Oct 12, 2014
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In my current PS draft I've spent about 1500 characters detailing the first 18 or so years of my life (pre-college), with a focus on my parent's struggle with medicine. Due to their career as an MD, they eventually struggled with alcoholism and became distanced from the family. Part of my reasoning for mentioning this is because it truly influenced my decision to want to become a doctor.

Afterwards I mention my own experiences and how I have found new reasons to want to become an MD and mention that being the child of this MD has made me see the challenges involved in being a doctor - family life, hours, etc.

I spend the majority of the PS talking about myself, but still, is this appropriate do you think? Or is it too depressing/too risky to be PS material? And if so, could I modify it to make it appropriate? I made an effort to avoid writing a sob story, but is this also a valid concern?

I would especially like some advice from adcoms who may have read these kinds of stories before. Many thanks in advance.
 

darklabel

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I don't get it, your parent's struggle with alcohol and family because of medicine....drives you towards medicine?

It's not that it's risky, but I don't get why this is a good reason to go towards medicine. Even if your parent overcame it, medicine put them in that position to begin with so why would you want to be a physician if it can drive you towards destructive behavior? Honestly, it would better to leave out the alcoholisms and family issues because of their career and focus on the positives, but thats just me.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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I think you should try to be a bit more positive. As mentioned above, there just doesn't seem to be a good way to tie this in without being very negative about the medical field - which seems to be very much against to the objection of the PS.

However, I can see how you might want to include some adversity to show that your life wasn't so perfect as an outsider may think. Maybe things on the surface seem very perfect for you, but that's not really how things were growing up.

This does not seem like the type of response to a "why medicine" PS, but it might be something you could include on some secondaries for the adversity questions, if you're careful about it.

I don't know about the connection between your parents' alcoholism and your desire to go into medicine, though. That might be questionable, and a red flag, possibly. Maybe if you explain it to me more fully I'll understand better.
 

mimelim

Vascular Surgery
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Sep 19, 2011
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In my current PS draft I've spent about 1500 characters detailing the first 18 or so years of my life (pre-college), with a focus on my parent's struggle with medicine. Due to their career as an MD, they eventually struggled with alcoholism and became distanced from the family. Part of my reasoning for mentioning this is because it truly influenced my decision to want to become a doctor.

Afterwards I mention my own experiences and how I have found new reasons to want to become an MD and mention that being the child of this MD has made me see the challenges involved in being a doctor - family life, hours, etc.

I spend the majority of the PS talking about myself, but still, is this appropriate do you think? Or is it too depressing/too risky to be PS material? And if so, could I modify it to make it appropriate? I made an effort to avoid writing a sob story, but is this also a valid concern?

I would especially like some advice from adcoms who may have read these kinds of stories before. Many thanks in advance.
The objective of a personal statement is to sell yourself as a good future member of a medical school class. Spending 1500 words introducing your topic is a terrible use of space. Also, banking on pity to get in rather than your positive attributes is a poor use of personal statement space.

Like the other posters, I don't understand the logic behind your PS as you have described it (medicine destroyed my parents and my family therefore I want to go into medicine), but an equally large issue is that you aren't giving your readers much to work with as far as going to bat for you.
 

NickNaylor

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The objective of a personal statement is to sell yourself as a good future member of a medical school class. Spending 1500 words introducing your topic is a terrible use of space. Also, banking on pity to get in rather than your positive attributes is a poor use of personal statement space.

Like the other posters, I don't understand the logic behind your PS as you have described it (medicine destroyed my parents and my family therefore I want to go into medicine), but an equally large issue is that you aren't giving your readers much to work with as far as going to bat for you.
Definitely agree with this. Despite what everyone seems to think, the PS isn't the place to dump a bunch of sappy personal information and/or drop "unique" or "disadvantaged" aspects of your life because you can't put them anywhere else. That's not say that you can't carte blanche mention those things. Instead, you just need to make sure that they're actually related to your interest in medicine, what you want to accomplish, and how you feel like you've prepared yourself to pursue the career. It's not a biographical piece - at least not in the strictest sense.
 

Goro

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To all pre-meds in the USA: tattoo these wise words onto your foreheads, please!

The objective of a personal statement is to sell yourself as a good future member of a medical school class. Spending 1500 words introducing your topic is a terrible use of space. Also, banking on pity to get in rather than your positive attributes is a poor use of personal statement space.
 
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OP
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Oct 12, 2014
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Pre-Medical
My reasoning behind this was from a LizzyM post I read before. To paraphrase, "the only time you should mention you have a parent MD is to show that you've witnessed the sacrifice it takes". I'm not trying to write a sob story - I believe I addressed that in the original post. I also feel that these are parts of my life that truly impacted my choice to go into medicine.

I was immediately going to delete this part from my PS until I saw that LizzyM post on some thread (forgive me, I don't remember which one). I wanted to know then if there was a way of including this section with more finesse.
 

TheRhymenocerous

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Oct 4, 2014
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Making sacrifices for a career in medicine and having your career in medicine ruin your life are really different things. Sounds like she was using that as a potential exception to the rule, not saying that you SHOULD include it.
 
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AspiringERMD

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Don't do it. There is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.
Beat me to it. OP, if I were an adcom, I would worry if this happened to one of your parents. But two? You have a huge genetic risk of falling into the same trap.
 
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Conflagration

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My reasoning behind this was from a LizzyM post I read before. To paraphrase, "the only time you should mention you have a parent MD is to show that you've witnessed the sacrifice it takes". I'm not trying to write a sob story - I believe I addressed that in the original post. I also feel that these are parts of my life that truly impacted my choice to go into medicine.
You know, witnessing the sacrifice that it takes is an entirely different league than alcoholism and related family dynamic issues.

I understand how having something somewhat private as your main motivator, but your personal statement is about you. It's not about your parents, not about your dog, not about anything else except you and why you're going into medicine. If you feel you must include it to be accurate, you'd literally have to put a short snip-it in and be reasonably vague as to not appear like you're airing the family's dirty laundry.

If I were you, and I still wanted to include this, I'd write something like this:

"I understand that, with medicine, there are inherent stressors. My parent is a physician and I recall several instances where they were overwhelmed by the stress at work. I am a well-qualified candidate because, by observing them and their internal struggle, it has forced me to contemplate my motivations and my rationale for pursuing a similar path."

Even then, it sounds a little off to me. Perhaps that is just me and my interior writing Nazi.

Good luck to you, OP!
 
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