On maturity

One of the most important characteristics in a medical school applicant is their demonstration of maturity. To delve into today’s topic, I opted to check out dictionary.com‘s definition of the word and was sadly met with: “the state of being mature; ripeness” — so apparently we’re all just fruit ready to be eaten by a ravenous being? Being unsatisfied with this definition, I moved to the next one: “full development; perfected condition” — say what?! First off, if one had to achieve this to successfully matriculate at a medical school, we’d all be, well, screwed. In my mind, no one will ever be fully developed mentally because there is always more growing and learning to be done — yet there are a number of people who I’d call mature. Second, perfected is such a limited word — it invokes images of something pristine, immaculate and incredible. While I’d happily use the terms pristine, immaculate and incredible when discussing my medical school peers, the word perfected also implies the absence of mistakes. And while there are ways to perfect one’s technique, no one person is perfect. In fact, much of maturity is built from the post-mistake-reflection-period.

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