Getting Personal

I’m meeting with the head of the OB/GYN department of my school tomorrow to ask for a letter of recommendation. I’ve met him once or twice before when he did a few lectures for us during first year, and when I shamelessly ambushed him at a conference earlier this year to introduce myself, proclaim my OB/gyencologically geared intentions and intimate the need for a letter. He took it all very well and, affirming the rumors, seems to be a super nice guy. But he doesn’t know me or why in the world he should recommend me for anything, much less a residency position.

I cobbled together a resume recently to help out with the application process and hand out to attendings I’m requesting letters from. I know all the other letter writers pretty well and have worked with them consistently throughout the year, so I figured a CV would be all I needed to help them with the letter. I realized I am going to need something more for someone I’ve only spent approximately 55 seconds with. I’m going to need a personal statement, at the very least a rough draft of one that briefly and convincingly outlines why I am going to be The Best OB/GYN Ever.

No biggie right?

Right. I started working on it a few nights ago, after soliciting some input from my attendings. The input was well-meant but vague, so I hit the web. I found a few resources on writing personal statements that look excellent, but lengthy. All I had time to do was skim them and I’ll list them here for anyone who is interested. (Note: If writing a personal statement for residency is something you are currently contemplating or will be in the near future, I suggest you be interested. One of the main tips is starting the process MONTHS in advance. Whoops.)

AMA: Writing your personal statement.

UsmleWEB: Tips for writing a personal statement & sample personal statements.

StudentDoc: Writing personal statements for residency programs.

I spent hours free-writing, revising, brainstorming, and making desperate phone calls to trusted allies for proof-reading and constructive criticism. Now I have two (very rough, as in sandpaper, yuppie walks in to a packed redneck bar at one am on Saturday night, rough) pages to show for it.

The gist is that I want to do OB/GYN because there isn’t anything I don’t like about it. I never in a gagillionty years thought I would want to be an OB/GYN when I got into medical school and I spent a good portion of my time and energies in third year trying to like anything and everything but OB/GYN. To no avail. It’s true, in the end, you have to do what you love. Personally, I think it’s a d*mn good reason to recommend me. Let’s hope Dr. Department Head does too.