The essay should be limited to a typewritten page (no more than 500 words) with one-inch margins describing:
(1) Your interest in family medicine
(2) Your reasons for wanting to attend the National Conference
And my essay, 499 words...
When I first decided that I was going to medical school, I told anyone who asked me that I would become a forensic pathologist, and that was that – until I explained myself to my mother-in-law. A family practitioner in small-town Indiana, Dorothy knew me better than I knew myself. She laughed at my certainty, listened to my reasons for choosing the field, and told me to wait and see. “You’ll fall in love with the patients,” she said, confident in her prediction. At the time, I just shook my head.
Even before I entered medical school, I learned that she had been right. On a medical trip to Nicaragua, I spent more time with patients than I’d ever anticipated, even sitting up late one night with a girl in the throes of an asthma attack. And, much to my surprise, I did fall in love with those patients. I slowly began to understand that I wanted to work with people, that the lab held little appeal for me, and that my mother-in-law had been right all along.
My clinical experiences have only borne this out: I find myself falling naturally into primary care during my clerkships; I am energized by the chance to see patients from one end of their lives to another. It is a direction to my life that four years ago I would never have expected, but experience has shown me that I am energized and fulfilled by the choice I have made.
I expected, when I made the transition from my classroom years at a branch campus to the clinical years at the main center, that I would join a family medicine student interest group and take part in activities to help me refine my direction. Instead, I was surprised to find few to no activities scheduled by such a group. In fact, as I worked with the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians to try and find ways to bring students into the specialty, I discovered that the group had more or less dissolved over the course of the year. As I investigated further, I encountered a doctor who was also interested in reviving it, and he suggested that I might be interested in going to Kansas City.
He was right – this conference represents a spectrum of opportunities I have no intention of passing up. I am excited by the prospect of meeting with other students and residents who had an interest in family medicine; I am glad for the chance to improve my leadership skills and develop new ideas to help in restarting the student interest group. As I finish my medical school career and enter practice, the opportunities for intellectual growth and skill development provided by conferences such as this one will give me the tools I need to provide the best possible care to my patients. If I am to be the best doctor I can be, those tools will be vital, and I look forward to the challenge.
What do you think? What can I improve? I need to get this stuff in within the next few days, so speed is of the essence...
[Edit: made a few changes. Essay is now 496 words, and updated...]