“I had not looked at porn for most of college, but the time spent alone studying eventually broke me down and I started looking at it several times per week. I remember being in the student lounge and going on a several-hours-long binge and a classmate walking in on me. I don’t know if she noticed what I was doing, but to this day I wonder and am of course humiliated by the thought that she might have caught me. Eventually I went to a sex-addicts anonymous group for awhile, which helped so much to see where this could lead if I didn’t find another outlet for the loneliness and social isolation.”

Letting Go

“We dated through medical school, and I definitely loved him. But when I got pregnant he completely changed. I want to be a mom so bad, but not alone, while I’m in residency. So I had an abortion. The day before Match Day.”

I Took Second Year Three Times

“I had to re-take second year twice. I remember when they were calling out roll for the first time on my third attempt of second year thinking to myself “nobody would blame me for walking out of here right now””. 

Kicked Out Of School

“My little brother got sick and I had to take care of him for several weeks. I got called into the dean’s office and was told that I was getting kicked out of school for my grades. No warnings. No probation. I was so ashamed that I didn’t even tell my girlfriend. Nobody in my entire class knew except my roomate. I had to appeal twice to get back in.”

Failed Step 1 Twice, Still Not Sure It Was All Worth It

“I failed step one twice. I passed by one point when I took it the third time. If I didn’t pass I was going to get kicked out of school. Looking back I honestly don’t think the stress and the damage to my self esteem was worth it.”

OB-Bound Since Childhood, Drinking, And Failure

“I wanted to be an Obstetrician since I was in first grade and asked where babies come from. I remember looking up the word in 6th grade so I would know how to spell what I wanted to become. I worked at Planned Parenthood in LA after my M1 year and loved it, taking a 2 hr commute each way. I came back to my M2 year and my boyfriend (who I was living with) broke up with me so I had to move out. I ended up living with some med school friends, but I started drinking again, as I became more social (my bf had shut me off from people and I’m incredibly shy). I got more and more depressed as M2 year went on. The drinking, being lonely, plus the fact that we don’t actually help anybody, so what’s the point? When 3rd year started, things began to get better. I started going to AA, went to counseling, and even though I liked rotations better than studying I still really struggled because I was so shy. The attendings looked right past me, and some gave me horrible reviews. I applied to 40+ programs with solid grades and scores. I interviewed at 9, and ranked 9. I didn’t match anywhere. I scrambled nine times (three times per day for three days) and nothing came through. I’ve been 100% committed to OB my whole life. Now I’m getting a graduate degree and hoping that when I reapply, something different happens.”

Health Problems

“…it took me 3 tries to get in medical school, …My A1c was 10% (up from 5.9%) during 2nd year from stress, lack of activity, etc. It took alot of effort to get that under control. I had to go to 3 medications instead of 1. I actually developed the beginnings of neuropathy in my feet. All of this was very frustrating/depressing (realizing my own mortality, feeling like a failure, etc).

 Sacrificing relationships and feeling like I couldn’t be myself were also up there. I felt like I wanted to help people, but couldn’t be myself during these past 4 years. I had to put up a tough front, grind myself to the bone, study every waking hour to succeed academically to get a residency rather than be there for patients like I wanted to. It made me hate myself at some points. I also see that in some of our classmates. Success should not be based on grades like it is.”

  • graduated first in his class, turned down Mass Gen for residency

My Personality (And Gender) Were “Liabilities” In Ortho

“I came into medical school not knowing exactly what I waned to do but knowing that I loved medicine and wanted to have absolutely every option open to me. And so I did everything possible to get make that happen. I sat in the front row of every class, was asking questions between every lecture.  244 & 260 on Step 1 & 2 and a 3.9 GPA, AOA, yadayada. In january of my 3rd year I realized that ortho was what I wanted – I’d loved anatomy, coached gymnastics for years, and luckily I had already been involved in some ortho research earlier in med school. I was already a strong candidate, but I still applied the same level of intensity to the specific path. During this time my relationship with my boyfriend of four years was starting to do really well and I was excited about him proposing soon, but I buckled down and took every externship i could during 4th year. I put in 100 hrs/wk at one site, which of course took things with him in the opposite direction. I sent out 58 applications, and got 9 interviews. I spent the summer between 3rd and 4th year doing more ortho research.

And I didn’t match.  I had to scramble into radiology.

Luckily, my boyfriend (now husband) was super patient and supportive and we got our relationship back on track (he proposed!)

I’m ‘sweet’, positive, ‘smiley’ and just a generally friendly woman. And the biggest frustration about the whole process was not that I lost – I can take losing in a fair ‘fight’ against someone that is just flat out better/more qualified than I am. But in this case I felt like my personality – which is FINE, thank you very much – was my biggest liability.  Like you can only do ortho if you are a man (85% are) and not too happy all the time”


“I came to medical school after not getting in the first time. I did some research and other stuff in the meantime, but I was at least a few years older than almost everyone else in the class.  It made me feel like I had been ‘screwing around’. Yes, I was more mature, since I had gone to medical school not ‘by default’ but on purpose, but I never felt comfortable surrounded by people that were so much younger than me all the time.”

My big brother

“My brother was the reason that I ever was able to leave Africa. He was the reason I took the SAT, the ACT, all of that stuff. He became a doctor, so I wanted to become a doctor. Not because he told me to or anyone in my family pressured me, but just because I wanted to be like him. During third year I was headed to the airport with my girlfriend when I got a phone call. She and I were going to go on vacation to Mexico.  It was my brother. He had lung cancer. No risk factors, non-smoker, no family history. I canceled the vacation and flew straight to Florida (he was an ER physician there). He was the reason that I was in medical school, that I wanted to become a doctor. All of it. I tried to quit. I went in to our dean of students and told him I was withdrawing. He asked me why and I told him. He suggested I take some time off. My brother told me not to. It was the first time that he had ever directly told me what to do with my life. He never told me to be a doctor, but he did tell me not to quit. My brother died about 6 months later, the day of my first residency interview in fourth year.”