General How should I write about my Institutional Action?

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Dec 31, 1999
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Quite literally my first weekend as an undergraduate I received an institutional action (IA). I was invited to hang out with some people I had met at orientation. People I had only spent a few hours with but seemed like friendly, trustworthy people.The dorm was suite-style so each suite had separate individual rooms. When I got to the suite it was pretty quiet with a few people I knew in one room with the door closed. I had not met the other people that lived in the suite. It seemed like they had people over in another room with their door closed as well.

Call it ignorance or maybe I was just too naive but I was not aware that in the other room people were smoking marijuana. After an hour campus security was at the door and took down everyone's information and said we would be written up. I had a meeting with the director of my dorm where we reviewed the incident and what my IA would be. They told me that although security had found no marijuana in the room, the smell and trace evidence left behind was enough to be written up for "being in the presence of marijuana." Despite pleading my case and trying to explain that I wasn't in the room where people were smoking, the director wouldn't budge and said there was no way to prove my story.

How do I to go about framing something like this? Is this a situation where less details are better?

Just for the record, I marvel at how many institutional actions (IA) are handed-out nowadays. That said, let's get to your question:

Medical schools understand that students learn from their mistakes. Schools are looking for patterns of misconduct and are less interested in a one-time blip (especially something as minor as your event).

So, it's important to be fully transparent about the event and keep it matter-of-fact. I don't think you need to add much beyond the description of what happened. Don't editorialize or put blame on the dorm director or school. Here's advice from Marquette pre-health advising: Institutional Action // Center for Pre-health Advising // Marquette University

Reasonable people will think this is a nothing-burger. As long as you have a good GPA and MCAT scores, I think you're going to do just fine. Good luck with your applications!
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