Exams are one part of medical school that I dread so much, I dread the fast pace that life takes as they approach, the twists and turns that precede exams, those crucial moments when I try to grab as much knowledge as I can and those final moments, seated in a hall, being served hot question papers by examiners and lecturers as they take their time to gloat.
What in this world could then be more dreadful than being stared in the face by the words that make up the final exam questions, armed with a pencil, an eraser and nothing else?
Haa! Those moments after exams are over and there’s so little I can do. Those moments when I reminisce over exam experiences, the preceding preparations and I ask myself, will my best be good enough? Those moments when I fear that I might not have done well enough to pass. Those moments when I fear that failure might just not be an impossibility.
This useless anxiety I feel now, the same kind I felt around this time last year after my part one exams, I actually do dread more than the exam itself. It’s a mixture of fear and anxiety and suspense and curiosity and a phobia of realizing I was not good enough for something I’m quite sure I put enough effort to. They all add up to a port pouri of feelings I can’t explain. it just feels like a demon playing with my mind, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
At times like this I pray, it makes me feel better for a while then the fear comes back. That fear of failing. It’s more than fear, it’s hatred. I hate to fail, with a passion. I understand that everyman must fail every now and then, but to the gods and deities in charge of failure I say, “not today, not in these exams”.
Let me fail when I aim for the toilet bowl as I pee and i miss. Let me fail when I try to lob paper balls into a bin and they bounce off the rim. Let me fail when I try to beat a friend at FIFA 13 with a friend and i draw. Let me fail when I try to do ten reps of push ups and I stop at nine. Let me fail when I predict that Messi would score four goals in one match and he manages only a hat trick.
Those instances of failure I can understand, I can live with. Those measures, numerous but each dose little will do well enough to teach me all the lessons that failure brings.


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