Pre-med Student Journal: An Unlikely Friend Till The End


March 16, 2020

As a pre-med student experiencing the clinical side of medicine, you will encounter real life situations that medical professionals face everyday. It is a good idea to keep a journal, as this will help you remember and reflect on your experiences and help you write compelling essays about why medicine is your chosen path.

How can journaling help?

  • Clinical exposure and volunteering work is for many students a new experience they had never tried before. Once you enter the clinical setting, you come in direct contact with the everyday struggles and challenges medical professionals face. Doctors and physicians interact with a diverse populations and almost all of them are facing some form of pain or discomfort. While doctors become accustomed to such challenges overtime, for pre-meds these can sometimes be overwhelming. Journaling your everyday experiences as a pre-med student provides a very efficient opportunity to integrate these experiences into something meaningful. Journaling provides a way to let these emotions drain out of your system in an effective way.
  • As a perspective doctor, admissions committees look for qualities such as resilience and grit. Communicating these qualities through your personal experiences and anecdotes will help you stand out. Journaling helps you articulate your emotions better and remember small details about your experiences that you might otherwise forget over time.

Apart from the above reasons, journaling can significantly benefit you when it comes to preparing your medical school application process. Here’s how:

  • Shadowing a Physician: When you start shadowing a physician, you have to prepare yourself to experience some of the challenges physicians face. Journaling your everyday experiences while shadowing can be extremely beneficial as it will help you remember and reflect upon patient encounters and experiences you have had in the clinic.
  • Writing personal statement essay: Writing your personal statement essays requires you to reflect back on your experiences and your motivations for pursuing a career in medicine. Through your personal statement, you have the opportunity to communicate to the admission committee that you posses the necessary skills and experiences to understand the challenges ahead and succeed in medical school. Thus, your essay has to be rich in content and full of meaningful insights. Journaling not only helps you become a better writer, but also assists you in your process of introspection and reflection.
  • Volunteering & journaling: Similar to maintaining a shadowing journal, you can maintain a journal to document your daily experiences while volunteering. This is helpful for recalling your experiences at the time of primary and secondary applications. Your volunteering experiences can make for good anecdotes that demonstrate leadership qualities.
  • Answering secondary application short-essays: Journaling makes you a more articulate thinker and writer. These qualities benefit immensely when it comes to answering questions in your secondary application.
  • Preparing for the interview: As we pointed out earlier, journaling not only makes you an articulate thinker, but can also improve your eloquence. If you are in a habit of journaling, you can easily breeze through questions in your interview that require spontaneous thinking and recalling skills. Most importantly, journaling is very useful when preparing for interviews as it is a good reminder of all the meaningful experiences you have had since your freshman year.

How to start journaling?

You don’t need to buy any elaborate notebooks or to start journaling. But if you feel these will provide a good initial motivation to sit down and write, then go ahead and buy a beautiful journal for yourself!

You don’t need to write everyday if you don’t want to, some students prefer to journal once a week, especially on the weekend when they have more free time. If you don’t feel like writing elaborate paragraphs, a few bullet points that describe your main experiences will suffice. Ultimately, you are aiming at documenting relevant and meaningful experiences you have had. It is a documentation of your journey, so shape it the way you like!

Happy Journaling!

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