Thursday, September 10, 2009


Just when you think you are secure and confident, over that nagging self-doubt and sense of inadequacy that plagues you since high school, one seemingly small thing can bring it all crashing back.

Stupid marks, stupid random evaluations, stupid prizes, all working together, stupid me for letting them mess with me.

I know who I am. I know how hard I work and what I know. I know that I have never been The Best at certain ways of thinking that fit into the box enough to get Perfect Marks (except in things that require lateral or divergent thinking, but no exam anywhere tests that). To be honest, I know I haven't worked as hard as others this time around, either.

I tried so hard in high school, was in so many things, not to get recognition, but because I enjoyed them, thought I did them well, and thought they were worth doing them. I would wander along, being happy as I was.

I was VERY involved in both music and academia. There weren't many musical groups that I wasn't a part of, I did a LOT of solo work (music was my first degree at university) and I also did well at school. (Yeah, I see myself in some of those geeky kids in Glee. What of it? ;) )

Then the end of the year would come around, and the Popular kids, the ones who were Cute or Funny or who were Buddies with the teachers would get awards for being upstanding, for participation, but those of us who did the bulk of the work would be left swinging in the breeze with nothing.

Shiny people get rewarded.

The recognition didn't matter in the first place. So then, why did it sting that it never came my way? Probably because the very fact of the existence of these pathetic, small and petty awards put a value on something that could not be quantified, something that I knew (by mere adding and observation) that I was far better at than the kids who were thanked and acknowledged, but I was ignored.

It is hardly a unique experience, I'm sure. Lots of the not-so-pretty and not-so-cute and not-so-outgoing people go through their lives, living with the bitter fruit of not being the "ideal" person in a society created by other people.

At heart, I have learned to be less bitter about this, have become cynical and worldly about this sort of petty award-giving over the years. I like to think that people I know would have no idea that this is how I was, or that I would not feel that way now.

Medical school brings some things back that I wish were left buried. This is one of them.

I never really thought that I would care about medical school awards, don't work hard for them, and to tell you the truth, I don't really want them. It is just the old feelings that they drag up deserve to be looked at, acknowledged and then laid to rest.

If I REALLY cared about this kind of thing, deep down, then I would be an entire other person and act in a very different way to how I do today. This probably isn't a bad thing. I have other things in my life that matter to me just as much, now. Being a whole person is much more fulfilling than having a random award on my wall or in my CV.

Am I jealous of those who are capable of being that bright, or working that hard? A little. Well, more than a little.

Am I happy for them? Certainly.

Could I do what they do? No. Good on them.

If I can't, should I really be here? I like to think so. Surely there is a place for bitter lateral thinkers with lives outside of medicine in the scheme of things. I hope so.


Milk and Two Sugars said...

Unequivocally, you should be here. You are valuable. You're also a real person; your personality and interests might not fit the MedSkool mould, but if I've learned only one thing this year it's that that doesn't make you a lesser person. Be yourself. You're pretty awesome :).

On a related note, my brother was a school prefect - they're voted by the students and he is an immensely popular, likable person. I never even ran for prefect, knowing I'd never get the popularity votes. Still bites!

The Girl said...

Thanks! Things are a lot clearer after a night of sleep. I usually don't let the Medskool get to me, guess I slipped last night.

I can understand how you feel - as much as the whole prefect thing is ultimately a bit silly (IMHO), if it is something that you wanted, it can hurt knowing that you wouldn't have gotten it because you didn't have that popularity. I had something similar happen with class captain, funnily enough. :)