At some point, you will write a personal statement or a secondary essay as part of your application. Personal statements are a great opportunity for you to tell your story to the admissions committee and share why you want to work as a healthcare professional. You may be asked about your “why?” during an interview. Keeping a journal throughout your undergraduate experience will help you remember the many activities and reflections you have which in turn become a valuable part of your application.
You are encouraged to write down your thoughts, insights, and reflections as you experience them so that you can sort through your memories a few years from now to see a pattern or see how your concept of medicine and of yourself evolves over time. Recording impressions of procedures you observe, writing down insights you gain from shadowing, noting challenges you encounter, and keeping an accurate count of the hours you spend doing clinical work helps you write a strong personal statement.
Sometimes students are not used to keeping a journal or find it challenging to find time amidst classes, work, volunteering and other activities that take time. Remember, this journal is for your eyes only and meant to be a tool to track your reflections. Writing down your observations does not have to take up a lot of time in the day. There are various ways to go about journaling. Here are a few ideas to help you find the one that works for you:
Keep a Traditional Journal
Make it Manageable
Record Voice Memos
Keep a Digital Diary
Utilize a notes app
Talk to your pre-health advisor about how to keep a record of your experiences, observations, and reflections. In time, journaling will help you identify patterns and track your own professional growth and development as you get ready to apply to a health professions program. Such reflection will help you craft an outstanding personal statement for your applications.