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i feel like i'm exploiting tragedy for admissions

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jhk43, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. jhk43

    jhk43 Senior Member
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    i'm brainstorming for my personal statement. there are certain events thats happened in my life that have pushed me to pursue medicine. however i cant avoid the feeling that by talking about them in my PS, interviews etc, its pretty tactless, shameless. I feel like I'm exploiting a personal tragedy just to get into med school. Quite honestly, i probably wont want to talk about them in interviews either. On the other hand, its a fairly significant reason why i want to pursue medicine.

    Is there a balance between exploitation and sharing a true insight into your desire to become a doc?
     
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  3. Jumpu

    Jumpu Tiger Mom/Physiatrist
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    I had a very similar problem with my personal statement when it came to applying. In the end, I decided against making any mention of it, either on paper or in person. And in the end it worked out for me and I was accepted without ever having to divulge my personal tragedy.

    I feel I made the right choice and it helps that I didn't need it anyway, but I don't think anyone can make that decision for you. You are going to have to decide if mentioning it will weigh too heavy on your conscience. If it does, then rest assured know that there are many more ways than one to make your desire for being in medicine known.

    Hope that helps. :)
     
  4. freshity

    freshity Senior Member
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    to simplify it greatly: at least it's your tragedy, and not you exploiting someone else's tragedy to win sympathy.

    but in terms of winning sympathy (and whether that's in fact what you'll be doing--or else, why would you care?): just make sure you write a good, compelling statement. it doesn't matter too much what your influences/reasons are. if they are well-written out and follow a somewhat logical progression that makes sense to the reader, then it really doesn't matter too much. it's your life and experiences--just tell the truth and do it well. you can't go wrong.
     
  5. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    why you feel as tho you are exploiting?

    if its a significant experience that helped point you to the direction of medicine...then i hope you put that in. that is the point of the personal statement right? To know why we ended up deciding to get into the field of medicine right?

    its sad that you feel the need to hide this or feel you are cheating the system when you are not. a tragic experience doesnt equal an admissions into med school by the way. you would be foolish to think otherwise.

    be honest and truthful in your ps. you arent embellishing anything or writing anything that did not happen. so dont overanalyze the issue.
     
  6. Kalel

    Kalel Membership Revoked
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    I'd call it sharing your experience or explaining why you are the way that you are more then I'd call it exploiting. If it makes you uncomfortable though, you may just want to keep the experience to yourself. Not everyone who gets into med school has written a sad or touching story for their PS; I'm certain that there are other aspects about yourself that you can talk about that do not revolve around this upsetting experience.
     
  7. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life
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    If you're not going to be willing to talk more in-depth about your personal tragedy after mentioning it in your PS, I'd suggest not writing about it at all (in your PS nor in secondaries). In my PS I described an experience I had in Ecuador while researching music and shamanism and how it heavily influenced my decision to pursue medicine. With the exception of one interview, I was always questioned more in-depth about issues I discussed in my PS. So if you do decide to write about your tragedy, be ready to discuss it at length in interviews.

    With regards to your second question about striking a balance between exploitation and sharing a true insight, I definitely think that it is possible, though difficult. When I wrote about the people I worked with, I was extra careful in my language and wording to make sure that I didn't come across as an ethnocentric, Western, do-gooder and more as an open-minded, modest person interested in learning about cultures different form my own (which I am). The key is to be honest and place your experience in its appropriate context; not to overblow it and make yourself seem like a saint for surviving it. I'd be more than willing to read a rough draft of your PS if it'll help at all.
     
  8. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    Tragedy played a role in my decision to pursue a career in medicine, so it did not make sense for me to ignore it in my personal statement. I only addressed it briefly in the beginning and was careful not to sound too whiny or anything.

    I only think it came up in two interviews, and one of the instances was just the interviewer commenting that I had a very powerful opening to my essay. I think my essay made it clear how tragedy affected my decision to enter medicine, so there was little need to discuss it further.

    You shouldn't feel like you are exploiting a situation just because you want to discuss how it affected you. If it is an important part of how you realized you want to become a doctor, it may be an important thing for med schools to know. You don't have to focus on it, and you don't even have to mention it, but if you feel like you should be mentioning it, don't let awkward feelings of exploitation keep you from doing so. Just treat the subject tactfully and honestly.
     
  9. Deuteronomy

    Deuteronomy Member
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    actually, the OP is right in his/her feelings. Many adcom members have been quoted to say that they don't care for the "my Mom died" stories in the PS. They feel that the PS is not the appropriate place for it and feel "manipulated" when they do see it in the PS.
     
  10. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    I have definitely heard this as well. I think the key is in how you handle it, and SachinG explains it well.

    One of the main things the OP should be concerned with is using the incident as a springboard for discussion of how the incident influenced her decision to go into medicine, followed by how other experiences and activities have strengthened that resolve, showed that she can handle a medical career, and so forth. The wrong thing to do would be to dwell on an incident and make the personal statement come across as "this horrible thing happened to me so you should feel sorry for me and let me in."
     

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