As you will know from the few posts I’ve made so far this year I am attempting to go to medical school. Now that I have jumped a couple hurdles on this very long path I have a little more time to do things like writing again.
One thing that I really struggled with in all of my essay writing and in working out how to answer (should I be lucky enough to receive interviews) is the question of why I want to be a doctor. Everyone asks it – even just friends and family. But before you answer that yourself (I’m sure many of you know people who are doctors/want to be doctors) here are the things we have been told not to say:
– I want to help people
– I care about people
– I like science
– I’ve always wanted to be a doctor
– A realization of wanting to be a doctor due to some event
– I want to make lots of money
– My parents want me to
I get it. Many of these are cliches, and others could suggest that a person doesn’t really know what it means to be a doctor. If a person wants to help people why don’t they go volunteer, and if they like science they should go do research. I do understand why we are told to avoid these statements, but the problem is: they are true.
I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. I remember being 4 years old and learning and practicing first aid; I knew the recovery position and how to give CPR. I have always just know that I wanted to be a doctor. I have thought about it more deeply and it mainly boils down to a combination of wanted to help people and give back and being fascinated by diseases and the human body.
I am a walking cliche. All I need to add is a little bit about how my desire to be a doctor was confirmed by some traumatic medical event in my life and I’d include all of the things I am not supposed to say!
So what do I say?
This is the dilemma that I would assume is had by many pre-medical students, and I am finding it increasingly frustrating. We should be true to ourselves and our intentions in our applications and interviews. I wouldn’t lie about my work experience, so why should I lie about my reasons for wanting to enter the profession?
Even if I wanted to say something better, I do not even know what to say.
My desire to be true to who I am means that I must resign myself to being the walking cliche. I will be honest about my intentions and my desires and as such I will be thrown in the pile of boring, identical pre-med students.
The advice we are given is to stand out from the crowd, make sure we are not one of the thousands who wants to be a doctor because “they like science and want to help people”. But what if that is the truth?