Like the personal statement for medical school, the one for residency is vital in securing a spot at the residency of your choice. The emphasis of the personal statement shifts from why you want to be a doctor, to why a particular specialty fits you best. I chose Family Medicine as my specialty and had to craft a personal statement to let residency directors know why. Below, you’ll find that statement, unedited. Enjoy!
My Personal Statement
“Only two more miles until we reach our campsite.” I looked up at him, sweat stinging my eyes. Two miles?! We had already ascended to 6000 ft. over the past three hours. At our current pace, we would make it to camp in another hour. My friend and I were the last two in a group of four hiking the Tahoe National Forest on a four day excursion: one day hiking in, two days relaxing at the lake, one day hiking out. I grumbled to myself about over-packing only to be cheerfully reminded by my friend about the wonders of getting away from the city. Thirty minutes later found us one mile away and my determination was not going to be trampled like the dirt under our feet. Pain was taking over my left gut and my sweat-soaked t-shirt was evidence of the hot sun and rigorous battle I was fighting. I had the resolve to overcome and I was glad I was fighting it with a friend. We had endured much together over the last five years.
I had many other friends along the way, but four years after this encounter with the mountain I first met and began developing a friendship with my wife. We opened our souls to each other, allowing the other in to see beneath the surface. We probed deep into each other’s lives to determine why the other was the way they were, what had shaped them and what made them tick. Today we are still inquisitive of the deeper meanings behind each other’s actions. This search will never end; I am glad it won’t. This expands beyond my wife, family and friends to my patients. When I have had continuity of care with patients, I have enjoyed developing deeper bonds beyond the doctor-patient relationship.
Ever since deciding to become a doctor, I knew that primary care was my destiny. Developing long-lasting relationships has always appealed to me. The idea of being somebody’s “doctor” gives me a joy that is humbling and carries a great responsibility. As their doctor, I am accountable to look out for their best interests, treat them with respect and be their gateway to the medical field. This can only be accomplished effectively through personal relationships with patients.
Family Practice is the best amalgamation of all that I want in a career. Family Medicine combines the procedural tasks of orthopedics and minor surgery with the care of mental health in psychiatry and vast knowledge of internal medicine, all of which I enjoyed throughout my third year rotations. I am excited to treat men and women, young and old and to span all cultures, social status and income levels. This specialty champions honesty, reliability, compassion through altruism and a strong work ethic with lifelong learning. Through the teachings of my parents and my own personal commitment, these characteristics have become a pattern in my life.
Growing up I wanted to do something that would positively affect people and give meaning to their lives. This desire led me to becoming a doctor and manifested itself outside of my medical pursuits. Throughout high school and college I engaged in acts of service that were beneficial to friends, family and strangers. In Medical School I immediately became involved in church and looked for opportunities to serve. Perhaps the most rewarding experience is my involvement in my church’s youth group. As a leader of a junior high boys’ Bible Study, I have been a role model and am able to talk with young men on a deeper level about virtues that I cherish and my experiences when I was their age. Many of them have grown spiritually and emotionally thanking me for my influence in their lives. This experience reflects my deeper dedication to compassion and altruism. Through this act of service and others I have found that serving in itself is a reward because it provides a context for what I do in the medical field.
We turned left and started our descent into a valley. I could see the lake from here. Ross, my high school buddy, slowed down and I caught up to him. “All downhill from here,” he said. A bit cliché, but I let him have the remark. It was all downhill from here and I was excited. I thought about the mountain I was climbing on my journey to becoming a doctor. At that time I was just beginning my ascent. There would be rest stops along the way: high school graduation, college graduation and medical school graduation, but I would continue up the mountain until I reached my destination. Now as I reflect back on my journey thus far, I am excited. I have endured the side aches and the sweat and look forward to the next milestone of graduation. But from where I am on the mountain I can see ahead of that stop to the next leg in my journey, residency. My life experiences and medical education have adequately prepared me for this new path where I will finish my residency training but only begin my continued learning. I am confident that my commitment to honesty, kindness and lifelong education will give me the strength and resolve to realize my dreams and overcome the next leg of my expedition.
What do you think? Personally, I like this much more than my medical school personal statement. Four years in medical school must have had more effect than I thought in my development. If you enjoyed this and need to write a personal statement or know someone who does, I’d love to read it. Feel free to pass this on.