I have always believed in fate. Not so much that you will meet the ‘One’ or anything so romantic. More than all the little things (and big ones, for that matter) that happen for some reason. I find this idea reassuring, especially in times of uncertainty. And one of these occasions occurred this week.
For the past four or five years my goal career has been to become a doctor. It has become such a concrete goal that until earlier this year I had never even imagined anything else but studying medicine at university, becoming a doctor and doing that for the rest of my life. As a result, I sat the UMAT exam this Wednesday (an exam for all Australian students who want to study undergraduate medicine). I had spent months and months practicing and preparing, I did everything right. In my last few practice exams I did exceptionally well, which increased my confidence. But this exam is renowned for being incredibly difficult…
I was calm and composed before the exam, and it all began well. Then, I lost track of time and spent far too much time on certain questions. In the last 15 minutes of the exam I was incredibly stressed and didn’t manage to finish the last 20 or so questions, which happen to be the type of questions that I am best at.
Immediately after the exam had concluded I was distressed and panicked. How could I have possibly screwed up so badly, when I had done so well in practice? I blamed myself for losing track of time and not sticking to a schedule. Suddenly it seemed as if my whole future was a murky grey and I had no idea what might happen. I stayed in this upset, disappointed state for about half an hour, before I thankfully had a moment of clarity.
Although it was true that the exam had not gone as well as it could have and there was nothing I could do about that, BUT I could choose how I reacted to this. I chose to accept that it had happened, hold me head high and move on with pride, as I had sat one of the hardest exams in the world.
I also chose to believe that perhaps the exam going badly was a little lesson I was meant to learn. It was certainly a new experience and maybe one that would teach me something, like breaking up my time in exams and not assuming I will have enough time to finish. Maybe I would learn that it is okay not to be perfect and do brilliantly at everything. Mistakes are okay, beneficial even! I know personally (as a perfectionist) this is something I will always have to remind myself to accept.
The reality is the results are not released until the end of September, so until then all I can do is wait. Worrying won’t change my results, it will only drain me of energy and confidence. And maybe if my score is not high enough, it is a little hint from the universe that I wasn’t meant to take the undergrad pathway. Maybe I will study post-graduate medicine, or not even medicine at all. After all, there is a world of endless possibilities out there.
This experience also reminded me of my belief that everything happens for a reason, and to have a little faith. Mistakes are okay, beneficial even. But as a perfectionist this is something I will always have to remind myself of. You are exactly who, what and where you are meant to be – believe it!
Have a little faith in times of uncertainty.