Repeat after me, “I am not a P. I am better than average. I will not accept the minimum. I am not a P.” As Type A’s I’m sure this is a morning mantra we all repeat to ourselves in front of the mirror before we start our days in residency and perhaps say to ourselves before we hit the submit button on the platform. For most of us however, at some point we will receive the dreaded “P” and for the real over achievers the dreaded “HP”.
I know for me I go through several stages when I don’t perform at the level I have set for myself. First is the feeling like I am going to puke because I am so disappointed in myself. Then there is the stage where I bang my forehead on the desk in cries of agony, “Why? Why Professor Anton? Why me? Why my paper? Whhhhyyyyyyyyyy?????” Okay, perhaps not that dramatic, but you get the point. Then I move on to the justification. “Well apparently he didn’t read my brilliant and excellent analysis of X. If he truly understood X he would have seen I am the best Y since the dawning of time. It’s not my fault my brilliance has eclipsed even the sun’s rays. I will wait for the day the reptilian aliens are defeated and the good aliens take over and show that I am an enlightened one.” Yes, for that brief egotistical moment I sore on my own flights of grandeur, until the reality that I just received the grade from one of Duke’s number one ranked faculty sets in. SPLAT! I am now back on solid ground, where I am left with my humility and a less than optimal grade. Okay, okay, I suck, I f*ed up, I earned a bad grade. Now how do I fix it?