How Do I Keep Up My Confidence During the Premed Process?

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ADG 137: How Do I Keep Up My Confidence During the Premed Process?

Session 137

This mom of five is trying to keep going despite all odds but sometimes lacks the confidence and motivation to ke going. How should she approach the bad days?

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[00:20] Question of the Day

“I am a mom of five, a nontraditional, very nontraditional, having five kids now. I have always struggled with self-doubt. Always. From the time I was in high school, you know, somebody says, “Oh, well, chemistry, it’s hard.” So I won’t take it because I don’t think I can do it. 

My question is how do you keep up your confidence? I took chemistry this semester, and I actually did really well. That was kind of a feather in my cap that tells me to keep going. But with times changing, things are never the same. How do you keep up confidence through the whole process?”

[01:27] It’s a Marathon! Do It Step by Step

If you zoom out, and you look at this whole process, it looks insurmountable. All of the classes, the tests, all the money, all of the unknown, and hopefully, getting accepted by one. You have the insecurities of being a mom of five. Are they going to hold that against you? Are you too old? Now, if you zoom that out, it just eats you alive.

And so, you can’t do that. It’s good to understand where you’re going. It’s like running a marathon. Think about all 26 miles you have to run, and all of the steps that it takes to run 26 miles. But you don’t do that because you just run one step and then another step, and then another step. And that’s all you think about at that moment.

'Allow each day to dictate your confidence in that day.'Click To Tweet

You will have good days and you will have bad days. And that’s okay as long as you’re still on your trajectory to get into medical school. And as long as that’s still the path that you want.

Look at each day as its own little mini victory. Don’t worry about the big picture. Just allow yourself to go step by step. Because if you zoom out, and you’re constantly thinking about those next 10,000 steps, it’s just not going to work out very well.

[03:47] “Just in Time” Learning

It’s like being a freshman. You don’t have to start looking into the MCAT. You have to worry about those classes freshman year and worry about being a good student.

The MCAT will come, applications will come, writing your personal statement, your extracurriculars, secondaries, and preparing for interviews – all of that will come when it’s time to do those things.

“There's a thing in the entrepreneurial world called 'just in time' learning. It's a very similar mindset of taking each day as it comes.”Click To Tweet

Students in their freshman year or sophomore year shouldn’t be thinking about the MCAT or interview prep. And many of them are trying to cram too much into a space where it just doesn’t fit. Because you’re supposed to be doing something else in that moment.

There’s another time later on, when you’re supposed to be doing MCAT prep and interview prep. And those are separate times.

And so, just in time learning says learn what you need to learn when you need to learn it – not before. Allow what you need to learn today to be what you focus on. And don’t worry about tomorrow yet.

Students really take on that burden of wanting to do it all now because they think it’s going to help them later. But all it’s doing is setting them back today. Because instead of the one thing they’re supposed to focus on, they’re focused on four different things thinking it is going to help them get ahead and it just doesn’t.

I love Mike Tyson’s quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” And so, you have this perfectly laid out plan. And then kid number one gets sick. And then three weeks later, kid number three is sick. And then kid number five gets sick So why plan when life gets in the way, especially as a mom of five kids?

[06:19] Giving Yourself Some Grace

Luckily, our student has a good support system that if she gets a C on the exam, her husband would tell her to chill out. And so, take it in perspective. It’s one test in many, and it’s not going to set you back. It’s one test, and not a reflection of who you are. It’s not a reflection of whether you’re going to get into medical school. Again, take it one day at a time.

It’s easy to be hard on yourself and you feel like you didn’t accomplish anything. When in fact, you’ve already done a lot – only that your expectations were so much more. And that’s being unrealistic with yourself. So you have to be able to give yourself grace. At the end of the day, you’ve done what you could do and it is what it is.

'There's always more to do, obviously. And I just have to say, today was a good day tomorrow, hopefully it will be better.'Click To Tweet

[08:42] Doing All the Right Things?

Our student goes to say, “I come from the worst school system in my area. When I went to high school, there was no guidance. When you graduate high school, my counselors never gave me any guidance. I didn’t know there were scholarships available. And even when I went into community college. I know I want to go into the medical field. This is what I want to do. And they say, “You don’t have good enough grades from high school. You really can’t do that. So why don’t you just do this instead?”

And as an 18-year-old, I also thought then maybe I can’t do it and maybe they were right. So I went on that other path that had kids. I got a job with the state government and it’s office work. It was never anything that I was passionate about. I didn’t have a degree. And the only way to move up was to get a degree. I thought maybe I’ll just get a business degree and then I can move out. But again, I was just never passionate about it. And so, I never, obviously never completed that. 

So here I am now. I’m going to do this, I’m going to, hopefully, do all the right things. And that’s what I wanted. I want to do all the right things to get where I need to be.”

[10:28] This is Not an All-or-None Game

You don’t have to check every box and you don’t have to be perfect. You just need to do what you can do. And especially given the constraints that you have as a mom of five, then your time for extracurricular activities, your time for studying, all of that will be limited.

'You don't have to do all the right things, you just have to do mostly all the right things, and you'll still be successful. This is not an all-or-none game.'Click To Tweet

You’re going to have to do enough to prove to schools that you were academically capable. You have to do enough to prove that you’ve explored this field enough. Prove to yourself that you understand what you’re getting yourself into, and that you want it and you like it. And beyond that, you can’t compare yourself to the 22-year-old, who has no other responsibilities other than school.

They’re probably getting thousands of hours of research and clinical experience and all that. And you don’t have the time for that. And that’s okay. Medical schools aren’t just looking for who has the most hours who has the highest GPA. So you’ve got to run your own race.

[13:38] Navigating the Timeline

Our student adds she’s struggling with figuring out the timeline being a different type of student. She has so many credits that just don’t apply. And so she has to take freshman chemistry because she never took chemistry before. And she’s wondering how to navigate the timeline.

It all comes down to her specific situation. If you’re someone who can go back to school full-time, then great. Good thing this student is lucky enough to be able to go to school full-time. And so, our student’s timeline is going to school full time, taking the classes she needs, getting the degree to graduate as soon as she can. Then work on the MCAT and everything else.

Finally, perhaps one of the best pieces of advice I could give her as well is to check out Mappd. And if you haven’t yet, then check it out as well.

Mappd gives you a customized roadmap specific to your start date for medical school. It initially gives you the generic four-year timeframe. And then it starts to narrow down what you need to be preparing for in the next couple of months – when to take the MCAT, when to start getting the letters of recommendation, etc.

“Mappd gives you a customized roadmap specific to your start date for medical school.“Click To Tweet

Finally, remember that you’re going to have bad days, and that’s okay. That’s not a reflection of whether or not you’re going to be a good physician or a physician at all. It’s just one bad day. Just pick up tomorrow and keep going at it. Do your best. That’s all you can do.


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