Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

mention step-mom's suicide in PS?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by kam730, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. kam730

    kam730 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    My step-mom had bipolar disorder (manic depression) and growing up with her obviously greatly affected who I am. In the middle of my senior year of high school, an already chaotic time, she committed suicide. I want to at least mention her disorder in my PS because it impacted my decision to become a doctor, but I dont know if I should leave out the suicide. If I used it, I wouldnt want it to be perceived as an attempt at shock value or elliciting pity. So,you may wonder why I am considering including it. I think it could be seen as an example of my perserverance and dedication, among other things. Anyway, just wondering what you all think. Please, any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. UCLA2000

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    2,314
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Definately talk about it...
     
  4. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    Talk about it, if it affected your life significantly. It seems as though you've grown from this experience, so I would include it.

    Be prepared: they may ask you ethical questions about incompetant people and medical consent issues. They can basically take any point on your PS, and make a tangent at the interview.

    I lived in what you'd call a war zone at one point in my life. I have mentioned it as a matter of fact in my PS; not mentioned how it made me feel etc. That really has nothing to do with me being a doc, but it showed my perseverance etc. I figure they can ask me this at the interview. State it as if it's a matter of fact issue.

    Good luck!
    Tweetie
     
  5. GuitarMan

    GuitarMan Guitarman for President
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry about your step-mother. If her illness had an impact on determining why you chose medicine, or had a significant influence on who you are today, then it is worth mentioning.

    I would be carefull about how you include information regarding her suicide. I don't think this should be stated as a matter of fact. This situation is somewhat different from that of the previous poster. Assuming you were close to your step mother, you don't want to look like you lack empathy by being too matter of fact about her passing. On the other hand, you don't want to say a lot of things that make you look overly emotional. I would talk about this in a way that showed my emotional response, but also showed good coping behavior.

    Just my opinion.
     
  6. kam730

    kam730 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the replys guys. I'm still wondering if there is anyone out there who would look negatively upon using this in my PS. Keep the advice coming!!
     
  7. longhorn

    longhorn Membership Revoked
    Removed

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here is my two sense. Just be honest with yourself, if this tragedy crytallized your dream of becoming a physician ofcourse use it. It should however relate with the overall theme of yor essay. I suggest using it at the beginning, then talking about your other experiences. However, if it really didn't affect you so much don't talk about it. The interviewer will be able to tell if you talked about the suicide for pure shock value.
     
  8. altaskier

    altaskier Altaholics Anonymous 92'
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2001
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'm sorry to hear that. I would say talk about it and what you gained/learned from the experience.
     
  9. PrincessCKNY

    PrincessCKNY Crown Royal Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2002
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    19
    I would say talk about it. It played a part in shaping you into the person you are today.

    It's sad how deaths can be regarded as "typical" when it comes to a personal statement, I know.
     
  10. Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

    Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003] Platinum Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Messages:
    863
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sorry to hear that. Be EXTRIMELY careful how you use in your PS. It may screw you and it may give you an edge. Adcomms are likely to make a judjement about you being unstable (everyone is talking about that a lot of diseases are genetically linked and that will make you a worse candiate for med school vs. a person who did not have the same case as you did.) On the other side, it is clear to see why you have chosen the professions and it would give an essay an emotion edge.
    If you are not sure how to put it right, it is better not to mention it.
     
  11. kam730

    kam730 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just to clarify, she was my step-mom so there would be no genetic link. Do you still think adcoms could use this against me, and somehow conclude that I am unstable b/c of her?
     
  12. jot

    jot

    i don't think you have to worrry about that instability thing at all - that is something doctos especially should be knowledgeable about; just do as the posters said, use it when relevant. but hey - you're still in highschool, it could impact future experiences, or future experiences may overshadow it (for the purposes for a PS of course) - one never knows. goodluck though.
    -jot
     
  13. conure

    conure Master Distiller
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    2
    I agree, add it to the essay.

    As for her being your step-mom (ie no genetic link), it sounds to me that she played an important role in your life at an important time in your life. If you reflect on this and come to this determination then it qualifies as PS material.
     
  14. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    I actually think you shouldn't mention it... I think suicide is too dark for such an essay. Suicide is as dark as it gets... it's 10x more grim than having someone die of cancer. The reason is that it's the end result of the severe depression and feeling of hopeless-ness of the victum. When people talk about how their aunt or sister or brother struggled with cancer, there's often this sense of hope and will-to-live that can give the story an up-lifting and inspiring quality. Suicide is totally different. Medicine has little to ofter someone who is suicidal. Psychiatry is the least developed field of medicine. We still have no idea how to cure most psychiatric problems, or even if they can be cured. There's just something about suicide... it makes people uneasy. It's mysterious, frighening, confusing, sudden, and leaves the survivors with a sense of helplessness and confusion. Contrary to what most people would tell you, I don't think that an event having a major impact on your life necessarily warrants mention in your essay. What you want are things that have a big impact on your DECISION TO BE A DOCTOR. I think it would be difficult to explain how such an experience could have inspired you to go into medicine since medicine has little to offer for the prevention of suicide.

    Unless you are passionate about being a psychiatrist and advancing the field of psychaitry, I wouldn't mention it.

    Good luck :)
     
  15. lola

    lola Bovine Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Likes Received:
    3
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Here is my two sense. Just be honest with yourself, if this tragedy crytallized your dream of becoming a physician ofcourse use it. It should however relate with the overall theme of yor essay. I suggest using it at the beginning, then talking about your other experiences. However, if it really didn't affect you so much don't talk about it. The interviewer will be able to tell if you talked about the suicide for pure shock value. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I agree with this. I did a similar thing for my essay -- talked about a parent's illness in the first paragraph to set the scenario and then explained in the following paragraphs how it, along with several other things, affected my decision to apply to med school. This way, the essay isn't totally focused on the tragic event but the adcoms will still see your personal side and also what other things played a role in your decision.

    I am a little concerned about your talking about the suicide. It would really depend on how it was presented. If you have doubt about whether or not to include it after writing it, you might want to focus more on her illness rather than what happened as a result of the illness -- unless of course it was her death that really impacted your decision.
     
  16. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    You sure mentioning suicide in the first line of her essay isn't going to give the whole essay an aura (sp?) of gloom? I think it might...
     
  17. lola

    lola Bovine Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Likes Received:
    3
    i guess it's hard to tell without reading it... i say write it, and see how it reads. if it doesn't seem like it's eliciting pity or too melodramatic, keep it. if it does, think about writing about her struggle with mental illness and don't mention the suicide. of course, then you'll have to be prepared to answer questions about it in the interview, which might be uncomfortable.
     
  18. silvercholla

    silvercholla Smarter than the avg bear
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't know. There are things that I didn't mention in my PS but I did mention how those unmentioned experiences influenced my life and my decision. I figured that I shouldn't put anything in my PS that would bring down the reader, because when I get an interview the interviewer will probably want to go into detail anyway. Look do what you thin sound good after you write it. Cause if you are anything like me and most of the people here on SDN then you will proably be rewriting that PS over and over again. Good Luck!
     
  19. dr. maybe

    dr. maybe mongoose
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2002
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I think you need to use it especially if it influenced your decision to become a doctor. Also, it represented a great personal challenge for you throughout your life that you obviously have survived and succeeded. Don't worry about it being dark. I literally wrote my entire personal statement about my qualms with death and how it has affected my life. I got interviews at 6 schools and accepted at 4.
     
  20. kam730

    kam730 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much everyone for your advice. I definitely have a lot to consider, but I think I will try to use the story. More comments still welcome. Thanks again, and good luck everyone!
     
  21. PADoc2be

    PADoc2be Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    One other thought... If you're going to mention your step-mom's disorder (which I agree with most posters and believe you should) you don't want to seem like you're hiding the fact that she sadly committed suicide. :( If an adcom asks how she is dealing with it now, and you have to tell them the sad facts, it may put a different twist to it, like you're embarassed by it or it didn't impact you. I think it's hard to hide important details of your life from adcoms and this seems like it impacted you greatly. Best of luck.
     

Share This Page