August 27, 1997

Seeking Aesculapius

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif

JAMA. 1997;278(8):610-611. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550080016007

There is a god we applicants to medical school prayed to, because catching a dream is not an easy thing. We prayed because we one day hope to possess the power and reverence of Aesculapius, and power and reverence are not without cost. We prayed in hopes of easing our journey, for a well-marked path and a guide to lead us, without fully comprehending how large the toll would be. For the god that we prayed to was composed of all the myths, fears, and sad truths that permeate the medical school application process, and it guided us in darkness. Too willingly we allowed this dark god to lead us, never fully recognizing the extent of our debasement.

All we saw or felt was a savior who possessed the secrets of the admissions process. We rhetorically asked ourselves, "What do we have to lose?" as we knelt before this god