I received an e-mail last night from an undergraduate student (interested in becoming a pediatrician) who is currently taking an elective on blogging. Here’s an excerpt from her e-mail:
I am writing you this message in hopes that you would be able to take the time to give me some more information about your blog and/or yourself. I feel it will not only enhance my blog but benefit me as a student with a goal of attending medical school. Some questions I am interested in include:
Why did you choose to start blogging?
Enter the Xanga phase. At that time, it seemed almost as popular as Facebook within my high school class. This was my first, real experience with blogging although at the time I only did it because everyone else was doing it.
In 2007, I transitioned to the WordPress platform and have never looked back. Through WordPress, I expanded my knowledge regarding CSS, developed a stance on web design, and grew more interested in sharing my thoughts with the outside world. Things really started picking up steam when some of my tech walkthroughs gained popularity, and now that I’m in medical school, I have inquisitive students sending me feedback. 🙂
Would you recommend blogging to others?
Of course. Everyone should have a way of cataloguing their experiences. Life is just too short to live day in, day out without pausing to realize how far you’ve come.
Has blogging been beneficial for you in any way?
Yes! Primarily for two reasons – first, having the opportunity to reflect back on certain milestones in my maturation and second, being able to provide my insight to complete strangers on the Internet. One of the most uplifting things I do is reply back to various comments/e-mails posed by visitors.
What advice would you give to young bloggers like myself and/or young pre-med students?
In conversation, you are fully responsible for the words of your tongue. Similarly, while on the Internet, whatever you write is fair game for anyone (future employers, admissions committees, etc.) to read and potentially hold against you. Be mindful of your thoughts, respectful of others, and humble in everything you do. Naturally, your writing will follow in suit. Also, don’t write to impress someone else. Be yourself and readers will find your “digital voice.”
How do you choose what topics you blog about?
If you read articles on “how to blog”, it seems that they all focus on how to build traffic and quickly establish a loyal readership to your site. A blog is essentially an online magazine, right? You’re supposed to write ‘x’ posts every ‘y’ days, otherwise you risk losing visitors. Boo-hoo! 😛
My intention isn’t to build traffic or garner popularity in any way. If I come across a topic I find interesting (usually medical or tech-related), I write about it. If there’s something interesting going on in my life or the world at large which I want to remember years down the road, I write about it. If I have an experience or advice to share with aspiring pre-med students, I write about it. If I have a snippet of code or review of a tech device which may come in handy for other tech nerds, I write about it. 🙂
I really don’t plan topics ahead of time nor do I write on a regular basis. In fact, I start a lot of drafts and don’t actually publish them till weeks later. That’s the beauty of having your own online journal. You write when you feel like it. If others read it? Great. If not? It doesn’t matter. At least I know I’ve written something that I consider to be worthwhile and may reflect on in the future.