Cheers, Trying Too Hard

People have been ending their correspondence with “cheers” for a while, which is another overseas import. For some reason I find it irritating, probably because though it’s normal enough now, it seems quite affected, though this is me saying all of this. I’m not exactly a cheerful person, and the idea of putting something above my signature that cannot possible by construed as grouchy seems a bit disingenuous.

On the other hand, I was reading something today off one of my favourite medical blogs, written as advice to MD applicants on their personal statements. (I do not plan on applying to medical school, sadly I haven’t the grades/ubermensch level of achievement). She said that a lot of people make the mistake of sounding stuffy, and sometimes trying too hard backfires. I got a bit worried for a second, because I tried very hard, and gave it what felt like my best shot. That said, a lot of the “trying too hard” she referred to was trying very hard to sound as smart as they possibly can, usually done by spewing out the thesaurus. I don’t insert fancy words for the sake of doing so. They usually come out on their own, my dad’s been making fun of me about it for years, so here’s to hoping it doesn’t sound forced.

I’ve also graded essays, and I can tell the difference between students who try really hard and are sincere, students who work really hard at sounding “smart” and think they are (obviously insincere), and students who write in an overly colloquial style under the delusion that it is charming. Personally, I find it incredibly irritating, somewhat offensive, and usually those students don’t have great ideas. I often give this advice to such students – write like you are trying to convince someone of your idea, and you really care. So, I should trust that because these people read tons of personal statements, they can tell the difference between sincerely trying very hard and arrogance. It occurs to me now that the right way to do this can be summed up as “always do your best”. I did my best, now I just have to wait and see if it’s good enough, and that’s the part that kills me.



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