So I took a diagnostic MCAT exam yesterday to gauge where I stand before I start studying. I realize this was premature considering I have not yet completed all of my finals for this semester, but I was excited and curious to see if all of my effort in my prerequisites was worth anything. I made sure that I went through each section in the given amount of time. Since I've always been a fast exam taker, I found that I was never really pressed for time; I was able to read through every passage with a firm understanding of the material, or so I thought. I found this process to be a very humbling experience. My score was not where I want it, nor need it to be. However, I recognize that I have not studied at all for this exam. That will come.
I read a post on student doctor network about a student who is going back to school and just finished up with his first semester of classes with straight A's. He was overjoyed with his accomplishment. I remember that feeling well. It was empowering. I was on top of the world; nothing could stop me. I guess I'm struggling with the fact that as the first leg of this marathon is winding down, I feel immense pressure to perform. I have worked so hard for this and the thought of this one exam putting into perspective what I have learned, how I think, and how well I will do in medical school is weighing heavily on my mind. I miss that euphoria I felt as I was beginning this journey. I no longer get the same pleasure from my success. All I can think about is how none of it will matter if I don't score well on the MCAT. The thought of all this time, money, and effort being in vain is almost overwhelming.
If I am to be a doctor, dealing with pressure is part of the job. I realize that. I have never been averse to it before. In fact I typically thrive in such situations. This time feels different. This time it's not just myself I am letting down if I fail. I have a family who is rooting for, and depending on me to succeed. I have friends who look to me as an example of what is possible with hard work. I guess the gravity of my situation has hit me like a locomotive, and I'm struggling to keep myself together. I must keep forging ahead - one foot in front of the other. Step by step, life is easy. Yard by yard, life is hard. Though it's hard not to think ahead, I must continue to focus on the present. Right now I need to prepare for my finals. I will work on the MCAT in due time. But now is not that time.