There are many types of premed students that you encounter: the anxious premed, naturally smart premed, confident premed, negative Nancy premed, etc. The list goes on and on but one trait that exists amongst almost every premed is self-doubt. It is easy for you to experience doubt in your dreams especially when you hit a road bump. The best way to avoid letting self-doubt overtake your life is to be conscientious of it and have some ways to keep the feeling under control.
RECOGNIZE THAT SELF-DOUBT IS A NATURAL RESPONSE
The way that feelings of anxiety are able to overtake our lives is by convincing us that the anxiety is unique to ourselves and that the situation is unable to be resolved. By telling yourself that everyone around you also experiences self-doubt is a good way of allowing yourself to experience the feelings but realizing they are not unique to you. Also, discussing with other premed students is another great way of dealing with these feelings. When you talk to other students, you realize ways that they are dealing with self-doubt that you may not have thought of. This helps to give you ideas of overcoming self-doubt. Being able to discuss and relate your feelings with other people is a great way to recognize the commonality of self-doubt.
REMIND YOURSELF OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Self-doubt usually requires an impetus to occur. It may be a bad test grade, lack of interview offers, MCAT test, or talking to a fellow classmate. Most of us are usually on the edge and sometimes a statement can push us over and prompt self-doubt to occur. It is always good to have some accomplishments in your back pocket to remind yourself. The reason reminding yourself of accomplishments is a good way of conquering self-doubt is because self-doubt flourishes based on negativity. By thinking of recent accomplishments and large milestones in your life, you can help to keep self-doubt at bay.
The way that I think about self-doubt is that it is a little machine that requires constant fuel in order to propel itself. The fuel in the self-doubt machine is constant negative thoughts but by thinking of accomplishments and positive thoughts, the machine will not have the fuel that it needs.
We all have a little bit of ADHD in ourselves and sometimes a distraction can go a really long way. I know that when I have self-doubt and my regular techniques do not work, a distraction is the way to go. Whether the distraction is going to the gym, watching a TV show, hanging out with my friends, or anything else that helps to distract you. There are times when self-doubt just nags and nags and you cannot get rid of it. During these times, I would delve into studying more and learn some information in order to remind myself that I am learning and I am progressing towards my goal. We all have our own techniques and there is not one technique that is better, it is just which one works better for you.
SEEK HELP IF NEEDED
As high functioning people in society trying to pursue a covetous career, it is hard to believe that we ourselves may need help from someone. I will be the first to admit that it is not easy to accept that you may need to seek help if your feelings of self-doubt are overtaking your life. Self-doubt can perpetuate anxiety which can perpetuate inability to study and get your work done. This is a hard situation to be in because you may feel helpless since feelings of anxiety and self-doubt can be difficult to regulate but this may be a sign that you could benefit from talking to someone. I remember starting medical school and feeling completely out of my element and not really knowing how to maneuver my new life as a medical student. After many months of really struggling to find my way, I decided to seek help from those around me and services the school provides. It was one of the best decisions and I have continued to use the service throughout all of medical school. I think most of us go through school and learn about how to study and what to study but we do not receive a lot of instruction on how to deal with the way we feel. Your feelings can get in the way of your future and can cause that small bit of self-doubt to become a monster that is hard to control. A small step such as seeking help could be the solution and help you pursue your dream of medicine.