Failure secondary essay topic

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.
9

907914

I have two potential options for a failure essay, one is personal and another is professional. The personal one has been my ‘adversity’ topic as well, but it is also a form of failure so I would greatly appreciate some feedback!

Personal: I was a full-time student, Full-time employee, undergoing promotion within the Army reserves, had been married just over a year, and my daughter was only two months old. The failure portion was failing to recognize the strain my absence placed on my wife and the personal loss knowing I couldn’t get that time back.

Professional: I was the student platoon leader in my clinical rotations and was in charge of ensuring my soldiers were where they needed to be, passed their fitness tests etc. We had one soldier who was consistently...unsoldierly? And I, as his leader, needed to personally engage with him to ensure his success. However, after months of working with him he never improved in his soldiering abilities and I made the recommendation for him to receive remedial training. However, big army took this to mean it was time for him to be kicked out of the military. He lost all of his pay, benefits, etc. and I feel as though I failed as his leader.

Thoughts?

Members don't see this ad.
 
I'd say #2, if you can show how you grew as a leader after the experience. #1 is also compelling, but what did you gain from the experience of lost time?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
but what did you gain from the experience of lost time?
I guess I have gained a greater sense of my priorities, coping mechanisms, and time management. Although, those lessons learned kind of add a soft ending to a big event for me. Maybe number one would be better as staying an adversity topic?
 
Members don't see this ad :)
Wouldn’t really do #1 because you’ll be around a lot less as a medical student/doctor too
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 6 users
Agreed- a compelling story, but better fit for adversity imo

Ciestar makes a good point also. Better to frame #1 as a challenge that will enable you to handle med school + future time constraints better
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Agreed- a compelling story, but better fit for adversity imo

Ciestar makes a good point also. Better to frame #1 as a challenge that will enable you to handle med school + future time constraints better

I agree.

Not being around enough is mostly why my husband and I don’t have kids yet. I am 28, so, it has been discussed a lot.

You don’t want a secondary to come off as regretful you weren’t around more, as you’ll have to sacrifice family time in med school and especially residency.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
If this school asks for both a "failure" and "adversity" essay, then obviously don't use the same topic for both.

Otherwise, I'd prefer #1 as long as you can provide examples of how you've addressed this deficiency, and how you plan on tackling this obvious problem in medical school and beyond. #1 strikes a chord with me, and shows introspection and emotional maturity. In medical school, you will often hear that medicine is like air in a room. It will take up as much space as you give it, so it is important to always deliberately make time for other aspects of our life that are important. Many trainees in medicine still have not mastered this, and quite frankly, neither have I. Just my thoughts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
If this school asks for both a "failure" and "adversity" essay, then obviously don't use the same topic for both.

Otherwise, I'd prefer #1 as long as you can provide examples of how you've addressed this deficiency, and how you plan on tackling this obvious problem in medical school and beyond. #1 strikes a chord with me, and shows introspection and emotional maturity. In medical school, you will often hear that medicine is like air in a room. It will take up as much space as you give it, so it is important to always deliberately make time for other aspects of our life that are important. Many trainees in medicine still have not mastered this, and quite frankly, neither have I. Just my thoughts.
Literally just read the next prompt in this secondary I am writing and, after the failure essay, is “anything else? Many students use this to describe unique experiences and obstacles....”

Thank you for the feedback. I have written about #1 as my adversity essay and will ensure I am framing it in that manner.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
If this school asks for both a "failure" and "adversity" essay, then obviously don't use the same topic for both.

Otherwise, I'd prefer #1 as long as you can provide examples of how you've addressed this deficiency, and how you plan on tackling this obvious problem in medical school and beyond. #1 strikes a chord with me, and shows introspection and emotional maturity. In medical school, you will often hear that medicine is like air in a room. It will take up as much space as you give it, so it is important to always deliberately make time for other aspects of our life that are important. Many trainees in medicine still have not mastered this, and quite frankly, neither have I. Just my thoughts.

Probably not the best course of action, but, I prioritized my marriage over studying many times. It led me down the path that I am on now. I loved OB, but, the lifestyle and hearing many regrets some OB’s have about availability with their families, I just couldn’t do it.

But you’re right. You need a life outside of medicine and you have to be able to make time for what is important to you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
prioritized my marriage over studying many times
For what it's worth, I think you made the right call.
In my adversity essays thus far, I have made an indication that my family is my biggest priority (That was the lesson I learned after spending 75+ hours a week in absence from my family).

How do I word that in such a way to make it come off not as tounge-in-cheek? Like, I don't want some ADCOM thinking I need to put my education first and foremost all the time. Obviously, I got a 521 MCAT and maintained a 3.99 for the last two years while working part time and drilling with the reserves until this last december and still going hiking, camping, to the pool, etc. family time... so it is clear I have learned how to balance work/school life with family time...But how do I convey that without sounding like I would disregard my medical school responsibilities?
 
In my adversity essays thus far, I have made an indication that my family is my biggest priority (That was the lesson I learned after spending 75+ hours a week in absence from my family).

How do I word that in such a way to make it come off not as tounge-in-cheek? Like, I don't want some ADCOM thinking I need to put my education first and foremost all the time. Obviously, I got a 521 MCAT and maintained a 3.99 for the last two years while working part time and drilling with the reserves until this last december and still going hiking, camping, to the pool, etc. family time... so it is clear I have learned how to balance work/school life with family time...But how do I convey that without sounding like I would disregard my medical school responsibilities?
Exactly as you did. You learned from your mistake, developed better time-management strategies, and are now prioritizing both your personal life and academics equally using the examples that you've laid out. Insert something about recognizing the challenge that you will face in medical school and beyond, and that both you and your family are committed to making it work. No one will doubt your commitment to medicine. Most faculty members are married and undergo similar struggles.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
Exactly as you did. You learned from your mistake, developed better time-management strategies, and are now prioritizing both your personal life and academics equally using the examples that you've laid out. Insert something about recognizing the challenge that you will face in medical school and beyond, and that both you and your family are committed to making it work. No one will doubt your commitment to medicine. Most faculty members are married and undergo similar struggles.
I am going to be honest in my secondaries about this, thank you for the feedback. Do you think this will be detrimental at all towards interview invites or the like? I have also had the advice of only mention family if you have to but I want to be as honest with my plans and goals as I can.

If not detrimental towards interview invites and it is addressed interviews (Gonna steal your words here from a couple weeks ago @LizzyM) would an answer along the lines of “I give my all to my academics, but my daughter needs her daddy around as much as he can” swing in my direction?
 
I am going to be honest in my secondaries about this, thank you for the feedback. Do you think this will be detrimental at all towards interview invites or the like? I have also had the advice of only mention family if you have to but I want to be as honest with my plans and goals as I can.

If not detrimental towards interview invites and it is addressed interviews (Gonna steal your words here from a couple weeks ago @LizzyM) would an answer along the lines of “I give my all to my academics, but my daughter needs her daddy around as much as he can” swing in my direction?

I actually think it would be inappropriate for them to directly ask about family, etc. in an interview, but it’s fine to bring it up when relevant. Just don’t give anyone the impression you can’t handle the time commitment for medical school and residency.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
I actually think it would be inappropriate for them to directly ask about family, etc. in an interview, but it’s fine to bring it up when relevant. Just don’t give anyone the impression you can’t handle the time commitment for medical school and residency.
Inappropriate, maybe, but I have heard that “If it is in the application it is free game.” I just hope I have demonstrated my ability through my primary application and clarification in the secondary to make my case.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Top