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How Selling Girl Scout Cookies Helped Me Become the Physician I Am Today

by Dr. Jen Caudle

I once worked on a Girl Scout badge for 3 months. I was 8 or 9 years old at the time and earning this badge was my pride and joy. It required me to feed my fish every day, perform household chores, and other tasks for three months. I logged my progress on a small calendar my parents gave me (courtesy of our State Farm insurance agent). I would prop it up on my desk and every night before bed, with a felt tip pen, I would put an "x" on each day I completed my tasks.

Me as a young Girl Scout

Girl Scouts wasn't just about the badges. For me, being a Brownie and a Girl Scout was an experience that helped shape who I am. The camaraderie, the education, campfires, sing-a-longs, activities, the ever-popular Girl Scout Cookies... it was all so important to me.

In the 80's we went door-to-door selling cookies- they were $1.50 per box at that time. We had a large folded document to take cookie orders. It had a ledger to write the name of who purchased the cookies and then spaces to indicate which cookies, and how many boxes they wanted. I always worked as hard as I could to sell cookies because accolades were always given to top sellers. Delivering the cookies was even more fun (we would go to our group leader's house to pick up the cookies and then deliver them) because people were so happy.

A few days ago a young Girl Scout who lives in my building placed a listing on our community list-serve about selling Girl Scout Cookies. I was so excited that I texted her immediately saying, "I'll take 2 boxes of Lemonades please!" I've always loved the lemon cookies. They've changed over the years like many of the cookies, but they're so good! She delivered the cookies the same day and I ate almost a whole box of cookies within 15 minutes of receiving them.

The cookies in question

While munching away, however, I was reminded of the many amazing skills I learned from Girl Scouts:

1. How to Cold-Call

Selling cookies when I was a kid literally required cold-calling people and going door-to-door. It was absolutely terrifying. This experience taught me how to speak up, how to put my "big-girl panties" on, and how to be brave. This was huge for me and it's something I've used in almost every aspect of my life; from when I competed for the title of Miss America to when I interviewed for med school at Rowan University.

2. How to "Stick to It"

Earning Girl Scout badges requires dedication, consistency, and perseverance. Med school is long and hard. After medical school, there's residency training and, for some, fellowship training. The path is tough even for the smartest of students. Girl scouts helped me understand that while the path may be long, it's worth it in the end. It also helped me understand the value of staying the course. Becoming an Osteopathic Family Physician is my dream job and I'm so grateful.

Me as a 3rd Year Medical Student

3. "Always Be Prepared"

It's a simple phrase, but one I've carried with me from Girl Scouts over the years. Being prepared (and well-read) is imperative to being a physician, but it's also important for the on-air tv work that I do. Television news stations can't always give a lot of advance notice for tv segments (because of breaking news/current events). Advanced preparation has helped me be ready for tv segments that come up even in the spur of the moment!

This is not a sponsored post or an ad. Simply a "thank you" because I have lots of love for Girl Scouts and what being a Girl Scout taught me.

Thank you,

Dr. Jen

Dr. Jen Caudle is a board-certified Family Physician, Associate Professor at Rowan University, tv health expert, and video creator. Sign up to receive Dr. Jen's Daily Health Tips to get daily emails (Mon-Fri) with health information you can use to live a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

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