One school night when we were five years old, we decided to tell our parents our big decision. We were both going to become “football-playing surgeons… in SPACE,” and nothing was going to stop us. Fast forward 13 years- we were now freshmen Biology majors at The University of Alabama on academic scholarships. Even though we were both undersized, unpolished, and advised by our old coaches not to do it, we decided to try out for the football team anyway.
Tryouts were BRUTAL! Over 100 prospects were cut to less than 20 within three days. We made it through the full off-season program but unfortunately got cut right before fall camp due to late scholarship changes. After spending so much time and effort to achieve this goal, it was so discouraging to still get denied. However, our parents didn’t raise us to be quitters, so we decided to give it another try. We pushed each other every day, and after a year of hard work, the results were there. We’d gained 40 pounds of muscle and got faster, stronger, and smarter. This time, our efforts were rewarded, and we made the final roster; that year, we went on to become national champions!
After playing for two more seasons, we decided to redirect our focus on our main goal: becoming physicians. Again, we were told we weren’t good enough, smart enough, or capable enough to make it. As a matter of fact, one of Jared’s advisors sent him this email!
But we’d been here before, it didn’t stop us then, and nothing was going to stop us now. After graduating, we went on to post-baccalaureate programs where we both excelled and were accepted to medical school! Now we’re in our third year and well on our way to becoming the fantastic surgeons we dreamt of when we were five years old.
Both our football experiences and our journey to medical school taught us valuable lessons that have served us throughout our medical education, and life in general. This journey requires a lot of perseverance and dedication, and the workload can be very intimidating. But to be successful, you have to be disciplined, focused, and resilient. You have to learn how to evaluate your own performance in an honest fashion. Most of all, who cares what anyone thinks?! If you want it, go get it!
Although it can be painful at first, failure can serve as one of the greatest motivators. Embracing our failures allowed for growth, and eventually success, and those experiences forced us to strategize how we could improve in order to achieve those “unattainable” goals. Instead of letting brief moments of adversity or negativity write your story, we challenge you to control the narrative by finding ways to overcome them! A dream deferred is not a dream denied.
– Jeremy and Jared Watson