Thursday, March 05, 2009

As though I have a purpose...

For my grad school applications I have to write. I need a "Statement of Purpose. Write a brief statement of purpose describing reason(s) for pursuing graduate or postbaccalaureate study. Include any additional information concerning your preparation that is pertinent to the objective specified. Attach an additional sheet if necessary."

My friend Brian is fond of saying, "we are human beings, not human doings." I have just begun to define myself by being instead of by what I am doing, and now this question.

Perhaps I am a teachable moment.

Perhaps I am more of an accident than a purpose.

If I continue my studies does it mean that the life lessons of the past few years are for naught because I am back at doing a lot. Must I abandon just being?

I hope not. I believe I can do both. What I want to do is study, learn and be able to teach more whether that be in a classroom or through publication. But any idiot can write drivel about those goals. What I am interested in, what I think makes me an interesting person worthy of the company of graduate students and professors, is something else.

Maybe it IS the idea that I am a teachable moment. Or that I embrace teachable moments.


When I heard through the doctor's office door that the intern had never done a needle biopsy before, I decided I would give him the chance to learn. He fired the "gun" once so I could hear it and then pierced my breast with it.

When I learned I had to have a surgical biopsy, I decided to stay awake through it, so that I could learn about the environment of my then-medical-student-husband. Under conscious-sedation, I sang through the experience as though I were on a karaoke stage instead of an operating table.

When I spent eight days in the hospital, I talked to my fellow patients about ways to stay calm, teaching them the mindfulness methods I had learned to maintain my own sanity.

I don't know what this has to do with anything. It was just an idea.

How about this?

I walked into my apartment at 1 a.m. to find my husband and his fellow medical school students playing poker and drinking scotch. It was at that moment that I knew I had to change my life.

None of this makes me sound like an interesting person. It just makes me sound like a freak that no one would want destabilizing their program.

Maybe something straightforward. Maybe boring is the answer (I know it is not).

The fact is that I have watched Justin prepare for and survive medical school and I am all but shouting, "I want my turn." That's my purpose. It's my turn to learn and to study and to experience the camaraderie of an academic program. I want to teach, I want to write, but I really just want my turn. We'll see what happens next. If there's anything I have learned it's that making too-solid plans is asking for disappointment or failure. It's best just to take things a day at a time.

Which isn't really helping me write a statement of purpose.

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