Breaking Through the Fellowship Goal

Breaking Through the Fellowship Goal


Here I am, on the other side of the river. After this hard and challenging swim, I finally reached the other side of the shore known as Fellowship.

I must admit that many times during this journey I truly felt defeated. Consequently, I also felt like giving up. I always however, held on to the most powerful element to succeed: I never stopped believing in myself.

I must acknowledge all those who supported me throughout my journey, my true friends and family members. I realise, however, that no matter who was around me, I had to be my own best ally and loyal friend. The choice was mine; I could betray myself and fail the exams again, or I could make a difference to my life.

“We can all make it to the other side of the shore.”

Anxiety and panic were my true enemies every time I sat the exams, regardless of my medical knowledge, my clinical reasoning or how much I had prepared. They were dark shadows lurking in the background, ready to pounce, invade and confuse my mind the night before the exams, and they would not leave me until I walked out of the exam venue.

The pressure was extreme, as I no longer had time to remain trapped in this exhausting turbulence of re-sitting the AKT and KFP repeatedly. It was at this time that I made a decision to stop, sit and think, before re-sitting, as I wanted to avoid committing the same mistakes. I decided to reflect about what I had to do in order to be able to reach the other side of the shore. It was at this point that I realised that anxiety and panic were nothing more than normal thoughts, and that they held no power over me. I also realised that anxiety and panic would only negatively impact on me if I allowed them to take over. So, I told myself: “It is forbidden to sabotage yourself again. What you make, build or produce depends on the quality of your thoughts; excellence in thoughts must be cultivated”.

“I realised that anxiety and panic were nothing more than normal thoughts, and that they held no power over me.”

Upon reflection, I concluded that being a GP is a challenging an immensely rewarding role. Therefore, the journey to reach Fellowship was very worthwhile. I had to change my perspective and instead of feeling defeated, I had to feel the waves against myself, not smashing me, but improving my knowledge and abilities. Becoming a GP is a lifelong experience, not a set goal.

I concluded that I had to take the following steps:

  1. Modify my approach to my exam preparation. My routine had been exhausting as I initially believed that studying long hours would prepare me better. Establishing a more balanced routine was mandatory, so I set up a plan throughout the weeks and scheduled my times to study, to work, to eat and sleep well; I even planned days off. The feeling of confidence was amazing while going through my schedule!
  2. Stop judging myself, and stop being my own executioner every time I could not recall information. It is perfectly fine to review information repeatedly if it is a struggle to recall a topic, because successful memorising is based on repetition.
  3. Go back to the basics. A true fact is that we all have gaps in our knowledge. We must humbly allow for time to review those gaps in detail, in order to maximise our learning in the science and art of being a GP. Filling in my gaps made the exams much easier to handle.
  4. Lastly, I downplayed negative thoughts that hindered my knowledge and reasoning, thereby allowing me to fully focus my attention on the exam task. This made a meaningful difference, as I significantly improved my performance in the exams. It helped me to better understand the task, improved my working memory, helped me to avoid critical errors and boosted my scores.

My experience of achieving Fellowship has shown me that we can all be successful. We can all make it to the other side of the shore. It’s just a matter of being determined, organised, disciplined, focused, committed and resilient.

You can find an exam preparation program to suit your needs on our events page, or call us on 08 8366 3100 to speak with someone directly.

Maria Tihui Cervantes