The Price of Failure

I have had time to think about failure a lot these days.

For those who are unaware, I am a medical student. A product of a large amount of work. For those who are unaware, I was set to graduate this week and be a full fledged doctor. For those who are unaware, I did not graduate since I failed two of my four subjects. Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Paediatrics.

It is a disheartening event, I am unaware of what I did wrong to cause me to fail and I am unaware of the things I must do to correct this at the moment. I will have to learn that when I go back to India.

You heard me right, I am going back. To do the same things I normally do and to try and train myself better so that I do pass come June/July. In order to pass I have to put up more work in the two fields I failed in.

This does mean a few things.

For starters, I am not going to be around the UK as I had hoped. I am going back to India to log in more hours. This has needless to say… irritated me. I am extremely angry that I have to go back in particular after failing at something that I expected to do well in and pass.

It’s going to be a more relaxed time for me. I have less duties in medicine and surgery so I will be writing more often. It would be nice to expand my writing and get more people reading.

The price of failure is heavy, it weighs upon me more and more. It makes you question your decisions and your choices. It makes you dwell in the past. Over the past 3 days that is what I have been doing. But not anymore.

This is my line in the sand. I have lived my life knowing I am too stupid and too ugly and too stubborn to ever give up. Two days moping around is enough, I have another week to enjoy in the UK and I am going to enjoy it. And then I will go be productive. If they will not give me a degree then I guess I am going to have to leave them no choice but to give me one.

The price of failure to me is 6 more months in India. The price of failure to me is being unable to go to Nepal. The price of failure is painful but failure defines us. You do not know what you truly are made of and what you are capable of doing until you fail.

We live in a world where we are expected to give up. Where we are told that we cannot endure the same things our ancestors did. Where we are plied with stories of my generation giving up at the slightest difficulty. I know this is not true because there are other people like me.

And like me there are others who have failed. Fallen at various hurdles in medicine. And at every point I have told them to not think too much about it.

Well I have been a gigantic fucking hypocrite. A hypocritical hippocrat. I worried myself stupid over the last 2 days. I should take my own advice. Failure is just a setback, it is an opportunity to assess the flaws you have. So if my flaws were academic then I must rectify that. If my flaws were communicative, I must rectify that. I fear my flaws were etiquette which is given a lot of emphasis in India, so that is something to think about.

At times like this, we must see if there is profit in failure.

That’s the price I have to pay for failing. My punishment is to see how much more I can endure.

And I will not  lose the next time.

The poem that influenced me the most is Invictus, I must take heed of its words.

Expect posts to resume properly next Monday when I am back in India. Expect my photography stuff to start too.


  1. machintelligence says

    I am saddened to her about your setback, but you certainly strike me as the sort who will dust himself off and get back in the fray. We learn more from failure than from success. Hang in there and good luck.

  2. keresthanatos says

    You did not fail. You merely had shortcomings in your knowledge pointed out to you. You are working and learning one of the most complex systems on the planet, living beings reproducing. I would hope that you take this time to review not only your OB/GYN/Pediatrics knowledge, but to ask and learn the thousands of questions, that you asked yourself while in training but never had time to research. Also, you have a most eclectic bunch of acquaintances, friend, mentors et. al. at FTB… a truly unique bunch to pose even the most challenging of questions to. Take this time to let your mind bloom. To look at not passing as a failure is wrong, it is a chance to improve before you take on the the heavy burden of your chosen profession. From reading your writings, the depths of your passion, the range of your knowledge, it is “trivially intuitively to the most casual of observers” that success will be yours. I would wish you good luck, but you won’t need it.


  3. keresthanatos says

    woops missed a word in my quote…“trivially intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers” might want to insert that…. anyway I stand by my mangled words.

  4. opposablethumbs says

    I am sorry about the setback – but I greatly admire your attitude to the consequences.As keresthanatos pointed out, you merely have some areas where you haven’t done quite enough yet – and you are going to rectify that. You have a wonderful attitude, and have already done so much more worthwhile work than most of us will in a lifetime – I know you don’t need some random internet stranger saying things like that, about a situation you obviously understand better than we ever will, but I did just want to say that I find you admirable.

  5. maddog1129 says

    I feel inadequate to offer solace and encouragement, but please know that what you do here is worthwhile and admirable; I have every confidence that you will succeed in your degree studies and qualifying exams.

  6. lumi says

    I am sorry to hear about your setback, but pleased to hear you are going to power through it. You are a very compassionate person and will make a good doctor.

  7. karmacat says

    I went to med school in the US and we have 2 years of coursework and 2 years of clinical. I know a few of my classmates who did not do well the 1st 2 years but did well in their clinical years and went on to become excellent doctors. So my point is to encourage you to keep trying. There are so many characteristics that make a good doctor but one of the most important is how the doctor relates to his/her patients. From reading your blog I think you will and have an excellent “bedside manner”

  8. Carlos Cabanita says

    Good decision! I wish you the best. You could also take the occasion to really excel in Ob/Gyn and Pediatrics. From reading your blog, I imagine you have the best qualities to be a very good doctor: very rigorous and intransigent in the procedures, humane and caring towards people. Those are the qualities I see in in my brother, now a retired anesthesiologist.

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