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Adversity, The Non-Traditional Applicant, and Domestic Violence

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ominous2792

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Hey everyone, first let me say that I've found this site very useful from afar (thanks, google), but i've only recently decided to join myself. If this goes someplace else, i'm sorry! I'm new here.

Anyways, I wanted to get some input about how medical schools value adversity and non-traditional students. To be honest, i've felt deterred to pursue this dream of mine because of how life has been going.

I plan on applying within the next three years, maybe less. I'm working on my undergrad degree at the moment (molecular biology) at Towson University (an MD state school). Life has definitely thrown me for a loop over the last 5 years.

My first two years at Towson were awful. I was in a domestically violent, controlling relationship (I was three years deep by the end, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone). Events that occurred during the time I was with him caused me a lot of stress. At one point, I became so sick that I had to medically withdraw. The following semester saw a slight drop in my grades due to a traumatic incident. Instead of getting A's and B's, I was getting B's and C's. No failures though.

I ended up leaving Towson for a short period of time after I broke up with my then boyfriend. I needed to center myself. I moved back home to help take care of my grandparents (they adopted me when I was 12). Being home helped. While I took a year off, I worked in a pharmacy as a technician.

At the end of that year, I really decided to focus on my education. I was ready to get my head back in the game. So I took classes at the community college. I know theres a stigma; thats why I would take all the notoriously hard science classes during the same semesters (anatomy 1, microbiology and medical terminology the first semester; genetics, organic chemistry 1, anatomy 2 the next).

in fact, thats where i'm at right now. about to take orgo, genetics and AP2 all in the same semester. While also working part time, volunteering, and taking care of my grandparents. Once this year is over, i'm planning on transferring BACK to Towson to finish my molecular biology degree.

I'm not looking for pity, because yes I know this situation isn't ideal. Though, I have to say, being sexually assaulted and in a DV relationship teaches you valuable things about yourself. For me, its been that I can literally deal with any situation that presents itself to me. The last five years have taught me that I am not one to easily give up, as many expected me to. Of course, it would have been completely acceptable for me to give up, get a crappy job, and continue to dream, knowing what i've been through. I'm only 23 btw.

Sorry for sharing so much >.< I guess I need advice as to the best way to present my adversity and non traditional path to college in a way that evokes a sense of reliability or responsibility on my part, rather than "oh poor me :(" (because we know that isn't cute in the admissions process).

How do colleges view adversity, such as domestic violence? I know this might sound weird, but could being a victim actually lessen your chances? How much do colleges take into consideration your personal life and struggles? Because as much as I wish I could have been that kid that didn't have to worry about much other than studying, I wasn't. Thanks everyone!
 

NotASerialKiller

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Using a profile picture of yourself is a bad idea, especially when discussing personal information
 
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S

Sardinia

Truly an ominous thread this is. Title alone much foreboding yes. A disturbance in the force I sense.
 
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Lost In Transcription

reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated
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Remember, going on what gyngyn said, you have to be able to talk about it in an interview without breaking down. And the conversation won't lokely be easy or consoling either. Perhaps it will be outright offensive.
 
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LizzyM

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You have an interesting story about a harrowing journey. This might be the hook but you'll need that plus good grades going forward and a very good MCAT for the hook to work. Keep your chin up! You are an inspiration.
 
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gonnif

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I will say that I have had female applicants discuss nasty divorces, domestic violence and living on the streets. I believe that your situation puts your academic record into the socio-psycho context of your life and is important let the adcom know the "frame" of the picture of yourself. But as @gyngyn tonic states that what you put in your application if fair game for interview
 
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Goro

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OP You have what i call a compelling story. Resilience is a virtue much sought after in medical students. Being a victim never, ever would reduce your chances. That said, you need to demonstrate that you're typically an A/B student. This will show that the C/Ds were an aberration.


How do colleges view adversity, such as domestic violence? I know this might sound weird, but could being a victim actually lessen your chances? How much do colleges take into consideration your personal life and struggles? Because as much as I wish I could have been that kid that didn't have to worry about much other than studying, I wasn't. Thanks everyone!



As an aside, my cat likes your cat!!!

I will say that I have had female applicants discuss nasty divorces, domestic violence and living on the streets. I believe that your situation puts your academic record into the socio-psycho context of your life and is important let the adcom know the "frame" of the picture of yourself. But as @gyngyn tonic states that what you put in your application if fair game for interview
 
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gonnif

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As an aside, my cat likes your cat!!!

With all the other adcoms having pictures of their felines, I was fighting the defacto requirement to do so. But apparently resistance is futile. Actually, I felt the strong need to share Braveheart's picture, my wild cat of 14 years, as onlate Friday afternoon a very large abdominal mass was found. While an ultrasound and cytology is not done yet, the chances that it is something other than a large malignant tumor are slim. Hence I thought I would share his countenance with the forum.
 
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Goro

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Brokenhearted to hear this!

:(
With all the other adcoms having pictures of their felines, I was fighting the defacto requirement to do so. But apparently resistance is futile. Actually, I felt the strong need to share Braveheart's picture, my wild cat of 14 years, as onlate Friday afternoon a very large abdominal mass was found. While an ultrasound and cytology is not done yet, the chances that it is something other than a large malignant tumor are slim. Hence I thought I would share his countenance with the forum.
 

Crayola227

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@ominous2792

when the time comes I would be willing to look over your PS

I addressed DV in my own PS, and talked about other sensitive issues in multiple multiple interviews, so I think I can offer some experience based advice.

I would say, that what you've written so far is a pretty decent start to the med school PS/essays you'll need to write (think like rough rough draft).
 

artimacia108

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I'm in a similar position. I had applied to medical school back in 2011 to no avail. I ended up going to graduate school and also got stuck in a very abusive relationship. I managed to get my grad degree but ended up leaving the field for awhile to deal with the ensuing court case. I've decided to try again as my passion for it never left, just had to put it in the background for awhile to heal and move on.
 
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