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How personal is too personal.. statement?

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JennaQ

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I used to be a psychopath and killed other people whenever I got bored with my life. I would lure my victims down to the basement, and then I would knock them out. Then I would pull out my "surgeon's tools" which consisted of knives, scalpels, and hot ironing rods to show my handiness to the public. Do you think that I should involve this in my personal statement? Would doctors admire my previous experience?

In all seriousness, all I can see is this hurting you. Re-explain your philosophy without including the part about self-harm. You don't need to always explain the origin of all your beliefs. But if this is something life changing, then I would encourage that you tweak the truth at your own digression. I don't see how doctors would take someone who inflected self-harm on themselves as a good candidate. Perhaps I'm in the wrong mindset. Perhaps I'm not a doctor.
 

qmcat

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I used to be a psychopath and killed other people whenever I got bored with my life. I would lure my victims down to the basement, and then I would knock them out. Then I would pull out my "surgeon's tools" which consisted of knives, scalpels, and hot ironing rods to show my handiness to the public. Do you think that I should involve this in my personal statement? Would doctors admire my previous experience?

In all seriousness, all I can see is this hurting you. Re-explain your philosophy without including the part about self-harm. You don't need to always explain the origin of all your beliefs. But if this is something life changing, then I would encourage that you tweak the truth at your own digression. I don't see how doctors would take someone who inflected self-harm on themselves as a good candidate. Perhaps I'm in the wrong mindset. Perhaps I'm not a doctor.

Marry me, please. :love:
 

BlueElmo

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Maybe it's just me, but if you can write a great one, I think you should include your entire and whole experience without diluting any of it. Since it was such a significant part of your life and EC activity.
 

RedState

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Write about "a profound family experience." I would not personalize the story because -if you are talking about cutting -schools will be thinking about liability even if they like you.
 

aznb0y129

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Maybe it's just me, but if you can write a great one, I think you should include your entire and whole experience without diluting any of it. Since it was such a significant part of your life and EC activity.

Agreed. I guess it all depends on how the final product turns out. If you do it right, it can really set you apart but I would tread lightly with it; otherwise, you run the risk of sounding cheesy and/or a liability.
 

CielloStelatto

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Personally, I feel that it *shouldn't* be an issue, but there is always the possibility that adcoms wouldn't be exactly thrilled. Sometimes people inadvertently look down on people in that sort of situation, and sometimes they don't even notice it. All I am saying is to be careful - not that you can't be open about your history and how it has changed who you are.

Would there be a way you can mention it very briefly and subtly but move on to how it has changed you? I agree with the previous comment that they don't always need to know the "why" about your feelings/motivation. That way, if someone/adcom is sincerely curious and it seems ok, then by all means, go more in depth... not sure if that helped or not.
 

student1799

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Do you think it's wise to mention a history of self-harm in my past, however brief (and it was in the early high school years.. I have since stopped completely), or better to just leave it out (even though it's been a significant part of why I want to go into medicine)?

Do yourself a favor, and PLEASE don't write about this. I understand that this was an important experience for you and that you grew from it, but you don't want to give adcoms an excuse to write you off as mentally unstable. Even if you say you've recovered, they will wonder if the extreme stress of medical school will cause you to relapse, and they won't want to take a chance on you.

I would write instead about the interests that this experience developed in you. So if you are interested in mental health issues in general, or in helping teenage girls avoid self-harm, you can write about that. As an explanation for why you care about these issues, you can merely say that a "close relative" had a similar illness, and that their experience made a deep impression on you. (Since you are as closely related to yourself as anyone can possibly be, this is not, technically speaking, a lie.)

Besides, the experience you cite happened in high school, and med schools generally don't want to hear about high school experiences in your PS. The focus of the PS should be why you want to be a doctor, and the clinical experiences you have had during your college years in order to test, and hopefully strengthen, that conviction.
 

kernel

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redsquareblack

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Leave it out, or at least don't make it a story about you.

It could be a very moving PS, written well, but the problem is that if I were a member of an adcom, I wouldn't see you as a potential student, but rather a potential liability.

Just my 2.
 

sarahl86

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I would hope that AdComs would have more sense than most people reading this thread, but for those who don't know, cutting is not suicidal behavior, therefore the primary liability here would be that obviously you have issues with depression. Welcome to the club. Most people deal with it in medical school and residency anyway but you don't want to highlight the fact that you already have a proclivity towards depression.

Its good that you have managed to turn that around into something positive. However, there are obviously many misconceptions about your past behavior and for that reason it would be best to avoid it. I agree completely in that you should discuss your interest in mental health issues and what you have done to learn more about it through your extracurricular activities. I don't think you need to lie (or fib or exaggerate) and say it was a family member who inspired you to learn more about it, but a personal curiosity that you pursued and loved. If they want more of an explanation, they'll ask you in an interview. Just say you learned from this experience and know that you want to work in mental health. Period.
 
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flip26

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Don't write about this.

It is personal, privileged info, and nobody's business, particularly not some faceless adcom who is evaluating your preparedness and suitability for an extremely stressful educational experience and career.

If it is your sole motivation for going to med school and becoming a physician, you are in trouble in more ways than one...
 

Kaya12

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Don't do it. They really do everything by a weeding out process, and they will pick up on ANYTHING they can. Sucks, but its how it works :(
 
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