Hello, readers! I haven’t written a personal post on here in months, and I apologize for that! I have been SO BUSY studying for the CBSE this past fall semester. If you’ve kept up with my previous posts that I share from MERCK Manual Med Student Stories, you’ll know that I have been having difficulty in passing the Comprehensive Basic Sciences Exam (CBSE). This has taken a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I finished up my summer semester in Chicago, and returned back to my home state to begin studying for the CBSE and the USMLE Step 1. I kind of lost focus on everything for a few weeks after I found out I didn’t pass the CBSE. I took my exam in October (which I had been studying for months prior), and right afterwards I went on vacation for a week to visit my best friend in Florida to de-stress and clear my mind. I had so much fun spending time with her and going to DisneyWorld. We went to a food and wine festival at Epcot, explored in Disney Springs, and rode tons of rides in Magic Kingdom. I returned back home to my poor kitty with a urinary blockage, and we had to go to the emergency vet that night after driving 8 hours from Florida. That blockage resulted in him being hospitalized for 4 days, being on medications for 3 weeks after, and having to be put on prescription diet food. A few days after, one of my pups developed a pretty bad skin infection. She had to go to the vet and be put on 3 different medications multiple times a day, as well as receiving medicated baths 3 times a week. Between managing both the pup’s medicines and the kitty’s, I felt like I was running a pharmacy.
Shortly after the chaos with my pets died down, I found out I did not pass my attempt at the CBSE. I was pretty depressed and upset, honestly. I felt like a failure, that all my hard work and studying meant nothing and was worth nothing. I felt so stupid and felt like I had failed everyone around me. I couldn’t focus on studying, I didn’t want to do anything at all, and I didn’t even want to study. I didn’t feel the passion of loving medicine anymore. I was really discouraged. It took me a couple weeks to recover from that, and to get my head right and back into the groove of things. I discussed options and my next steps forward with my boyfriend and parents, which helped a lot. Having a solid plan and knowing what was coming ahead really helped me plan for the future and plan for my next attempt at the exam. More importantly, having an amazing support system and people who care about me really made all the difference in getting me out of that rut.
One thing I realized throughout these last few months is that it’s okay to be behind. It’s okay to take extra time for studying, and it’s okay to not be on the same track as your classmates. I felt so behind because others at my level had already passed the CBSE and were onto studying for Step 1, or getting ready for rotations. I had to stop comparing myself to others. Just because it takes me a little longer to achieve my goals and dreams does not make me less of a qualified person to become a physician. In the end, no one is going to ask me how long it took. We are all going to have MD (or DO) after our names, and we are all going to have the same privileges and job titles. I would be considered a failure if I dropped out of school because of one exam. I would never be able to live with myself if I gave up my lifelong dream because of one stupid exam. This is just another obstacle in my pathway to becoming a physician, and I WILL overcome it, just like I have overcame everything else thus far.