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Personal Growth Program

The Office of Student Affairs is excited to partner with you and offer an optional program on Personal Growth. The Personal Growth Program is an opportunity to assist you with self-exploration, self-awareness and self-esteem to increase your skills and fulfill your personal goals. The process of exploring your innermost self to attain a purpose or a goal, especially in the pursuit of clarity and passion in life, is important. A focus on your personal development alongside professional development helps create a well-rounded physician.

Colorful chart showing the sessions or elements of the personal growth program

Motivation/Passion (September)

Motivation allows you to increase your creativity, expand your goals/pursuits, develop your skills and improves your engagement with others and your environment.

Read: How to Keep Working When You’re Just Not Feeling It

Listen: OSA Insider Podcast: Finding Your Passion 

Action Items:

AAMC Spotlight: Aisa Iyawe


SOM Brand and Mission Opportunities

Purpose/Vision (October)

Purpose is the reason for which something is done or created. Vision is an imagined mental image of something.

Our personal purpose can serve our personal vision for our future self. Many students (and people) find themselves asking “why am I doing this” or “what do I want.” This is where examining our personal purpose and vision becomes helpful to support not only our professional goals, but our personal ones too.

Read: Start Finding Your Purpose and Unlock Your Best Life (

Listen: OSA Insider Podcast: Your Personal Mission Statement and Brand

Action Items:

AAMC Spotlight: Eliana Garcia

Time Management (November)

Time Management is the skill of organizing and aligning your tasks and objectives into a schedule.

Benefits of Time Management: Reduces stress, provides a sense of achievement, allows you to meet your GOALS, VISION, and PURPOSE (see October.)

Read: Time Management Tips for Your Personal and Professional Development

Listen: OSA Insider Podcast

Action Items:

AAMC Spotlight: A Medical Student's Reflection on Time, Our Scarcest Resource

Optimism/Positivity/Happiness (January)

Positive psychology: "a branch of psychology focused on the character strengths and behaviors that allow individuals to build a life of meaning and purpose - to move beyond surviving to flourishing." - 

Benefits of Optimism-Positivity-Happiness:Happy people live with purpose. They find joy in lasting relationships, working toward their goals, and living according to their values."

Read: Being Happy Takes Practice | Psychology Today

Listen: OSA Insider Podcast

Action Items:

AAMC Spotlight: Attitude of Gratitude: How Just 3 Minutes Per Day Can Increase Joy, Happiness and Resilience | Students & Residents (

Communication (February)

Why Communicaton Matters -

  • How we communicate helps relationships get off on the right foot, navigate problems, and change over time
  • In communication, we develop, create, maintain, and alter our relationships
  • We communicate to work our way through family changes and challenges in verbal and non-verbal ways

Thought Prompt: Is email/text the best form of communication? Have you ever found that someone misinterpreted your intention because of email or text? Have your relied on forms of communication that distance yourself from personal interaction (particularly through the pandemic)?

Read: What makes teams work? | American Psychology Association

Listen: OSA Insider Podcast

Action Items:

Spotlight: 4 Tips to Enhance Patient Communication as a Medical Student | AMA

Self-Understanding (March)

Self-understanding allows us to systemically observe our ability to have self-compassion, self-value and understand the personality traits and behaviors that make us who we are. Self-understanding is a process of examining parts of ourselves to help achieve our goals and be content in our lives.


Listen: OSA Insider Podcast

Action Items: Self Valuation-Self Compassion Assessment | Stanford Medicine

Spotlight: Reclaiming Your Identity | Students & Residents (

Relationships (April)

Relationships matter because they are the foundation of the human experience. They form the context and space for connection. Relationships allow individuals to express themselves and their desires. 


  • Personality and Relationships | Psychology Today
  • How to Get the Relationships that Matter for Personal Growth | Psychology Today
    • “To sum up, the MIDUS study results show that personal relationships do make a difference, and perhaps more so as you get older. Notably, the questions in this study asking about personal relations didn’t inquire as to how many you happen to have in your life, but instead focused on quality. Even if you aren’t that close to a large number of people, by combining generativity (openness to helping others) and the willingness to share your time with the people you do have in your support network, you can achieve the personal growth that will promote your long-term fulfillment.”

Listen: OSA Insider Podcast

Action Items: Self-Assessment | WellMD & Well PhD | Standford Medicine - Impact of Work Life on Relationships