How do I keep motivated?

What kept me motivated all these years?  My parents, my husband, my friends, random strangers who shared their struggle-success stories and definitely myself as well. There were days I did not want to get up out of bed. I did not see the point of waking up and having to open my email to see multiple rejection letters. Not knowing anymore why I chose this field, should I have gone another route? 1001 questions from family abroad/uncles and aunties of what am I doing sitting at home? Debt growing. An MD and jobless.

When I set out on this journey and decided to go abroad to study medicine I did not think for one second I would face so many challenges AFTER graduating with my MD. I mean doesn’t having an MD mean multiple doors will open for me? Not really. There are a lot of factors that go into what a residency looks for:

  • School I graduated from and year of graduation (recent clinical experience)
  • Board exam scores and attempts (USMLE 1, 2, 3 and Canadian MCCEE, NAC OSCE, MCCQE1)
  • Experience in the Canadian system (I don’t think the US relies too heavily on rotations in the US anymore)
  • LORs
  • Canada – you must be a citizen/PR and must be a provincial resident for some programs
  • US – they provide visas, although in the current political environment I am not sure how this is working out
  • What sets me apart from other applicants? What makes me unique?

I have always been an average student who needs to put in extra effort in everything. I don’t have stellar scores on my board exams so that definitely affected/affects me through this process. What do I work on then? Connections, unique jobs/research/volunteer work that sets me apart from others and clinical experience. I do extremely well when I am working directly with doctors and patients and that shows my interest and work ethic. The application of clinical knowledge. 

Years upon years of struggle makes one numb to NOs/closing doors after a while. That could be a good thing because you are not too emotionally affected and still learn to jump out of bed and go after the next opportunity. Isn’t it this that made me leave my non-clinical paying job, my family and friends in Ontario to pursue an unpaid clinical trainee opportunity in BC? I knew only the doctor who gave me a chance and took me on as a trainee. I feel blessed. I love what I do!

I don’t know where this will lead me, but one thing that will resonate with me forever is the advice I was given by an IMG who matched after 6 years of trying in Canada – do not leave any stone unturned.

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