Procrastination and the Personal Statement

September 15, 2016


Hello reader, today I offer you a story of procrastination. You probably know it well. I will keep it short. Among my group of friends, I am the go-to on editing personal statements. I have edited personal statements for med school, dental school, nursing school, PA school, Optometry school, grad school, you name it. But last week I sent out requests to two of my mentors for residency evaluations and when asked to provide a personal statement, I froze. I dallied, I stalled. What would I write? How would this be different from what I wrote when applying to dental school? When applying to my Masters program while in dental school? How have I changed? This and the looming to-do list that lives to separate me from graduation day (244 days away, not that I'm counting) began to give me anxiety. I had worked so hard to grow my mustard seed faith to envision myself in dental school, as a dental student. But picturing myself as a whole dentist, not a baby dentist but an actual adult, proved a different challenge.

I have benefited from a unique brand of haphazard passions that don't always make me the obvious choice for class genius, but have helped me build, well, class.

So much of success is knowing who you are and what you bring. So much of joy is not only knowing but resting in this. But then the anxiety comes, have I rested too much? Am I who I say I am? Could I be who others say I am? What more could I be doing?

The questions came pouring in. I was telling a good friend that I had learned to rest on God, before. I remember in college when I was balancing being president of my sorority, AKA and vice president of the African Student Association and was studying for an orgo exam. I remember telling God to stop playing with me and take all the stress away because I had to go to dental school since that's where He told me I would be and He couldn't go backsies on that cuz He's the light and the light isn't dark and it would be very messy to leave me out in the cold, and that whatever score I got on the DAT He would just have to make it work because this is on Him not me!

Perhaps this was when I was at the height of my walk,

that I had trained myself to let go before I even held on.

That when faced with challenges, I was confident I could slay the dragon because I had already told God this one (and the next and the next) was on Him. Somehow, somewhere, I eased up and began leaning on myself...and all I learned from that is that I am really heavy. If you have ever, and I would bet you have, tried to carry yourself, anywhere, you will recall that you are not as light as a feather. It takes really strong people a lot of training to carry themselves. It takes really wise people a lot of humility to allow themselves to be carried. Maybe then, we were not created to carry ourselves. My "Jesus is Calling" app reflects this idea daily actually. The story is the same. Stop trying to carry yourself, you were not asked to do that. You are heavy, give it to God.

A lot of thinking, and overthinking, and complaining to my boyfriend and clinic partner and friends and neighbors and subway-bypassers and I arrived at the conclusion that I suffer from first world-problems and early onset "Treat Yo Self" a plague of my millenial compatriots. So I wrote a to-do list. And I wrote a list titled "Life" that categorized the major events and players in my life, and then subdivided them and kept going till I got the trees down to their branches. This freaked me the heck out at first. But then I took ownership of it and freaked out a little less. And that's where I am! That is my success story. Today I am freaked out a little less than I was yesterday. I made a list and gave it to God because I am heavy and carrying myself was tewww much. And then I wrote my personal statement.