How Bad is it to Fail?

It’s pretty ironic how I wrote an entire post on how to study anatomy just a few days ago. I’d written the post after my exam on the gastro-intestinal system, partly because I had finally figured out how I should be studying these things and partly because my exam hadn’t gone very well and I decided to write everything I should have done down was a good way to ensure I didn’t screw up an exam again.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for how badly I had screwed up.

You heard that right. Kanra Khan, second year med student, failed an important exam for the very first time in med school. Was I shocked? A little bet, yes. I’d realized my exam didn’t go so well, so I had been expecting a borderline pass, like maybe 50.01% or just 50%. Results get emailed though so when I finally went home and opened the document, I didn’t get past the bare minimum to pass. I had gotten a 48%.

So I was shocked, yeah? I study quite a bit, writing notes and drawing drawings, but it just didn’t seem to be enough. I realized that when I saw the paper, and I realized it again when I saw my result. For real, guys, med school is tough. You put in so much effort and time and it all literally drains you and then you find out you weren’t even up to the mark.

Does it hurt?

Yes.

But no pain, no gain, am I right?

Here are five reasons why failure isn’t as bad as it sounds and feels.

1. It’s a chance to evaluate yourself.
Where did you go wrong? Did you think this class, this subject was going to be easy peasy? Or maybe you decided to party out with your friends all weekend? Or maybe you did study, you really did, but you focused on the wrong things? Either way, you need to sit down and think about what you’ve done. We’re so caught up with staying ahead in class, we never really stop to think about what we’ve been doing in the past. Here’s your chance.

2. It’s a wake up call
Whatever you’ve been doing, it’s not working!! Just reading the text won’t get you to pass this class- the way it may have helped you pass all the other classes. Do you need to change your study strategy? Switch from detailed reading to smart strategic learning? An F on your exam is the clearest sign you can possibly get that tells you “Hey, whatever you were doing, it’s not going to work. For real, change your strategy”.

3. It’s your chance to ask for help
I’m a student so I know how there’s a sort of facade us students hold up. Whenever it’s that time of the school year where grades come in, people ask around “What did you get?” and if you got good, you’d announce your result. And if you didn’t do good, you’d just try to play it casual, like “Mmh, yeah, I passed at least”.
Well yeah, you didn’t do good but in your attempt to look cool in front of everybody, you really missed out a chance to ask for advice. When you fail, there’s no way you can continue this facade. You should just take a deep breath and admit that your failed. You’d be surprised at how nice people will be about it, giving advice and tips about studying and test-taking.

4. It proves you’re a human
It’s okay to fail every now and then. If you always passed with flying colors, wouldn’t you stop working so hard? Wouldn’t it give your efforts less meaning? That and, a lot of people would be pretty mad at you for being a know-it-all super genius. Failing means you’re flawed and human. It’s a perfectly normal thing to happen.

5. It tests you as a person
How are you going to react to this? Are you going to sit back and cry about it? Or get up and do something about it instead? What you’re going to do after failing is what will decide if you are a winner or a loser.
So pick yourself up, get a plan running and get back into the game! I believe in you and you should believe in you too!

Have a nice day!

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Author: Kanra Khan

I'm a Pakistani American student of medicine, or more precisely, an almost-graduate of MBBS Class of 2019. I like to write about my experiences in med school and my adventures in life, which range from traveling, to art, to blogging and photography. Like what you're seeing so far? Consider exploring a bit more! The Lunar Descent is endless.

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