“What keeps you going?” Interestingly, I really haven’t put much thought into this question but it has been asked to me multiple times in the past week as more students join DiverseMedicine. Because that is the case, it seems worthwhile to address it. The question has been posed with the idea that working constantly to get into Medical School and Residency can be exhausting. I agree 100%. It certainly is emotionally and sometimes physically draining. I do not believe there is a single trick to stay motivated, but there are 2 key things I did as a college student.
Before we delve into these 2 things, it is important to understand the nature of self-discipline. The overarching theme of DiverseMedicine Inc is to promote self discipline which in turn will be your driving force for success. No matter how good a mentor you may have, if you yourself are not disciplined to do what you have to do, then success is not an option for you. A mentor can’t study for you. A mentor can’t take take your MCAT. And a mentor certainly can’t graduate for you! So before you even ask the question of how to stay motivated, you have to have a self-conviction of discipline Once you have made it up in your mind that you can be disciplined enough to do what it takes to get into Medical School, then you GO HARD!
So, the real question then is how to keep yourself motivated to go hard? The first thing I did as an undergraduate student was to put small signs on my bedroom bulletin board with motivational quotes such as “failure is not an option”, “the world is watching”, and “keep your eyes on the prize”. I know it sounds corny, but perhaps because I was an athlete growing up, motivational quotes have always fueled me. Also, since these signs were right above my bed, I could not avoid looking at them everyday. When I didn’t feel like studying, my own words were staring me in the face telling me to go hard so that’s what I did. This might not work for everyone, but it did for me. In the end, everyone has to find their own internal driving force and go with it!
The second thing that is essential is to surround yourself with friends who support your goal. If I were to look at your 5 closest friends, I would have a good idea of what type of person you are. If all 5 of them get drunk and high every night of the week, I’d guess you do the same which would hinder your studying. If all 5 of them had goals and were self motivated to achieve them, then I’d guess you were working hard to achieve your goal as well. As a freshman, I understood this concept and affiliated with students who wanted to do well. Some of us even went as far as setting grade point average goals together and pushed one another throughout the semesters to achieve them. It wasn’t competition, but rather encouragement. If you don’t have close friends who care enough about you to tell you to study the night before a test when you are tired, then you won’t study! That’s what friends are for.
What kept me going? As silly as it sounds, little cut out pieces of paper stapled to my bulletin board and my friends. Both of these things were necessary for me to make it. So, my question to you is: How do you motivate yourself and who are your 5 closest friends? Ponder That!