Some people, you can just tell they were meant to be a doctor. From the moment you meet them they give off a friendly, approachable vibe and are just very easy to talk to. They also don’t pretend to know more or less than anyone else. They’re very open to learning about anything and everything. And it’s wonderful to meet these people, especially in college. Because I get to see them now, before they get further hardened and maybe changed a bit by medical school. Hopefully, it won’t change them too much. Everyone could stand to be a bit tougher, I suppose. And that might be inevitable; we have to know that we can face a lot of tough challenges and still stand strong on our own two feet. But still, it’s just fantastic to see these people now, and to realize that in a few years, they will be amongst the new generation of doctors. It’s mind-boggling.
A couple of friends of mine really fit the bill. Not only are they both incredibly intelligent, but they’re also warm and friendly and open. It just makes a huge difference. I wish I could shake admissions committees (and all the other committees really) and explain to them that personality means the world. I’ve always believed that charisma, a willingness to learn, and hard work can get you a lot farther than simply being smart or being able to regurgitate information. And being a doctor is so much more than just retaining information. You have to know how to use it and when. Also, if your patient doesn’t want to talk to you or feels uncomfortable or intimidated by you, how are you going to find out what’s wrong and help them solve it? Isn’t that the reason you got into this field – helping others?
It really angers me to see students who clearly only care about the grades, or the numbers. I can’t rule out the fact that numbers are a big factor in this, unfortunately. Numbers are what get you past the first round of applications, secondaries, and finally into the admissions committee’s face as they decide who’s worth an interview. So yeah, the numbers are necessary. But it’s also so much more than that. Can you carry on a conversation? Do I want to talk to you? Can you talk about something other than medicine?
It’s funny, I want to be a doctor so badly, and I see my friends and what amazing doctors they’re going to be, and I kind of wish it would be like my elementary school all over. You moved up with the same class, the same group of people, at the same time, as long as you met certain (fair) requirements. And college is somewhat similar I suppose, although at some point you tend to lose people here and there to internships or bad grades, or sheer bad luck. But part of me so wishes I could move on with this batch of people in my grade now, because I would love to fight through med school with them as we did in our undergraduate years. And I want to get my M.D. with them.
All I know is one day, we’ll be able to proudly and happily call each other doctors, no matter where we end up. I have to believe that. It’s what keeps me going most days.
I can’t end this on a sad note, so here’s a timeline I found to show student activities during medical school applications. Yes, it’s an action potential. The most awesome action potential ever. From Harvard, nonetheless.