3 Things I Sacrificed for My Purpose and Success

It’s a word that rarely carries positivity. When most people hear it, they visualize pain and suffering. But, it is one of the few things that really makes us appreciate the things that we have. That word...Sacrifice.

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Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice as the ‘destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.’ Let’s face it. No one, wants to give up something, especially something that they love or see as valuable. But what we fail to realize sometimes is that while making a sacrifice can hurt in the moment, it often brings about magnificent changes in our lives. Just ask Abraham.

If anyone knows about the benefits of sacrifice it's Abraham. Albeit, he did not have to go through with it all the way, he still had to go through the mental angst of thinking about how much he was going to lose...his son. But what did he get at the end, a lineage that would one day lead to a man that would ultimately save the world. Talk about a turnaround!

So I took you down that biblical journey to say this; sacrifices are a part of life and growth but if you go about them rationally and think about the big picture, there is something greater on the other side.

When I decided that being a physician-scientist was something that I was destined to be, I had to make a lot of decisions, adjustments, and sacrifices in my life. Was it hard, Yes! But I’m starting to realize that they were truly for the best. So , here are the 3 things I had to sacrifice for my purpose and success:

1. Time

Yes it’s strange to say that I sacrificed time since I am so against wasting it(blog link), but it was something that I had to do. In order for me to be eligible to apply to medical school I had to take the required science courses. In undergrad, I was a political science major. The only science course I took was geology. (And I still know how to identify limestone and dikes). So, I applied to a post bacc program and was accepted! Now that I look back on it, I know that this is the path that was meant for me because I put all my eggs in one basket by only applying to one school. But nevertheless, I was accepted and couldn't be more excited to start on my new journey. Then I received the tuition bill. I had enough money saved for tuition, however, I only had enough leftover to live for a couple of months. The program was a year. I had bills, a car note, insurance, and everything in between. There was no way that I could attend the program and still live. So I had to do the hardest thing, I had to call and see if I could defer a year. Thank God the faculty was kind enough to extend my acceptance. But it was the most heart crushing thing. Again, I was yet another year behind on my purpose. I was 28, I wouldn’t enter the program until I was 29, which meant that I would be 31 when I started medical school. I was so bummed out, it was the day before  my mom's graduation from her master’s program and one week before the graduation from mine. Needless to say, I was crying my eyes out on the way to her graduation. My mom is the one that had to make me realize that this could possibly be a good thing. I could work full-time for a year in research which would boost my CV and I could have a year of “freedom” where I could do things that I wanted to do without having to study all of the time. Needless to say she was right, it was one of the best decisions I could have made. I was able to date a little, and I accepted a full time research position for the project I was working on as graduate research assistant. Which brings me to my next sacrifice…

2. My Potential

While I was thrilled to have a full time position in research, it was a position that was below my potential and qualifications. Since the PI (Principal Investigator) knew that I would be leaving soon to go off to my program (although she tried her hardest to convince me to go the PhD or even MD/PhD route) she would not give me the higher research position that she wanted me to have. I understood her choice, although I would have liked the higher salary, so I rolled with it. Instead of having my own office I was in an office with 5 other people with our own cubicles and I had to take crap from the person they hired to fulfill the higher position because she was threatened by me and my knowledge. I would complain and be on the verge of tears almost everyday. Why didn’t I just look for another position that was up to my standards? Why was I continuing to take this abuse? But as always God had a plan and I learned so much from this situation. Because I was on the lower totem pole of the team I had more free time which allowed me to work on previous research and publish my first scientific paper. And, because my PI knew my work ethic and believed in me so much, I was able to travel the country going to different conferences all expenses paid. I met new people, made new connections, but most importantly I learned patience and dealing with difficult people. Which little did I know would help me tremendously in my post-bacc program.

And finally…

3. My Freedom…(or something like that)

Because the goal of me deferring for a year was to save money so I would not struggle during the program and I had to make a BIG sacrifice….moving back home. Now I know that it might not seem that bad, but when you are a mid 20 something year old single female...it is. Now I will say that it hasn’t been that bad, but there are still sometimes where I would just like to come home and be by myself, do what I want to do, and just be. However, it does feel good not to have to pay a mortgage and have the help and support that I need during my transition. I guess my biggest concern with moving back home was dating. How would I come across being the girl that still lives at home. And then I let that foolishness go. If they didn’t understand my journey or the success that I saw for myself which resulted in making some sacrifices, then it wouldn't work anyway.

If you can't appreciate my journey, then you can't appreciate me.

So there you have it. The 3 sacrifices that I have made on my journey to my purpose. Remember, while there may be pain in the moment of sacrifice, it won't last. Sometimes you have to make executive decisions to set your life up the way you want it to be. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD.

Now I want to hear from you. What sacrifices have you made on your journey to success? How did they work out for? 

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