*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.