Friday, November 20, 2009
Balance or Focus
I was privileged several years ago to be part of an interview team for applicants to medical school in a major Canadian university. These were applicants that had already traversed the long list, where marks were the consideration, and our job was to interview secondarily for character. The interviews were searching and in depth. The candidates were universally outstanding scholars.I found it awe inspiring and was mighty glad I was so long in the tooth. I could have never competed in that group.Most had higher degrees and long resumes with focused science backgrounds, and a history of community and national service activity. All interviewees were on an equal footing since we did not know the marks they had obtained in their previous life. All we knew is that they all had exceeded the high threshold marks agreed upon. Much of the information we were provided, orally and written, described personal accomplishment. What was intriguing to me was the singular focus on science, and social contributions. There was not one applicant I met that talked about or responded to questions concerning a wide avocation of literature and history and culture, for it's own sake. I think we have made it so competitive and forced such a requisite focus on utility, that somewhere along the line, balance is sacrificed. I really have no solution, given the edge necessary to succeed, but I hope there develops an awareness, at some point in the career, to broaden those magnificent brains.