Salt In the Wound

For the last few weeks, I felt like I was finally moving beyond Philly. People had stopped asking about my training, the Olympic Trials came and went and I survived and I had a few good weeks of training. Then yesterday happened. The rest of my classmates are full, official 4th years while I’m making up the rotations I missed while I was training this fall. I was doing 4th year electives while I was “off” but I have to make up those clerkships before graduation and I opted to do them right off the bat. As such, I’m now surrounded by 3rd years who don’t know me or my story and who assume that I failed the Boards or otherwise floundered in third year and have to repeat a clerkship. I guess I could let them assume that and maybe so doing would ultimately be less painful, but I have had to have the following conversation multiple times in the past day.

“You’re a 2017, right? Why are you in this rotation?”

“I took the fall off to train for the Olympic Trials.”

“Cool, did you make it?”

“No, that’s not really how the United States system works. I needed to qualify for a chance to compete but I didn’t make the standard.” Awkward silence….

I’m facing a similar issue with writing my personal statement. My advisor is the Program Director here and she has encouraged me to demonstrate that I’m both a team player and have the ability to persevere, which is best done in my case via my running career. How do I demonstrate that perseverance when I feel like I failed at my big, bold move? How do I articulate that although I didn’t reach my A through E goals, I did achieve a lot of amazing things? How do I get over my shame enough to represent myself well?

Huge leap of faith, huge way to fall…

2 thoughts on “Salt In the Wound

  1. foxrunsfast

    Oh I have so much to say about this. I know how much it must suck to have to re-live the disappointment and heartache at not meeting those goals, but you’ve done something AMAZING: You stuck your neck out to do things differently, to pursue your goals via a different path than many would take – and you learned a TON about yourself, your running, and what you want from your career as a doctor. You took a risk that most would not and gave your heart and soul to the process – that, in and of itself, is an amazing thing. I think you highlight the fact that you pushed yourself and the boundaries of your running and ventured outside your comfort zone to pursue excellence. I want THAT trait in a doctor. I want someone who isn’t afraid to go against and norm and really stretch themselves to try new methods, or give their all to pursue something that may or may not work. Because you know what? Sometimes it DOES work – and that’s how new medicines and procedures are developed. I want someone who pushes themselves each day to become the very best they can be, who gets outside their comfortable bubble to really GROW as a person. And you did that, Sarah. Whether or not you hit the goal is irrelevant. You had the courage to attempt it, to give it everything you had – and THAT is amazing. “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” – John F. Kennedy

    1. Runner Under Pressure Post author

      Jen, I needed this so much. The cerebral part of me knows that the only way we have huge breakthroughs in anything is to take risks and to bounce after we inevitably fail. My heart, however, is struggling so much to accept this. I think the hardest thing in terms of my personal statement is putting into words both what the Trials mean to someone who is never going to make the Olympics and how much effort in to even trying for it. Thanks again for the reassurance, I really needed it!!


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