You peer over the fence and you see the beautifully green and perfectly cut grass “on the other side”…
You watch as your peers seem to move through life seamlessly, without hesitation…
And then there’s you. Adversity calls your name. Sleep deprivation has become too familiar. And self-doubt has become your first language.
It’s very easy to compare yourself to other students and think:
Am I doing enough?
Am I good enough?
Why does everyone seem to have their sh*t together except me!?
Don’t give into perception.
A lot of people put up a front that they know exactly what they’re doing and seem to “have it all” but there’s much more to the story. When I was a pre-med student, I remember hearing about students who had research publications, had way more volunteer hours than me, and of course, those who “nailed” the MCAT.
Did it worry me? Of course it did! I knew they were my competition.
But did it stop me? No way.
Your journey is unique.
The first thing you need to do is remind yourself (and actually believe) that everyone is on their own journey. I like to think of it as hundreds of track runners on a BIG track where everyone is in their own lane.
Every “athlete” has different strengths and weaknesses…
You have your sprinters and you have your long distance runners. Initially, it seems as if the sprinters have the upper hand but after a few miles, here come the long distance runners.
You have those who mentally and physically prepared for the race so no matter what hurdles come their way, they keep running. Mind over struggle.
You have your runners who didn’t even know that they loved to run until later in life, but now, they’re following their passion and are walking up to the starting line ready to go!
How fast or slow the runner next to you runs has no effect on whether or not you actually get to your own finish line – your journey is unique so stay in your lane and put blinders on.
The only thing that can stop you is YOU.
Ignore all the flashy shoes and those runners who love to gab about their accomplishments and awards.
Gold medal at a previous race?
Record run 2 years ago?
3rd runner in the family?
It’s all noise. Just focus on you. Chances are, you’ll never come across these so called runners again in your life so who cares what they say, what they’ve accomplished, or how intimidating they may be. Don’t let what others do hold you back, for only you can stop you.
Sometimes only you can see the finish line.
I had several people tell me that I couldn’t be both a Division I collegiate athlete and a pre-med student.
“It’s just not possible.” They told me.
Instead of listening to them, I just kept on going. Why? Because I had two big dreams, and I wasn’t willing to give them up.
Fastforward to the end of my collegiate career and I was elected team captain, completed two majors, graduated with honors, and was accepted into medical school.
Had I listened to the many naysayers, I wouldn’t be where I am now writing this post during my second year of residency. Instead, I’d be living with regret singing the “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” blues…
* Pass the harmonica *
Stop peering over the fence and wishing your grass looked like your neighbors.
Stay in your lane. Train hard. And run your best race!
Trust me, years down the road you’ll be so happy that you stayed true to yourself and finished this race. I am.