orangeblue

7+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2011
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Dear all,
Here I am: in the the step of the journey to apply to medical school

I have a job from 7-3pm (although I have a 2 hour break from 11-1pm 2-3 times a week). The library and gym is close to work.

I am wondering any suggestions, encouragement on how people did their secondaries WHILE working. You worked on them every day. Just need some suggestions on possible daily routines.
 

Entadus

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Don't panic just take them 1 at a time

During your lunch break, look over the requirements/questions for the different secondaries, and decide which one(s) you want to tackle first. Then after work hit the Coffeeshop and/or library and get to work. I promise you'll feel better once you start turning some in. It's a nice feeling of accomplishment that you ideally want to have every day (1 a day) as you work getting them in ASAP (in a smart order, this usually involves researching old/current threads on SDN)
 
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cyang55

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May 16, 2015
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Start with the secondaries from the top school that you want to get into. Finish it. Then, go down the list. Take it one at a time. Soon, you'll see that you can use a lot of your essays for multiple schools. For example, those "why should we pick you" questions.
One bit of advice: don't rush them! Focus on one and do it well. Then go from there.

Good luck!
 

Eccesignum

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One at a time, as an above poster said. This takes discipline, but it won't last forever.

Don't just go at it willy-nilly starting and stopping all over the place. Set goals and make plans at the beginning of each week, before you start working (i.e. 4-6pm or whatever is Secondary Time, no excuses...get X school and Y school submitted on or before Friday, A school and Z school submitted by Sunday, etc). Stick to your schedule. Move on if you finish a marked goal earlier than expected, but don't abandon one project mid-stream if you can avoid it (though if you need to bounce to a random one just to make a note when a Great Thought occurs to you, that's fine...just don't get distracted for long).

When you finish one, save it and leave it overnight rather than submitting right away. Make revision, proofreading, and submission the first thing you do when you start up at your assigned time. You'll be surprised what you catch when you come it at fresh.

Use a spreadsheet so you can see everything you need to do at a glance, and mark things off as you go. It feels good being able to see things being completed.

Prioritize your MD ones first if you have any. DO cycle lasts longer, and those can wait a bit. Prioritize schools you like most/feel you have the best shot at/your state school(s).
 
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orangeblue

orangeblue

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Feb 10, 2011
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Thank you, .It means a lot, to hear that you have been in a similar situation and how you handled these secondaries.
 

Afropolitan

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Jul 30, 2015
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First I started pre-writing secondaries after I was verified. I worked on my top schools/state schools first and then schools with the most difficult secondaries (i.e. Duke). From 5- 8 pm after work I would write. I also set aside time on the weekends to write. After working on the more difficult secondaries and coming up with the standard diversity, challenge and most rewarding experience essays, it became a lot easier to complete subsequent secondaries.
 
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Gibbward

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Jan 11, 2015
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What's been the most difficult part of the secondary writing process for you? Simply making time to write? Being too tired at the end of the day to start them? Brain storming ideas? Actually writing stuff down? If you could figure out what's been your biggest struggle, maybe we could figure out the best suggestion for you :)
 
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orangeblue

orangeblue

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Thank you for your kind help @Gibbward

1) Right now, my biggest challenge is to get feedback from qualified people on what I wrote. Most people on the PS statement reader thread are in school now or not available. I am a non-trad without a strong educated support network. I have asked co-workers in the school I teach at to read it over the summer, but not that school has started, they are N/A too.


2) The second is focus and motivation. I have to keep a strict focus on the secondaries. I somehow tend to focus on my negative traits. These days, I have become aware of my anxiety and have tried to do congitive behavior / being more aware of it. Sometimes, I get too focused on what I'm not / my future / how some areas of my life I'm a failure at this time (and that's ok) / don't have as many friends (also ok, at this stage).

3) Nutrition: I'm not cooking as much (0 ) and instead spending $$$ eating out in healthy ways. I tell myself that it's OK as long as it puts all the energy in secondaries right now. I'm getting more sleep and also doing 30 mins of exercise / relaxation.
 

Eccesignum

I Narcanned Your Honor Student
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Thank you for your kind help @Gibbward

1) Right now, my biggest challenge is to get feedback from qualified people on what I wrote. Most people on the PS statement reader thread are in school now or not available. I am a non-trad without a strong educated support network. I have asked co-workers in the school I teach at to read it over the summer, but not that school has started, they are N/A too.


2) The second is focus and motivation. I have to keep a strict focus on the secondaries. I somehow tend to focus on my negative traits. These days, I have become aware of my anxiety and have tried to do congitive behavior / being more aware of it. Sometimes, I get too focused on what I'm not / my future / how some areas of my life I'm a failure at this time (and that's ok) / don't have as many friends (also ok, at this stage).

3) Nutrition: I'm not cooking as much (0 ) and instead spending $$$ eating out in healthy ways. I tell myself that it's OK as long as it puts all the energy in secondaries right now. I'm getting more sleep and also doing 30 mins of exercise / relaxation.
We have a holiday weekend coming up. If you have any still ongoing then I can take a look, but I won't get to them until Saturday or Sunday (and I do still need to study so time's a little limited but I'll help as I can!).
 
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orangeblue

orangeblue

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4) Am I already too late? Have I decreased my chances altogether? *impending psuedo-depression/anxiety*
 

jebelali

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You're fine for most schools. I submitted all the way through Sept 21st and still got interviews at those schools (I also submitted a couple in late September/October but those didn't work out). Just focus on writing them one at a time. Once you find a rhythm (holiday weekend) you can probably crank out 3-4 in the same day because you just need to change a couple things.
 

sammiesings

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Aug 21, 2014
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i agree with all of what folks have already said! i've turned in 43 (ca resident lol, plus not all of them had prompts).

a) just do them one at a time. if you're easily overwhelmed this is the best way to be. at times i felt super overwhelmed and jumping around from school to school made it a lot worse. if you get writers block, just move on to a different essay for the same school. try not to jump to a new school if you can help it.

b) burn out DOES happen. so make sure you save the essays with repeat questions last (so you can recycle them with just a quick edit).

c) early is anything before labor day, so you're still okay!

i'm also an applicant this year, but i am happy to read a few if you'd like. just add/follow me and then we can PM :)
 

kraskadva

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Agree with most of the above.

My suggestion from what I have been doing is to have one document (I use google docs, but whatever is your preferred text editor) that I pasted all essay prompts and word/character limits into as I got them, in the order that they were received. I also had the boiler plate essays that I recycled multiple times in there. I worked on them mainly in the order received, though if I got stuck on one, I'd skip down the list a bit to a more interesting and/or easier essay school. As I finished the secondary, I copied it down to the bottom of the document, so that it was still there to pull when similar questions popped up, but out of the way. Also there for when/if I need to review what I wrote before an interview.
Anytime I saw the same or similar prompt as a previous secondary, I copied that under the new prompt, then edited for length and/or relevance; which is much easier than starting fresh with every single one.
I also made use of the different text types to create a searchable outline (That drop down list next to font that most people ignore, with "normal", "heading 1", heading 2", etc.) I put sections in Heading 1 (To Do, Done, Recyclable essays), then individual schools in Heading 2, and everything else in Normal. This triggers the document to automatically generate an hyperlinked outline in the sidebar, that you can click on to jump back and forth (because this document becomes huge). Works in Google docs and both Windows and Mac versions of Word.

And finding a good editor is invaluable, but if you can't (or can't at that moment and want to turn one in) then read it out loud to yourself, slowly. Reading silently doesn't work this way, but saying out loud you'll catch most spelling/grammar/tone/phrasing issues.

Best of luck!
 

futuremdforme

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May 12, 2013
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Like everyone said, one at a time, pre-write them, etc.

I worked full time while writing mine. There was one that came with a specific deadline that I missed. I got permission to send it in late, and did, and ended up getting in there so even if you miss a deadline, don't give up. (Obviously work to make the deadlines and to prioritize your top and most likely schools.) Honestly your work schedule sounds kind of cushy, you have a lot of time!
 
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orangeblue

orangeblue

7+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2011
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i agree with all of what folks have already said! i've turned in 43 (ca resident lol, plus not all of them had prompts).

a) just do them one at a time. if you're easily overwhelmed this is the best way to be. at times i felt super overwhelmed and jumping around from school to school made it a lot worse. if you get writers block, just move on to a different essay for the same school. try not to jump to a new school if you can help it.

b) burn out DOES happen. so make sure you save the essays with repeat questions last (so you can recycle them with just a quick edit).

c) early is anything before labor day, so you're still okay!

i'm also an applicant this year, but i am happy to read a few if you'd like. just add/follow me and then we can PM :)
Can't PM you
 
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orangeblue

orangeblue

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Feb 10, 2011
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Hello my lovely support group: I wanted to give up update. Last week, managed to crank out 4 secondaries.

This week, I'm faltering behind and haven't managed any. Re-reading all the advice here.
 
Apr 25, 2014
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Hello my lovely support group: I wanted to give up update. Last week, managed to crank out 4 secondaries.

This week, I'm faltering behind and haven't managed any. Re-reading all the advice here.
A word of wisdom. Doing secondaries is nothing compared to med school requirements, even if you are working 80hrs a week. You will have days where you study while you eat, walk, and even go to the bathroom and you'll be lucky to get 4hrs sleep. So you must master time management and efficiency or med school is going to kill you.