This week, our second guest blog post comes via Mahnoor Humayun, a first generation college student who was able to navigate the pre-medical journey essentially on her own. My favorite aspect of Mahnoor’s story is that through overcoming her fear of failure, she has learned to approach medicine, challenges, and life in general with a positive outlook. You can find Mahnoor on Instagram (@positivepremeds) and I encourage those of you who relate to her story to reach out!
My Medical School Journey
Post by Mahnoor Humayun
I want to share a story with you, a story about my time as a pre-med student.
I am a first generation immigrant, I moved to North America when I was 6 years old and even though I completed most of my education in the United States I never really had any guidance. My parents experienced a completely different education system back in Pakistan. In my family, I am the older sister, eldest cousin, I am essentially the guinea pig of the family. Everything was tested out on me.
The start of college was a very stressful and confusing time for me. I was the first person in my family to experience undergraduate education in the United States and I didn't know anyone else that wanted to go to medical school. All of my friends from high school were interested in music and art, heading in a totally different direction. Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out what introductory pre-med classes I should take. I had so many questions and I felt like no one had answers for me.
The first couple of years in college did not go as planned, I didn't end up being "the perfect pre-med student". A lot of it stemmed from my fear of failure and having a negative outlook. I was never able to improve because I couldn't see the positives in any situation. I thought I was a terrible student, that I didn't have what it takes to go to medical school, I wasn't very kind to myself in my head. My negative outlook attracted negative people, negative situations, and overall negative energy into my life which made me miserable.
Thankfully, I am past that now. So how did I turn things around? I looked to the people that have always motivated me, my parents. My parents are the most hardworking people I know. After immigrating to Canada, they rented out a small basement to live in and they both worked odd jobs while taking care of two little kids. My dad struggled over the years to get his masters, now he's at his dream job and my parents are living in their dream home. My mom always told me that it wasn't an easy road, my parents encountered so many obstacles over the years but they never gave up. They kept a positive outlook and always remembered why they left Pakistan in the first place.
I realized I had to do the same, I had to change my outlook and remember why I chose medicine. I chose medicine because I grew up observing individuals living in absolute poverty, individuals who had given up hope because society has only taken from them. I have always believed that medicine can restore that hope in people and as a physician, I can make a long-lasting impact.
In order to get there, I had to stop thinking negatively and adopt a positive attitude. This made the biggest difference in my life. Junior year, I began to view myself, my classes, my scores, and my extracurriculars in a positive light. Over time, things turned around. My performance improved in my classes, supportive people entered my life, and I began to attract amazing opportunities. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and began to unlock my greatness.
My biggest advice to pre-med and medical students is to view yourself and your work in a positive light. The day you begin to think positively about your situation is the day things will begin to improve for you. The road to becoming a physician is long and filled with challenges, there will always be days when you feel like you've failed. Don't stop, keep moving forward. Always remember why you chose medicine and hold on to that positive mentality.