For someone like me who is a 4th year medical student at the twilight of my lengthy medical school education, my personal statement for medical school admission was something I hadn't thought about for a long time. I went home that night and spent some time searching for my personal statement and re-reading it. In it, I had written passionately about my dad's fight with cancer while I was in high school and my subsequent desire to accompany patients and families during their struggles.
I challenge all health professionals out reading this blog whether a current student, resident or physician:
- What did you write about in your personal statement?
- Are you still living true to the vision and the passion you wrote about then?
- Why or why not?
I watch the 3rd year medical students, one class below me, struggle with these decisions now. Some students have known from day 1 of medical school that they want to do pediatrics or neurosurgery, while others are still juggling a number of different specialty choices. When that decision is made, the next and equally (if not more) challenging decision looms: where to apply and what one is looking for in a residency program? My advice would be to take a step back, take a deep breath and look at the reasons why one entered medicine in the first place. Look at your personal statement. Who did you want to be then?
True, you may be making less as a family physician then you would as a cardiothoracic surgeon or an ophthalmologist, but your income will still be among the top 10th percentile of the general population. Even as a resident, you will be making more than the average American household individually! Are our motivations driven by financial incentives, peer pressure or prestige/pride? Or are our motives driven by true concern for those we serve and work with each and every day?
Our society needs compassionate and caring physicians who stay true to their own personal visions and dreams. Are you still living out the vision in your own personal statement?