BY BEMSI WALLANG – What are individuals without individuality?

And at what point does it become acceptable for a person to sacrifice the things they like for the betterment of a potential, distant reality? Young adulthood is all about finding what works and sticking to it, which sets standards for your late adulthood.

As pre-health students, we are bombarded with stressors on a daily basis. Our grades mean so much to us – they are our lifelines – but we will not carry them to the grave. Thousands of us are fighting for the very same thing and the length some of us are willing to extend ourselves to get there has no limit.

We’ve absorbed the mindset that every move we make in our undergraduate careers predetermines the degrees of happiness and flexibility we will one day carry in our adult lives. When our parents ask us how school is going, we do not even know how to answer. We end up constantly reminding ourselves of the valuable things we have done to dull the temptation to covet the lives of our friends, like your pal James with 400 volunteer hours, a full time job and a 520 MCAT.

You are you. You have what you have going on. You are working hard. You are succeeding.

When we are not careful, we allow worries to infiltrate into our personal lives and steal our joy. How can we stay above the roaring waves of pressure and temptation to abandon what we’re working so hard for? How do we know that our lives are still worth it, if our futures do not turn out the way we plan?

Sometimes pre-health students get so consumed by the that we have to mold ourselves into polished, infallible individuals and that we have to forsake the things we care about and trade them for typical resume builders because “med schools like that.” How many times has a student given up on poetry or ballroom dancing because it met during the time of a pre-health club? I am sure these decisions benefit students academically, but not emotionally or socially, which is just as important when your career involves connecting with your patients.

While we are busy framing our futures with our tired, yet callow hands, we have to remember who we are framing them for.

Keep your best interests at heart when planning, but remember that life is nothing like a restaurant. When have we ever been able to “order” all we want and actually receive it? Instead, life is more like the weather: it can be pouring rain in Singapore, snowing in Colorado and swelteringly hot in Texas all at the same time. Conflicting instances can occur at the same time.

In addition, you can plan, and planning goes a long way. It shows how much you truly care about getting somewhere and making something significant out of your life. But planning is not definitive. Live in the moment and do not be disheartened if your life differs from your plan; keep going.

Being a pre-med student and sticking with it has been perhaps the most difficult experience I had ever dealt with in my entire life.The amount of focus it takes just to do my O-Chem homework should not be legal. All jokes aside, I have been fighting for my future from the moment I decided that my destiny lies in medicine.

I have encountered many roadblocks: insufficient finances, feelings of inadequacy academically, not having enough of the “right things” on my resume to make myself seem ideal or perfect–I am well acquainted with all of these things. However, I know that my worth as a person has nothing to do with them. I am on my way to believing that and exuding that in all aspects of my life.

I am at a stage where I am realizing how precious life is and how great it could be for me if only I would take more chances on myself, and my current situation is not exempt from that idea. It is difficult to still push myself to be joyful in the midst of failed exams, threats to a timely graduation and an overall raincloud of stress incessantly pouring over me, but I am prevailing.

Personally, my faith in God is what gets me through. I am honestly nothing without Him. And I know that His timing will prevail, as will His plans for my life. He never fails to make something out of nothing for me, even when I don’t deserve it. I do all that I can and I leave the rest in His hands. He always delivers.

I want to encourage whoever is reading this. I know it is not always consoling to hear that someone else knows “exactly what you’re going through.” But I understand what it feel like to be perpetually stressed.  You have to remind yourself the reasons why you are doing this. What inspired you to pursue medicine? Whose wise words helped you get to where you are? What work would you like to see yourself doing in a potential specialty? Encourage yourself and get excited for your bright future! It is coming soon.