If you are visiting this section, most likely you have failed medical school or may be on the verge of failing medical school.
If you are an US medical student, you will probably get a second chance, even a third chance. So make the most of it.
But if you have been dismissed from the school, I want to let you know that it is ok. You are not the first person ever to fall. Your life is not over, it will go on. Failure is a blessing in disguise.
Dale Carnegie, author of one of the most famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, said, “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
There are many people whom I admire that have failed at one point or another:
- Abraham Lincoln
- Winston Churchill
- Thomas Edison
- Albert Einstein
- Henry Ford
- Michael Jordan
You can read about how these people failed, but they did not give up. And neither should you.
I Failed Too
After college, I wanted to start my own business, Cut and Fit. It was supposed to be an online store selling items related to fitness, from supplements to equipments. I love fitness so why not sell it? I spent half a year developing my site. I programmed my own shopping cart, set up my merchant account, and made sure I can accept credit cards. I found a distributor who will ship out the products for me. Everything was set. And yet, I never made a sale. So I eventually abandoned my plans and got a job.
Even though I lost 6 months of my life and maybe a thousand dollars, I have learned that I hate programming. In addition, I learned how not to run website. You can be sure that I am not repeating the mistakes I made with my previous site.
Now Back to You – What Should You Do?
You may be saying, “Now Alex, that is not a good comparison. Your loss does not compare to my loss. I lost way more time and money than you.” And you are absolutely correct. But there are people who failed even harder than you and yet became successful. Look at Henry Ford, for instance. He went broke five times before he succeeded.
What you have to do now is to examine why you wanted to go into medical school in the first place. If you love medicine, you can be a nurse, physician assistant, or physical therapist. If you love money, you shouldn’t be a doctor. But seriously, if money is your goal, there are other ways to get it besides being a doctor. You can start a business, write a book, or even invest. If you want to help people, you can volunteer or become a teacher. Being a doctor is not the only way of life. You now have total control over the destination of your life. Do something meaningful and fulfilling.
Some of the options I have listed are hard. Maybe your own ideas are even harder. But, you are smart, capable, and hard-working. That is how you got into medical school in the first place. The work ethic you learned in medical school will serve you well for the rest of your life, even if you failed medical school.
You should be concerned about the debt you have accumulated over the years you spent in medical school. Obviously, the earlier you failed medical school, the smaller your debt is. If you have a federal loan, you can apply for the income-based repayment program to reduce the monthly payments. Visit the medical school loan section for more information about managing the debt.
If Being a Doctor Is the Only Option for You
Personally, I would not reapply to medical school if I failed medical school. The financial and time commitment is way too steep, especially the second time around. But, if being a doctor is the only option for you, then I guess you have no choice but to reapply.
Let me just warn you that it will be a risky and costly path. You will most likely have to take the MCAT again and jump through 20 others hoops to get into medical school. Admissions don’t look at medical school failures in a positive light either. So even if your scores are good, you may not get an acceptance.
But you’ll never know if you can get in or not unless you try.
If you absolutely, positively must become a doctor, make sure you have a rock-solid study system. Without it, I don’t know if I could have gotten through medical school, especially with my non-science background.
I Envy You for Failing Medical School
There is so much I want to do that I do not have time for as a medical student. I want to become proficient in Spanish and Mandarin. I want to live in another country. I want to learn how to tango. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to be free from medical school. You can even say that I envy you because you will now have time to try out all the things I have been missing out on. Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life. You failed medical school, but that is in the past. Live life for the present.
Let me know what I’m missing out on.
Are you turning your back on medicine? If so, you may feel like you are alone. You may feel like a failure. But, you are not. Leaving the field could turn out better than you have ever thought possible. And here is why you should get out …
This article is part of the How to Survive Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about surviving academic hell.