My 17-year-old daughter is throwing the dice. With much angst and inspiration. With as much guidance and support as we can work in. But she’s still throwing the dice on her future. She is filling out college applications.
Whether your exposure to the process is recent or a distant memory, you will no doubt recall the feeling that everything is possible and nothing is for sure.
The essays for The Common Application and for the supplements required for individual schools have led to some wonderful conversations around our dinner (lunch, breakfast, coffee) table. Here are just a few of the prompts compiled by her high school counselors that she has considered:
For some, it’s politics or sports or reading. For others it may be researching solar power fuel cells or arranging hip hop mash-ups. What makes you tick? (Tufts)
You have just finished shooting a roll of film. As you go to develop the film, the local merchant offers to make a postcard of one of your photos. Describe the photo, why you selected it and write a brief note to your friends back home. (University of the Pacific)
You have just completed your 300-page autobiography. Please submit page 217. (University of Pennsylvania)
Tell one story about yourself that would best provide us, either directly or indirectly, with an insight into the kind of person you are. For example, the story can simply relate a personal experience, or a humorous anecdote; it can tell about an especially significant academic encounter or about an unusual test of character. The possibilities are unlimited (well, almost so). You choose. Just relax and write it. (Princeton)
I am delighted, surprised, confused, awestruck by the answers and themes she has come up with. And I’m so proud that she wants to bounce them off of her father and me before disappearing into her room with her laptop.
I defy anyone to witness this process and NOT want to delve into his or her own psyche.
At VISTA we always see a spike in inquiries about locum tenens jobs and new permanent physician jobs right after the holidays. We call it the New Year’s ResolutionPhysician Job Search. If you are currently in the ranks of physicians considering a change, or if you could be, or should be, or want to be, here’s hoping that you find a little time in the next few weeks to ponder a Big Question. Whether you craft an essay, make notes on an envelope, talk it through with your dog, or spark a raging debate with your best friends, it’s an amazing way to discover yourself and what really matters to you as you move into a new chapter in life. Take it from a 17-year-old, and her mother.