Dec 4, 2020
Madison, Wisconsin
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  1. Pre-Medical
Warning – Extra Long Post! Also this does get personal...

Hi! I am a 4th year / senior in college and will be applying this upcoming cycle. I plan to continue working and volunteering during my gap year, but that is all beside the point. I am not a great writer, so I am starting to think about secondaries and get those started so that I have plenty of time to put lots of effort into them. Turning them around in such a short notice is not going to be very easy for me, so I’m starting now.

I am struggling to decide what to choose for my “challenges” essay. I have lots of ideas, but none of them really stand out to me as the one. This is going to be a long post, but I would so appreciate your thoughts on if any of them sound promising…. Now I know that any topic can make a good paper and it’s all about the writing quality, but for right now I just need to narrow my list down to 2-3 ideas to start working with.

1. Dealing with anxiety and depression during my 2nd and 3rd years of college which created a really isolated and difficult time in my life. How I learned to manage it.

2. My struggle with being a perfectionist starting from as young as I can remember. How I learned to let go and accept my imperfections.

3. Having an eating disorder during my first 3 years of college. How I overcame it and what it has taught me.

(I know there is stigma about mentioning mental health issues, so that makes me skeptical about picking any of 1-3)

4. Getting lost while I was alone in Guatemala and almost missing my flight home. Having to navigate my way and get there on time.

5. One day my dog’s tail got stuck in the garage door and he was crying out in pain – I was the only one home, but the door was locked and I didn’t have a key. I had to get him out alternatively.

6. Lots of college team pressure to drink and party – had almost no friends on the team because I refused to partake. How I stood my ground, coped with being isolated and have influenced some of my teammates because of that.

7. My high school coach openly didn’t like me. She treated me quite terribly and put me down in front of other teammates, even though I was a team-voted captain and had lots of friends. How I went about coping with that and how it only made me a stronger athlete and life lessons I’ve learned from it.

8. Being the floor manager / food runner for my university’s dining center when the food ran out in the middle of the lunch service and students were lined up outside all the way down the hallway. How I had to make do for the next hour or so until the chefs caught up and could get the normal menu running again.

9. While working at a summer sleepaway camp I had a week where I had to be in charge of 10 girls aged 9-12 (normal age) and 2 twins from the middle east (from our international partner camp whose family was visiting) who were much younger, age 6, who would stay up all night crying, who didn’t know English, not ready for this age group and weren’t very comfortable doing anything. How I went about the week, how I handled the difficulties they added to my week, and the skills I’ve learned.

10. Falling out of love with my sport during my 2nd year of college and struggling, being told I was about to get kicked off of the team, but coming back and having an absolutely amazing season, getting personal records, participating in the conference meet, and being a valuable scorer on the team! How I went about re-discovering myself as an athlete and a person and overcoming the physical and mental barriers to become the athlete I always knew that I could be and rekindle my love for running.

So, I know that was long and I truly appreciate anyone who read through them all – you’re the best! I know all I gave was a blurb of each scenario, but if you would love to comment on which ones you see potential with / which ones I should avoid for certain reasons, that would be absolutely amazing!
May 16, 2020
Somewhere in New England
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  1. Attending Physician
  2. Academic Administration
3 is probably the most significant "challenge". NOT 2 (it's a humble-brag). Not 4, 5, 8 --you need something that is not a single small incident. Pick a topic that shows how you handle a significant challenge.


6 or 9 seem good, but 9 is probs better of those two. Agree with the above. Don't pick one-time incidents or things that are normal parts of life like 2

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