humbled beginnings

yes, humbled

I’m back to writing whenever things click, so it’s 7:25am. for someone who’d gotten used to sleeping around 4am, my body is definitely confused right now. but as I was trying to go back to sleep, something clicked. I’ll walk you through what was going on.

a conversation with myself:

“alrighty, let’s practice this re-learning thing”

*mind wanders*

*spends 5 minutes thinking sideways*

“hey, what was the point of that?”

“well actually, I know better than to go down there, but I shouldn’t yell at myself right now”

*has a Moment™*

*grabs laptop*

and now we’re here, because I feel like I had to get humbled before I could begin making progress in this area.

I’ll explain the convo a bit more later on, but let’s get into it.

yesterday, I took a diagnostic MCAT . if you’re unfamiliar with those terms, the MCAT is an exam required for entrance to medical school, and it’s a common practice to take one before you start studying to diagnose where your strengths and weaknesses are. and this joint is long.

like, 4 sections, all 90+ minutes long. I had no idea how I was gonna make it, partially because I don’t remember the last time I focused on something for more than 30 minutes, but also because it felt like I’d replaced all the science in my head with anime. like legit.

the way the test is set up, the first section is a bunch of chemistry and physics. I tried to see what I could figure out, but at one point I just started guessing. there’s no difference between a blank answer and a wrong answer, so I started clicking away. this is when the humility started to hit.

the second section is called CARS. I couldn’t remember what it stood for, but the articles I’d referenced to make my study schedule recommended practicing it every day because it’s just hard. so I was a bit shook, until I looked at the first question.

it was just reading.

CARS stands for Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, aka can you read this passage and tell me what’s going on. even though I spent a third of the time on my phone (my focus was gone at this point), CARS was my best section. so I had some fun there, and as I prepared to take the next section, which was all about bio in the body, everything kind of fell into place.

yes, I was taking an MCAT, diagnostic or not.

yes, I wanted to do well.

yes, I technically just spent 4 years learning most of the material on this test. but people spend months dedicating their lives to preparing for the MCAT–I’m not even planning to take it before January ’21. so what kind of score was I really expecting to get, considering that I hadn’t studied at all yet?

that helped me relax real quick.

bio felt a little bit better, but I might’ve done more guessing overall because I scored a point under the chem section. last up was the psychology and sociology stuff, which I haven’t studied in a long time, but it was still my second best score.

since it was online, you get your results instantly.

the highest possible score is a 528, and I got a 490.

when I looked at it I realized I didn’t know what that meant, percentage wise, so I did some Googles and saw something that said this is the minimum score to be considered for med school. it’s 20th percentile.

for someone who spends a lot of time getting on their own head, I took it really well. closed my laptop, turned off my music (they say to replicate testing conditions as often as possible, but y’all. I could not. either the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack was helping me focus, or it made the ordeal less painful), and went to get some food. now I knew what areas I needed to focus on because of my own experiences.

I’d forgotten til now, but I actually took a diagnostic exam last fall, when I thought I’d be studying for the test. that only lasted about 3 weeks.

I actually got a 492 back then, but the fact that I don’t feel a way about the 2-point decrease shows me that the point of this post really has hit home.

it’s one thing to be aware of where you are. your shortcomings, your strengths. but what are you doing with that awareness?

what do you expect from yourself? do you have goals? are they tangible? how do you plan to get there?

when I had that conversation with myself roughly 30 minutes ago, I knew what I was getting myself into. recently I’ve been focused on becoming more patient (especially with myself) and on finding confidence in the things that make me feel insecure. these are journeys, lifelong processes really. I won’t get “there” overnight. so with that in mind, I had to check what I was expecting of myself. if I’ve spent 22 years doing things the wrong way, or in a way that wasn’t up to my current standards, how well did I expect to do on my first attempt of getting it right? not to say that I’ve never tried to grow and improve, but you know what I’m getting at.

as I’m “beginning”, humility is important. it’s one thing to know what I should be doing, but it’s another to know I shouldn’t have to yell at myself to get back on the right track. it’s one thing to know I’m nowhere near my target score, but it’s another to know which sections I’m not too shabby at, and which are gonna take thorough relearning to improve in.

I’m sure life will continue to have these “starting over” moments. it’s a reset. it’s the post-repentance position, where you’ve refocused your energies towards the goal you actually want to reach. but as I continuously find myself in this spot, I want to be okay with it. okay with the process, okay with my progress. I can want better for myself as I’m getting there. and I don’t need to run there either. to borrow an idea from a friend, what if this race I’m running is taking place on a treadmill? it’s a different perspective, but it’s helping me be more receptive.

I’m gonna wrap up because now I’m getting all rhyme-y.

so yeah. I’ve been doing this Bible plan on insecurity with some friends, so those Scriptures have definitely been in mind through all this. I also finished the Relationship Goals book recently, which was honestly a great read. I don’t usually enjoy the “self help” genre, but I appreciated how it took my faith into account and made me think about things other than marriage or productivity as reasons to commit to improvement. the Relationship Goals Reloaded sermon series, which I summarized in my last post, is still ongoing, but the most recent sermon was also super timely so I’ll probably type up those notes as well. I wanted to provide the scriptural context of this Moment™ since it wasn’t very explicit, so look into it for yourself!

it’s 8:33 am and I feel like I’ve said all I needed to, so I’m thinking it’s time to go back to bed.

be blessed bbys ✨

Author: Iyaniwura Olarewaju

† | naija | nj | Cornell

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