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Counselor Q&A Section: Unexpected Obstacles Derailing Our Plans

Written by Kris Kirilova

Kris is a counselor & owner of Career Life Choices – a counseling practice in Arlington Heights, IL.

Dear Career Counselor,

I am a recent college graduate, trying to find a professional direction. My original plan was to study medicine but I was not accepted at any programs. I spent quite some time preparing for difficult exams, completing applications, and interviewed at a few schools. Unfortunately, I received only rejections.  I feel exhausted and depleted – first because my efforts to study medicine did not pay off. Second, I feel lost and confused as to what do career and education wise next. I feel that I lost time and resources preparing for medical school instead of preparing for “real life”.

I always encourage people to think big and strive to reach their full potential. It sounds like you feel discouraged at the present time but it is important to remain optimistic despite this setback.  Sometimes we have to try a few times before we succeed.  Part of success is also failure.

Every experience is a learning opportunity to become better and try out a different approach. Sometimes we have to work hard and sustain our efforts over a long period of time. However if you perceive a past experience through a negative lens, this can have a negative effect on your self-esteem and future direction. It is best to see this as an advantage to take some time off and figure what path you want to follow. Rejections make us question our intentions and abilities and ask us to re-evaluate our goals.

My question to you is this: Do you feel medicine is your calling? Is this your heart’s desire? Do you enjoying helping and serving people? If yes, reconnect with your dreams and ideals, focus on your strengths and refuel your energy reservoir. Assess how you can improve your application and become a stronger candidate. This would be a great time to gain some real life experiences and/or clinical experience to diversify your application. Find a few mentors and positive people that would support your goals and prepare to re-apply next year again.

If you decide that medical school is not a viable option, then you need to reflect on your interests and values, and explore other options in health related careers.

Sometimes the universe will test our commitment and drive to our goals to re-affirm our desire and improve our chances for success. It looks like you need to do some introspection and exploration to re-define your vision. My suggestion is to work on self-renewal, exploring all your options, and re-defining your long-term career vision.

Best of luck!

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