Signs of life

So today I actually talked to someone who had failed a test last semester.

That shouldn’t be a big deal, because statistically, I should know at least 5 people who have failed tests.  Also, it was a test that nobody felt good about, and I had been convinced I’d failed myself (and only barely passed).

But nobody talks about failing, and I can’t blame them.  It’s not that people would make fun of you – first, I think our class is composed of nice people on the whole, and second, who the hell could judge with a clear conscience? – there’s just this totally rational fear that being open about failing would change things.

I think, if you were open about failing, it would be a lot like everyone knowing that your sibling had passed away – it would be a total elephant in the room.  People would want to acknowledge it, but wouldn’t want to bring it up in casual conversation, so it would be kind of weird and you’d have this strange pity thing going on.  And some overly-studious classmate might ask if you want them to help you study and then you’d have to whip out a sword and stab them to restore your honor.

So nobody brings it up.  I wouldn’t either.

Anyway, I was really relieved when she just casually brought up the fact that she’d failed a test and had to meet with the Dean.  This is partly because A) It sounds like Metropolis actually does just want to help – they offered her a bunch of resources, reassured her that failing by 1% on a hard test isn’t really indicative of anything, talked about how to study for the re-take, and B) she’s still alive.

Not gonna lie, B might be more reassuring than A for me.  I was honestly beginning to wonder if they like, fed the non-passing students to lions.  Because where are they?  Wasn’t there a guy with curly blonde hair at orientation?  Did he fail a test and get eaten?  And didn’t there used to be a tall brunette sitting in that corner?  OH GOD MUST STUDY.

But, no.  Sounds like it wouldn’t be the end of the world, so… good.  More boring than the lion idea, but slightly more reassuring.

12 thoughts on “Signs of life

  1. What you don’t know is if your brave colleague still has any insides left, or did one of their rogue professors get given carte blanche to conduct the vivisections studies that normal human minds couldn’t even imagine!
    Remember: it’s not paranoia if they’re really out there!

  2. There are a few students in my year (year 2) who are repeating the *entire* year because they failed exams (and re-writes) last summer. The worst (and by far, most EVIL part about it) is that 3rd year starts in Aug, so these students were already on placement for a month before the re-write results came out. At which point they were yanked out of placements and put back in 2nd year. With us. And we have small classes (47 in the year ahead and 88 in my year).

    Harsh. I honestly don’t think I could do it. I mean kudos to them for redoing, but AWKWARD at times (especially in PBL because they know all the cases so if people can’t figure it out they naturally stare at repeater waiting for them to dish).

  3. Nobody talked about failing at my school either, but you’d find out about it because you’d see some 4th year on a core rotation, or someone who you knew completed a rotation months ago sitting for your exam months later. The people I know who did an extra year failed multiple things and had mental breakdowns. Though, it seems they’re fine now, and about to match into competitive specialties.

    • I’m glad to hear that they ended up okay. There’s so much stigma around the idea of a soon-to-be doctor having had a “mental breakdown”, good to hear that it wasn’t a huge red flag.

  4. I think most med schools, once you get there, try to keep you there. I was terrified I would fail anatomy last year – I never failed an exam, but I bombed a couple quizzes. I met with my dean who told me, “if you fail – NOT THAT YOU WILL – but if you do, you can redo it over the summer, no big deal.” No big deal? I hated anatomy. I would have rather been fed to a lion. Lucky for me, I passed.

    • Hahaha, I felt the EXACT SAME WAY. We were often told “You just have to redo it over winter break or summer! No big deal!” and I’m like, “err… I’m not exactly sure I’m comfortable enough to buy a non-refundable plane ticket at this point, actually, so yes- big deal.”

  5. Urgh, well I think embarrassment is a big factor, and also feeling somehow discredited and that nothing you say now counts.

    I’ve only told one person I failed a short exam, and her response was to offer to form a small study group to help us all, in a non-underminey way. What a star.

    • That’s awesome. I admire you for being able to tell someone about it – I think that’s a sign of strength that I don’t have in my abilities just yet.

      I’m working on it, though. If I fail this epidemiology test, I can think of a couple people who’d be able to help me study for the retake.

  6. Gosh ! Im a first year student…n my second internals are just freakin round the Conor….like next month !

    honestly ? I am effin freaked out ! (Since i didnt really do THAT stellar in terminals one *small wince* ) n now after reading all this abt failed students ! EKKK ! MUST STUDY MORE o.0 !!! (Cz our dean guy ? Yeah…im not really sure he does “sweet” maybe they really DO FEED PEOPLE TO THE LIONS HERE ……) o.0

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