The 90+ approach to nailing the last few weeks before the GAMSAT.
by Michael John Sunderland | 90plusgamsat.com
Here you are.
It’s just a few weeks to go. You’re probably telling yourself everything is on the line: all the time you’ve studied, your future, people’s perception of you, the esteem of your friends and family, some fiction about finally “making it.” I get it.
Firstly, just so you know, passing the GAMSAT means none of those things – about you, people’s thoughts of you, or your future. Getting a 67 or higher means you got a 67 or higher. That’s it. If you want to make it mean more than that, or make being a doctor mean more than that, go for it. In absolute terms being a doctor means you’re a doctor. That’s it. Not being a doctor means you’re not a doctor. That’s it. But I digress.
So, still your beating heart and remember why you undertook the GAMSAT. Who are you doing this for? If it’s for your family, or to look cool, or because you think doctors make bank – it’s going to be a long hard journey ahead. The boxer can’t get up to do the roadwork at 5am by thinking about the championship. He/she/they whatevs get up for the roadwork. If you spend the next 5 years in med school, and then however many years of residency to get qualified, waiting for a time in the future – you’re going to A) have a shit time and B) waste a decade of your life living for a point that may never come (maybe you decide you want to auction prize ostriches and that’s your calling, or maybe you die. Who knows. Shit happens.
Fall in love with the process.
I stopped studying for a moment around this time and jumped on youtube and watched a bunch of videos about junior surgeons. I got myself re-inspired. Remember who I was doing this for. Your energy when you are doing something for somebody else is much higher than when you’re trying to meet a world of expectations. One is the carrot, one is the stick.
There’s going to be an exam, and then it’s going to be done, and then life is going to go on. You’ll either repeat the exam (the average person sits it 2.8 times), or you will get an interview, or you will give up and do something else that inspires you. And regardless of whether its door A, B or C life will go on and no matter which door your choose you will have happy times and sad times. You will laugh, and cry, and be elated, and suffer. And that’s life.
“But suddenly you’re ripped into being alive. And fife is pain, and life is suffering, and life is horror, but my God I’m alive and it’s spectacular” – Joseph Campbell
Here’s why I’m telling you this: if you make your exam day into something bigger than it is, you’ll be moved by the size of the enemy. You’ll deviate from your training, or at a minimum the stress will make you tense and be an impediment to clarity and flow which are essential prerequisites of high performance. I once had a mentor who repeated to me “There is no enemy: Defeat the enemy by having no enemy.” So, I made a friend of the exam. I found enjoyment in it. I paid my $500, I figured I wanted some fun for my trouble.
I went in there with only one thought: I don’t care what the mark is, so long as I do my best. That is to say, so long as my performance on the day wasn’t a deviation from what I knew I was capable of. This is as important a part of your preparation as the training itself.
It’s just an exam. You’re beautiful regardless. Intrinsically precious and wonderful and fuck what anyone else says. You don’t need a stethoscope around your neck to have worth.
In 50 years you’re relatively likely to be dead. And we all die penniless. Your title will mean nothing then. In fact, if you really want to get into it, it means nothing now and it’ll mean nothing when you graduate. Except that your title is doctor. But again, I digress.
The bones will rot. The trees will grow. And no one will give a shit whether you got 40 or 80. All that matters is how much you loved and whether and what, and how much you hated.
No point being a doctor if you’re not alive with love.
So be still that beating heart
Take your eye off of the result
Put it onto serving others
And let the leaves fall where they may.
Talking of falling leaves: it was the first day of Autumn on Monday. It’s time for the trees to drop the dead leaves. Perhaps it’s time now for you to drop whatever you’re holding onto that does not serve you.