The second picture, which is me doing a jump shot in the classroom, was taken the first time I passed an exam in med school. It was taken 5 months after we started. So yes, I failed every exam every week for 5 straight months. I posted this picture on ig and fb on that day so I would always remember. I still failed so many more times after that, but I kept going. I just wanted to keep striving to be better. And every year, I did. Slowly, my grades would consistently get better than before. But this is not the kind of story where I magically ended up on the top of my batch HAHA No, I was always just below average to average. Actually, I even graduated on the bottom half of my batch. But from first year to fourth year there was always improvement. And I am so proud of myself for that. When you see my batch ranking or my grade, all you see is a number. But for me, I see all the times I cried but still kept trying, all of the times I wanted to quit but didn’t, and all of the small victories like this one that helped me keep going.
Self doubt was always a part of my med life. From having good grades in high school and college, med school was filled with failures and so much disappointment. I doubted myself almost every step of the way. But I am so glad that I always proved myself wrong every time. And I realized that simply believing in yourself can really make all the difference.
We always celebrate the people who really excel in med school (and for good reason), but to be honest majority of people in med school are like me, those who were never acknowledged for anything great, but pushed themselves everyday to reach their dreams. So here’s to us, the average to below average students! 🍻 Because we are not defined by our grades or our rankings. We are defined by our grit, our perseverance, and our passion. And those are the things that make truly great doctors.
And of course, here’s to my batchmates, my groupmates, my friends. 🍻 I could not have made it without all of you. You inspired me to be better every day. I don’t think anyone can survive med school without people who will pick you up and help you when you need it the most. No competition, just a strong support system. All we wanted as a batch was to have that CIM 100%. And we finally did it. We finished strong and left nobody behind. This was truly my proudest moment.
Here’s to my family, who supported my dreams for over 9 years. 🥂 Thank you for your patience and understanding all the times I missed family gatherings or events because I had to study. Thank you for making sure I was always comfortable and had everything I needed. I know I’m not one of the best students, but I still hope that I’ve made you proud.
Here’s to my dad, my greatest inspiration. 🧠 Before I took the boards, I told him I was going to be a doctor already. He told me “Tambali ko ha?” (Translation: Treat me, okay?) I can now, Pa. You will always be my first and my favorite patient.
For all those in med who are still going through the same things I went through, just remember you’re not alone. I hope that this inspires you to tell yourself that you can do it too no matter how many times you have failed. Yes it gets harder, but YOU get better. Every time.
Oh and lastly, the third picture? That’s my name on the list of passers of the Nov 2020 PLE. The culmination of everything I went through. My lifelong dream realized. It is the end of this chapter, and the beginning of another.
So that’s my story. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this long but worthwhile journey ♥️🩺
Karina Angela G. Lipardo, M.D.
License number: TBA 😉