November 25, 2009

Got word that Bryan Pelka has been acing his medical school interviews.  I was humbled to hear that one of my letters of recommendation was especially helpful in Brian's admission to the Medical College of Wisconsin, so I e-mailed a member of the committee to ask about participating in athletics and how something like that is viewed by medical school admissions offices.

The doctor took time out of his busy schedule (read on to see what he does) to write, "For me personally, and the admissions committee in general, activities are very important.  If a student can excel academically while performinag at a very high level in athletics or other activity, then that shows me that they are very driven and can assume the rigors of medical school."

He then went on to talk about the emphasis he places of letters of recommendation, "because I have 30 minutes to get to know a candidate and people who write letters have a lot more time with the candidate."

I was intrigued by this because the doctor said my letter of recommendation was the best he's ever read.  I'm humbled by the compliment, but think it is a reflection of the fact that when I write a letter of recommendation, I invest a lot of time into it, and make it honest (sometimes brutally so).  When you're a swimmer at Carthage there are times when things are tough.  If not, then you're not working enough or I need to (and will) challenge you more.  What happens though, is that in those times, you see how a person's character is revealed, and more often than not, they succeed, and they grow.  When it happens, its the best part of my job.  It's also what helps the swimmer take on bigger challenges down the road, and what makes it easy for me to say good things about the person I'm writing about.

Finally, he gave us a great endorsement when he concluded that our program can "help them achieve their goals after their time at Carthage", before offering to speak with and review future swimmers' applications before submitting them.

How about that for a great contact / endorsement?  I just hope we never need to lean on the guy for his 'real' responsibility - trauma surgeon.

Happy Thanksgiving - Go Huskers!



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