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a funny essay

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by siempre595, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. siempre595

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    is it bad to write a secondary essay that's sort of comic? i want to talk about how the fire alarm went off during my mcat, but yet 50 pre-meds sat still because the verbal was underway! sure, it sucked, but i think there's humor in it too. is this a bad approach?? most of my other stuff is serious.
     
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  3. X

    X

    Nothing wrong with using humor in your essay. You don't have to be dry to be a doctor (at least the last time I checked, that req might have changed though).

    But be careful what you say. Comedy is a hard thing, the problem is most people's comedy belittles others and that does not create a good impression, especially on those that it belittles. In your example, you are mocking fellow students and that can work against you, so just be careful.

    X
     
  4. siempre595

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    I'm mostly mocking myself. That may not be good either.....:D
     
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    definitely not......why mock anyone, mock things, situations, but not people.

    X
     
  6. Camden772

    Camden772 Senior Member
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    I think it's best to avoid comedy in essays. I don't think it will necessarily hurt you. I'm sure many people on adcomms have a sense of humor, and most people would not hold it against you if you tried to be funny. However, I have two concerns about humor in essays: 1) some uptight person on the adcomm might think, "this person is not taking this process seriously enough if he's making jokes on the application," and 2) it's tough to write funny material, and your essay might not sound as funny to the adcomms as it does to you -- in which case the adcomms might be thinking "what is this person saying? why is s/he telling me about this?" My view is: humor might hurt you, and avoiding humor definitely won't hurt you. Accordingly, I avoid humor in the essays. This is not to say you won't be successfull if you submit humorous essays, but I always think it's best to play it safe. In addition, I have heard at least one person on a medical school admission committee advise people to avoid humor in their essays. I'm sure not everyone holds this view, but at least one person does, and that's enough for me to steer clear of humor.
     
  7. hudsontc

    hudsontc Attending
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    In my mind's eye, the personal statement should be just that....personal. I struggled with writing my statement at first because I was trying to write what I thought ad. coms. wanted to hear. If you set out with that mindset, you're certain to write an impersonable, dry...fact-filled essay.
    Write as if you are writing a friend and keep it professional. Be yourself in the essay and come interview time, ad. coms. will have a much better picture of who you are...because your essay is congruous with what they see.
    That being said, I think it's pretty obvious that for every reviewer that doesn't like humor in an essay...there are many, many more that abhor dry essays devoid of personality. :p
     
  8. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    I used humor in my essay last year and got favorable comments.
     
  9. poloace

    poloace Senior Member
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    favorable comments... but, no acceptances??? good luck this year dude.
    p
     
  10. she got at least 5 acceptances.
     
  11. siempre595

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    It was actually for a short secondary essay, not the personal statement, which was definitely serious. I stuck with a little humor cause it is part of who I am. I never said I was going to mock anyone, humor does not equal mockery.
     
  12. aauerba1

    aauerba1 Member
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    my recommendation for that- you could make it humorous, but sweet instead of poking fun at anyone, even yourself. i mean, describe the situation and how confused you were about what to do... make it kind of emotional instead of cynical.
     
  13. SouthernGirl

    SouthernGirl Senior Member
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    Siempre,

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of question/topic would this be for? Or is it one of those "wonderful" :)rolleyes: ) open-ended ones?

    I think that humor is fine as long as it is universally humorous (for lack of a better term...you know, not something that would just be funny to young people, e.g., or some other specific group) and tasteful. The situation you described sounds appropriate. I can just see it, too...sure, all our lives we've been taught to evacuate the building quickly and orderly as soon as we hear the fire alarm....but the MCAT is underway!! :) :laugh:

    Good luck.
     
  14. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member
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    I, too, suffered through the fire alarm. That really stunk. The staff was like "don't worry, this happens all the time, just continue your test." Meanwhile, the screaming alarm was sounding, lights were flashing, etc. I think that it seriously affected my verbal score, but I chose not to mention it since I do not have any recourse and it might sound like I am a whiner. It did come up in an interview though.

    My only advice is to make sure that you are delicate. Having been there, I think that all of us have a legimate reason to explain to the schools what it happened. But putting myself in the shoes of an adcom, it sounds like BS to me. We all have our problems, right? Have an objective person read it and give their impression of how it sounds.
     
  15. pickles

    pickles Member
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    Go with it...sounds like a funny story..and i'm sure adcoms are sick of listening to the same boring stuff...they want personality:)
     
  16. Smoke This

    Smoke This Sweet cuppin' cakes!
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    I say use humor. It's a personal statement as other posters have astutely pointed out, so be true to yourself. I used humor in mine (I quoted Yogi Berra), and I never saw a negative reaction to it (except from my premed advisor who thought my essay was pretty unconventional on the whole, which didn't matter to me). It's a good opportunity to present a side of yourself that's not reflected in grades, ECs, etc. that comprise the majority of the application.
     
  17. mightymouseal

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    If you can use the humor to set yourself apart, do it. If you think that it may cause your essay to be considered to be one of the many attempts applicants will take to appear good humored, don't do it, its not worth falling into that category. Finally, if this is a school that you don't think you have a shot in hell of getting in to, then say whatever you can/want to make yourself stick out, hopefully for the better.
     
  18. siempre595

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    The essay was pretty open-ended, something about "what has been one your greater challenges while going through pre-med/application process?" I've been fortunate in that this really was the worst thing I went through academically. It was a short essay where I mostly talked about how having to re-take the test had taught me a lot about how much I really wanted to pursue med school and how, after getting my second score, I realized even more that hard work pays off. I talked about how it has been a lesson in patience, as I chose to wait for the good score before releasing the bad one (and I stress it was a really bad verbal). I just opened the essay with a little bit about how you couldn't help but see humor in something like 50 pre-meds in a room frantically answering questions about random topics while bells and whistles just kept going off. And how I had the thought that if there was a real fire somewhere, maybe we could toss the test in on the way out. I'm sure this will come up in interviews, as I chose to inform each school of the situation. My score went up 7 points, 3 on verbal. There is no way I am not going to be questioned about it. I don't feel it's whining at all. It was a bad experience, I did poorly on the test, I sucked it up and re-did the thing, and I think the result proves my true capabilities. I think adcoms should be aware of it. I have no qualms in talking about it, and finding humor in the whole things has helped a great deal. No one wants to see years of tough undergrad work come crashing down because of one ten minute alarm. But it happens and moving forward and being able to laugh about it is something I see as a strength, not whining. And if adcoms see it differently, they can reject me.
     
  19. SouthernGirl

    SouthernGirl Senior Member
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    Well said, siempre. You seem to have a really good outlook on the situation. Best of luck to you.
     

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