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Which one of these is a decent "Overcome Obstacles" topic??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by ipodtouch, 08.13.11.

  1. ipodtouch

    ipodtouch

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    I've been juggling three different topics for the past few days now (maybe I'm thinking about it too much), and seem the decide between them.
    I was wondering if SDN could give its input:

    1.) My family moved to a different city nearly every three years, and has never made more than 25K annual. I would talk about how my experiences made me a more diverse people-person who is better at "adapting."
    However, the adapting thing is pretty moot as my transcript shows two years of poor grades... And honestly, my family did a very good job keeping me comfortable... so I didn't actually "do" anything to overcome it. I just burned through the years with a smile.

    2.) I moved churches 2 years into college to help a new church become established (worked with their praise band). We built the band from the ground up using fundraisers, and devoted a lot of time to training new members. It illustrates me as a proactive leader.
    However, it doesn't seem to be personal enough of an issue. Also, I know that religion may have negative connotations (whether conscious or not).

    3.) This is my biggest LEGIT obstacle that I overcame
    I went in as an undergrad thinking I could pretty much handle everything. I was working a part-time job, and volunteering at the church nearly 30 hours a week. This led to 2 years of abysmal grades. But I learned my limitations as human being, and learned that its important to pace myself. This was followed by 2.5 years of >3.9 GPA.
    But, this does highlight my more "negative" application aspects.
  2. Neurosis

    Neurosis

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    you could probably integrate all three into one kickass statement.
  3. ipodtouch

    ipodtouch

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    - Just one

    Goddamn stony brook. I hate your secondary
  4. Neurosis

    Neurosis

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    fine, then i vote for the first one. The endurance you showed through your family's poverty could be likened (somewhat) to the endurance necessary for a physician to deal with countless failures ultimately culminating in deaths.
  5. SBR249

    SBR249

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    I've talked to an admissions dean from a southern school at the professional schools fair my school had and she and I specifically discussed what they look for when they read these essays. To paraphrase her, they want to see that you have the persistence to overcome challenges that you will face as a doctor. Bonus points if you can work something in there about how the experience taught you something that will help you as a doctor (besides perseverance).
  6. MD Odyssey

    MD Odyssey

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    So, nothing really significant here. You moved around and had to make friends with strangers like everyone else on this planet.

    You moved churches. Wow. Wait until you've been thrown out of a church after a handful of years after questioning whether or not what they preach on Sunday morning actually lines up with what is taught in their Book. This isn't hardship. Let's move on to...

    Yawn. You went to college thinking that high school style study habits would be sufficient and got railed. You "learned your limitations"...this is code for "I finally found a girlfriend at church" and then no longer needed to spend 30 hours a week camped out at church gatherings. Nice to see that the Joshua Harris method worked out for you.

    Yes. Clearly, you have overcome significant hardship in your life.
  7. MD Odyssey

    MD Odyssey

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    What?!?! How is this hardship? This is called "life" folks. Are you all from suburbia? My Melodrama-O-Meter is going off like a fire alarm.
  8. ipodtouch

    ipodtouch

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    The churches statement was more about the responsibility I had as a leader. I've moved churches plenty of times, no hardship there.


    Sadly to say, I'm one of those poor unfortunate premed students that never really had hardship.

    I guess it's time to Make **** UP
    Last edited: 08.13.11
  9. gettheleadout

    gettheleadout barefoot jackrabbit Moderator

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    I would say an annual family income of $25k or less for a family of at least three qualifies as hardship.
  10. johnwandering

    johnwandering

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    You clearly have NO IDEA what the Prompt says
    It is asking about an obstacle , which is NOT the same thing as hardship.


    This is not a disadvantaged essay
  11. ipodtouch

    ipodtouch

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    Thanks~ We had a family of 5.
  12. johnwandering

    johnwandering

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    Wow, I just started working and I make more than 28K. I have no idea how your family lives on that
  13. MD Odyssey

    MD Odyssey

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    Well, as long as you're willing to be honest.
  14. chaser0

    chaser0

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    Jeesus Christ, What a prick!


    The prompt is about OBSTACLES, the word HARDSHIP wasn't even mentioned in this topic until you brought it up.
  15. gettheleadout

    gettheleadout barefoot jackrabbit Moderator

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    You need to chill out.
  16. craps

    craps

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    The way I see it nobody's just gonna ignore those "abyssmal" grades as you've called it. I've heard alot of recommendations about covering such lapses in your personal statement, so if you've already done it you might not want to cover the same topic in your 2ndary.

    If you haven't, then that gives you an opportunity to cover your grades, and the obstacle question. The fact that you've got 3.9 for 2.5 years showed that whatever obstacle was there, you've surmounted it. The third topic also gives you room to integrate the other two topics - like your church volunteer work, or your upbringing.
  17. zamzee

    zamzee

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    I vote third obstacle too. It provides room for you to talk about being humbled and learning yourself and your limits, things that medicine is definitely going to test you on too. You can also clearly demonstrate your success. I can already tell from this small post that it's a topic you're clearly motivated to talk about, and it will come through in your essay too as passionate and triumphant.

    If you don't want to talk about that, I would vote the first obstacle as a back-up choice. There's no way your family lived on 25k and you didn't learn anything from that. You were probably a kid when you started coping, and all those deep-seated lessons are wrapped in newspaper in the basement of your brain somewhere.
  18. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    I like the third one. On the road to academic success you faced an obstacle: your mistaken belief that you were Superman and could do it all. You learned from that mistake, dialed back your involvement in outside activities to a more managable level, learned time management skills and saw that path take you to where you wanted to be - in the 3.9+ club.
  19. paul411

    paul411 MS4

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    Here you go OP: your essay outline.
  20. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy SDN Senior Moderator

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    This will be hilarious if the OP applies to LizzyM's school and she reads this.
  21. ipodtouch

    ipodtouch

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    Wow, thanks everyone!

    I really appreciate all of the help~~ you have saved years off my life.
    If you ever meet me in real life, just show me a print out of this page to redeem 1 year of indentured servitude.
  22. 10Acious

    10Acious

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    I would tie the first and last option together somehow to make one cohesive essay. Anecdotes to paint vivid pictures.
    Good luck!:thumbup::)
  23. kpcrew

    kpcrew Removed

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    seriously
    i have the other two questions answered, i can't think of what to put for this
  24. SBR249

    SBR249

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    If you've truly never had to overcome an obstacle in your life, I suppose honesty demands that you put N/A as your response.
  25. TheMightySmiter

    TheMightySmiter

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    Steve Jobs is applying to med school???


    Anyway, I would also choose #3 as an obstacle because it gives you the chance to explain your poor grades and how you learned from that experience.
  26. ponyo

    ponyo 人魚姫

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    :thumbup:

    Yes, it points to the negative aspects.. but also to the positive aspects! The other two have no highlight/"triumphant moment".
  27. Bellette

    Bellette

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    My vote is for #1.

    My family was up to this junk, too. It can be heart-wrenching stuff, but my experience was also full of very vivid moments of cultural shock and hilarity: I assume you've got some memorable moments, as well, that you can use to make the reading more enjoyable. To tie it up, you can refer to this instability as a hardship that didn't dissipate during college. Hypothetically: Even if you lived a comfortable life, it is understandable that you may have been feeling guilty for letting your family take care of you through college; a lot of parents absolutely must bend over backward to put their kids through school, either because that's what theirs did, or that's what they wish theirs would have done. Insecurity over letting your family help you could certainly hold you back, academically.

    Like other posters have said, hopefully you already addressed your period of poor grades in your personal statement, but you could certainly find a smooth way to excuse the grades a second time--I'm not trying to put words in your mouth with the insinuation of guilt written above. I'm voting against #3, despite more directly making the same case I've just advocated, because that's something every other college student could write. We all have stuff hang us up, and most of us then have to account for the grades that may have come about as a result. Use your stories from growing up to help yourself stand out amid the crowd.

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