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In my first year of medical school and I feel absolutely awful. I'm pretty sure I failed a block, not because I wasn't ready, but because I messed up in an osce station and the written exams are always so unpredictable (no idea how they're graded, no idea how much each question is worth, and just really vague long answer questions that can be interpreted in different ways).

I was aiming for a competitive specialty, but now that I might get a fail on my transcript, I feel like I ruined my future in 10min. Knowing that some schools don't mention a fail on the transcript makes me really mad at myself for settling for this med school when I know I probably could have gotten in elsewhere if I had only completed a b.sc before applying (this was the only school i was eligible for).

The location is really far from my hometown and I find it incredibly difficult to integrate into the community (language barrier, different interests, literally nothing to do except get drunk). I hate every day of my life, I feel like I stagnated every aspect of my life in order to pursue medicine "earlier" than I was supposed to. I guess I just didn't have the confidence to think "hey, my acceptance wasn't a computer glitch, i'm a valued person and will be able to get in next time too".

It makes me sick to think that this was one of the worst mistakes of my life and there's no way of fixing it. It's like I'm in prison.

Choose your med school wisely, don't just go to the first one that accepts you.

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44 minutes ago, throwawayacct said:

In my first year of medical school and I feel absolutely awful. I'm pretty sure I failed a block, not because I wasn't ready, but because I messed up in an osce station and the written exams are always so unpredictable (no idea how they're graded, no idea how much each question is worth, and just really vague long answer questions that can be interpreted in different ways).

I was aiming for a competitive specialty, but now that I might get a fail on my transcript, I feel like I ruined my future in 10min. Knowing that some schools don't mention a fail on the transcript makes me really mad at myself for settling for this med school when I know I probably could have gotten in elsewhere if I had only completed a b.sc before applying (this was the only school i was eligible for).

The location is really far from my hometown and I find it incredibly difficult to integrate into the community (language barrier, different interests, literally nothing to do except get drunk). I hate every day of my life, I feel like I stagnated every aspect of my life in order to pursue medicine "earlier" than I was supposed to. I guess I just didn't have the confidence to think "hey, my acceptance wasn't a computer glitch, i'm a valued person and will be able to get in next time too".

It makes me sick to think that this was one of the worst mistakes of my life and there's no way of fixing it. It's like I'm in prison.

Choose your med school wisely, don't just go to the first one that accepts you.

That was hard to even read, I can't imagine how you're feeling right now. It feels like you very recently got some form of confirmation that you failed a block. Is that right?

There's nothing I can realistically write that would help you right now, other than this: deal with the actual facts later, they may or may not be as bad as you see them right now. The fact that this is your first post on this forum tells me that your emotions must be very strong, and that is therefore your priority right now. Do you have summer off at your school? If so, take a couple of weeks to do something completely different, away from all of this. Travel the country, canoe on a lake, surfing in Costa RIca, whatever. This will help you to deal with things without staying stuck in a deep hole. Being down a hole, or feeling "in prison" is not the place to be, and if you have the opportunity, get out of it. This can make all the difference it takes to get back on your feet. If you don't have summer off, try to see if you can take some time off, many schools allow that for health reasons.

Second, maybe a school counsellor who knows more about your school, community, etc. would be better placed to help you than us. As I said, things may or may not be as bad as you see them right now, and the recency of what happened makes it hard to have a clear head about this.

Finally, you mentioned a language barrier. If you'd like to talk to someone in French (I have no idea what kind of barrier you're talking about!), send me a PM, I'll give you a call.

Sincerely wishing you the best! Others will chime in soon, I'm sure.

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I too went to Med school in another city where I knew nobody. I too had a language barrier and I too failed a course, in 2nd year, and had to rewrite. Other than taking a hit to my ego, it all turned out just fine. I was accepted for residency for a competitive surgical specialty and am thriving, loving it. It is mind over matter, suck it up, shake it off and move on, avoiding drinking which could really affect your future! Your future is in your hands. Be positive, all will be fine!

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6 hours ago, Bambi said:

I too went to Med school in another city where I knew nobody. I too had a language barrier and I too failed a course, in 2nd year, and had to rewrite. Other than taking a hit to my ego, it all turned out just fine. I was accepted for residency for a competitive surgical specialty and am thriving, loving it. It is mind over matter, suck it up, shake it off and move on, avoiding drinking which could really affect your future! Your future is in your hands. Be positive, all will be fine!

How do you overcome the language barrier?

My french has improved but it has stagnated a little, and I definitely won't become super fluent within the next few years. My difficulties in communication translates to lack of competence in the eyes of my evaluators... 

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Worse case scenario, you will still get family medicine if you put some effort into the remaining years.  That itself is still a way better career than most other people.  

One fail will make it harder if you are going for a competitive specialty, but it's not impossible and you can still make up for it since you are so early on and I'm sure most residency directors care more about your personality/work ethic than a transcript.

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1 minute ago, Bambi said:

A fail did not affect my ability to land a competitive surgical specialty.

But how long ago did you match though? Things can change so fast as you already know. Heck by the time I get to the match things will be different than now. I’d say it could definitely depend on the person too and how the represent themselves on CV, Interview, etc. You are after all one sample.

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22 hours ago, IMislove said:

But how long ago did you match though? Things can change so fast as you already know. Heck by the time I get to the match things will be different than now. I’d say it could definitely depend on the person too and how the represent themselves on CV, Interview, etc. You are after all one sample.

I’m starting 4th year residency in July. I agree with your comments. It was my soft skills that nailed it for me, being friendly, easy to get along with, a hard and enthusiastic worker. The interview with s panel of 6 lasted 10 minutes and it was relaxed. The 1 fail was not a factor, was not raised. There were many gunners who did not get it as I assume they were not considered a good fit.

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I don’t quite understand what you are saying. During my 2 week elective, the attending saw my work, and encouraged me to apply for the residency spot. Without his encouragement, I never would have thought of applying. From his viewpoint, it was merit based. My one fail, when I had to rewrite, was irrelevant to anything. Then, 40 of us were interviewed for 3 spots. The normal interview lasted 45 minutes, mine lasted only 10 minutes. I had no contacts. The 6 members of the panel unanimously selected me. They had my complete file and asked whatever they wished. They determined that I was a good fit, and I am. What do you mean by merit based. The selection process is part art. 

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11 hours ago, #YOLO said:

its unfortunate carms isn't merit based. this would never fly in the states. 

Besides Bambi's excellent point regarding residency selection, there seems to be this idealization of a "meritocracy" in the US.  Besides the obvious political/industrial cronyism that the current administration is showing, consider that about a third of admittances to top Ivy Legacy schools are "Legacy" admits, i.e. based on family history/donation of attending a given institution.  Not only are these students from better off families, with better means, these individuals also have lower admittance standards.  Admittance to such institutions opens a number of career paths that aren't easily available to others.  How's that for meritocracy?      

Regarding the OPs original question, I do understand the disadvantages that language differences can bring and have posted about this issue (see link below) which includes tangibles (like the academic part of med school) and intangibles (like forming connections).  However, like Bambi said,  try to focus on the positive, including looking towards the future, especially given at this point everything is speculation.  Moreover, there's really no other choices but to go forward - transfers are almost non-existent within the system.  While venting is understandable, I'd try to keep as upbeat and attitude as possible as this will help you overcome any possible "glitch" on your transcript.      

http://forums.premed101.com/topic/99477-med-school-in-second-language/

 

 

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1 hour ago, marrakech said:

Besides Bambi's excellent point regarding residency selection, there seems to be this idealization of a "meritocracy" in the US.  Besides the obvious political/industrial cronyism that the current administration is showing, consider that about a third of admittances to top Ivy Legacy schools are "Legacy" admits, i.e. based on family history/donation of attending a given institution.  Not only are these students from better off families, with better means, these individuals also have lower admittance standards.  Admittance to such institutions opens a number of career paths that aren't easily available to others.  How's that for meritocracy?      

Regarding the OPs original question, I do understand the disadvantages that language differences can bring and have posted about this issue (see link below) which includes tangibles (like the academic part of med school) and intangibles (like forming connections).  However, like Bambi said,  try to focus on the positive, including looking towards the future, especially given at this point everything is speculation.  Moreover, there's really no other choices but to go forward - transfers are almost non-existent within the system.  While venting is understandable, I'd try to keep as upbeat and attitude as possible as this will help you overcome any possible "glitch" on your transcript.      

http://forums.premed101.com/topic/99477-med-school-in-second-language/

 

 

Regarding your first point, I don't think this applies to residency admission (or, at least, there is little documented evidence of such a widespread issue). I do think that #YOLO's argument that, somehow, a fail on a pre-clerkship course automatically makes you undeserving of a competitive specialty is complete BS. Interestingly, I have found that the gunners who hold these views are typically the biggest brown-nosers you could find in med school. I guess some people reaaaaally want to deserve their spot. 

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The OP is not in prison and has every opportunity for the future! Perception becomes reality, so OP, change your perception.

I would say almost half of the 40 interviewees for the 3 residency spots were “gunners”, they had lots of electives, research, brown nosing. Not one of them were accepted to the program. Why? They were all deemed as unsuitable in the sense that they were not a good fit for the team in place. Five years is a long time and he selection team could not picture themselves working with these otherwise meritorious applicants day in and day out. I, on the other hand, during the elective at this school, and during my interview, was just myself - with my soft skills. I had no research, no publications in the field, no in depth knowledge, no contacts, all I had was my work ethic, friendly and helpful personality, a willingness to work hard and learn, and as the interviewers determined, I would make a good fit - which is what happened. Along the way during residency, I developed excellent research skills and have numerous publications at this point. Clearly, by any standard, I lived up to the expected standards, and likely exceeded them. I was a diamond in the rough for which they saw potential. What is merit based is in the eyes of the beholders, I.e., the decision makers. Being good or even excellent on paper is not even half the battle.

 

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7 hours ago, SunAndMoon said:

Regarding your first point, I don't think this applies to residency admission (or, at least, there is little documented evidence of such a widespread issue). I do think that #YOLO's argument that, somehow, a fail on a pre-clerkship course automatically makes you undeserving of a competitive specialty is complete BS. Interestingly, I have found that the gunners who hold these views are typically the biggest brown-nosers you could find in med school. I guess some people reaaaaally want to deserve their spot. 

It's a societal aspect - easier to get into Ivy League, med school, honor society (one of many criteria residency PDs use)...  No one even really questions the idea of Legacy admits, since it's so ingrained in society (in contrast to affirmative action which gives similar advantages).  Otoh, the story of the Carrib grad with extremely high Step 1 scores, unable to land a surgical residency shows that there's a limit to the "objective" selection criteria that people seem to think occurs universally in the US and equate with merit.  

The OP is going through something which  few other CMG goes through - that is med school in a second language.  And he's struggling, which is a completely  expected result (with research even on the phenomenon), but he's working on overcoming the barrier.  Not only that, he's in a faculty which has much greater attrition and failures, despite exclusively focusing on academic ability for admission.  To not consider the difference in context, would be akin to not looking at all the evidence.

 It's easy to blame the OP, for a potential blemish on his record, whose already struggling, but really there's not much the OP could do when admitted and matriculated that would have greatly changed the struggle - a second language environment is provably disadvantageous.  Except for my earlier post, there's very little publicity regarding this issue.  

It's possible the OP may have to continue to work harder, even during clerkship or residency, due to his situation, but in my view, some leeway should be given.  If the OP were to impress during electives and interview, like Bambi, then I think this aspect would be much more important rather than having struggled and overcome in a provably difficult situation.  

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Sorry to hear about your tough first year, throwawayacct. I see that a few people have posted some words of encouragement, which is nice to see. If it helps at all, somebody that I know very well failed an entire year and still matched to a competitive specialty in Canada. I agree with some of the other posters that it would be probably wise to take some time off for your mental health this summer (if possible) and come back in the fall ready to go. Things like this can often build strong character that can be very helpful on things like interviews later on :D

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