Almost 2 1/2 years ago, I started writing my medical school essay. I essentially wrote what I felt medical schools wanted to hear: write a touching story about an experience you had in/with medicine, sprinkle in vignettes from volunteering/leadership roles, and finish off with an inspiring quote. When I look back at what I wrote, I realize that I had NO IDEA why I wanted to be a doctor because I did not (and still don’t really) know what a doctor was. Most of us see doctors when we are in need of treatment, this paints them in a beautiful, pure light that shines ever-so-brightly off their white coats. There is much more to being a doctor, or just becoming a doctor, that you will need to come to terms with before going to medical school. It’s not all bad and it’s definitely not all good.
I, like most people, have one moment or story that we can tell others when they ask us “Why do YOU want to go to medical school?” My answer was “I loved caring for my little sister when she was a baby and I would like to continue caring for others for the rest of my life.” Believe me, this is still my answer, but it isn’t my only answer. Let me explain. Medicine is a LONG and arduous process, an experience I had when I was eight years old can’t fuel my drive to succeed for the rest of my life. Pay attention because here is my point: becoming a doctor should be because of an amalgamation of many experiences. And you should keep adding to those experiences as you grow older and encounter more obstacles. I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I took care of my sister, when I talked to my first patient I knew I wanted to be a doctor, when I saw open-heart surgery I knew, when I treated my first patient, when I auscultated a baby, when I heard my first murmur. When you write your essay, make sure you end it with a comma, because it should never be finished.