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amanda_jsu11

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My EC's so far include:
phlebotomy certification/experience
volunteering with IVHQ -medical/healthcare in Bali (2 weeks)
DO shadowing
Student Networking Team Coordinator for The National Society of Leadership and Success JSU chapter
Community Service Committee Head for The NSLS JSU chapter.
Tutoring math/science at my university

I want to emphasize my traveling experiences to various meditation camps/spiritual retreats and the impact they have had on my life.

This is the most important EC in my personal opinion. What will the admissions committee/interviewers think? I want to center my personal statement around these experiences. Is this a good idea? Which EC's should I emphasize/spend the most time and effort on?
 

AlteredScale

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My EC's so far include:
phlebotomy certification/experience
volunteering with IVHQ -medical/healthcare in Bali (2 weeks)
DO shadowing
Student Networking Team Coordinator for The National Society of Leadership and Success JSU chapter
Community Service Committee Head for The NSLS JSU chapter.
Tutoring math/science at my university

I want to emphasize my traveling experiences to various meditation camps/spiritual retreats and the impact they have had on my life.

This is the most important EC in my personal opinion. What will the admissions committee/interviewers think? I want to center my personal statement around these experiences. Is this a good idea? Which EC's should I emphasize/spend the most time and effort on?

You should center your personal statement on why medicine. Maybe angle your experiences to the idea that medicine has a very large component of emotional and spiritual aspects in terms of support to your patient in the professional relationship you will have.

These experiences are good intro talking points for your PS but please don't just put this or center around this. You need to express the fact that medicine is a hard-science, evidenced-based methodical field that has a huge focus on bench sciences, clinical research, translational medicine for the benefit of the patient and that you will be committed to living that lifestyle (AKA being up to date with new findings in medical journals despite your 100 hr work week for the benefit of the patient). You will intrinsically be a leader in health care as a physician (use stories to back how you are ready for that aspect through your leadership). At the same time you will intrinsically be a portion of a health team (use stories for that).

You PS needs to be all encompassing and yes, your travel/meditation EC is unique and will catch the eyes but make sure the bulk of it is focused on what medicine actually is and how your experiences have prepared for these aspects of being an MD/DO.
 
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costales

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I want to emphasize my traveling experiences to various meditation camps/spiritual retreats and the impact they have had on my life.

This is the most important EC in my personal opinion. What will the admissions committee/interviewers think? I want to center my personal statement around these experiences. Is this a good idea?

Don't make adcoms jealous.
 

TUVIX

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I actually think this is not such a bad idea. I have been asked at several interviews "How do you handle stress? What will you do to deal with the stress of med school..etc?" This could be an interesting way to address that through meditation.
 
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Goro

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You can call it a hobby. But it wouldn't impress me like, say, playing the flute or painting would.

The Bali trip would be considered "medical tourism".

The phlebotomy experience is golden. How long did you/have you done it?

My EC's so far include:
phlebotomy certification/experience
volunteering with IVHQ -medical/healthcare in Bali (2 weeks)
DO shadowing
Student Networking Team Coordinator for The National Society of Leadership and Success JSU chapter
Community Service Committee Head for The NSLS JSU chapter.
Tutoring math/science at my university

I want to emphasize my traveling experiences to various meditation camps/spiritual retreats and the impact they have had on my life.

This is the most important EC in my personal opinion. What will the admissions committee/interviewers think? I want to center my personal statement around these experiences. Is this a good idea? Which EC's should I emphasize/spend the most time and effort on?
 

amanda_jsu11

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Maybe this is my surgical obnoxiousness talking, but any chance your people look at this negatively? Any applicant to our residency who said their most meaningful experience was meditation/spiritual retreats would get laughed out the door.

It was my most meaningful experience because it allowed me to reflect my entire life and find meaning and connections. It helped me realize exactly why I want to become a doctor and taught me skills that I believe will be extremely useful through med school and as a physician. My other experiences are very important to me... but at the time of those experiences I did not have the capability to care for someone else in the most selfless way possible. Spirituality is continual surrender of ego rather than looking for ways to endorse, fortify, or reinforce it. Some mediation may help your surgical obnoxiousness.
 

mathnerd88

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I think of traveling/meditation is more of a hobby, like what @Goro said. You're not serving others while you meditate; you're more of serving yourself. To me, that's not considered to be an EC that adcoms will take heavily. All your other experiences may when you give service to others, such as volunteer work, phlebotomy, etc.

Meditation to you is more like playing sports or going to the gym for others to relieve stress. Should that be considered an EC that adcoms will care about? Probably not.

Regardless of what you've done, I would not suggest writing heavily about meditation/traveling experiences in your PS. You can center your theme around it (perhaps as an attention catcher for your first paragraph,) but don't talk about it heavily. Being a physician is about service to others and how you'll be able to work as a team, diagnose problems in health, and overall improving health of others. You'll also need to demonstrate empathy towards others.
 
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costales

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You might as well attach this photo to your app:

kindvillabintang.jpg
 
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Goro

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100% agree. To the OP, and to answer Tired's question, there is a risk that this can come off as, well, superficial. The purpose of the PS is to explain "Who am I?" and "Why Medicine?". To explain that you chose this path after significant contemplation, that's OK, but the most meaningful experience of your entire life? You might get easily get shucked aside for people who found their path by helping others.

Yeah, I was kind of asking Goro.

I get that you think it's deep. You get that I think it's silly. Let's just leave it at that.
 

Dr Tony T. Chopper

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I think it would be great if you can bring it back to medicine somehow. With meditation and find yourself spiritually, how do you see this being influential to you wanting/being able to become a competent medical student and physician?
 

amanda_jsu11

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I think it would be great if you can bring it back to medicine somehow. With meditation and find yourself spiritually, how do you see this being influential to you wanting/being able to become a competent medical student and physician?

As a student, I think it will help me deal with the stress of med school and keep a level head. As a physician I think it will allow me to develop a better patient/doctor relationship, which I am aware is a major issue in healthcare today. One major change that I experienced after attending a 9 day retreat focused on Buddhist idealisms, was how to completely let go of my ego and utilize total selflessness in caring for others. I think that sometimes patients feel threatened/lose trust in doctors when they do not connect with them and feel a genuine sense of compassion. This "surrender of ego" is something that I feel very strongly about and use every day.

I also have volunteering hours that I will incorporate into these ideas and give specific examples. And I have plans to do more volunteering in underserved populations.
 

mathnerd88

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As a student, I think it will help me deal with the stress of med school and keep a level head. As a physician I think it will allow me to develop a better patient/doctor relationship, which I am aware is a major issue in healthcare today. One major change that I experienced after attending a 9 day retreat focused on Buddhist idealisms, was how to completely let go of my ego and utilize total selflessness in caring for others. I think that sometimes patients feel threatened/lose trust in doctors when they do not connect with them and feel a genuine sense of compassion. This "surrender of ego" is something that I feel very strongly about and use every day.

I also have volunteering hours that I will incorporate into these ideas and give specific examples. And I have plans to do more volunteering in underserved populations.

The correct approach to being a physician is not to "surrender your ego." You need to find a balance in your life, and you will encounter MANY patients who treat you poorly and/or act like they don't care what you do for them. From my experience in healthcare, it is almost impossible to be able to be completely selfless when it comes to treating patients. Sometimes, you do have to be a little selfish, and care about yourself. Patients, at least in the US, do not generally feel threatened or lose trust in physicians like in some other countries.

Yes, you definitely need to have compassion when you're treating patients, but in no way you need to be completely "selfless." You have to know as a physician when to stop coddling a patient who is after you for narcotics, and when to put your foot down and make sure patients are caring for their bodies or continuing their treatment. Some scolding may be required.

I would like to take a different approach than you, and that is to "find balance." Know when you must be selfish, and know when to be selfless. Being always selfless can be also detrimental to your own mental health. Go into the profession exactly knowing what you're signing up for.
 
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amanda_jsu11

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The correct approach to being a physician is not to "surrender your ego." You need to find a balance in your life, and you will encounter MANY patients who treat you poorly and/or act like they don't care what you do for them. From my experience in healthcare, it is almost impossible to be able to be completely selfless when it comes to treating patients. Sometimes, you do have to be a little selfish, and care about yourself. Patients, at least in the US, do not generally feel threatened or lose trust in physicians like in some other countries.

Yes, you definitely need to have compassion when you're treating patients, but in no way you need to be completely "selfless." You have to know as a physician when to stop coddling a patient who is after you for narcotics, and when to put your foot down and make sure patients are caring for their bodies or continuing their treatment. Some scolding may be required.

I would like to take a different approach than you, and that is to "find balance." Know when you must be selfish, and know when to be selfless. Being always selfless can be also detrimental to your own mental health. Go into the profession exactly knowing what you're signing up for.

I think you are confusing the terms assertive and selfish. I am kindhearted but I will treat my patients with their best interest in mind. When it is time to put my foot down, I will.
By treating patients selflessly, physicians can master the art of empathy and create real, lasting relationships with their patients. I have changed doctors several times because I felt that the doctor looked at me as a case and not a person. When I had surgery, I felt very uncomfortable with my anesthesiologist because of her arrogance. Utilizing this selfless approach to establishing patient/doctor relationships will keep your patients coming back.
As for those patients who treat me poorly or don't care what I do for them, I will treat them with the same amount of respect and compassion as the next patient and work even harder to connect with them.
Balance is very important, but I do not believe selfishness is relevant here.
 

mathnerd88

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I would like to think that no matter how hard you try, you can't please everyone.

You certainly try, and use whichever techniques you feel will work. I just about connect with every doctor I go see, but that's because I try to be friendly with everyone. I view my doctor as my doctor and respect the relationship between doctor and patient.

How do you 'feel' that a doctor is treating you like a case? I've never encountered any doctor like that.
 
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amanda_jsu11

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I mean that the doctor did not stand out in my mind as taking a particular interest in me as a person. I have found one doctor who made a lasting impression on me and I haven't been to another dr since, despite the 2 hour drive. He took the time to explain in detail how the medicine worked and showed me a slideshow on his laptop with simulation videos that broke the steps of how the medication works over time, emphasizing risks and possible side effects, what to avoid in order for the medication to work most effectively, etc. He wanted to know all about my personal life and even gave me tips on med school. And he does this for every patient he sees. Whereas other doctors I have seen merely prescribe me a medication/treatment with little explanation and show no interest in learning about me personally.
I can only assume that this is due to selfishness (treating patients for a paycheck), or maybe they have antisocial/reserved personalities. Either way, I didn't go back to them.
 
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mathnerd88

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I mean that the doctor did not stand out in my mind as taking a particular interest in me as a person. I have found one doctor who made a lasting impression on me and I haven't been to another dr since, despite the 2 hour drive. He took the time to explain in detail how the medicine worked and showed me a slideshow on his laptop with simulation videos that broke the steps of how the medication works over time, emphasizing risks and possible side effects, what to avoid in order for the medication to work most effectively, etc. He wanted to know all about my personal life and even gave me tips on med school. And he does this for every patient he sees. Whereas other doctors I have seen merely prescribe me a medication/treatment with little explanation and show no interest in learning about me personally.
I can only assume that this is due to selfishness (treating patients for a paycheck), or maybe they have antisocial/reserved personalities. Either way, I didn't go back to them.

In my shadowing experiences, doctors don't have time to do this for their patients. They're assigned 4 patients an hour at times, and only get 15 minutes per patient where I shadowed. It would be difficult for a physician to do what you're describing in the time alotted.

In fact, the biggest problem I see in healthcare is actually the long waiting times. I don't like waiting for 45 min after my appointment time to see my doctor. They usually make you wait in your patient waiting room for quite a while.

Perhaps the doctor you see happens to not have so many patients that he doesn't have a time constraint. When you're working in underserved communities with a need for doctors, you're going to be flooded with patients and not enough time.
 

amanda_jsu11

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In my shadowing experiences, doctors don't have time to do this for their patients. They're assigned 4 patients an hour at times, and only get 15 minutes per patient where I shadowed. It would be difficult for a physician to do what you're describing in the time alotted.

In fact, the biggest problem I see in healthcare is actually the long waiting times. I don't like waiting for 45 min after my appointment time to see my doctor. They usually make you wait in your patient waiting room for quite a while.

Perhaps the doctor you see happens to not have so many patients that he doesn't have a time constraint. When you're working in underserved communities with a need for doctors, you're going to be flooded with patients and not enough time.

That is understandable. My visits with this doctor are about 25-30 min long with 15-20 min wait. He doesn't work in an underserved community. I just like to use him as an example because he's the only doctor that stands out to me.
 

TallPreMed

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Hey OP, what exactly did you do in Bali? I'm going in March for a week and my friend who is a professor and has her phd in health policy really want to learn about the healthcare culture there.
 

amanda_jsu11

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Hey OP, what exactly did you do in Bali? I'm going in March for a week and my friend who is a professor and has her phd in health policy really want to learn about the healthcare culture there.

Mainly talk to kids about personal hygiene and preventative medicine. I just read something today actually about ISIS being in Indonesia so I would look into it before planning your trip!
 
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