
Anyways, I wanted to continue the Hard Truths Series and discuss something I had to learn the hard way. This started when I was phlebotomist at Grant. I remember after getting a patient’s bloodwork and leaving the room, I saw a Muslim physician. I was literally in shock because I have never seen a doctor who wore the hijab like ever. “You’re a doctor?!”, I exclaimed. “You’re a phlebotomist?!”, she said back. After that, I went back to the phlebotomy room where all my coworkers were and was pretty much squealing with excitement. “I met a physician today and she wears hijab!”, I told my coworker, Lisa. “Really, did you get her contact information?”. No, no I did not. That would be awkward and embarrassing and what if she did not like me and what if I was being extra and and…I just couldn’t. Lisa told me something that I would never forget. “Go back up there and get her number so you can shadow her. A closed mouth does not get fed.”
“A closed mouth does not get fed”
I eventually did go up there and get her contact information. I was so nervous, but I mustered up all the courage I had. Of course, I was awkward. In fact, I accidentally almost took her favorite pen with me. But later on, I got the shadowing experience I needed and I enjoyed it, to the point that I wrote about it in my personal statement. If I had not listened to Lisa, would I have gotten that opportunity ever?
I am so used to waiting for opportunities to fall onto my lap. I do not like asking for things because I fear rejection, someone telling me NO and slamming an imaginary door in my face. It is a shameful feeling and makes me feel less than. However, having a mindset like that will hinder one from getting amazing experiences. If you do not put yourself out there and ask, you’re not going to get what you want. As painful as it is to put yourself in that vulnerable position, it will be worthwhile in the future when you get the opportunity you deserve.
After that experience, I try not the let the internal negative and insecure voice get to my head. I would ask for any opportunity with any chance I got, when it came to leadership positions, research, school advice etc. One occasions when I was applying for scholarships, I felt like I was not good enough, that there were better candidates than me. But what was I going to lose if I applied? Sure, I might get rejected but what if I got it? Why would I prevent myself from the possibility of getting that scholarship because I do not feel like I was the most deserving? Maybe I felt that way, but someone on the committee may think otherwise. And that’s what happened. I got scholarships from the chemistry department, the college of arts and sciences and even a leadership award. I remember asking one of my friends after I got the chemistry scholarship why she did not apply. “There’s better people who applied than me.” she responded. Mind you, this girl had an A in chemistry while I was praying to get at least a B. When she told me that, I was a little sad that she let the voice in her head limit her from an opportunity I am sure she would have gotten.
“She let the voice in her head limit her from an opportunity I am sure she would have gotten”
As a first generation college student, I had no idea what I was doing when I was studying for the MCAT and applying to medical school. Therefore, I could not do it alone. I had to reach out and ask for help. I went to a professional school fair, school conferences, and talked with many medical students and physicians. When my MCAT score came back and did not reflect my abilities as a student, I was crushed and did not know what to do. I almost withdrew, however after prayer (always ask God for anything first tbh) and asking my mentors for advice, I decided I should just go for it. After submitting my application, I went to an SNMA conference and told any medical student with ears about the daunting situation I was in. I did not think I had a chance of getting into medical school and I thought I might have to reapply. I went to use the restroom and while washing my hands in the sink, I started talking to another medical student about what I was going through. She immediately gave me her contact information and said she would put in a good word for me. Well, guess what? That medical student goes (well now went, she graduated) to the current school that I now attend. If I had kept to myself, would I be where I am today?
My first year of medical school was very challenging (read my updates posts) and I probably would have had to repeat a couple classes if I did not put myself out there in front of my classmates and ask for help. It is very scary to admit to a group of overachievers that you are struggling. You honestly feel like something is wrong with you. But it is worth it in the end when you pass your classes. And think about it, there are others who are struggling as well, but close their mouths and try to figure things on their own. Sometimes, it does not end up well for them. Therefore, try to always reach out when you need help because you do not miss anything from doing that.
My contact box is always open for everyone. There may be some of you reading this who need advice on the next steps to take on your premed journey, resources to pass certain undergraduate classes, how to study for the MCAT etc. Sure, my blogs are very detailed, however, I can only draw from my own experience. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you ever need any help. If I cannot help you, I am sure I can find someone else who will or push you to the right direction. Getting into medical school and completing it is a challenging ordeal when doing it on your own, but it is attainable when you get help from others. And always remember, a closed mouth does not get fed.
Anyways, I hope you guys liked this short blog. I really enjoyed the summer series and I cannot wait to write more in the future inshallah. Please keep me in your prayers as I embark to the unknown.