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i'm scared =(

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Dulcina, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Dulcina

    Dulcina =)
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    I'm scared!! It's mid june, and all those crazy motivated peeps submitted half a month ago. I have a really crappy draft of my PS, but its 1400 characters too long and pretty darn shisty. I sit down to try to work on it every night, but it doesnt seem to get any better.. just gets... different.... then i give up for the night, and rinse and repeat the next day. It's been about a week of this.

    Any good advice for medical-related-self-reflection, or what did others do to get over writers/editor's block?
     
  2. Maxwell Edison

    Maxwell Edison Majoring In Medicine
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    I was an English major in my undergrad. years, and here's a few things that break writer's block:

    1) Don't listen to music / watch TV when brainstorming. The reasons are obvious.
    2) Try writing at various times throughout the day. If you're trying to write your personal statement now (its 2.13 where I am) you don't have a clear head, and your thoughts won't flow.
    3) Stop getting tangled in specifics. Try to remember your fundamental message, and try to hit on the points that really get to that.
    4) The time honored solution of many great writers: time-honored solutions. In other words, have a drink. Just a glass of whiskey/beer/sex on the beach or whatever gets your goat. It helps.
     
  3. Chuckwalla

    Chuckwalla Junior Member
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    How can you be scared with a 3.88 Overall, 4.00 BCPM, and 39 MCAT? I would really like to understand that.
     
  4. bigDee

    bigDee Junior Member
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    Jealous much?
     
  5. WinterLights

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    Because she is competing with the best of the best. And she feels that the best of the best are ahead of her thus far.
     
  6. Chuckwalla

    Chuckwalla Junior Member
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    No, actually. It just does not make sense that someone who is in a better position than 99% percent of us is telling us how she is scared. It shows a complete lack of perspective and empathy.
     
  7. Lack of the former more than the latter, in my opinion.

    OP, if you're being serious, just keep chipping away at it. I'm one of those half-month-early folks to which you're referring, but I also likely will not have the MCAT that you do, so... yeah, that's that. But just keep chipping away at the PS. It'll fall into place. Mine went through a half-dozen significant revisions before I figured it was, uh, "good enough."
     
  8. Textuality

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    Things I did to help brainstorm:

    Tried to think of the 3 strongest, most defining traits/ideals about me as a candidate that I wanted to get across to the adcom. And then trying to find a creative way to do so through my experiences.

    Brainstormed out loud with a friend: it helps to bounce ideas off somebody close to you, it's more relaxed, and conversational which helps unclog the brain, and you can come away with some solid ideas.

    Read some other people's PS's : just to get a view of how different people approached the task, there's quite a range out there.

    I actually like to listen to music when I get stuck, just nothing with lyrics because it gets stuck in my head. Just something to start to get me in a musing state of mind. But that might just be me.



    Seriously though, you're fine. I didn't get complete at schools until mid September, and things turned out just fine, and I definitely didn't have a 39 MCAT, haha. Take your time to make the PS solid, it's going to be representing you during many adcom meetings, so it's important that you stand behind it and that you're happy with it (in my opinion anyway) since it'll probably also come up a decent amount at interviews.
     
  9. MILK07

    MILK07 Silence, I kill you!!
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    I was having a lot of trouble getting my ideas out clearly when I was writing my PS. One night I came home from the bar after a *few* drinks and felt very inspired. I wrote my PS, and edited it the next day to fix spelling, etc. But all the ideas I wanted to get across were in my PS. Just some friendly advice! :D
     
  10. pianola

    pianola MS2
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    It kind of depends on where/how you're stuck, you know?

    What sort of 1400 characters do you have? Presumably there are things you'd like to keep...

    Personally, I started my PS over from scratch 3 times. Each time, I thought I had *something* great and was reluctant to start over. I literally have 3 complete versions of a PS and I'm in the process of editing the third (which will be my last).

    It's not so bad to start from scratch. Then you don't feel as bound by what you wrote before. It's liberating (if time consuming). My third version is undoubtedly the best, (even though, at the TIME, I didn't think I could do any better than my first draft.)
     
  11. cleothecat

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    Just try to tell a story about who you are, what you have done, and what you woish to achieve in the future.

    And write it as if you arte telling the story to a somewhat literate high school student.

    Keep in simple.
     
  12. ACSurgeon

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    I would recommend emailing your PS to a medical student/ peer/ advisor...etc and get input as to what a good direction is. I am currently helping a few premeds, and my help is basically to tell them what I (a soon to be 2nd year med student) thinks are good/bad points in their essay. That should help you refine your ideas and keeping the more solid ones and doing away with the poor ones. Writing an outline if your ideas might not be such a bad idea either. If you truse SDN/SDNers enough, you can feel free to PM me your PS and I'll be happy to give you input. With your reported stats, it would be a shame to not get in because of a late application or sh!ty PS. cheers.
     
  13. Maxwell Edison

    Maxwell Edison Majoring In Medicine
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    I would also add that if you need to drop characters, then you're probably including unnecessary info. That's the help an editor provides, though. Otherwise, if you need to trim fat, seek and destroy adjectives and adverbs for a start.
     
  14. Didmybest

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    Relax, alot of the people on this forum are spastic and act like they've been EMT since they were 3. Get it in before mid august or so and you're fine. I didnt end up finishing all my secondaries until late september and I still got into a top school. There are way too many uptight nut cases on here, don't let them get to you.

    edit: Forgot to mention your Mcat's better than mine too lol.
     
  15. Wombat Jones

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    Last summer, I was in a similar situation. My app was complete, except for my PS, in mid-June. I spent about four weeks writing and re-writing on a daily basis, yet I still didn't have a decent PS. I finally ended up taking about a week off. I mean I dropped it completely. Didn't look at it once. Although the delay meant submitting a few days later, at least I was satisfied with the statement I submitted.

    Maybe you should walk away from that PS for a few days and come back with fresh perspective. Five or six days isn't going to destroy your application, especially this early in the process. I didn't submit until early August.
     
  16. Alfred E Newman

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    If you're scared of a personal statement, how will you stack up against the Harvard and Johns Hopkins crowd in an interview setting? There is nothing to be "scared" of here. Write your personal statement and get it done already...you're lagging in the back of the pack in Harvard/Hopkins rat race.
     
  17. Dulcina

    Dulcina =)
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    thank you to everyone with the helpful advice. I think I'm going to sit at a coffee shop (with a beer maybe?! lol) and sit and think about what I'm generally trying to say. I'll let you guys know how it goes =)

    On another note.. I didnt think that this thread would cause so much conflict!! I'm not scared about not getting into school, per se, but I'm scared about writing my personal statement in a timely fashion, timely enough to not hurt my chances anywhere. I'm sort of offended that these feelings would imply to others a lack of empathy, but I guess that's your right to hold that opinion.
     
  18. WellWornLad

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    I submitted my Harvard secondary app on the last day (hour?) it was due. I wasn't going to originally as I didn't want to waste the money, but I figured what the hey and did it. Got an interview, anyway.
     
  19. Alfred E Newman

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    Congrats! Did you get in? Good to see these stories.
     
  20. WellWornLad

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    Despite an excellent interview experience, I did not. Not sure what the moral of that story is.
     
  21. Mayfly

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    Hey, don't worry about applying so "late." I was worried about that as well and almost didn't apply last cycle. I got my application in at practically the last moment (AMCAS in late october, probably) and WITHOUT scores and grades as good as yours I got 4 interviews at great schools that I was interested in, 1 acceptance, 2 waitlists that both led to acceptances in May, and I'm still on the waitlist at Hopkins.

    I think the key here is that you're on your way to finishing. If you rec letters are already in (that part can be VERY frustrating if your writers take weeks to write your letters) and you're finishing up your activities on AMCAS, you really are almost there. Do you have readers for your PS? Get someone whose judgment you trust to read it now and help you rethink what you might be missing. It will help you get a fresh perspective. Starting over if you're stuck is also not a bad thought.

    I also liked the idea that you should consider about 3-4 things that are special to you and that you think represent your personality/abilities well. Even if it's not "pre-med" related, you can use an interesting event in your life to show your strength, determination, intelligence, compassion, etc, and give the adcom something INTERESTING to read. Tell a story!

    Give yourself the freedom of a little time... you are NOT lagging in any rat race. :) :thumbup:
     
  22. OldFolkDoc

    OldFolkDoc Future Geriatrician
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    Its way more important to submit a PS that you are really proud of than to submit a sub-par PS really early. I submitted on 6/29 last year, complete 7/17 and it didn't hurt me any (particularly true for high achievers). If you submit in June and are complete in July/August, you'll be in the first pile to get reviewed. They honestly don't start looking at primary apps until mid-July at the very earliest.

    Relax and keep chugging. This process is like eating an elephant... just focus on one bite at a time.
     
  23. Dulcina

    Dulcina =)
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    hahah nice, eating an elephant. I do feel that way sometimes.
    It'd odd, my PS doesnt "show me off" very well. I didn't write a story about why I'd be a good dr or a good med student, but rather, wrote a story about how i came to the decision that I wanted to pursue medicine. I think it's pretty unique, but maybe it's unique bc i'm not supposed to be writing about this lol.

    Thank you everyone for the positive attitudes, half the battle for me is overcoming this "scared" feeling of never writing an essay i'll be happy with. I'm gonna go keep eating that elephant!
     
  24. admitER

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    I 100% agree. I re-wrote my PS about five times (do not recommend this, BTW) but it was the last version that I just sat down and wrote - for two hours straight - and there was my PS.

    I you feel like you keep editing and re-editing, it might be best to sit down with a clean sheet of paper (or a new Document1 on Microsoft Word) and just ... write.

    In addition, you may want to check out the "Personal Statement Reader" thread. Get an unbiased opinion on your current draft - it may not be as "shisty" as you think it is.

    good luck, I know you can do it. Don't stress about the early-applicants, you are by no means "late" and I would kill for your stats :). Better to give it another week and feel like you have the best PS you can write, than submit tomorrow and stress for the next year about whether your PS was up to par.
     
  25. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    Breathe.

    You're still very early and you've got plenty of time.

    Here are some suggestions if you're trying to trim down your PS.

    A lot of people try to recap their ECs in one way or another. This is totally unnecessary. If your ECs are in your EC section, leave them there unless they dramatically impacted your motivation to become a physician...

    It would be fine to talk about specific times you volunteered/shadowed if they were meaning for you, but talking about your research doing plasmid convections and how it impacted your motivation is not going to add a thing. In fact, it distracts from the root of your statement.

    Go through your PS and cut out any paragraphs that do not directly address the following:

    -intro
    -"why medicine?"
    -support for "why medicine?"
    -any problems/gaps in education along the way that really should be addressed in PS
    -conclusion​

    Ideally this should all be tied together with some overarching theme... doesn't have to be anything too flashy, just something you can reference in the start/finish. Don't do what I did (I'm not even linking you to it), that was a bit of a 3rd round Hail Mary that paid off.

    Other PS advice:
    -Don't use the word "fascinating". Probably 80% of statements I reviewed last year used it, very cliched and got to be vomit inducing.
    -just use a single line between paragraphs, don't try to indent
    -don't use more than 1 space between sentences
    -re-read it for any sentences that could be re-worded more efficiently, then have someone else do it. Brevity is key.
     
  26. dienekes88

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    Take a day off.

    Do something fun.

    You're going to destroy the application process.
     
  27. Dulcina

    Dulcina =)
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    thank you for the continued advice/support. I think I should clarify a little, i'm not "freaking out" or "thinking im screwed" in any way, I just feel a little daunted at the task of writing a ps that i'll be happy with in the next few months/ever.

    My main concern is that my entire essay is a story about how I changed from pursing backpacking to pursuing medicine. It does not in any way address my skills or positive traits. I'm hoping this is ok. Do many people completely avoid "showing off" why they'd be good as a dr?

    i will avoid "fascinating", point duly noted =P

    Thanks ^^
     
    #27 Dulcina, Jun 15, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
  28. dienekes88

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    I think that's one of the major difficulties for some people in the application process. You have to sell yourself. Nobody knows that you're this great person with cool qualities...

    Don't try to show off, but don't hold back your good qualities.

    In my personal statement, I talked about baking a pound cake and likened the development of my interest in medicine to the addition of each ingredient.
     
  29. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    Advice I agree with:
    1.) Take a day or two off, and don't look at it at all. You're so used to what it says that you can't really get a perspective on your writing.
    2.) Have someone else read it and tell you what parts are unnecessary.
    3.) You're not too late. With your stats, it's likely that you will do very well. Applying early is important, but most important for those with weaker stats who need to snag interview spots before people with numbers like you come rolling in. The best thing you can do for yourself is write the best PS you can, even if it takes another month. Applying in early to mid July would be ok.
    4.) Don't burn yourself out with the writing already. You're going to have a quite a few secondaries ahead of you. Try to chill as much as you can.
    5.) DO try writing after having a beer. This is how I defeated my writer's block when I was writing my Master's thesis. A buzz can help. You can always edit sober ;)
     
  30. admitER

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    *mentally checks how many times I used some version of "fascinating" in my PS*

    approximate total = 4.

    awesome. lol. one more thing to stress about.

    Oh well, what is done, tis done
     
  31. Dulcina

    Dulcina =)
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    haha. i have the word "pursued" like 4 or 5 times. gonna have to change some of those.:p
     
  32. tncekm

    tncekm MS-1
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    39 MCAT, 3.88 GPA. As long as you're not socially ******ed and don't make an ass out of yourself in your PS, its not going to play a crucial role in your getting accepted anywhere. No need to be concerned. :D
     
  33. Dulcina

    Dulcina =)
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    haha i'm pretty sure I'm not socially ******ed:smuggrin:, and I'll get editors to make sure I dont make an ass out of myself in my PS
     

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