Those of you who joined us for the inaugural tour, heard repeatedly “know you are”, “make sure can tell your story”, “have the medical school believe in you.” Some of you might have asked yourself, “um what does that mean?” So for you and our new followers, I wanted to share my story.
The title of this piece, pretty much sums up want I want to say, so if you’ve got an organic test tomorrow, please free to go back to studying, but for those with a little more time to spare, I’ll expand. I was one of those students who always wanted to be a doctor—I say always but that’s probably because it’s the one that stuck—admittedly I did have aspirations of being a professional ice skater, and broadway star, but quickly my lack of athletic prowess and natural down deafness ruled those out. Early on, I shared this with a prominent doctor in my life—my pediatrician who was actually the only doctor in my life—and was lucky to have him take an interest in me. This turned into shadowing opportunities and several in depth conversations that made me answer the question, who are you? At that point, I thought I was just a high school student being raised by a single mom who wanted to be a doctor. However, in college I was able to further elucidate this.
As a freshman, I took basically every opportunity to be engaged that came my way. Truly sometimes they didn’t make sense but they interested me. I didn’t realize at that time but this was part of me developing who I was/would be. I participated in the premedical activities but also many that political science and law folks did. I even ended up as chairman of our judicial board—a role that had been “strictly” for pre-law folks for sometime. Each experience I had gave me the opportunity to learn something new and helped me become a more engaged and proactive individual. Many may not have realized that there was a method to my madness. I wasn’t in college just to make myself a good pre-med student—I was in college to make myself the person and doctor I could be.
As I was preparing for medical school application, I returned to the question of “who am I” for my personal statement, but the biggest test for my answer to this came from my pre-med advisor. As part of the interview to prepare our summary recommendation letter, she asked me bluntly “Do you really want to be a doctor or is this just the hardest thing you could figure out to do? Your resume is so diverse and full of non-premed things.” To this I answered: I don’t just want to be a pre-med student. I want to be a doctor and as doctor I am going to have to make hard decisions everyday—the judicial board has prepared me to be able to do that and do it wisely. As a doctor, I won’t work only with doctors everyday, I’ll work with patients and my interactions with people from all my activities will prepare me to be able to interact with all types of patients. My patients will be from all walks of life and learning to be of service to communities now will make me a better doctor. I may start out as a pre-med student raised by a single mom in the suburbs of Texas, but I know that I will be a doctor and I will be a good doctor because I know where I’ve been, where I’m going and my experiences weren’t just for fun or to fill my resume, they have helped define me as a person.
She responded, “good answer.” However, truly I could have probably just easily have said “I know who I am, and I have adorned accordingly.”