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October 2006

Being a Visual Person: A Dermatology Residency Interview Perspective

Arch Dermatol. 2006;142(10):1357-1358. doi:10.1001/archderm.142.10.1357

I recently had the opportunity to interview for a dermatology residency. As an introspective person, I am aware that I acquire cognitive information best through visual means. I was pleased with this insight and mentioned, during a residency interview, that I regard myself as a “visual person.” The interviewer asked me to explain myself, so I cited examples that capture or convey me in this regard. The most prominent example is my interest in the written Chinese language.

I explained that each Chinese character is composed of 2 or more subunits called radicals, each of which is made of lines and curves that must be drawn in a specific sequence. To compose a character correctly, one must place these radicals in position and sequence (space and time) precisely and correctly. This requires artistry and spatial awareness as well as the ability to assign meaning to each glyph. My ability to visualize line sequences and radical placement is what I believe best demonstrates my visual and spatial aptitude.

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