longhorn

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I have yet to see a thread on this and I was wondering how or if people were adressing this issue in secondaries.

I was abroad when this happened so the impact on me was different. Being away from my family and country, viewing anti-US demonstrations, trying to look less American, and having to schedule travel plans around terrorist warnings was quite an ordeal. I feel it was a hardship I had to overcome and it also taught me a lot about how other countries view the USA etc. Is it an issue which I should bring up in one of those optional essays about adding anything new to your application. I know others on this board personally helped in the relief effort as well. Just curious about what others are doing
 

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Sure, if you can make it sound really good, definitely add it. However, do not add it to specific hardship sections.
 

Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

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When I do my secondaries, I am trying to avoid any controversy. I guess it would be a good idea to mention it if you partisipated in the relief effort. Do not go into politics.
I do not think any of the questions on the secondaries ask you anything about 9/11. Be careful how you mention it and if you do, you would need to explain how it has impacted on you personally, maybe choice of your career, your views on life.....
 
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pAkhtmAn

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Hey Longhorn,
Which country were you visiting and why?
 

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Originally posted by AlternateSome1
You know..the media has profited enough off of this whole thing, do you have to too?

~AS1~
As long as what is said about 9/11 is tasteful and has a point, then I see no problem with it. Hopefully adcoms won't react like AS1.
 

Cydney Foote

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It sounds like you really want to talk about it, and if your life was really impacted by it and can write sincerely, then do it. My gut reaction is like AS1's, though. It could be viewed as trying to exploit the tragedy for your own gain. I'd be extremely careful about how you use it.
 

relatively prime

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I think it would make for an interesting essay... and maybe you should write about it and submit it to a magazine or journel. However, I think it's totally out of place and even inappropriate for a medical school application. If I were an adcom I'd be like "what the...!? Why's he/she writing about this ~here~?"
 

LizardKing

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I totally agree with Spiderman. I am completely done with the application process, and from my own observations, it's not good to mention politics or controversial issues in your secondaries. Remember, these topics will be brought up again during your interview, and you will have to DEFEND yourself in front of some arrogant doc with little time on his/her hands!

On the other hand, you can have a take and argue something in your essays without being controversial. Talk about personal experiences that have no real connection to any political or religious event.

These adcoms are looking for one thing to nix your application with. Don't hand it to them.

Originally posted by Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]
When I do my secondaries, I am trying to avoid any controversy. I guess it would be a good idea to mention it if you partisipated in the relief effort. Do not go into politics.
I do not think any of the questions on the secondaries ask you anything about 9/11. Be careful how you mention it and if you do, you would need to explain how it has impacted on you personally, maybe choice of your career, your views on life.....
 
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longhorn

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I guess I am missing something, how is this issue controversial in the least for Americans? The issue being how 9/11 impacted you.
 

Pinki

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Ditto to Relatively Prime and Others...Stay away from 9/11. I'm approaching secondaries as an opportunity for adcoms to get to know me and my purpose for attending medical school personally through UNIQUE individual experiences. 9/11, as tragic and affecting as it was, doesn't offer that sort of insight.

As a former TV reporter, we were always taught NOT to put big earthquakes/hurricanes/plane crashes/disasters on our tapes when soliciting new jobs/awards/peer recognition. Everyone has a reaction to something big...but it's our reactions to the nuances in life that distinguish us from the crowd.
 

relatively prime

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Originally posted by Pinki


As a former TV reporter, we were always taught NOT to put big earthquakes/hurricanes/plane crashes/disasters on our tapes when soliciting new jobs/awards/peer recognition. Everyone has a reaction to something big...but it's our reactions to the nuances in life that distinguish us from the crowd.
beautiful
 
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appomattox

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Longhorn,

I disagree with all these people. I don't see how this could be construed as controversial or political (god forbid anyone take a stand on anything), and if it affected you, then I think it would be a worthy addition. I also fail to see how this could be seen as you trying to "capitalize on a tragedy." The only hard thing is to avoid cliches. Like the kind of a cliches . . . . a local TV newsperson would come up with.

keep it real,

A
 

LizardKing

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yea but you also have to compete with the fact that half the applicants out there think they're gonna have something profound to say about 9/11.


Originally posted by appomattox
Longhorn,

I disagree with all these people. I don't see how this could be construed as controversial or political (god forbid anyone take a stand on anything), and if it affected you, then I think it would be a worthy addition. I also fail to see how this could be seen as you trying to "capitalize on a tragedy." The only hard thing is to avoid cliches. Like the kind of a cliches . . . . a local TV newsperson would come up with.

keep it real,

A
 

The Mysterious Stranger

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who wasn't affected by 9/11? i don't know if your experiences would be that unique. if no one chooses to write about 9/11 then you won't have a problem but you really can't guarantee it. I also thought the hardship section was more geared towards chronic hardships that might have affected your education (so that the ADCOM has a context for your good/poor grades)--like the loss of a parent, growing up in a high crime area...9/11 happened last year. if you're applying to med school now it really couldn't have disadvanataged you since you lived the first 20+ years before 9/11. if you write the essay carefully, it could turn out pretty good.

good luck.
 
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longhorn

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I really don't know what to do. To answer Lizard King, I don't think I am "competing" with anyone. Let me remind you that this is for an optional question on hardships faced. This is probably the only question where something does not have to relate to the medical arena directly or we are not trying to find the best answer for the question. I think if 9/11 affected you in some way and you feel strongly about it, you should write about it.
 
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longhorn

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Where does it say a hardship must be unique. I am sure most people give similar reasons for low grades, etc. All I am saying is I was in another country when it happened and it was another obstacle I had to deal with. I am not gonna try to glamorize anything.
 

Wednesday

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Hmmm. While thinking about what everyone else is going to put on their applications may not always be the best idea, in this case you might want to take a little time to do that. When I read your post I immediately thought about the guy in one of my interviews who lived in Battery Park City and walked out of the rubble that day. The experience of 9/11 was HIS story. He was there, he had to go to an interview the next day with no dress up clothes and he was still working out of a hotel in the city. His apartment was destroyed. He saw all of those terrible things. In contrast, I watched the event on television, I was in a taxi with a Sikh driver who was yelled at by another motorist, I flew across the country with bitten fingernails on September 27th, I used to live in NYC. While my experiences are my true and unique experiences of 9/11, they are just like many Americans' experiences who weren't there and didn't lose anyone. We all experienced the event differently, that is a given, and obviously it changed all of us. The terror attacks were a hardship for the country, but was YOUR experience more of a hardship than the general experience? I guess that's the question I think you should ask yourself. Your hardship essay will be "up against" essays about growing up in poverty, dealing with a family illness, etc. I'm not saying it's a contest or anything (before everyone flames me!), but the adcom will have a pile of these essays, they WILL compare them. And in this year after a national tragedy, there may be many, many essays on the very same subject. Like Pinki said, you are trying to distinguish yourself from everyone else. Just make sure your essay doesn't make the adcom say "this person doesn't know anything about real hardship!"
 
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longhorn

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Good point Wednesday. If you don't have any " hardcore" hardships do you just leave it blank then?
 

relatively prime

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Originally posted by longhorn
I really don't know what to do. To answer Lizard King, I don't think I am "competing" with anyone. Let me remind you that this is for an optional question on hardships faced. This is probably the only question where something does not have to relate to the medical arena directly or we are not trying to find the best answer for the question. I think if 9/11 affected you in some way and you feel strongly about it, you should write about it.
Like some others have mentioned... those hardship essays are for people who have had hard ~lives~ not people who have had one difficult experience (something we've all had). These essays are really for people who grew up poor, with a disability, or as minorities... not for people who just had one particularly bad experience.
 

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I agree--this doesn't really fit into a hardship essay, which is just another way of getting at applicants that come from a disadvantaged background--a more just way of getting at diversity.

Nevertheless, longhorn, I think you should definitely add this if it's well-written. If there's no section where you think it fits (like a "is there anything else you would like us to know") just add it with a statement saying it was additional information you wanted to include.

As a side note, I think it's interesting to see the way discussions of September devolve into a hierarchy of grief--it's a dilemma for everyone who has suffered, no matter how or how much.
 

chopsuey

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hey...just wanted to say that i actually had a similar experience on 9/11...my flight to Paris for my semester abroad was actually scheduled for 4:25pm on 9/11. i ended up flying out on the 17th after a lot of thought about if i really wanted to go instead and had some similar experiences in Paris as you did where you where in the aftermath. my twin sister was in Beijing from August until December, so i've heard how hard it was to be abroad the entire time, and not just post-9/11. i agree that it's an interesting and personally pertinent topic, but i think you just need to be careful not to make it at all "poor me," because, frankly, there are a lot of people who have suffered much worse as a result of 9/11. for me, i don't think i'm going to use it as the main subject of an essay for that reason, though i am writing an essay on my experiences abroad which might include something about being there post 9/11...what i'm going to do is only mention it once and only if it needs to be there. if they want to bring it up, i think it'll be easier to convey my experiences without sounding like i had it oh-so-hard in paris in an interview than in an essay. i just think you should be careful about giving off that attitude....and it might be hard to write an essay on it that isn't more "journalistic" than personal if you don't have that emotional element it.

good luck...and if you ever want to exchange stories, let me know! i think it's interesting how different people in different countries reacted to 9/11. i just skimmed parts of this book called something like What the World Thinks of America....interesting perspectives, both negative and positive, from people around the world on our powerhouse of a country (i am NOT trying to start anything like in that Med School Rankings thread, so please no flames on that)...

ok, this is long enough!
 

holler79

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I think you all have valid points. Longhorn, I think you really have to take a look at your situation and decide if you should write about 9/11. Personally, I don't even know if I would write about it and I experienced it. I was here in Manhattan and witnessed the second tower crumble from my office. Also, I had to deal with the fact that my brother worked in the South Tower and we had not heard from him. Thankfully, he escaped from his office unharmed but the psychological stress of seeing people dying in the streets next to him and people jumping 100 stories will always stay with him and my family. We count our blessings everyday but 3000 other families are still extremely affected by this tradegy.

I don't know your personality but please don't try to help your cause of getting into med school by a "poor me" story or something of that nature. I applied last year and I had to deal with doing 30 secondaries in the aftermath of 9/11 and as you could imagine my head wasn't in it. I'm sure you were genuinely touched by this tradegy but so were a lot of us.
 
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Everyone makes good points. I guess I won't use it in any hardships section. I might put it in as part of a unique experience but only in the broader context of studying abraod.
 

lola

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I got stuck abroad due to 9/11, and it is definitely not something I will write about. It is by no means a hardship -- if anything, it was much easier to be abroad than in the U.S. Being in England may have had something to do with it not being that big of a deal, but I definitely don't think it's a hardship. I think your idea of including it in an essay about studying abroad is a good one, although I'd never include it b/c it didn't affect me that much. I already knew what people thought of Americans. If anything I was shocked at how supportive the Brits were since they love to make fun of Americans!
 
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