musafirah

im so cereal right now
Jun 14, 2009
307
0
Status
Medical Student
I know its late in the cycle to start applying, but I am still going to, i just have trouble with my personal statement. i feel like i have so many things to talk about because they all add up to wanting to be a doctor, and it's too much. i'm not sure what to narrow it down too, and at this point i don't want to spend time writing out everything (i want to submit by the end of this week).

here are all the subjects in my life i want to talk about in the PS; can you guys please tell me which are ok and interesting things and which things should be cut out?


1. throughout high school i did art and was supposed to go to art school, but after being part of an art show for a scholarship, i realised i definitely wont be fulfilled this way. my artwork was mostly about social issues and images of suffering people that i want to help, and i realized it was just my way of expressing my real passion. (its written as a story on the day of the art show in front of the judges). i knew i had to do something more challenging and rewarding.. i think its good to talk about because it shows my creativity and a 3d view of me as someone with hobbies

2. my first memory of wanting to help people (i don't say it like that, i just talk about the experience): spent a lot of my childhood in pakistan where i would see the crippled homeless kids on the street begging, and how cold people are to their situation. so i've been interested in handicapped people since the age of 4/5 when i saw what was going on trying to understand people's lack of compassion.

3. my little brother has down syndrome- the doctors said he would not walk or talk and have any kind of normal life.. even before he was born they thought my mom should have an abortion. but i pushed him and helped him learn to walk. he's now 13 and he speaks full sentences he's really smart. i want to just touch on caring for him and raising him.. and how it prepared me.. i want to help other people overcome their disadvantages also. i know i definitely want to mention my brother, it is a big part of my life.

4. my dad had a heart attack when i was little and then he became depressed. a few years later he quit his job.. my family has been in financial stress for a while so it explains me taking care of my family/working thru school and all that. lessons: i am humbled by it and ready to make sacrifices for other people, and put their needs first.
the problem with this part is by story-telling, the story is long.. is it sufficient to briefly mention?

5. my health problems- i am diagnosed with PCOS and rheumatoid arthritis. adjusting was difficult at first- i got a little depressed, but my grades and activities do show that i'm doing well. are these good weaknesses to mention? most of my friends dont even know i have RA or anything and i do my best not to show when my hands stiffen up or some physical activity is strenuous for me.. and most of the time i feel normal besides some adjustments. i exercise and started eating better, and manage my stress since it triggers arthritis attacks. i feel like this is something interesting to mention and definitely shows i have empathy for sick people and pain, but i also want the adcom to know im capable and overcame this weakness.. lets hope it will be convincing.

6. i'm a physical therapy aide in a unique program for kids with cerebral palsy. its really individualized and intensive and has helped a lot of kids. i really would like to share how they inspire me and my empathy here. it goes hand in hand with overcoming weaknesses/handicaps

7. back to beginning, transitioning from art to science- and i think these two interests/differences are best reconciled by practicing medicine. here i also want to mention that as i got into science i got into research, and how art has helped me find creative solutions in research (biophysics research in the physics department.. we're not equipped for biological research so you have to improvise and find creative ways to do things when you have limited resources). want to show here also how much i enjoy learning and developing skills.
(i'd like to do some research as an MD but i dont enjoy it enough to do PhD and while i got into college thinking i would do physics, i finally just accepted and determined to take the more arduous route of medicine,deep down its always what i wanted to do but i just had fears since i'm a girl that wants to have a family-- this is just extra info and not part of my PS.. wouldn't know how to express it).


if you read this far, i commend and thank you!! if not, i understand. you can see my dilemma.. should i just attempt to write short vignettes about everything? its really difficult for me to decide on 2 or 3 things to elaborate.. but i want to effectively tell the story, sigh..
if anyone can go through each one and recommend what the main points should be and what to emphasize more.. please!! thank you so much
 
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TopSecret

Removed
Jul 14, 2009
1,095
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Attending Physician
Number 4 sounds okay. Number 6 may be good to talk about.

Whatever you do, avoid disclosing your own health conditions. That information could be used against you.
 
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musafirah

im so cereal right now
Jun 14, 2009
307
0
Status
Medical Student
thanks for the input and nice icon.. its been too long since i watched/read fight club.

about your own illnesses, i was under the impression that you should talk about your weaknesses to show your strength? like showing that i worked hard and get past the difficulty and also to account for any slight lapses in grades.. hm. i can see if i was severely ill i wouldn't get accepted, but i'm not.. just made lifestyle changes. i suppose its good to cut out but at the same time i feel tired of hiding this problem.
 
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musafirah

im so cereal right now
Jun 14, 2009
307
0
Status
Medical Student
is it good to talk about how much i want to help poor people? or is that trite? just focus on what i've done and not be too specific about my goals?
 
Jun 30, 2009
430
0
small town, America
Status
Pre-Medical
what i did when writing mine was come up with a list of potential activities/ experiences. much like you have done. then i tried to find a common theme in all of them. and i found that there were some of my activities i really wanted the adcoms to know about while there were others i didn't really care about.

Like if someone was to ask you about the list of activities you have above, which one would you explain with the most enthusiasm. I think that will show through the essay.

Then without being certain of what i was doing i just started to write. A lot of what i wrote the first time ended up being not so good, but just writing something gives you a starting point.

So moral of the story: have a common theme which you are passionate about then show a few areas in your life where this theme is evident. (great advice i got from a writing prof)
 
Jun 30, 2009
430
0
small town, America
Status
Pre-Medical
and i do not think it would be a good idea to have all the above ideas (be it in one essay or in short stories) that will just be too confused.

and i think that ad coms read a lot about sick family members so it may get old. (maybe. just my opinion)
 
Aug 3, 2009
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I agree with TopSecret, I dont think it would be a good idea to mention your own health problems.
 

ephemeralsun

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2009
25
0
Status
Pre-Medical
i had a lot of trouble with my PS so i understand how you feel.

casillas made a good point in organizing your PS, you should list out activities that reflect your desire to become a doctor and your ability to serve as one. but these have to be post highschool activities since they are the ones that count. (unless you continued doing the high school activities well int college)

i concur with top secret; however, if you overcame a sickness/disability then it's good to mention it. if you continue to struggle with it, then it can be problematic and someone interviewing could potentially ask, "what do you do when you're in the OR and you're in too much pain to perform competently, but there are no other doctors around?" i don't speak from experience, so i'm not sure if that has happened but i'm mentioning it as a possibility.

i also agree with casillas in that you need a common theme. it makes you stand out in a sea of qualified applicants. looking at your points i can say your theme is turning your artistic abilities into a healing expression for the disabled.

another thing, people have recommended to me that almost every paragraph you have should say why you want to be a doctor and display skills that will make you a good doctor.

with that in mind...

1. good for your main theme and overall intro. gives you a reason why you want to be a doctor (1) and shows skills that will make you a good doctor (2).

2. good for intro as well but not as cohesive with the theme present in your activities. has only (1)

3. important, you should definitely include this one. has (1) and (2).

4. if you qualify for being disadvantaged then this story could go there. i would recommend against putting this in your PS b/c it's negative and your PS should have all positive points.

5. errr, avoid unless you show that you've overcome this in any significant way.

6. this is good because it ties with the theme that you speak to. has (1) and possibly (2)

7. research is always good to mention, especially research that is different. has (1) and (2)

one thing i want to say is that you should mention atleast one clinical experience in your PS. (ie. working in the ER)

i hope this helps. you should type up a rough draft and then ask someone on the "read my personal statement" thread to check it. best of luck to you!
 
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musafirah

im so cereal right now
Jun 14, 2009
307
0
Status
Medical Student
thank you x100000 ephemeralsun!
i think you guys are right about the health problem.. especially since its under control and i don't want to leave the impression that i'm less fit as a doctor. that would be unfair.. i might still write a paragraph about it to see how it feels.



about clinical experience- i am going to tie that in by mentioning that taking care of my brother has helped me to inspire and interact with patients. i feel it will be sufficient to mention in activities...

for #4 since it is in my disadvantages section i will just say the lessons financial problems taught me and prepared me for sacrifice, but not go into the story.


ok here i go!

appreciate the input so much!
 

ephemeralsun

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2009
25
0
Status
Pre-Medical
just to say, i think topsecret and casillas made the major points. i just added to them.
 
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musafirah

im so cereal right now
Jun 14, 2009
307
0
Status
Medical Student
well i thank all of you guys.. but it helped me a great deal that you (ephemeral) broke it down one by one and suggested a specific theme, and gauged each point =) thats what i was looking for i guess.