Recess Rehash: Why Med Learners are Asked to “Reflect,” And What Does It Even Mean?


How students should think about reflection when the word isn’t always well-defined.

[We’re on a break! But we’ll be back with a new episode on August 11, 2022. Enjoy this re-run!]


  • Whether it’s a class assignment, a personal statement, or a scholarship essay, students are often commanded to reflect on their experiences.
  • Reflection is can be a useful part of understanding what you are becoming. But what that means and how to do it are frequently not well defined.
  • Our M4 co-hosts discuss whether their fears about the residency application process were well-founded or just wheel spinning.
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Listener Empirica Soberface (not her real name) called in to ask us about reflection–something medical learners are often asked to do during their education–saying that it doesn’t come naturally to her. So Dave invited Cate Dicharry, the director of the Writing and Humanities Program here at the Carver College of Medicine, to come on and give us her thoughts on this common assignment. M4s Emma Barr and Madeline Cusimano, M3 Ananya Munjal, and MD/PhD student Riley Behan-Bush are on hand to supply some of their ideas on how best to process what it is they’ve been becoming.

Emma and Madeline also discuss the fears they had about interviewing for their future residency jobs, the anxiety that many senior medical students are feeling right now, and whether their fears were realized or proven to be wheel-spinning.

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