I never had a paid job in my adolescence. No seasonal jobs after school at the Dairy Queen or mall. But I did volunteer work at several hospitals. It was to groom me for medical school.
It wasn’t until 2 years into pharmacy school that I applied for my first job. According to the program requirements I needed to accumulate internship hours before my sixth year, so I applied to one of the hospitals I had volunteered in the summer before my sophomore year in high school. There was a little concern about whether or not I would be able to balance work on the weekends with studying (my GPA didn’t instill much confidence), but I knew I could do it. So the director at the time took me on.
My first year was miserable. I had never worked for such long periods of time before; I had never really understood what pharmacy operations were like; I had never had to socialize with people in a work setting before; overall, I was at a total disadvantage.
I struggled to learn all the job tasks and how to prioritize. I was on my own pretty quickly after orientation. I started my internship there with another pharmacy student who took to it all like a duck to water. At face value she belonged there more than I did. She socialized just fine, bonded quick with everyone, new how to talk the talk, and so on. Meanwhile I was calling out every chance I could get because I didn’t want to be there. There were very few days I didn’t come home crying because I just wasn’t getting it right.
At that time I still confided in my parents. Their general advice was to quit. They really meant it.
It could have been rebellion or just disappointment in their feedback, but I refused to do it. Even I knew that wasn’t going to teach me anything. If you walk away when things get hard to handle, you never grow. Even young plants don’t stop when there’s an obstacle in their way.
I told them I couldn’t leave until I gave it my best. I wasn’t going to walk away until I left such an impression there I would be remembered fondly as one of the most efficient interns that ever came through there.
It’s been about 8 years since then. I had turned it all around long before failing out of pharmacy school, and so I not only had several confidants to help me cope with the “loss”, but it was natural to keep me on as a technician. And I’m not trying to brag (much), but I’m one of the best ones there. Even though I still don’t want to work there now, it’s not for the same reason. It’s because I know I can do more and I need a change. I haven’t regretted the struggle once, and I know now I would have regretted walking away in the beginning.
Life Lesson aka Moral of the Story:
It never seems like something you can overcome when you’re in the thick of it. There’s also a chance you can’t overcome it. But no matter what it is, you owe it to yourself to do your level best and reject the naysayers. You won’t regret any of it if you do, even if you fail. And then you can look back with pride and look on with courage.