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Bad Personal Statement Idea?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by flyingeagle, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. flyingeagle

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    I've been working on ideas for my personal statement, and one idea I have is to talk about my hobby of magic tricks and how it led me to my passion for medicine. I want to talk about how it got me interested science, service, teaching, etc. However, I'm not sure if this would be appropriate to write about because magic might be perceived as silly or immature. At the same time, I think talking about it would be unique and make me stand out a bit more. What do you guys think?
     
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  3. NotASerialKiller

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    I think like anything else if you give it a good spin it can work. As you mentioned, if it can be connected to service and teaching in a meaningful way, then those are skills that would look good in a PS. I'm not as certain about the connection to science, might want to elaborate on that for people to comment on that aspect.

    I also think though, that you probably want to move beyond thinking about ideas for your PS pretty quickly, it's already August!
     
  4. nwts

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    As with most topics, it really depends upon how you approach it. For example, it would not be a good idea to say something like: "Trying to deceive people while performing magic tricks got me interested in medicine."
     
  5. bc65

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    It sounds like it can be great if you do it right. You will definitely be memorable. If you do it, be prepared to do magic tricks at your interviews, if asked. Come prepared with appropriate tricks that you can do with material you can fit in your pockets. ( eg coins, a deck of cards, but no rabbits )
     
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  6. gyngyn

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    Strained metaphor is common and painful, a lot like herpes.
     
  7. NotASerialKiller

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    Saw the adcoms in half...?
     
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  8. flyingeagle

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    I wouldn't want to strain the metaphor in saying magic and medicine are similar, I would just say how it was a hobby that led me to do things like service, take science classes, etc. which led me to my passion for medicine. Would that work?
     
  9. flyingeagle

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    Thanks! Also I am not applying until next cycle, I just wanted to get started on this while I had time.
     
  10. gyngyn

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    Only a skilled writer could pull that off.
     
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  11. NotASerialKiller

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    Really? Couldn't he just describe how he grew because of certain aspects of magic? If it was a significant part of his life I would have thought that it would be fine to talk about what he has gained from it.

    Using it as a metaphor for medicine or claiming that he gained all the skills he needs for med school from magic certainly sounds like an awful idea.
     
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  12. gyngyn

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    As a significant component of the PS, magic (or any EC) becomes metaphor to be relevant.
    Though it can work, it usually doesn't in inexperienced hands.
    Such PS's are common though and therefore not deal breakers, just painful.
     
    #11 gyngyn, Aug 5, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  13. flyingeagle

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    Makes sense, I guess I would not want to take that risk. Maybe I'll still briefly mention it.
     
  14. bc65

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    I agree with the posters who caution against making it a metaphor for medicine, since you haven't been a physician to know how well it applies. But I would definitely talk about how it taught you confidence, leadership, how you learned to deal with adults, children, parents, etc. If, for example, you performed at children's hospitals, you could talk about that.

    I don't screen applications, but reading about magic has to be more interesting than reading about how the writer had their appendix removed or how grandma got sick and died and how you want to be a doctor so other people's grandmas will live forever.


    You should definitely include it as a meaningful activity, and then maybe discuss it in your personal statement.
    But hurry, it's getting late. Get it done ASAP.


    p.s.: If the interviewer asks you how a trick is done, don't tell them. It's a trick question. Thy're testing your ethical standards. Tell them the magician's code is like HIPAA.

    Offer to put them back together if they accept you.
     
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  15. flyingeagle

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    Would anybody be willing to read a quick draft I made about this topic? I want to see exactly what people think before I dismiss it completely.
     
  16. mw18

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    Full disclosure: I actually think magic tricks and card tricks and the like are pretty cool. I don't try to do them, but I appreciate the skill involved and I always try to figure them out.

    That being said, the idea of centering what may be the most important essay you've written around a nerdy, albeit IMO cool, hobby just seems ill-advised. The public perception of the nerd in a cape may lead people down the wrong path. The more I read adcom comments on this forum, the more it seems like they deal with many very socially awkward people in interviews. I think the magic perception would make them feel like that's what they'd be getting into.

    However, I'm an open-minded guy. PM me that magical PS and I'll give it a read.
     
  17. genericpremedstudent

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    how did magic tricks lead you into medicine? i fail to see any sort of connection and it sounds like a total stretch.
     
  18. Oh_Gee

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    i'd be interested.
     
  19. Spector1

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    I'd try to make it more straightforward. More narrative/examples, less metaphors.
     
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  20. flyingeagle

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    Yes that is my main goal.
     
  21. NickNaylor

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    Perhaps mention it very briefly as a tie-in to the actual thrust of your PS, but do not make it a focus. And by "briefly" I mean maybe a sentence or two.
     
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  22. Doug Underhill

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    This sounds like something that should be invoked for secondary "What are your hobbies" type questions, not the personal statement. If you have done impressive things as a magician, like worked with Penn & Teller or James Randi or something, it would be a neat EC for the Work/Activities section.
     
  23. Syns

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    Thanks for encouraging me to commit the cardinal sin -- I looked at my submitted essay.

    For shame.
     
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  24. Goro

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    I concur with my learned colleague. trying to do A-> B-> -> Medicine is a tricky task to pulloff.

    Save the interest in magic for the diversity essay in secondaries, and stick with "Why Medicine?" and "Who am I?" for the PS. Sometimes the road you travelled is important for the PS, but in this case, there's too much risk.


     
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  25. flyingeagle

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    Thanks for the input everyone, it definitely helped me out and I've decided to save magic for secondaries.
     
  26. blackgirlmd

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    everyone is so negative!
    It sounded pretty cool to me. I did the same thing with dance and had an admissions counselor read it and they absolutely loved it.
    I would say try it out if youre applying next cycle. But this cycle it's a little late and it might be better to try something easier to carry out.
    I think with good execution it could be great, but it would take more time than you have if youre applying this cycle.
     
  27. caffeinemia

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    Too bad I'm such a sly and expert hand.

    Also, I challenge OP to try to describe their reason for going into medicine without the use of the word "passion." It's has become so overused that it's lost all meaning in the realm of medical school applications. The only passion is recognize is fruit. Passion fruit. Starburst. Yum.
     
  28. gyngyn

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    Please.
     
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  29. caffeinemia

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    I'm also really passionate about gyngyn. Just not gyn. ;)

    Edit. I mean. WITH. Not about.
     
  30. nwts

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    I think a large part of the reason for this is that colleges and universities are engaged in a "passion" frenzy. I can't count the number of times that I have heard professors and administrators at my school talk about finding and following our passions. Everything is about passion. It was extremely refreshing when one of the engineering deans said: "Most of you will not have a passion for engineering, and that's fine. Most people don't love their jobs more than anything else in life. You should like engineering, but you don't have to have a passion for it. If you enjoy studying it and would like to work as an engineer for the rest of your life, that's what you need. You don't need a wild passion for engineering."
     
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  31. GrapesofRath

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    There are all kinds of games involving a certain ethanol solution that can be played with the number of times "passion" "help others" "dedicated" anything along the lines of "making the world a better place" "I knew at that moment medicine was for me" and the endless list of words where the meaning isn't known and rather extracted from thesarus.com and put in personal statements(and this goes beyond med school applications).

    When people in admissions say 98% of personal statements all sound the same that isn't a bad thing. Many of the ones they talk about standing out are not for good reasons. At the end of the day the personal statement is supposed to sound a certain way that isn't unpredictable. Save the flare for specific prompts in secondary essays if that is your style.

    And what you'll hear all the time from ADCOMs on here is what they are looking for in these essays is maturity. How do you think a medical school essay centered around magic will work in terms of that? Odds are unless done by a gifted writer not all that well.
     
    #30 GrapesofRath, Aug 6, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
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  32. Goro

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    Tell me about it!
    At COMs, we get inundated with "holistic" as the buzzword.

     
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  33. caffeinemia

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    How about the inevitable recognition that magic routines are impressive illusions, whereas real life is palpable pain and suffering. Doctors should help patients wade through all that **** with clarity and honest and not a cloak of bs?

    Iono... AM I BEING TOO MUCH OF A NEGATIVE NANCY? Just as contrived a metaphor/contrast, but sounds a bit more real to me than magic made me do community service and care about people... cuz unless your parole officer is named "Magic" -- hard to take seriously.
     
  34. gyngyn

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    I rest my case.
     
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  35. caffeinemia

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    I dunno if I should like this... you make me paranoia :ninja:
     
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  36. GrapesofRath

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    The problem is I feel like gyngyn has read far too many real life personal statements just like this before.
     
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  37. blackgirlmd

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    Sometimes it seems to me like people on SDN just like to shoot people down. geez
     
  38. gyngyn

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    Way, way too many.
     
    #37 gyngyn, Aug 6, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
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