I have to admit, I am procrastinating my personal statement at this very moment to write a blog about procrastinating on a personal statement. Today, I woke up at 6:30 am, which is very unusual for me on a Sunday. I told myself that I was going to complete a very rough draft of my personal statement and that it was going to set me up to be very productive this week. Instead, I told myself I would work out first but the workout did not start until 11:30 am. Then when I was done, I convinced myself to go to the pool to read for my rotation this week. I then convinced myself to start packing my apartment up and it wasn’t until 4:30 pm that I began my personal statement.
Ever since I was in high school, I’ve consistently kept an online blog of sorts to write about the musings of my life. You would think that beginning a writing assignment would be slightly less anxiety-ridden for me but when it comes to something so important, such as residency applications, I freeze. How do I explain to residencies that this specific specialty is for me? What exactly goes into a personal statement? What do I talk about if I’ve never saved a life or done anything stupendous in my medical career? After scouring the interwebs, I have come across four questions that have continuously popped up on personal statement articles:
1. Why do I want to go into ___ specialty?
2. What experiences have shaped my decisions?
3. Why would I be good at this specialty?
4. What do I want to get out of residency?
I sat down and wrote these four questions in a blank Word document and under each, I placed three examples I wanted to use. This made a world of difference in reducing my anxiety and I think I might call it a night after doing this so I can process my thoughts (probably in the shower, where the brain works best). If you’re having difficulties starting a personal statement, try out this method to see if it helps!
Good luck to those currently working on their personal statements, too!