By now most of you know that I'm applying for a residency position in emergency medicine. To all of my law school classmates who were jealous of my free time when they were preparing their applications for judicial clerkships: you can gloat now.
Writing the personal statement for my residency application is not an easy thing to do.
After all, it's not really a personal statement, it's an argument. In one page or less, you've got to make the argument that you're a great candidate who is eager to learn, loves patients, is a joy to work with, and is someone who will eventually be a leader in the specialty (among other things). Of course I think I'm all that, but making the arguments on my own behalf isn't easy.
You want to make a powerful argument for yourself without sounding arrogant. You need to reassure the program faculty that although you're confident you'll realize your lofty ambitions, you haven't forgotten that the road to success is paved with patience (patients?) and hard work.
It'd be a lot easier if I could just say that I wanted to practice emergency medicine because it's fun. Even the drunks. At 3 a.m. on Saturday. After the internal medicine attending has chewed you out for what she thought was an inappropriate admission. Even after all that, it's still fun. Maybe I'll say that, too.
"But wait!" the program faculty will say to themselves. "He's too naive. He hasn't considered the fear of random malpractice suits. Silly lawyer!"
Ahem. I just hope that my recommenders don't remember any good military quotes.