Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Importance of Mentors

Sometimes, I become very surprised at how cold and distant some medical school applicants are. To some, the application process is all about grades, grades, grades. It is not something to enjoy at all. And, I've talked to many applicants with those sorts of sentiments. Granted, they will eventually get to where they are going since they are so incredibly driven. But I think this mentality is unhealthy. I have seen some premeds break down due to stress: this is especially disheartening since, in the grande scheme of things, we are only beginning our journey.

I think one has to evaluate what the purpose is of getting into medical school. I personally know others who were so consumed with school work that they did not pursue areas of interest outside of school. I am lucky to have grown up in a small town and have a need for community. I like to help others because I have always been this way. It didn't simply develop the day I decided I wanted to become a physician. It is the reason I want to become a physician.

One thing you'll notice is that people who give their all, not just academically but in life, will be noticed by others. Being inquisitive, courteous, and helpful has always attracted people to me in life. I actually did not seek out many of my mentors that have helped me so much these last couple of years during the application process. Some have actually noticed me first.

Mentors are so important to have, I can not express that enough. My mentors have given me the confidence that I am on the right path and should stay on it. I have also felt the compounding pressure of trying to gain acceptance, but one of the reasons I have not let it get to me is because I have others who believe in me. I've built very good relationships with others around me, especially my professors, research supervisor, employers, and even medical students. The advice they've given me is invaluable and I treasure it.

If you do not have a mentor, I urge you to find one. No matter what field you are interested in, not just premed, mentors are there to help guide you. Through your own mistakes, whether they be professional or personal, a good mentor will be there for you. They have gone through ups and downs similar to those you are currently experiencing and will try their best aid you. And one final word: a mentor is not just present for you to use a good reference letter. They are much more than a piece of paper, and their presence will always be with you, in some form.

Good luck,

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