For today's Med School Monday I wanted to do something a little bit more personal - discussing something that plagues each and every one of us - that voice in our heads telling us we're not good enough.
I almost didn't apply to Harvard. I almost convinced myself that I would never be able to get into a place like that - heck I'd be lucky even getting into my state medical school. I did a lot of reading on pre-med forums that made me question all of my hard work I had done up to that point, and almost didn't give myself the opportunity to come to the amazing place I am now. Thankfully I ended up saying "why not?" and applied anyway.
Getting here, though, I constantly had to fight that little voice in my head telling me I wasn't good enough to be here. In class I was never a fan of speaking up even if I knew the answer, I didn't want to look like the know-it-all, or even worse - be wrong. It took lots of small moments to shine (ie getting called on or having to do a presentation) that really helped me solidify my self-confidence in my pre-clinical years, but finally I felt like I belonged.
Then came the clinical years, and once again I had to deal with an even louder voice telling me I had no idea what I was doing. This time though, the voice was sort of right, but having learned my lesson about dealing with this voice I did something about it and fast. If there was ever something I didn't know, I made a note of it in a little journal I kept in my white coat pocket, and reviewed it or looked it up later that night. When I started this, I wrote down everything - the pronunciation of my attending's name, passcodes for doors, what abbreviations meant, which color tube to draw blood in, the differential for wheezing, anything and everything! And soon enough the list got shorter and shorter, and even more amazingly, people started asking me stuff, me! And I knew the answer! I paid attention to that voice, because it was initially right, but I did something about it and felt so much more confident on the wards.
I share these stories with you all with two lessons in mind:
- There's a voice in our heads that almost always tells us we're not good enough. Especially for women, that voice is almost constantly present and isn't always warranted. That voice we need to ignore. We need to take chances, believe in ourselves, and just go for it. No selling yourself short like I almost did.
- Sometimes though, that voice is warranted, and we need to listen to it and do something about it! We aren't good at everything from the start and we don't know it all (and we never will), and that fear in your belly before doing something new is a reminder of all of that. But rather than be put off by that voice and paralyzed by that fear, we should welcome it as a chance to learn and even master something new, realizing that each time we do this we are getting that much better at whatever it is we do.
I hope you all enjoyed this short little post! I'd love to hear about your experiences in dealing with "that voice," as always feel free to comment below!!