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Help. I just can't lie.

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by thirdunity, 10.24.06.

  1. thirdunity

    thirdunity Senior Member

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    Here's the problem.

    I just can't lie and say "My mother got sick, etc, etc, etc".

    I was a total ****up through my teens and twenties. As a thirty year old, I am where those devoted premed 20 year olds are, but I'm 30 with that history of multiple majors, lots of different jobs, et cetera.

    I know that I just won't be able to say the things that adcoms seem to want to hear. Where does that leave me? Anyone else here like me?

    In the end, all I can say is, that I really want to be a doctor, and that I always wanted to be a doctor but just didn't go for it. And now that I have decided to go for it, life is finally working - I'm holding jobs, getting through school, and everything else has fallen into place. In the meantime, I totally take responsibility for the way I screwed up in the past (failing classes [I have about 4 fails, though some are repeated] and dropping classes). I was a kid and wanted to have fun, not be serious. I didn't have any serious responsibilities. But now I'm ready to be serious.
  2. Quix

    Quix Herr Professor Moderator Emeritus

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    Were I on an adcom, I would want to see a demonstration of consistency. You've said that you "always wanted to be a doctor", but that doesn't demonstrate a quantifiable change. How long have you been on the path to "mend your ways" (i.e., years/months/weeks ago)? How have your grades been? What is your undergradaute versus post-bacc QPA? From what I've seen and the people I've spoken with, adcoms hear this kind of "I've changed" speech a lot.
  3. silkworm

    silkworm Senior Member

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    Just be honest and admit you were immature back then. No need for exotic lies. As long as you got good, recent grades and MCAT to back up the claim that you have changed, you should be fine.
  4. phrygian

    phrygian

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    Tell them the truth and then try to illustrate how things have changed once you really decided on medicine and relate it to your improved academic performance. I know I would rather hear honesty than the polished politician's answer, but then again i'm not on an ADCOM.
  5. MiesVanDerMom

    MiesVanDerMom D.o. or Die

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    probably because humans aren't static
  6. Quix

    Quix Herr Professor Moderator Emeritus

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    I agree; but it's an easy thing to say that one has changed for the better, and a hard thing to actually do. Were I making the decision, I'd like to see some consistency. Just my $.02 (+ 7% county tax).
  7. hopster

    hopster Member

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  8. t33sg1rl

    t33sg1rl Senior Member

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    I had a similar situation and I was honest about it. I also had med school in mind the entire time I was screwing up, but I didn't think that I could do it so I didn't really bother to try. ("How I Learned to Believe in Myself" made a great personal statement).

    What I heard in my interviews was this: they'd rather have someone who bombed out and bounced back than some 22 year old who'll run sobbing into the bathroom when they get their first A minus because they have NO idea how to handle it. But you need to prove that you know why you failed-not just "immaturity", but make a laundry list of specific mistakes AND how you corrected each one. Such as-when you started to get behind, you didn't take advantage of resources available, like tutoring, counseling, etc, but now you aren't afraid to ask for help. Or how you didn't have a healthy way of dealing with pressure (back then you drank, now you go jogging or something). Or how back then you felt helplessly swept along by your life, but now you've read all of Dr. Phil's books and you realize that you create your own experience, and you're the only one who can change your direction.

    p.s. important buzzword to include in personal statement is "strong support system". Admitting that you need a support system is a great way to show that you take responsibility for previous failures and most importantly, that you expect medical school to be difficult. Beware overconfidence-stay humble.
  9. hopster

    hopster Member

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    Couldnt agree more.
  10. abyssinianson

    abyssinianson Junior Member

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    one, why would you lie? Doing so becomes more of a liability than anything when you apply to medical school. two, I think your "story" should be about your persistence, and dedication to show adcoms that you do have the resolve to pursue becoming a physician.

    don't lie. don't.
  11. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus

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    Some people actually had their lives fall apart when some of their family got sick and/or died. It's offensive to imply that those who achieved their dreams of being a doctor, despite personal trauma, did so by lying about it or by simply telling ADCOMs what they wanted to hear.
    Given that you're posting for advice on lying on an application, getting older obviously hasn't changed anything.
    Then start here, and don't cheapen yourself (and other's efforts) by making up some story.
  12. breck

    breck Senior Member

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    Wow, I guess you weren't real happy with the OP's statement. I think you are pretty quick to jump to conclusions.

    As someone who lost their father to cancer I know how rough it can be to take care of, and lose, a loved one. I don't take the OP's statement as a diss to me or people like me. There are a lot of people who screw off in their first few years of school and try to make it seem legitimate by blowing reality out of proprotion into a flowery personal statement. For example, Jon Doe had a grandfather who had Alzheimers/Cancer/Heart Disease etc. and eventually died, coincindentally, while he was an undergrad. Unfortunately old Jonny boy only visited gramps once or twice (maybe even never) during the whole ordeal. Regardless of this Jon goes ahead and writes that nice flowery personal statement about the impact his grandfathers illness had on him (and his studies) when he is fully aware that it's not really the truth. In this case Jon lied and he's a piece of garbage for doing so. However, the adcoms don't know any better and may identify it as a legitimate story. This is a slap in the face to people who were truly affected by the illness of a loved one, and a slap in the face to people who try to do the right thing and be honest and say they just didn't have their stuff together. I seriously doubt that the OP is implying that there aren't legitimate cases of people who are affected by a family members illness, they were just pointing out the obvious fact that some people do indeed blow reality way out of proportion to sound good and the OP does not wish to become one of them. This brings me to my next point.

    Where did the OP say they wanted to lie about something?? They said they would not lie about something but they were unsure how to make something sound legitimate that really just comes down to "I screwed up bad b/c I was immature". We both know a one liner doesn't cut it for med-schools. I can't simply say my fathers illness made me want to pursue medicine or confirmed my interest in it. That's not enough. Just like people who have parents who are doctors can't say they want to be doctors because their parents are or were. All of these statements need legitimate sound explanations to be worth anything. So the OP essentially asked what is a legitimate sound explanation for being young and immature and how do they and how do they explain that they are past those times now and serious about entering medical school, and qualified to succeed there. I think people gave good advice, especially t33. The OP will have to show that the turnaround is permanent and probably explain how/why they got their stuff together and (like all of us) what they have done to substantiate their interest in the field (read what and how much valuable clinical exposure do they have).
  13. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus

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    Wow, that's harsh and uncalled for. That seems to be an unfortunate trend with your posts -- I know you're stressed, but still.

    To the op, as others have said, just tell your story honestly but with a positive spin. As mentioned above, illustrating what you've learned is what it's all about coupled with the "constancy" factor.
  14. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus

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    For those who didn't read it, the OP wrote:

    I think it's great that the author acknowledges that they screwed up and have found a new direction in life - and I stated that gaining maturity is an appropriate way to start an application.

    While the other posters gave great advice, none of them addressed the point that the OP is, at the least, considering misrepresenting themselves on AMCAS. When the title of the thread is "Help, I just can't lie." and writes about lying about sick parents, it's hard not to think

    1) they've already tried doing this, or
    2) they think other applicants, who mention a sick parent in their app, have an unfair advantage

    One is wrong, and the other resembles every "non-trads have an unfair advantage" and URM thread we see in Pre-Allo.

    But maybe I missed the mark and my sarcasm is misplaced. If the OP would clarify their intentions further, I'll try to help them in any way I can.
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    I too actually wasn't clear as to whether the OP meant s/he thought people were lying or just that s/he would have to have that kind of story. It's best to go with the truth, and I think most successful applicants actually do go with reality. But as exlawgrrl indicated, you can sometimes put a positive spin on the truth and make it more application worthy. Everybody's journey is different, just play up things you learned and how you matured along the way.
  16. ExtremeUnderdog

    ExtremeUnderdog Megalomania Extirpator

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    The "Help. I just can't lie." title did really sound a bit like the OP was asking for help with lying (sort of like, "help, I can't write this equation" usually means "teach me how to write this equation"). ;) But maybe like RxnMan, I'm a little sensitive on this... :D

    The one thing I have to caution the OP against is thinking that personal trauma is something adcoms "want to hear". Even when you have some really horrid stuff happen to you (really), most adcoms won't take the time to look at that or what you have to say about it. Sometimes, having personal trauma in your past can be more of a liability, because somehow you may be perceived as "damaged goods" and why bother with you when they have 3 other people with similar MCATs and just as much brainpower who are fresh and emotionally unadulterated like midnight snow.
  17. thirdunity

    thirdunity Senior Member

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    Just to clear things up. I'm not asking for help with lying. I'm just saying that to spin my past in a way to imply I was anything but an irresponsible kid, would be a lie, and I just can't do that.
  18. ExtremeUnderdog

    ExtremeUnderdog Megalomania Extirpator

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    I have been to a "loser's interview" (yeah, I know it's not PC to call it that, but hey I was there so I can call it whatever the monkeys I want to call it :cool: ) at one school and have chatted with admissions deans at 3 other schools...

    I was specifically told that if you are a male and you screwed up as a young buck in undergrad, then they are faaar more likely to be lenient towards you... verbatim quote: "It's sort of expected of boys..." :rolleyes: They are expecting that you might screw up in the beginning of undergrad, but if this was true of your entire undergrad, then you need to show some serious commitment with solid post-bacc work (according to some adcoms, at least).

    As far as putting a positive spin on things: what are you going through right now, what will you go through between now and application time - as a person, as an aspiring future physician, as a man, as a student? Talk about that and contrast it with who you were back then (don't wax on for too long about how you screwed up, just show them how far you have come). I am averse to giving advice (although I find myself doing so more and more often, which is sort of disconcerting :eek: ), and I encourage you to take all of this with a grain (or a kilo) of salt... but I feel that this is advice that can't really hurt you (at worst, it won't help). :)

    Good luck... :luck:
  19. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory

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    Honesty is definitely the best policy. I was a total **** up when I was younger too. I dropped out of high school after ninth grade and got my GED. I started college three times before I actually stuck with it. For several years, I attended a community college part-time before finally graduating. From there I went on to earn my bachelor's degree. I got married and had four children along the way. I have multiple "W"s on my transcript, two "D"s, and two "Z"s. I changed my major several times too and so have taken everything from A&P to stained glass. It actually has made me a really well-rounded person. Despite my rocky start, I found myself and I have succeeded. In my interview at DCOM they asked me to tell them about myself. I was honest and told them that I had gotten a rough start and taken a non-traditional approach on my way to medical school. But, actions speak louder than words, and the last several years I have proven myself and they realized this. What is it you think the adcoms want to hear? What is it that you won't be able to say? The only thing you should tell them is the truth and that is the only thing that they want to hear. That doesn't mean that you need to tell them every little detail from your wild past. But, if you are honest about where you came from and where you are now, then I think that things will work out for you in the end. Personally, if I were an adcom I would rather see a person like myself that has worked really hard to get where I am than to have some twenty-two year old with no life experience whose parents have pushed them to become a doctor. It is not easy to recover from a wild past and if you have succeeded then it shows your strength and determination. Be honest and be yourself! That is my advice.:luck:
  20. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory

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    Sorry, it posted twice so I had to edit the second one. I don't how to remove it.:oops:
  21. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus

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    Ok, then I apologize for misreading your post. Really, it's not a matter of spin - you wrote it yourself - you were an immature kid. That's OK. Not everyone who graduates from college and gets a job is happy. Things change, and something makes them consider a career as a doc. What made you make that change? What was your decision process? Why do you want it so badly?

    That's your essay.
  22. alexom

    alexom

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    be honest with your parents .
  23. viostorm

    viostorm Senior Member

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    Honestly, this is a pretty ridiculous statement that "I just can't lie."

    You don't have to and should never lie in an interview.

    That being said, there is no reason you have to torpedo your application with some ridiculous rant about "I was such an evil person from 20-30, I did X, Y, Z." If you need a confession go to a priest, not the adcom.

    You can be honest and portray yourself in a positive light. Practice with friends.
  24. greenivy

    greenivy

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    definitely be honest.

    I think it's important to always highlight the positives. Like, so you had some bad years. You went through those things to become the person you are today, and that's what you should focus on. Maybe you had a chance to see how easily a life can be flushed down the toilet, and that inspired you to try to be the best person you can be. Maybe you in your bad years had unique interpersonal experiences that make you better able to relate to/communicate with people from many different walks of life. I think the great thing about a personal statement is that it makes you address your strengths and weaknesses, and then you have try to see how those weaknesses can have positive aspects.
  25. greenivy

    greenivy

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    right on :)
  26. trustwomen

    trustwomen Senior Member

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    That quote sounds like a good place to start. Explain what changed, what made you want to be serious, and how you are proving you are serious (good grades, good MCAT, community involvement). If you really need to, you can "spin" it by saying that you feel that you will be able to relate to patients better, because you know what it's like be on both sides of success - you are humble enough to relate to them and to understand/empathize with human weakness. (Don't make that the thrust of your PS though, I did that once and wow, what a mistake). Overall, though, prepare yourself for a lot of work to prove yourself. Try not to resent that you have to do so, either - though that's easier said than done. Once it pays off, whether next year or five years from now, you'll be glad you followed the call and did it.

    And don't call yourself a screwup anymore. You lived your life, you learned from it, it made you who you are. Are you a good person now? Are you wiser? If so, then some of that is due to your experiences in life. Don't define your worth by the "awesomeness" of your med school application - that way lies misery.

    Best of luck (from a fellow nontrad slacker gamer who made good)!
  27. kemper

    kemper kemper

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    I agree with the posters that you need a consistent trend of stability. It's great that you are stable now and ready to be doctor. But you are competing against people that have worked their ass off, and don't have a history. So what I am saying, you are facing more obstacles now, and your story (the real one) will have to be exceptional. However, it can be done; you can do it.
  28. MDstudent101

    MDstudent101

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    Alright this is what I have to say: Bam come's interview date, your sitting in front of the adcomm he asks you about your age and why did you mess up so much back then. You reply and say the TRUTH, you tell him that you really messed up and that you feel that now you have a second chance and wish to take it. And by the way you will need to show consistency, consistency in the matter that you have changed and brung your grades up ect. and want to really tryully change and become a Doctor. Pretty much you need to let them know that you are not playing around anymore and it prob needs to be on paper i.e. grades, records, letters of recomdations ect. Just my two centz!!! :D
  29. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig

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    I'm going to put my own spin on what a lot of other posters have already said.

    You need to give adcoms proof that you're someone worth making an investment in. So you say you're ready to be serious. Great. Why should they believe you? They need evidence that you won't screw up again. If you were in their position, and you had a limited number of first year slots available... what would make a candidate with your record stand out so much to that you'd be willing to give that person an acceptance over everyone else?

    If you're not sure you have the answer to that yet, then you're probably not ready to apply to medical school (and yes, it DOES hurt to apply to medical school too often). You want to apply to medical school when you feel you have the BEST chance at getting in. My feeling is that now isn't that time. I do have a suggestion though, and that is to take on a 1-2 year post-bacc program at a medical school. That alone will sufficiently address most of the concerns I mentioned before (and it'll be the best prep-course for medical school that you could possibly have).
  30. Faze2

    Faze2

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    F***in A. It is nice to hear someone else say that. It is tough to think that sometimes, especially for a lot of us here because our "screw-ups" in the past was mostly due to lack of motivation or effort, and we all know that we could've done much better and be further along. But you are totally right trustwomen, we lived, learned, and we cannot change the past, all we can do is change what we are doing now. So right on! Everyone be patient and keep hope alive. We may have gotten a later start and we may be a little older in med school, but we get to be doctors for the rest of our lives. :thumbup:

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