Confidence and Preparation: Go Together Like a Horse & Carriage

You wake up to find yourself in the surgical operating room.  The surgeon approaches you and catches you up to speed on how you got there.  Apparently, you were in a 3 motor vehicle collision, lost consciousness, and were then brought in to the nearest trauma center.  You are paralyzed from the waist down and need emergent spinal cord decompression or you’ll never walk again.  You look to the person in the white coat and ask, “Do you think you can fix me Doc?”  The surgeon replies, “Well, I’m not sure.  I’m not a very confident person, but I’ll give it a try.”  You reply “GET OUT OF HERE!!!”

Now change the scenario.  You are a premedical student taking various tests, preparing for the MCAT, and looking for leadership roles in various organizations.  Times get tough, but not as tough as an emergent spinal cord decompression.  You doubt yourself.  You question whether or not Medicine is for you.  Pause and take a moment to answer the question, “Can you do this doc?”

The nemesis to many underrepresented premedical students is confidence.  Too often we fail to believe in ourselves and then become upset when others don’t believe in us either.  We walk into test rooms with our heads down and submit our Medical School applications as if we just bought a lottery ticket.  This issue is rampant in our community and before it can be rectified, it must be recognized.

Perhaps the most important concept in Medicine is to “Treat the underlying problem”.  There is little use in giving only Tylenol to a patient with fever and a horrible bacterial pneumonia.  The pneumonia is the true problem that needs to be addressed.  So what is the underlying problem in lack of confidence?  It is lack of preparation!  You can’t, or at least you shouldn’t  walk into a test without having studied and feel confident.  That’s just silly.  Confidence is based in preparation!  The reason Michael Jordan could take the game willing shots is because he prepared himself via practice.  The reason Dr. Ben Carson is confident when he performs Brain surgery is because he has done thousands in preparation for the next one.

So, I urge DiverseMedicine students to think in a positive light and be confident!  In other words, I urge you to prepare for every task.  Confidence and Preparation; Go together like a horse and carriage (for all the 1990s and 2000s babies, that is a reference to the TV show Married With Children).  Preparation begets confidence!  It is the remedy for this rampant problem in our community.

One thought on “Confidence and Preparation: Go Together Like a Horse & Carriage

  1. Profile photo of Jessica Daigle, M.D.Jessica Daigle, M.D.

    I hold heartily agree! Think about the times when you argued someone down because you were confident in the information you knew, because it was a part of you, inside of you. “Preparation begets confidence” is a concept I wish had become ingrained in me during medical school. I felt confident in undergrad when i was in what I felt was more my “element” and when medical school started, I began to focus on the “grade” or what others thought, than “what is the best way for me to learn this information?” So, for you premedical students and medical students and beyond, remember this is all about patient care and you want and need to know this information to provide excellent patient care. I believe if we think about this and remember this everyday, it will take the focus off of our insecurities and help us to make the choices that would best serve our patients!

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