Wednesday, July 28, 2004

MEDICAL SCHOOL DRAFT ESSAY DISCUSSION POST #1: After feedback from Dr. Thornton, to whom I am very grateful.

I spent two hours on the presumptive draft #2 and only got two paragraphs:

"My desire to enter medical school requires some explanation, for as my record should make plain, it was not always my goal to be a physician. Leaving high school, I wanted to be a writer. I had been told I was good at writing, and I enjoyed it, so it seemed logical to pursue it. Practical concerns were not seriously addressed, and why should they be? I thought I could sit and pound stories out, the way the writers I admired had, typing for hours at a time, struggling towards that great breakthrough.

It was harder than I thought. The writing never came that easy to me; even now, it doesn't. I began to discover I lacked the drive to tirelessly create and recreate that sets a professional writer apart from other writers. Learning this disappointed me--it meant I would have to try something else as a profession. But the need to write has never left me. My theory is, being a writer is what you are, if you are one. It has more to do with the way you interact with the world than if you are explicitly paid to write. If you express yourself to the world through words, you are writer. This is what I have learned, seven years after graduating from college with a bachelor's in creative writing. And that and a dollar-ten will buy you a cup of coffee, as they say."

FUCK. I just sat here for at least an hour writing and erasing and rewriting the paragraph that follows this. I'm trying to get in some of the stuff Ben suggested--actually, I'm trying to get in the thing where I discuss why writing is a skill uniquely applicable to medicine, what with the writing of orders, and the all-around need to communicate clearly. Saying the f-word in all caps is no doubt part of that. Plus I'm trying to get it in without sounding like an asshole--meaning, I want to sound like being a writer will add something that will make me a better physician, and not sound like writing is this really great thing that I've always loved doing--but now I have to be a stoopid doctor. That's what I don't want to sound like, that last part.

Ben also pointed out to me (in e-mail) that I haven't said "why [I] went from office drone to pre-requisite classes other than the fact that you were technically capable of answering Yes when asked if you were presumed to follow in your dad's footsteps." I haven't answered this question to my satisfaction either. I think me think that I'd enjoy medicine and I'd be okay at it should be enough of an answer, but I get the feeling it isn't.

There is something so Confessions of St. Augustine about Draft #1 I really don't like. I feel like I'm setting up Medicine to be my deity, to lead me out of the morass that was my life before I found my One True Calling. I want there to be some narrative there, but I also want to emphasize which unique qualities of mine will make me a better physician:

--My ability to communicate.
--My relative lack of youth and workplace experience and the ability to communicate in normal social situations that goes with it.
--My status as a doctor's son, suggesting that I understand well the burdens of medicine.

So I want to get those in there. Tomorrow I'll try and whip up an actual second draft, if I can figure any of this out. It's late now, though.

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