• Kristi

Failing Forward

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

May 6 was the first day of clinics. I had been dreaming about this moment since I started vet school. I imagined this day being filled with nerves, excitement and it being another step closer to Dr. Kristi Crow. But sometimes life doesn’t go as planned and I did not get to start clinics alongside my classmates…

For those of you who’ve been following my journey this past year, you know it’s been anything but easy. I went into my third year of veterinary school thinking it would be the best one yet. Boy was I wrong. This year was not only filled with a full course load, but I faced a lot of personal challenges. I was trying to balance my academics alongside being SAVMA President and working a part time job. I lost people that were close to me. I felt like I was drowning all the time. Many of my days were spent crying and wondering why I was even in vet school. The imposter syndrome was hitting harder than ever before.

I made it through the first semester of third year and that felt like a miracle. I was on the cusp of failing a class but somehow pulled through. I told myself that there was no way it could get worse and that I just needed to keep my head above water the next semester. It turns out that I did a pretty good job with this except for one class. Out of the 13 classes I was taking, I ended up failing a final in one of my medicine courses that resulted in me failing that class. I had never failed a course prior to this one and it was a hard pill to swallow. I’ve failed a handful of exams throughout vet school, but I had never failed an actual class. You never think it will be you and then when it happens, you don’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to think. This threw a wrench in my plans for the rest of my time in vet school and left me with a lot of uncertainty.

When you fail a course during your third year at my school, you do not get to start clinics with the rest of your classmates. You must remediate the course which means you are given time to study immediately after the semester ends up until your scheduled exam date. My exam date was set for May 30th which meant that I would be missing out on blocks 1 and 2 of my clinical year. Upon successfully passing the remediation exam, I would be able to start on block 3 with the rest of my classmates. If I did not pass the remediation exam, I would be dismissed from the program.

Rather than staying back at school to study for my remediation exam, I chose to travel to Japan to spend time with my family and study there. I bet most of you thought I was there just for pleasure, but little did you know that I spent every single day studying for hours to pass this exam. This just goes to show that life isn’t always what it seems to be behind the tiny squares we scroll past every day. I’ve known since March that I failed this class. I went to my whitecoat ceremony feeling like a failure and that I didn’t deserve to be up there. I knew that all my classmates would be beaming with excitement knowing that they were one step closer to going into the clinics, but I knew that I wasn’t in the same boat as them anymore. Honestly, I felt like a fraud. I cried anytime the topic of whitecoat ceremony came up because I knew there was a chance that I might never get to wear that whitecoat again.

I’ve spent the last month working my ass off to not only study for this exam but to also work on my mental and physical health. I knew mastering the material for this exam was the key to starting clinics, but I also realized that getting myself back to a strong mindset was just as important. I studied the class material, utilized outside resources, and recalled the information every day. I don’t think I’ve ever studied this hard for an exam, but I knew that there was no choice of failing.

Today I took my remediation exam and successfully passed it. I will be starting clinics on June 17th and I will be one step closer to Dr. Kristi Crow. I’ve worked my ass off for the past 3 years and one failure does not erase the years of hard work it’s taken me to get here. I am worthy. I am smart. I am good enough and I will be a great doctor. This is my story of failing forward.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or back on my Instagram post. If you have a story of failing forward, please tag me in it. It’s time we embrace the experiences that have made us stronger.

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