1. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
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.

personal essay question???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by psyc.lover, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. psyc.lover

    psyc.lover Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2002
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    ok this is personal so not too harsh guys.
    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    im a UMR applying disadvantaged. my gpa is pretty low 3.12. i have shown an upward trend since the summer after my sophomore year, have good personal essay and EC's. heres the problem, i was diagnosed with clinical depression at the start of my sophomore year and the medication only made things worse b/c they caused me to lose interest in you studies and i kinda gave up on med school that year. the psychiatrist that had to go to changed my life and inspired me to pursue a career in psychiatry. she let me know that it wasnt too late and told me not to give up. i changed my major and now im doing fine.

    heres the question, my essay mentions the depression in about 3 sentences (thanks to the advice of my premed advisor), should i take it out all togather or leave the 3 sentences in before i submit?

    i've heard it may make things worse or may help.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    hmmm, interesting dilemma. I am sorry that you had to suffer through such an experience. I have dealt (at work) with depressed people, and my heart goes out to them.

    Getting back on track, here's my advice. Again, you don't have to take it...it's just one point of view. I want you to think about a few things--doctors are healers. Can a healer himself be ill, and help others when needed? Can a healer know his/her own limitations due to illness, and cope with it and provide teh same level of care to his/her patients as if he was "normal" (whatever that is!). And most of all, if the healer feels impaired, would he/she reach out and get help, to ensure that his/her patients are not jeapordized?

    These are questions medical schools will ask you. You need to know the answers to them before you interview. I have my own judgement, but I will reserve it until you ask me to share it with you.

    Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to counter the questions med schools will ask you--can't a healer be ill too? we are all humans, afterall...and if it means that we are sick, while we are healing others, what matters is that the patient is healed. Will you be able to advocate for your patients *no matter what* your health status is? What have you learned from it? Are there lessons you have learned that you will be able to impart to other patients? If so, then you are on the right track.

    Know that anything in the PS will be spoken about at the interview. IF you feel like you are upto the challenge, and answering all the harsh comments AD COMS will ask you, then do it. Do not faulter!! And be strong. You've survived through the worst. The best is yet to begin. :)

    I suppose what I am trying to say is...perhaps it might be better to leave it in the PS, but don't call it depression. Say that you were ill, and how it affected your health and your school. You don't have to give out info. You're not obligated. However, if your grades decreased, they will be curious, and they will need a reason. Don't focus on what happened to you during the depression. Focus on how you changed your outlook on life, and how it will help you be more compassionate to people around you. Unfortunately, it's an unfair world, and I am afraid for you that IF you mention depression in your PS, they might flat out not interview you. Save this sensitive info for the interview, and then using your judgement, disclose it.

    My best wishes to you. :)
     
  4. brickmanli

    brickmanli Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2002
    Messages:
    216
    Likes Received:
    7
    Sorry if this is just a repeat of what Tweetie said, but I think you should definitely mention your depression in your PS, but don't make look like that you were the victim or you're using it to make excuses for your low grades. Instead, talk about how being ill made you understand what patients go through and everything they feel that no doctor could diagnose. Going through this period of depression made you more cognizant and strengthened your resolve to become a more empathetic doctor.
     
  5. psyc.lover

    psyc.lover Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2002
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    GREAT advice guys! tweety dont hold back. the reason that i only mentioned it in 3 sentences was so they dont think im pitiful or a charity case. i used it as a lead in to why i want to become a "shrink". im fine now and ready to answer any question they throw at me. i actually had a "mock med school" interview at my school with an unfamilar faculty member and all she did was question me about it among other things and finally admitted that she had an anxiety disorder and had been depressed. she really prepared me.

    tweety-
    but do you think they will not interview me if i mention it. or are you saying call it an "illness" and when they ask tell all at the interview?
     
  6. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    psych.lover... in Barron's "Personal Statements that will get you into Medical School" this one student writes about how she had anorexia. I think Tweetie's advice is good... but you might want to get this book too.

    One other posibility... why don't you mention something about how your experience made you realize that it takes more than drugs to treat depression... this is a hot topic in medicine right now. If you're interested in psychiatry... you could definitely turn this experience into the focus of a great personal statement... just a thought :)
     
  7. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    yeap...I actually had the same problem as your "unfamiliar faculty member"...they prescribed medications for my anxiety but I had resolved not to take a single pill. I worked it out on my own by running a few miles everyday....it helped! Till today, I've not had a single attack b/c I run so much and generally know how to control my own behavior. Anyway, I am choosing to not write about it in my PS b/c I feel as though it takes away from my gist (which is different in the PS).

    I am not saying they "will not" interview you b/c you mention it in your PS (they are too smart for that, they know it's discrimination if they don't call you BECAUSE of that directly). I am saying they will be more prudent, and if they are sittinng on the fence about calling you for an interview or not, it *may* work against you. Instead, just mention it as an illness you had a long time ago that you eventually got over and gained strength from. At the interview, they will ask you "what illness?" and then you can tell all, depending on your judgement.

    I wouldn't go all out and give them all the info in the PS. God knows which prude might be reading this stuff...know what I mean? And medicine in general (I've actually researched on this) is NOT too forgiving if the docs themselves get sick. Others might disagree but I've seen it over and over again. i.e. docs make the WORST patients, and med schools know that so they don't want somebody who is already or has been already significantly ill. Hope that makes more sense.
     
  8. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    PS: and please, sit down at a computer and write down answers to the questions I posted above. I think it's only fair that they will ask you that (they don't want to train somebody who has a "liability"), and I want you to be prepared when the time comes.

    Often times, we may *think* we know the answer in our minds, but it's not until we actually write about it that we start thinking clearly. Atleast that's how I work. Just my two cents....
     
  9. efex101

    efex101 attending
    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,713
    Likes Received:
    74
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I hope that this does not sound bad or demeaning for it was not meant to sound that way. I would not under any circumstance (if this was me) talk about depression on my PS. I feel (and this is just my opinion) that adcom's are very conservative folks that could take your illness as red flag. You already have a potential red flag on your application (low gpa), and your illness could be construed as another "problem" in their eyes. Now I am saying this just to be honest, in no way do I consider depression as something to be taken lightly or not a serious illness. Adcom's have a very difficult job for not only do they have to pick a diverse class, but also a class that can make it through the grueling four years of med school. If I was on an adcom and I had an applicant with a low gpa and illness (any illness) it would raise some concerns for me, specially if there is another qualified applicant without the low gpa and illness. Just my two cents but take it for what it is worth...
     
  10. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    But again.... in the Barron's book... one student (who got multiple acceptances to top schools) talked about her experience with anorexia. To me, anorexia and depression are the same type of thing... they are both mental illnesses and both carry a stigma amoung the general population.

    So if a student can write about anorexia, I think another student could write about depression... it just all depends on how it's done. It would be hard, but it might be worth it.
     
  11. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    ok, I may not be informed much on anorexia, so my opinion might be invalid. But try and understand me....
    I don't think anorexia is anything close to depression. In ten percent of depression cases, it's not treatable. Those ten percent committ suicide. Anorexia, although it's root cause might be psychological, is not comparable to depression b/c during anorexia (correct me if i"m wrong) people don't usually have impaired judgement (about others). A depressed doctor can not only affect himself, but can affect patients too....their judgement is simply impaired, that is the root cause of the disease which we know is not 100% curable.

    If I was an AD COM member, and I had to vouch for somebody on my limited wisdom I would pick low GPA and anorexia over low GPA and depression (although, both are almost equally bad). This is why I said mention it as an "illness" b/c depression has more of a negative stigma in society than does anorexia. I wonder if that anorexic person in Barron's book would have gotten in if she/he mentioned depression instead of anorexia. I am just not sure if it's ok to compare the two and say they are almost equal, although physicians could be impaired by both.
     
  12. efex101

    efex101 attending
    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,713
    Likes Received:
    74
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I also have that Barron's book and we must keep in mind that these people got multiple acceptances at top schools. This means that the rest of the application was probably jammin'. They are probably the exception to the rule. Why mention it at all if it could *potentially* harm you, yes I know that on the other hand it could help but more than likely it will raise red flags. Also this person is a URM (I am also a URM) so more than likely if you have excellent ec's, lor's are good, and you kick ass on the mcat, you will probably get in albeit a lower gpa all this w/o having to dwell on your clinical depression. Again this is just my thoughts, when there are over 30,000 applicants why dwell on that that could be held against us?
     
  13. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    Tweetie, I might be wrong too... but I've read A LOT about anorexia... because I think it's a fascinating illness (and I had a friend who nearly died from it). People with TRUE anorexia (i.e. not just bulemic, which affects like 1 in 5 college girls... or some absurd number like that) do have a terrible lack of judgement. They are very very sick and this impairs everything. The lack of energy to their brains causes hallusinations and fainting.

    Just think about it... someone who has anorexia is basically someone who is starving to death... they can faint or loose conscienceness at any moment. They won't even eat to save their own lives. This is a lot more serious an illness than depression... it's a pyschological problem that affects the person physically in a very serious way.

    Personally, I'd feel a lot safer having a doctor with depression than one with anorexia...

    I'm not trying to put down people with anorexia... I just think that they have a lot more serious of a problem.
     
  14. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    hhmmmmm...true..i see what you're saying. well, I'm outta advice :D what i said earlier still stands...use the word "illness" ..don't dwell on it, show em you braved through it and how you wanna help others survive through it. Who knows..maybe if you DO mention it, you might get some empathetic people reading your essay and you might get lucky! i would still be on the prudent side b/c unfortunately, most medical school adcoms tend to be too conservative. :rolleyes:
     
  15. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    2
    I think when it comes to personal statements... everyone should 1) get a book about how to write one 2) have many people read it

    I think you can include pretty much anything as long as you word it right...

    good luck :)
     
  16. isidella

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2002
    Messages:
    644
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me play devil's advocate for just a second. . .
    About anorexia: there is a stereotype that all anorexics are power-house perfectionists, and will be that way the rest of their lives (even if they have recovered from thier eating disorder). Sounds like someone who would excel in med school. . .

    About depression: there is a steroetype that people who are depression-prone are fragile and may not be able to handle the stress and depressing situations that one often encounters as a physician. . . Not someone who should go to med school. . .

    I don't like stereotypes, but they can be useful when you are trying to figure out what adcoms may be thinking.

    No more devil, back to good, angelic Isidella:
    That being said, PsycLover, I would be very honest about the reasons for wanting to be a doctor. It sounds like your bout with depression was a motivating factor. If the adcom thinks you are an unsuitable candidate for having a history of mental illness, then maybe such a school would not be the best environment for anyone other than a perfect person with no problems. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    My essay is also a little gutsy, but honest. If some don't like it, others will find the value of my truthfulness.

    Good Luck
    Isid
     
  17. psyc.lover

    psyc.lover Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2002
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    great advice. i guess it can look bad but it was a major blessing in disguise. i never realized how much the chemicals in your brain control you. and i don't want to be the type of dr. that just gives out drugs left and right for a quick fix. this is all stated in my PS.
     
  18. isidella

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2002
    Messages:
    644
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me play devil's advocate for just a second. . .
    About anorexia: there is a stereotype that all anorexics are power-house perfectionists, and will be that way the rest of their lives (even if they have recovered from thier eating disorder). Sounds like someone who would excel in med school. . .

    About depression: there is a steroetype that people who are depression-prone are fragile and may not be able to handle the stress and depressing situations that one often encounters as a physician. . . Not someone who should go to med school. . .

    I don't like stereotypes, but they can be useful when you are trying to figure out what adcoms may be thinking.

    No more devil, back to good, angelic Isidella:
    That being said, PsycLover, I would be very honest about the reasons for wanting to be a doctor. It sounds like your bout with depression was a motivating factor. If the adcom thinks you are an unsuitable candidate for having a history of mental illness, then maybe such a school would not be the best environment for anyone other than a perfect person with no problems. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    My essay is also a little gutsy, but honest. If some don't like it, others will find the value of my truthfulness.

    Good Luck
    Isid
     
  19. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by isidella:
    <strong>

    About depression: there is a steroetype that people who are depression-prone are fragile and may not be able to handle the stress and depressing situations that one often encounters as a physician. . . Not someone who should go to med school. . .

    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Unfortunately, this stereotype is true. :( I've actually read articles on MEDLINE about med students being more prone to depression than the average population. Just go into medline, and type in "physician impairment or medical student impairment" and you'll see those. This is why we have to be so prudent....
     
  20. psyc.lover

    psyc.lover Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2002
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    one of the questions that i was asked on my mock interview was "what if you get depressed again?"
    my answer was that i now know a lot more now than i knew then and a lot more than the average person about depression including symptoms, signs,and treatment (various methods not just drugs). my problem was not knowing that i was depressed and continuing everyday as if i was my normal self. if it were to resurface i would know exactly what to do, seek help and talk it out, drugs are not MY answer(it may be for some). it was a relif to find out b/c something was wrong but i couldnt put my finger on it. when you know whats wrong it really helps get things right very quickly. ( the meds slowed me down alot!!!)

    btw, everyone gets depressed it all about how you handle it and what you do about it.
     

Share This Page