I joined med school with no clear picture of how med school will challenge my entire being. All I knew was it’s a tough journey but as long as I work hard, I’ll succeed. I started this journey without a starter pack of self-discipline, study habits and healthy daily routine. I didn’t know how to study and how to LIVE like a med student or at least a responsible student.

All I had with me when I joined med school was the dream, zeal and my WHYs. But dreams without correct actions remain as dreams. I approached this dream unprepared. So, there came point when each day drains my motivation and paralyzes me from holding on to the WHYs behind why I chose this journey in the first place. First set of exams were bad grades to begin with and I didn’t see any progress exams after exams despite the countless nights I missed sleeping and overdosing myself with coffee. It didn’t just made me lose the little confidence left in me but it made me doubt and question myself.

Last month, I felt that the universe was against me. I was tired, hopeless, pressured and failing. I felt that no matter how hard I try, this dream isn’t going to be mine. Unexpectedly, I caught myself anticipating the idea of quitting med school.

Back in premed, I already quit school because I knew I was in the wrong course program. I thought of quitting without hesitations, I quit without regrets because I knew I was in the wrong place.

In med school, it hurts when the thought of quitting comes in mind because it is in this field I feel I belong. I know I’d regret if I quit. I know I’m not going to grow better at anything else other than this. I already am so committed to this, I WANT THIS SO BAD. I promised I’d win this whatever it takes. I promised I’d tolerate the pain. But.. now life is testing my promises and my commitment to med school. Life seems pushing me closer to quitting but quitting isn’t my option.

I looked back and saw how much I sacrificed just to be here. I chose to be here in the cost of letting go of the luxuries of life I used to enjoy and even it means missing each day of being with my family. I read letters I wrote before med school that reminded me how excited and motivated I was, how strong my reasons are in choosing this and for whom I’m doing all these. Those remind me of how important this is to me. After episodes of crying and self-doubt, I stood up and told myself that I’d stay and work harder. If my best wasn’t enough then maybe because there’s still so much I could give and that I’m capable of becoming stronger and better than I am today.

Despite how rocky the road to surviving this academic year looks, still I can see hope and I’m holding on to that little hope. If I pass, thank God! If I fail, thank God! I’ll end this academic year without no regrets by giving my 100% best. I’ll enjoy the bittersweet journey and fight til the very end.

Realization is nothing without an action. I tried different study strategies I heard from others and learned online, none worked. I was desperate to find out whats wrong in me so I could change that. My school’s mentorship program for struggling freshmen came very timely. Without a second thought, I signed up. First mentorship session left a great impact in me, lifted up my motivation and made me discover what works best for me. In the recent exams, quizzes and activities, I saw little progress which is better than seeing no progress at all. And, what’s more important is that I’m gaining self-fulfillment in studying. Now, I understand things and do things right. There’s still so much work to do in bettering my study habits, and myself in general but I’m willing to choose that path towards change. Prayers, my family, patience and understanding God’s Will have been my tools to keep winning every day’s battles.  I believe that if I really am meant to be God’s tool to serve people through this field then nothing is impossible. Great things, such as this medical dream, are worth winning!

Najmah is a Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Roots in Marawi. Born and raised in Jeddah. Studying in Manila. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. Check more of her works on Hijabi Mag

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