When You Have Fallen Face-down

When You Have Fallen Face-down

January was a tough month in regards to my medical school applications. I heard back from three more schools and sadly, they did not invite me for an interview.  It felt like one blow after another, like the man in the arena, who is “face-down”.

Sharing the news with friends and family was difficult to do. I had a mixture of emotions ranging from feeling defeated, to feeling like a failure, to disappointment, to wanting to give up. But I learned lessons from my last rejection experience in November and did not entertain these feelings for long. I acknowledged them and then decided to look at the positive side of the situation:

  • Rejection does not mean I am a failure: It is just a temporary glitch or bump in the journey and does not mean the story is at an end.
  • Closed doors often have hidden blessings: I realized that by not gaining acceptance to those particular universities, I no longer have to worry about moving to another province. There are so many blessings where we currently live: a safe neighborhood, the opportunity for my children to learn French as a second language, and being surrounded by a great church community, friends and family.
  • There is still hope: I am yet to hear back from one more university (my alma mater) in March and this is the closest medical school to where we live.

So, even though I had my “face-down in the arena” moment in January, I am picking myself back up and moving forward. I think it’s important to take some concrete steps whenever we feel that we have fallen so that we do not stew in our disappointment or despair:

  • Preparation:  I am practicing interview questions in case I get invited for an interview. Regardless of the outcome, it will not be wasted time because practicing to speak better is a skill that is easily transferable.
  • Learning: I went through a few weeks of lack of motivation after my bout of rejections so I have decided to take an online course to keep my mind working. The course is in Global Health with a focus on Humanitarian Crises. Not only am I learning a lot from this course but it is helping me to keep things in perspective as I am reminded of the struggles so many people around the world go through.
  • Writing: I am keeping a journal to document my thoughts and emotions more regularly. I had a habit of suppressing my emotions which was not healthy and journal writing has been therapeutic.
  • Serving: I am grateful for the opportunities to serve and lead at my church through music and teaching. There are moments when it is nerve-wracking, tiring and frustrating but it has also been so rewarding and enriching and has definitely fueled my personal and spiritual growth.

Whatever challenges you are going through, do not despair. Those “face-down” moments can feel awful but they can also lead to great things and help us grow. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite speeches that encourages me when I feel like I am struggling in the arena of life.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end  the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” -The Man in the Arena, Theodore Roosevelt.


29 thoughts on “When You Have Fallen Face-down

  1. “There are so many blessings where we currently live”
    “do not despair”
    “every failure help us grow”

    More or less, those are your words, Malaika 🙂
    You see how optimistic you are? How powerful you are? Those are not only words. Are thoughts, feelings. Which will help you to win. Because you’re a winner, Malaika
    Be strong! You will succeed! I am sure of that. Your words told me that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Malaika, I greatly admire your positivity throughout this process! Your first point really sums it because rejection does not mean you failed. Those are the bumps on the road & it’s great that you are realizing the blessings you have along the road. I am hopeful for the remaining university as I find reasons in your words to believe that God leads us to where he wants to bless us. The new blessings where you live, the next med school being the closest etc. I am hopeful Malaika! Yes do not despair. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Yadei. I truly appreciate you continuing to hope along with me as I wait for news from this last university! It’s been a real blessing to have people like you along for the ride as I go through this journey. Thank you for continuing to believe in me. God bless you mightily! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome Malaika & it’s an honor being able to witness your courage. You are an inspiration to many & a great one to me! For that, I am grateful my friend. Thank you for sharing your story. It is faith & hope that pulled me through my journey too and God will continue to bless you. When the final piece is placed, it will all make sense. Cheers! Muah

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The news you shared, Malaika, can be a hard pill to swallow. That said, don’t be too hard on yourself as there were geographic metrics beyond your control. For example, here in the United States, in-state students tend to be given preference (though not a guarantee) in health professions applications. Interestingly, it may be that more competitive locals (in those provinces) applied this year.

    It is said that in medicine, maturity given real life experiences go a long way to being a wonderful physician. This fact could pay dividends as your alma mater weighs your application. Your resilience (though not easy) is all over this blog and I like it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Kenel. It’s great to hear from you! You are right about the geographic preference. Here in Canada, med schools give most of their spots to in-province applicants. This makes it all the more competitive if you are applying from outside of the province. Thank you for your continual support and encouragement. It is so much appreciated! I hope you and your beautiful family are well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You will get accepted to the right medical school and program. Just continue to persevere in your endeavors and as you said, rejection doesn’t mean failure, and you know what God is in the business of blessing us beyond what we can see. In my current season in life, that is what I have to try and remind myself of. It isn’t easy, but that is the hope we have. May you continue to be blessed and abundantly so.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Tabitha for your thoughtful and encouraging words. They really brightened my day…and what you say is so true. I pray for abundant blessings in your life also! Have a great day Tabitha!😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What an honest and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing this side of the application process with honesty and optimism. “Being confidant in this, he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the…” Whatever this good work may be, God is faithful!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much for your confidence in me. It’s been great to have so much support and I feel very positive about the future. Thanks again and all the best with your studies! 😉


  6. Failure only comes to those who do not try. Each experience has a lesson to be learned and I am sure you are learning much during this time of life. Philppians 4:13 is a favorite verse of mine and may be of encouragement to you as well. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Malaika,
    I know SewLovable. Thanks for visiting my site today. I am glad you liked my guest author’s post about the 25 tips for one day monetizing your blog.
    In response to your post, this is a great post about dealing with rejection. My late husband went through issues like this when he was trying to become a psychologist.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Malaikà, you have done well in the way you handled the rejections. Thanks for putting things in the correct perspectives. It is when we put things in the wrong perspectives that allows frustration and depressions to set in.

    Keep the flag flying; you will come out stronger.

    I wish you favour and mercy in the remaining application.

    Liked by 1 person

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