Introduction - Who are You?

by Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    00:00 Who are you.

    00:03 Think about that.

    00:05 That's an important question that every pre-medical student is going to have to answer to get to the medical school of their choice.

    00:11 Over the next few minutes I'm going to dissect that question and help you to answer, "Who are you?" Hi, my name is Kevin Ahern and I'm very happy today to be here with you to describe the great adventure known as getting into medical school.

    00:24 It's a pathway that many students aspire to and of course everybody gets there.

    00:29 But everybody who goes that direction is very serious about it and very curious about.

    00:33 And so I've been working with medical students like yourself for many, many years.

    00:38 And I've worked in that time with hundreds not thousands of them.

    00:42 So I hope that the advice that I have to give you here today would be helpful for you.

    00:46 When I work with students and I think about what kinds of things that matters, I will ask you the question for you to think about.

    00:54 And that is, "Who are you?" That's a very simple question.

    00:59 Who are you? And it's also a very deep question.

    01:02 Who are you? In the class I teach at Oregon State on this subject that's the first thing the students have to answer.

    01:10 And to be honest they struggle with it.

    01:13 Struggling with that question is a difficult thing.

    01:15 Because in a lot of cases people haven't thought about that.

    01:18 Who are you? What makes you, unique.

    01:21 Because answering that question in a manner that defines you uniquely as a person, is one of the most important things that you can do.

    01:32 You are an individual.

    01:34 And one of the problems that students encounter in the pathway to medicine, is they still are the sheep in the herd mentality.

    01:44 And they don't see themselves as distinct.

    01:47 And they don't distinguish themselves.

    01:49 That's what stands out to medical schools.

    01:51 Learning to see yourself to define yourself creatively and insightfully as a unique person is important.

    02:00 Now when we think of uniqueness, we think about, well maybe it's economic or maybe it's social.

    02:06 Or maybe it's how brainy you are.

    02:11 Well, in fact uniqueness comes in many, many ways.

    02:14 And some of the most unqiue people are those who see themselves creatively.

    02:19 Being able to define themselves creatively is absolutely an essential part of success of getting into medical school.

    02:29 Now you've gone on this journey so far, you probably been in school most of your life.

    02:34 By this age of your life most people have done that.

    02:37 How is it that schooling has shaped you? But how is it also that the external things in your life have shaped you? Your growing up experiences.

    02:46 Your economic environment.

    02:47 What is it about you that has made you different from everybody else.

    02:51 And that's one of the most important things that you can think about.

    02:54 How are you different? And emphasize that difference.

    02:58 Now the importance of diversity that is really related to this is essential.

    03:04 When I say diversity, how is it that you are diverse, that is unique, different from everybody else.

    03:12 Diversity isn't just ethnic diversity which is the way that many students see themselves.

    03:18 Have you had to work your way through college? Have you had to pay the bills? Have you lived independently? Are you married? All of these things are elements of diversity.

    03:27 Ethnic diversity is part of that.

    03:29 But so too is economic diversity.

    03:31 So too are the circumstances of your life.

    03:34 Making sure that you can communicate and understand that diversity is important.

    03:40 Because of the things that medical schools are going to ask in the application process is what makes you different.

    03:47 How can you contribute to the diversity of our incoming class? And students struggle with that because they have not given thought to it.

    03:55 So it's really important to be able to answer that question.

    03:59 When I talk to students about medical school and I'm giving them questions about, "Ok, let's go through some practice questions." One of the ones that I hear them struggle on is I say, "Can you define the word professionalism?" And they'll usually give me a two or three phase answer on that question.

    04:17 "Well, it's somebody who works hard." "It's somebody who has great skills." "Somebody who thinks about a problem very hard." And all of those are really important elements of professionalism.

    04:33 But professionalism is a bigger grander thing.

    04:37 And I'm going to say a few things about it here.

    04:40 But I think it's important for you to understand professionalism before you get too far into the process.

    04:46 Because what you're going to be as a professional and you're going to have to convince a group of professionals who are considering your admission that you have what it takes to be a professional.

    04:57 Understanding your profession and the responsibilities that go with that profession is really what professionalism is about.

    05:05 It includes your knowledge.

    05:06 It includes your personality.

    05:09 It includes ethics.

    05:11 It includes the way you consider others in doing things.

    05:16 I like to say that a professional is a person who puts their clients, their patients, their whatever out of their own interests.

    05:23 That absolutely central to what a professional is about.

    05:27 So being able articulately answering the question, of what is a professional.

    05:32 It something that I would really urge you to be able to do.

    05:35 Because you never know when you can pull that out of your back pocket and say, "Okay, well, here's what I think about that." We all know for preparation for medical school one of the things all pre-medical students get involved with is involving.

    05:51 That is, Well, what can I do? What should I do to the community? I want you to think about that.

    05:57 And what I want you to think about is not to ask the question, "What's the right thing to do?" That's one of the most common questions that students give me.

    06:05 What's the right thing? What should I be doing? And so my answer to that is often times disappointing to the students.

    06:12 The answer to that question is you should do what interests you.

    06:18 There's no formula.

    06:20 There's absolutely no formula for what works.

    06:22 And the reason that there's no formula for that is because it relates back to the uniqueness of you.

    06:28 The more you try to do things to satisfy others, and the more you try to do things that you percieve that the medical school wants to see.

    06:40 The less you will do things that interests you.

    06:42 And the medical school absolutely wants to know that you have pursued everything that you've done for you.

    06:50 And if they percieved in any way, that you have been doing things to satisfy somebody else.

    06:56 Well, what that really says is, you're not an individual.

    07:00 And individuals are what make it to the medical school.

    07:02 And people who follow other sheep or other cows, don't get there.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Introduction - Who are You? by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course How to Get into Medical School.

    Author of lecture Introduction - Who are You?

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    Mi opinión personal / My personal opinion
    By Andrés Z. on 24. October 2018 for Introduction - Who are You?

    Realmente, para mi percepción considero que se basa en muy buenos argumentos; en el aspecto de tener base firme sobre el estudio de la medicina! todos los estudiantes de medicina concebimos la responsabilidad que recae sobre nuestras manos! es por ello que el plantearse la pregunta del Quien soy?, conlleva a pensar en si verdaderamente estoy preparado y cuento con las actitudes y aptitudes para estudiar una carrera medica. / Really, for my perception I consider that it is based on very good arguments; in the aspect of having a firm base on the study of medicine! ... not all medical students conceive the responsibility that falls on our hands! that is why asking the question of who I am ?, leads me to think about whether I am truly prepared and have the attitudes and aptitudes to study a medical career. PSD. Considero 4 estrellas debido a la traducción del idioma español... tiene algunos errores de gramatica, y por tanto el mensaje no es muy claro para algunas perosonas. / I consider 4 stars due to the translation of the Spanish language ... it has some grammatical errors, and therefore the message is not very clear for some people.

    Nice lecture, bad Spanish autotranslation.
    By José H. on 23. August 2018 for Introduction - Who are You?

    Great lecture, bad Spanish autotranslation. I'd recommend it to all my friends currently trying to get to medical school but who speak English.

    By Isabel C. on 19. August 2018 for Introduction - Who are You?

    It's such a great video, basically is what everyone has to ask to itself, just to make sure you are doing whatever you do because you want to, not because you are told to. And shows the importance to be honest with the applications to get into med school.

    By Alicia P. on 19. August 2018 for Introduction - Who are You?