Secondary applications may, in fact, be the worst things in the world.

Remember not so terribly long ago when I was complaining about how difficult it was to write my personal statement? Secondary applications are like that. Only there are eighteen of them. And they want to know scintillating things like, how will I add diversity to their school, (I’m a white middle class female; let’s face it, I’m not going to improve anyone’s demographics,) or why do I think their particular school is the place I want to go (most of my decision making was based on city, average graduate debt, and lack of a research focus.)

And then there are the writing prompts that sound like they were designed by my second grade teacher: “X University celebrates a Life in Discovery. What does a Life in Discovery mean to you?” I know the point is for me to talk about having a passion for lifelong learning, and lord knows I have a passion for lifelong learning, but the words a Life in Discovery didn’t mean anything to me until they asked.

The sad part was that I was sort of looking forward to secondary applications. I like open ended questions and the chance to expound upon my past and my passion for medicine. I’m a writer; this is what I do. But there are only so many times that a person can write about how a varied background has made her a more well-rounded individual before it starts to loose its fresh optimism. (Two, actually. I can write about it twice before it goes stale.)

I’ve started banging out the essays so quickly that I can hardly stand to reread them for fear I will actually be confronted by the dearth of decent sentence construction. My hope is that no one is actually going to read these. Or that, like cover letters, everyone else applying is writing responses that are just as cliched.

For now I’ll keep banging them out and hoping for the best.

 

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