Good morning, Virginia Beach.  This is the 4th morning of our family vacation and I woke up to a wonderful sunrise. Bonus: the hubby and the Ladybug slept in so I enjoyed this view while reading a (non-med school!) book.

While reading, my mind began to wander to my Personal Statement for residency. How on earth am I supposed to sum up my entire life to this point in time and why pediatrics has always been the next logical step for me in one single-spaced page? From what I’ve gathered from multiple conversations from my advisor, program director, and others is that Personal Statements are usually just kind of “meh” and not very personal… So I definitely don’t want to write something that leaves those impressions.

I’m not the best test taker. I’m not at the top of my class, despite working as hard as I could over the past three years, being successful in some areas and not-so-successful in others. There’s so much pressure to perform well while making it look effortless, to stand out from the crowd of other amazing and successful medical students, to land a coveted residency position when there are more applicants each year but only so many spots… I am feeling the pressure to make every section of my residency application as glowing as possible so that I am able to train at a great program. The Personal Statement, then, is an area where I need to shine so I can stand out despite being an average student in a sea of successful, hardworking, inspiring pediatricians-in-training.

The worst part of medical school is the constant competition.

I’ve tried to sit down and write this stupid thing a dozen times since January. I just can’t seem to do it. Maybe it’s the pressure, maybe the stressing out on myself has transformed into fear, and that’s why I just can’t seem to do it.

Until this morning. I had an idea on that tiny balcony, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean by myself, lost in my thoughts with a book in my hand. A friend recently made a statement about me and I thought to myself, “Actually… That’s true.” Why is it that I am still so afraid to OWN the things that make me who I am? To let my interests shine instead of trying to hide them away? This is my residency application for pediatrics–I’ve wanted to be a pediatrician for forever–so now is the time to be brave and show them who I really am. So the thought that was born to start with a statement about who I really am and let it grow organically from there, instead of wondering how to make a statement fit the expectations that doesn’t sound like me at all.

David keeps reminding me that this is a vacation, not a studycation or a workcation. I totally agree and we’re having a great time, but when the views look like this, I might as well harness the inspiration that comes from it, no?


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