Social media has a funny way of showcasing our strengths but rarely our weaknesses, struggles, hardships, and embarrassing confessions. Here’s my embarrassing academic confession:

I’ve read less than ten fiction novels cover-to-cover in my life.

As a child, I never dared to venture beyond the first book in the Hooked-On-Phonics series. Struggling with reading comprehension and lack of interest in fiction throughout elementary school, I was labeled with a “2nd grade reading level” during the 5th grade. During grade school, I was the kid who habitually used SparkNotes and CliffsNotes to “get by” with every English course… often times falling way short of the class average. I had perfect scores on the physical sciences, biological sciences, and writing sections of the old MCAT (15-15-T); however, a score of 7 on the reading comprehension (“verbal”) section forced me to retake this exam to stand a shot of getting into my dream medical school.

I hated myself. I wanted to be better, but no matter how much I tried to persist and “eventually like the book”, I became irritated and bored. To this day, I’m quite envious of those who can get consumed by a “good book” in the library, on a long flight, during their morning commute, etc.

In stark contrast, I thoroughly enjoy learning from nonfiction textbooks, research articles, DIY pamphlets, online forums, etc. I read purely for the desire to learn, apply, and share knowledge, and with more limited time these days as a physician, I have to be even more selective about what I peruse.

Drop me a comment with your academic confession!

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