Wednesday Wisdom by Dr. James Scott Wright

Thoughts on the journey, personal growth, and making a difference.

Confidence is Important

There are many things in this world, especially in the medical school admissions process, that can bring you down.  That can give you a sense of defeat.  Rumors from your peers, forum chat on SDN or Reddit, a suboptimal organic chemistry grade, bad advice from friends or your advisor…any of it can produce a feeling of despair that your dream is just not going to happen.

But there are several ways to deal effectively with these downers.  Listen to advice from peers and premed websites with careful attention to who is speaking and what their qualifications are.  Set boundaries with friends and family.  And confirm advice from faculty and advisors from other reputable sources.  These are important methods to help you confront the downer feelings you might get and even help you avoid them altogether.

It is my feeling, however, that a strong sense of self confidence is vital to dealing with the downerisms of the admissions process.  Confidence can be defined as “a feeling of self-assurance from an appreciation of your own abilities or qualities.”  Believing in yourself and behaving in self-assured ways can help you avoid the pitfalls of doubt and confusion.

This is particularly true in the interview part of the admissions process.  Recognizing your own strengths and successes comes across to interviewers as an important quality that forecasts the type of behaviors we want out of our caregivers.  We want doctors who are confident in their abilities and therefore give us confidence that we will be cared for appropriately and effectively.

Most premeds in my experience worry about being overconfident or coming across to the interviewer as arrogant.  This does not concern me for the vast majority of applicants.  Having interviewed many hundreds of students over the years, I can tell you that very, very few have given me the sense that they are arrogant.  What I do want to see, however, is a sense of confidence matched with a good sense of self awareness.  

The challenge for this week is to BE CONFIDENT in your ability to succeed!

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