What I learned about medical school from watching Fashion Star

Monday, May 6, 2013

c.s. lewis

*Linking up with Medical Mondays*
My Friday night guilty pleasure is watching Fashion Star. Usually I watch it on my elliptical trainer (best $100 I've ever spent on Craig's list) but last Friday I was recovering from a rough final week of surgery exams and I watched it on the couch with a glass of wine. One of my secret dreams is to be a fashion designer (it started while flipping through Delia's catalogues in middle school) and I think that's why I enjoy watching Fashion Star. Most of the styles aren't that great (at least in my un-fashion-educated opinion) but it's fun to watch the designers work under pressure and see what they come up with...it's kind of a spin-off of Project Runway, but the winning styles are actually available at Macy's, Saks, and Express after the show each week.

At the end of last week's Fashion Star, Sylvia was sent home. She was one of the most talented women's designers on the show and everyone was sort of shocked when she went home. It came down to the fact that she just didn't deliver that week on her design even though every other week her designs had been at the very top. I expected her to be really upset at being sent home; her personality on the show was very passionate and she always held herself to high standards. But when she left the stage, she said that she was really happy with how she had done in the past weeks of the show and how much she'd grown as a designer. She then said that she had discovered "You don't have to be scared to make mistakes, mistakes are human."

I needed to hear that. I felt devastated after I didn't honor my surgery oral exam last Thursday. Being in medical school has turned me into more and more of a perfectionist, and I felt like I almost reached a breaking point last Thursday before my oral exam. I was fortunate to score at the top on my Step 1 boards, average above a 90% my first two years of medical school, and honor most of my third year clerkships so far. But the pressure kept building and I kept going over in my head how I had to honor my surgery oral exam in order to honor the clerkship (and I am scared to death of oral exams). And when I got to the exam, I tanked (at least that's what it felt like). I fumbled around, drew blanks on a lot of questions that I should have known, and was extremely anxious through the whole thing. And at the end of the exam, I passed but I felt like a failure. I still had my written exam to take the following morning, but when I got home from the oral I couldn't focus...I just kept going over all the mistakes that I had made.

After some reflection (and watching Fashion Star, ha), I think I learned a valuable lesson. I'm not perfect and I can't ever be perfect, no matter how hard I study, no matter how hard I try. I made mistakes last Thursday, but what matters most is that I am trying my hardest to be the best doctor I'm capable of under the circumstances I'm given....and that I accept my mistakes as human and learn from them.


  1. Thanks for linking up today and sharing that bit of wisdom. "You don't have to be scared to make mistakes, mistakes are human". I am certainly human, but am usually scared to death of making mistakes. I need to embroider that on a pillow:-)

  2. Stopping by from Medical Mondays! Isn't it funny how sometimes we hear messages we really need in life from the most unlikely places? And I watch Fashion Star too ;) -Chrissie @ pursuitsofawittylife.blogspot.com

  3. Love the point you made in your post, it is so true. We seem to be quite alike, I love medicine (studying to be a dentist) however, I absolutely love fashion, design, shopping and all of that. I think in my other life I was a fashion designer ;). After a long hectic week of studying and tests, there is nothing better than curling up on the couch and watching Fashion Star, one of my favorite shows too!

  4. So insightful and LOVE that it was centered around something sooooooo.... what's the word I'm looking for..... sooooo unacademic like Fashion Star. :)
    I wouldn't worry too much about it. My husband and I were reminiscing about the questions he BOMBED on during orals and interviews. We were laughing! Someday you will, too!
    Thank you for linking up with us again today for Medical Monday bloghop!

  5. So true. We just have to try to be the best people that we can be.



  6. Visiting from Medical Mondays! I'm a closet Fashion Star watcher too, dreaming of designing my own clothes...maybe one day...
    Realizing you don't have to be perfect and can make mistakes is so tough...trying to get my 7 year old to realize that at a young age.

  7. Oh my gosh, thank you for showing that med profession people can just be human, and enjoy regular tv and regular life. I seriously have lost friends because from college because they couldn't get that I didn't want to talk respiratory therapy all the time. Just keep being yourself, and be willing to make mistakes, we're all human!!!

    Much love, and thanks for linking up with us this month!
    Heather@ The Life Unexpected


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