A few years back I volunteered to interview putative medical students applying to UBC that had exceeded the mark threshold and were short listed to be evaluated for character. I guess I had assumed that I was capable of assessing character, a supposition that was at best, tenuous. I had an eye-opener. Candidates were obviously highly intelligent, motivated and aware after the first hour of interviews what the topics were going to be. They virtually all had prior post-graduate science degrees and demonstrated a history of volunteerism for charitable commitments that would reflect that their caring attitude would signify a potential good and caring doctor. I was incredibly impressed with their character and their cunning. But, and there is always a but, when asked what they had read of literature, history or humanities, culture or become engaged in that sort of activity the response was spare to absent. I had the intuition that we had forced our cream of the crop to neglect the breadth of humanness in the interest of marks and technology. Not that it reflects badly on them because they will be good, but there is a difference between good and great. I hope once the career is established and time has elapsed, that care of the soul, whatever that is, for its own sake, and the breadth of humanness will be the chosen path.
For Jim's past posts, check out his old blog here: