on an application essay

Storytelling, when combined the the human ability to imagine oneself in a situation one has never actually experienced, can create powerfully emotional responses. I mean, why else do we cry while watching Pretty Woman?
When the stories being told are non-fictional, it can even be an educational process. One story that I want to talk about was told to me by Dr. Carpenter. Megan, a fellow 4th yr med student, and I were worrying about writing our personal statements. Dr. Carpenter offered us her brain to pick at (metaphorically, and she chose those words), and so pick away we did. “Do something original,” she said. “Write it to the tune of a song, something that stands out. We read hundreds of these. But don’t make it too weird. It has to be good.” (This advice equaled 3 days of wasted writing time trying to explain my passion for medicine to the theme song of ‘Gilligan’s Island.’)
Then she told us about the personal statement that stood out in her mind the most. It was written by a resident, actually, applying for fellowship. He wrote about one particularly bad day, eveything had gone wrong, he’d been yelled at, how the long hours had piled up on him, and how he just wanted to go home. Then as he was finally leaving, and the elevator doors were closing, he saw a cancer patient with one of her hands holding an IV pole, looking at him. And he realized that while he got to go home, she would still be there in the hospital.

As doctors, we do have a tough role to play. But end the end of the day…or days…we take off our white coats and get to kick back a little. As annoyed or deprieved as we feel we are sometimes, we still have the option of taking off our name tags, whereas these kids live their illness.

Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Jasmine the other day I went out for a friends birthday and drank too much and went home and barfed out my liver. Is this ok?

  2. I suggest you chop up your liver and then throw all the pieces into your gut (not sure how you’d do this step…be creative). liver regenerates, so this should give you many little livers that will grow. Then you’ll have extra livers!

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