Based on my last post, I am sure you all were aware that things had been challenging for me. To add some context, Block 2 was pretty stressful. Not due to the difficulty of the material, but due to the self-doubt. At my school, we take weekly self-assessments that do not count for a grade, but serve as a tool to gage how well we are grasping the material. This block had 7 weekly assessments, and I failed and/or marginally passed 4 of them. What in the world? I mean, I was always told that hard work will result in great outcomes, but for whatever reason it was not the case.
I began to doubt my abilities, as well as whether or not I had deserved to be here as a medical student. Additionally, I became afraid of the self-assessments, and ultimately the Block exams. This was such a bad place for me to be in emotionally, academically and moreso psychologically as I began to have panic attacks while sitting for my assessments. This way of thinking was detrimental to my progress and health (I began to have anxiety-triggered asthma attacks), and I decided that I needed help. Luckily, they have psychological services here at UCLA that are specifically for medical students and residents. There, they provided a listening ear as well as gave me tips on how to calm myself when feeling anxious. They also taught me breathing techniques, as well as how to envision a place of calm and peace (e.g., beach, tide pools, times with family), that I could think of to take control of my anxiety.
They helped in so many ways, and for that I am so grateful! Although my assessments were not the best, I can say with an absolute smile on my face, that I passed my Block 2 exams and I killed my anatomy practical!!! When I began to feel flustered I would just put my head down, think about the beautiful tide pools of San Pedro and breathe slowly. It helped guys and gals, it helped! I felt so refreshed after leaving my anatomy practical and computer exam.
TIPS ON MENTAL HEALTH and WELL-BEING
- If you’re feeling depressed or anxious due to school or personal problems, please reach out to someone who is a professional and can provide a listening ear and tools on how to overcome. (They can also provide a referral to a specialist who can provide individualized help.)
- Failing does not have to be the end of the world, make a decision today to stand up. Surround yourselves with positive friends and family who will encourage you to stand even when you want to give up. Hence the name, “support-system.” Allow them to be your support when you feel you cannot push forward.
- If you’re having a difficult time with the coursework, reach out to your professors. This is not their first time at the merry-go-round, and it will not be their last. They can provide insight into how to best approach a course, as well as provide encouragement when you feel discouraged. Granted, I know that last portion is not always the case, but I am convinced that the reason I passed Block 2 was because my block chair knew that I could. I emailed her this morning to thank her for pouring positive energy into my life, and it was so amazing to hear her say how proud she was of my scores as well as how my dedication would make me a great physician.
To my blogging family, thank you once again for rocking with me during this journey. Stay tuned for my Winter break adventures! ❤
I bid thee adieu,