Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Getting Back Up

Susan Alsharif

Doubt went through my mind. Not the “I am so tired of studying, do I really want to do this?” kind of 5 minute long doubt. This doubt was the overwhelming feeling of fear. The fear of the possibility of not succeeding in reaching my goal of becoming a physician. Self-doubt. The worst kind.

This feeling came over me while I was studying for a class I was having a lot of difficulty in. I was telling myself that if I can barely get through this semester, then how am I going to get through the many years of training required? That was not the first time I’ve had this feeling, and I am sure it won’t be the last.

How does one recover from monstrous self-doubt? How does one regain the confidence that is needed to keep pushing through the struggles to get to their end goal?

Second guessing yourself is okay. In fact, it forced me to truly think about the step I’m about to take and make sure it is the right thing for me. A medical career means a lifetime commitment to learning. I know I’m heading in the right direction because I love learning new things every day and want to spend the rest of my career with the latest medical information at my fingertips. It excites me to learn about the newest procedures and it will make me happy to see people’s reaction when the regain something they have lost. I love helping people, being there for them during their struggles, and doing everything I can to make their lives easier. It helps to remember all of these reasons, and more, why I think the medical field is a good fit for my career.

Remembering what motivates me to pursue a medical career is a great way to re-energize myself. The experience that compelled my interest in a medical career was when I cared for my aunt who passed away from breast cancer. During the last few days of her life, I spent every minute I was not in school with her. It was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do in my life, but I am very thankful I had the opportunity to be there for her when she needed me. Although I was unable to help make her healthy again, I was able to make her last few days a little better. I found myself very passionate about making sure she received the best care possible. Even assisting her with simple things like rolling over every couple hours to prevent bed sores, or helping her perform her daily stretches to maintain flexibility and prevent muscle atrophy. I will always be thankful that I had the opportunity to make these small positive changes for her. I found myself feeling the same as I was training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. It was very difficult to leave the patients I had trained with. After assisting with their everyday care and helping them perform their daily activities, I found myself very attached to the individuals I was assigned to. The emotional connection one establishes with the patients is a valuable part of the experience of working in the medical field. The connection and experience reminds me that I have the ability to help people, and after I receive my medical degree, I hope to be able to help even more.

I’ve found having a support system also helps me renew my motivation. Having one person believe in you when you do not believe in yourself is a blessing. You might not even realize you have that person in your corner right now, but when the time comes and you need them, they will be there. For me, my sister and my best friends have always been my number one supporters. They listen to me during my moments of doubt and encourage me to keep going. At first I was very reluctant to pursue medicine because I did not believe I was capable. But my sister’s encouragement and belief in me is what pushed me to believe in myself and make this decision. I used to think that if I wasn’t completely 100% confident in my decision, it must be the wrong one. However, I’ve found this is not true. We all will have ups and downs. The important thing is to keep getting back up.

About Susan Alsharif

Susan headshot 2 cropSusan Alsharif is a junior studying family and consumer nutrition services (FCNS) with an emphasis in individual and family development, with a minor in biology, at Northern Illinois University (NIU). She is currently working as the undergraduate research assistant in the chemistry and biochemistry department at NIU investigating the effects of anthocyanins on the aging of retinal pigment epithelial cells. Growing up in Syria, Susan always dreamed of becoming a doctor. Due to the extreme process of medical school in Syria, as well as her personal situation, she did not believe it was possible for her to attain her dream. However, once she moved to the U.S., she realized her dream was possible again. Through hard work and dedication, she hopes to become a pediatrician, travel to third world countries and help the children in need by teaching them as well as treating them.

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