Dear Doctor (because that’s what we’ll be calling you, soon enough),
You are not a failure. You are not a reject. And I can say this for a fact because I once sat in an ocean of medical school rejection emails and letters: twenty-three of them to be exact. I was working night shift as a nurse when I received Rejection #19 and had to hide in the linen closet to sob before change of shift. When I walked back on to the floor, my co-workers noticed the red of my eyes and I chalked it up to dust and allergies. And carried on.
When I received Rejection #21, I was in my room at home, stifling my cries with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (Face down in the dirt, she said this doesn’t hurt) and sitting on the floor so no one would see my tear-streaked face when they walked in through the door.
Rejection #23 came and I was almost numb. A season of no interviews, which translated to no hope. I continued questioning my dream.
And I stopped hoping. For the first time in my twenty-three years (at the time) of life, I felt that being a doctor may not be for me. I felt that maybe I wasn’t cut out for medicine. And I felt that no matter what I did – no matter what I changed or added or tried to make better on my application – that it would never be enough. So, I decided to stop trying.
I applied for a promotion. I looked into vacations for September. I got my tax refund and decided to use it for airfare for an international trip in the fall and another domestic trip over the summer. I received notification that I was granted an interview for my promotion and for a different position that I was hoping for and scheduled those in. And when I least expected it, it came:
The single yes. Yes. I did a double take because it was 11:30pm when the email came through and I wasn’t sure if I was seeing things. I stifled a cry because the rest of my family was sleeping and I wasn’t sure if it was real. But when it hit me, you bet I ran upstairs and woke them all up.All it took was a single yes. Just one. One school to tell me that I belonged with them. One school to tell me that they were giving me a chance.
Four years later, I’m standing on the other side and am here to tell you that if you needed a sign that you were meant for this, this is that sign. If you needed a sign to tell you that you are meant to be a doctor, this is your sign. If you needed a sign to remind you that this is your dream, this is your sign. But most of all, if you needed someone to tell you that dozens of rejections does not detract from your self worth – this is your sign.
I can’t wait to meet you, doc. Hang in there.
Dani Binsol, MD (Instagram: @outofpost)