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Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by nyanko, Jun 2, 2008.
removing stats from here.
Thank you! I commend you, as that is really personal info. I know that at least one person has benefited from you sharing this--me!
Good luck with whatever your future endeavors may include!
Thanks for writing this up! Your app sounds a little like mine, except I'm a few years younger and only have one degree (in biology.) I think lack of focus was a big problem of mine, too. I'm hoping that, after working my butt off this year to boost my application and focus my interests, I'll finally get in.
Yay Nyanko, thanks for posting! As always, good luck, and I'll be applying along with you in 2009. Here's hoping!
I struggled with whether to put this into my application or not, and ended up not doing so in the end, but last year towards the very end of my second BS I was diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type, by a therapist
Hey, you're not alone. I am also ADHD, inattentive type, combined with bipolar, and have been on and off many different medications for the past few years. It definitely makes it that much harder - "post-mortem" or not, CONGRATULATIONS on all of your work. ADHD is unforunately overdiagnosed and taken as a joke nowadays - people don't fully understand the impact it can have on your adult life - kudos to your stamina and drive.
I had to do the same thing but in a different way - the first year I was diagnosed was my senior year of undergrad. I had gotten into vet school but, in my last semester, my grades (which had been steadily falling throughout my junior year) absolutely TANKED (I am talking Cs and Ds). I was terrified they would revoke my acceptance, so I wrote a letter explaining the recent diagnosis (diagnoses, actually) and the ups and downs of the initial search to find a proper medication, how my part time jobs were making it worse....but also my plan for how to manage it in the future. There is NO shame in including this, it isn't a feel-sorry-for-me move - by all means, it is definitely a hardship - you should be very proud that you have come this far and try not to feel ashamed to talk about it. It feels weird at first, I know - I used to hate even hinting at it. But it is important for people to know where you're coming from.
Best of luck in all of your career path ideas!!
I'm glad that posting this was able to help at least one person, rachroo. That's what I'm here for, at least for the next year, then it's back to being here to obsessively stalk the every move of admissions committees again.
And WhtsThFrequency, you are absolutely awesome. Thanks for responding, I was really concerned about putting that part out there because of the stigma surrounding the disorder, and it does make me feel a lot better to know that I'm not alone. In my first degree, I screwed up my entire first 2 years and could only recover it to a 3.0 by graduation, with mild effort. In my second BS I tried to focus a lot more, but I found that even when I tried really hard, I just couldn't study the same as everyone else. I would understand things in class before most other people and when I studied WITH other people I'd always be the one explaining things to them, but when it came down to it I still felt like my grades were not matching my potential and there was not a thing I could do about it. I was in a lot of danger of not finishing my thesis because I just couldn't focus on it, no matter how interested I was in the work and no matter how important it was. That's when I decided to see the therapist. I didn't want to admit it either, but it was almost too easy of a diagnosis for them, given my history and presenting problems. I'm glad I went, though, because the things they taught me there helped me so much and made me understand what I was doing wrong and how to fix it, and I feel that I have a much better grasp now.
Honestly, I didn't even tell my boyfriend about it, and still haven't, and we live together. That's how hard it is for me to actually talk about it. But I did tell him that I'm going to a psychiatrist here soon, though I've really only hinted as to why, so maybe after that I'll actually have the guts to say something about it. I mean, now that I've talked about it here on the Internet, it's public domain, right?
I've got ADHD as well. I am both inattentive and hyperactive. I made it through undergrad without meds by constantly overextending myself to get enough stimulation to focus, but found I really need help focusing on the amount of info being thrown at me in vet school. I take a relatively low dose of adderall, and it makes a difference. It's also helped calm me down a bit so I don't blurt out everything that comes into to my head.
I didn't think it was helping until I stopped taking it. It was then that I realized how much better I was at focusing on the meds. I don't take it on weekends. I tried taking a break altogether over the summer, but found myself unable to get out of sloth mode until I tried a small, once a day dose. Now I can actually be productive.
It sucks that my brain needs help with focus, but it does. I just accept it and try to remind myself I wouldn't think of reading without glasses, just to prove I can "make" my eyes focus, so why punish my brain for being in need of help focusing, you know?
Best of luck with your research in the upcoming year!
I just accept it and try to remind myself I wouldn't think of reading without glasses, just to prove I can "make" my eyes focus, so why punish my brain for being in need of help focusing, you know?
Exactly. At it's very core, without the add-ons and frills of the "nurture" aspect of mental disorders, it is a chemical, medical disorder. Like diabetes and insulin, like myopathy and Ach. The dopamine/serotonin/GABA, what-have-you receptors and molecules just aren't working right.
If I say I am bipolar, people inwardly gasp (oh...the b word!!)
But if I were to say "I have reductions of N-acetyl aspartate and impaired function in my frontal cortex"...well, that's just a medical disorder, now ain't it!
I think that's a brilliant comparison.
Nyanko, great post. Congrats on having the courage to post not only your post-mortem stuff here, but also your personal history. It's always scary to open up, but I really believe that generally no one judges you as harshly as you judge yourself. We all think you're great. Also, I think you sound like you have a great plan and cannot imagine adcoms saying your experiences "lack focus" once you've executed the plan.
And on the personal stuff, sheesh... all I can think about is how hard this path is that we're all on. And it just impresses the heck out of me what you guys are achieving despite having an extra set of hurdles to deal with. If someone isn't impressed by that, well they're ridiculous!
I just wanted to say to all those who are overcoming ADHD and other mental disorders, Thank you for sharing your story. I myself do not have those, but my oldest child was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD when he was 5 and has recently been rediagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome with combined ADD. I have been so worried thinking about whether he will ever harness his potential. He is already expressing an interest in vet medicine. I want to be supportive, but my heart just breaks thinking about what he's setting himself up for. We havent found the "right" combination of meds which compounds my "worrysome" mothering instincts. Thanks for helping me see that there is hope and he is not alone in the world.
Thanks for posting. I am sure you are helping more people than you realize as some won't even reply to your post. I really appreicate it (from one Golden UCF Knight to another! )
I think too I may not be doing enough in my personal statement. I know that is what it is called for a reason, but I feel for the past two years I too may have not made it personal enough. I felt like that any struggles I listed would come across like whining and making excuses too. But they more people I talk to, the more personal the better apparently (to a logical point).
Round 3 for me starts tomorrow. Here we go again. Maybe c/o 2013 will be lucky for me??
Thank you so much for posting, Nyanko.
I'm sure the adcomms would not have seen it as a weakness. It would have been an opportunity to show that you realized that there was something happening, and you've been working to make improvements. To be able to own up to a situation and say that you're trying to work it out, would seem stronger to me.
LVT2DVM? What's the deal, here? I have a daughter with Aspergers and comorbid ADD. We're still working on the med combinations as well.
You all are the best, though of course I already knew that or I wouldn't have even thought about posting this here. That's a really good way of putting it, critterfixer. The reason that I am going to start seeing a psych here is so that I can talk to them about possibly starting some kind of medication regimen this summer, before I even start graduate study, because I have a feeling it'll be a little overwhelming for me as well and I need to give myself the best possible chance to excel.
LVT2DVM and Truth, I can't imagine having to deal with something such as Asperger's as well. I know a few people on the autistic spectrum and to add the social and spatial difficulties of that on top of being unable to reign in their mind correctly, it must be very hard for them! I'm glad that you're both so supportive, and at least with starting young you should be able to work out a regimen of medication that will allow them to get the right start instead of having to dig themselves out later, cause believe me that is not fun!
Also yay philo! I loved UCF, seriously. I met so many awesome people there and am SO glad that I followed a dying relationship down to Orlando and ended up there. Everything happens for a reason.
O thats just too scary..and yet its a small world isnt it. Makes you stop and think...Im not alone in this nut (excuse the pun) house...cause there's probably someone else with a similiar story. Just curious.. do you get people who tell you you look or remind them of someone they know. I get that ALL the time.
We'll have to compare notes on the med cocktails someday, were seeing a another specialist in July..I hate the waiting..It takes forever just to get appointments. When clients at work start complaining about having to wait 3 days to see the internist or surgeon, I just wanna slap them and say "it took my son 4 MONTHS to get an appt." But shes suppose to be the "best" so what are you gonna do? Between vet school applications and doctors, Ive resigned myself to the fact that life is just a series of waiting your turn.
No way! People say I look like somebody else all of the time. Now, if you have strange people yell at you for lying, when you tell them you're not who they think you are, I'm gonna freak.
I feel you with the waiting. It took me two years to get my daughter into the school she'll be starting in the fall. I had to meet certain "requirements" to get there. I had to fight to get her placed where she needs to go. "She gets such good grades, but we can't abide by the behavior, Mrs. Truth" It's called perserveration. It's what she does when she's nervous.
I'll be taking my girl in to the psychiatrist on Friday to evaluate the current combo, and assess if there needs to be a 'specialists' meeting in August before she goes to the new school. Talk about torture. This waiting on applications was cake compared to waiting to talk to somebody that actually knows something about my child.
Wow. I sounded angry there. I'm not really. Just frustrated.
Nyanko - I commend you for being so honest in an attempt to educate/advise the rest of us. Obviously, there are a lot of ADHD-ers out there. I have a similar conundrum in that I have a couple of physical handicaps. They've definitely been a challenge I've faced...but I can't really discuss them when it comes to vet school applications, for fear of them ruining my chances. It's occurred to me that they were the reasons I didn't make it beyond interviews. Last year, though, I worked with a one-armed relief vet and I asked her whether she would mention her handicap if she were to apply today, and she said that absolutely she would, since it IS a disadvantage that she has to contend with every day, and that she believes she is still a good vet.
Hmmm...it's a tough nut to crack.
I agree...it's a fine line between writing too much or not saying enough when it come to your personal statment. But I think the trick is too mention it without making it sound like an excuse (not saying you are, medical conditions are a huge deal after all!).
My PS got really good scores both apps (but I'm still on the waitlists, sigh). This app, I mentioned a surgery I underwent to explain various things (lowered my GPA that year for one), but turned it around to say how it made me stronger, yada yada. Just a thought.
Sounds like you got some good advice from them, Nyanko. I'll bet the research you do will make a huge difference when you apply again.
I think it's absolutely fine to mention personal issues in your application IF they had a significant impact on your path to vet med (lower grades, life lesson, etc.) AND IF you can show a positive end from it (more diligent, able to ask for help when needed, etc.) Otherwise it could sound like self-pity instead of self-actualization.
I've also been struggling on whether or not to add personal stresses to my personal statement. It does explain some of my lower grades in undergrad. My issues are not physical, however - more like my family going bankrupt, me being on my own with finances/tuition, working three jobs, being panicked that I had to graduate ASAP so I could get a full time job, being in an abusive relationship, no support from people around me, etc. It does sound like whining when I type it, even here. So I'm not sure what to do.
My tips for hardship explanation statement. (And if anyone would like to read mine, I'm glad to PM it to you, but I don't want to post it here.)
Relate it to veterinary medicine, focusing on what you can do, not your limitations.
Show what you've learned.
End on a positive note.
That's my best advice. It's another chance to show who you are and what you CAN do.
Well, yes the way it's written here may sound like whining, but that's the PS twist. You write it so it sounds impressive (and I think these are very valid facts to include). For example, working 3 jobs shows you can handle the vet program workload, family (immediate or more general?) going bankrupt - explain how you helped, what you did to get through it, how it made you stronger, etc.
I probably wouldn't include the need to get a full time job ASAP, after all vet school is 4 years and you don't want to sound like you just want to rush through it to make money.
The abusive relationship is difficult to say whether to include. My only suggestion would be to really sit down and think whether the ordeal made you a stronger applicant (not a stronger individual mind you, because that's almost certain). Good luck with whatever you decide
FWIW, I don't think it sounds like whining here. The issues you're talking about are very significant and I would guess that not many people experience hardships like those. I think you should include them (if you feel comfortable doing so) and agree it's all in how you present it. What pressmom said is great advice...you have to show what you've learned from these things. Learning is key.
Thanks! I am working on a rough draft now; some of the hardships have been included but I left others out. I'd like to get some proofreaders when I'm done with it.
Just bumping this so I don't post a new thread about this. It's moved from 90% to 100% on me starting the MS degree. I'm starting in the Fall in the Animal Biology MS program and doing some really cool research in Leslie Lyons' lab. I do have a bit of a funny story though about my application.
So 2 Mondays ago I (finally!) got the mostly-official notice that I was accepted (from Leslie, not the grad studies office yet) and I was pretty excited. I didn't think to check the online application status thing until later that night. When I finally checked it, there was a rejection letter there that stated that the Statistics admission committee reviewed my application and I was not accepted (riight..) and to contact the Physics graduate group with any questions (even their mistakes have mistakes!). So the next day I called and got it ironed out, got my actual acceptance letter and then I couldn't click on the link to fill out my Statement of Intent to Register, it told me I didn't have access. So I called the woman in grad studies, who activated it for me. Come Friday, I start getting emails from the vetmed-2012 email list and the year 1 vet students email list (!). I thought it was a little odd, but it's just an email list so I didn't think much of it. I'm on other SVM email lists (I'm a staff member here) so whatever. Then I went on sisweb (registration site) to check everything out. I couldn't register for courses from the Animal Bio group, somehow, and the research hours I registered for said Vet. Med. under "type." I found out how to check my status, and it had me under School of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Medicine program. Oi! So I called the SVM admissions office and made them fix it, because obviously grad studies is not too bright or capable during the summer. Anyway, this is the story of how I was a member of your class for a week, UCD class of 2012.
Oh, and I may be in a couple of classes with you guys this year anyway. Genetics, for one.
Yay! Congratulations and see you in about a month and a half!
Whew, what a pain that all sounds like!
We totally have to figure out a way to ID each other and introduce ourselves. Can't wait to meet you!! Congrats on the MS program!