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omletdefromage

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Hi friends,

I'm reaching out for thoughts/advice/help with re-writing my personal statement. I didn't realize until recently that I would need a whole new essay and with just a few days until the AMCAS application opens on May 1, I'm entering the freakout phase for not having a more or less rough draft.

A bit of background: I'm reapplying this year as a postgraduate, with a special focus on raising my MCAT score and writing a new personal statement. I majored in biochemistry, followed by a two-year postbac at NIH where I studied the influenza virus, earning co-authorship on a couple of papers. Now, I work in clinical research, where I was awarded a corporate research grant. I submitted a first-author abstract with my results and am working on my first manuscript.

I feel like I should have been able to crank something out but I'm having a serious case of writer's block. I want to talk about my research experiences and how grueling yet rewarding they have been and how they motivate me to become a physician so I can do even more.

Help me, SDN!

Sincerely,

omletdefromage
 

scarshapedstar

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Hi friends,

I'm reaching out for thoughts/advice/help with re-writing my personal statement. I didn't realize until recently that I would need a whole new essay and with just a few days until the AMCAS application opens on May 1, I'm entering the freakout phase for not having a more or less rough draft.

A bit of background: I'm reapplying this year as a postgraduate, with a special focus on raising my MCAT score and writing a new personal statement. I majored in biochemistry, followed by a two-year postbac at NIH where I studied the influenza virus, earning co-authorship on a couple of papers. Now, I work in clinical research, where I was awarded a corporate research grant. I submitted a first-author abstract with my results and am working on my first manuscript.

I feel like I should have been able to crank something out but I'm having a serious case of writer's block. I want to talk about my research experiences and how grueling yet rewarding they have been and how they motivate me to become a physician so I can do even more.

Help me, SDN!

Sincerely,

omletdefromage

While we all love science and your research is a definite feather in your cap, you don't wanna come across as "I want to be a doctor so that I can do even cooler experiments, and also heal the odd sick person or two" because the next 8 or 10 or 12 years of your life probably won't particularly resemble that. What about your clinical experience?
 

thlaxer

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Hi friends,

I'm reaching out for thoughts/advice/help with re-writing my personal statement. I didn't realize until recently that I would need a whole new essay and with just a few days until the AMCAS application opens on May 1, I'm entering the freakout phase for not having a more or less rough draft.

A bit of background: I'm reapplying this year as a postgraduate, with a special focus on raising my MCAT score and writing a new personal statement. I majored in biochemistry, followed by a two-year postbac at NIH where I studied the influenza virus, earning co-authorship on a couple of papers. Now, I work in clinical research, where I was awarded a corporate research grant. I submitted a first-author abstract with my results and am working on my first manuscript.

I feel like I should have been able to crank something out but I'm having a serious case of writer's block. I want to talk about my research experiences and how grueling yet rewarding they have been and how they motivate me to become a physician so I can do even more.

Help me, SDN!

Sincerely,

omletdefromage
The application opens in May, but you can't submit your application until June (or at least that's how it worked last year), so you've still got time to write :). There's also a PS writing guide somewhere on here that was quite helpful for brainstorming.
 
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theseeker4

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While we all love science and your research is a definite feather in your cap, you don't wanna come across as "I want to be a doctor so that I can do even cooler experiments, and also heal the odd sick person or two" because the next 8 or 10 or 12 years of your life probably won't particularly resemble that. What about your clinical experience?
Yeah, I wouldn't make your research the target of your PS. If you do, why wouldn't the adcom say "they really want a PhD, not an MD, if they care about research and not clinical medicine." Why DO you want to be a physician instead of a PhD, if research is your focus? Make the answer to that the start of your PS, and build from there.
 

omletdefromage

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Agreed -- I frickin love people. I love patients. I wish I got to work directly with them more. In my first two years of research, I worked for a pathologist and now I work for a radiologist, so I feel like all of my research experience also counts as clinical experience from shadowing my mentors during their clinical duties. Beyond that, for a year I shadowed once a week at ICU rounds at NIH, which was not your average ICU (people with incredibly complex medical histories and treatment plans). There would usually be a team of about 15 people, all different specialities and allied professions discussing short- and long-term goals for care.

I wrote my first personal statement about a patient there who was on their last leg, putting in motion the ICU procedures for dealing with an end-of-life situation. I wrote about the value of the ICU team's interdisciplinary approach, and ended with admiration for the patients that make clinical research possible. What stayed with me from that situation was that everyone who was at some point involved in the patient's care participating in discussions about how her last days would be spent, EXCEPT the Principal Investigator who originally admitted her on his clinical trial. I thought that was terrible.

That's the extent of it.
 
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omletdefromage

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The application opens in May, but you can't submit your application until June (or at least that's how it worked last year), so you've still got time to write :). There's also a PS writing guide somewhere on here that was quite helpful for brainstorming.
I have time but I hate not having any leads. If you can direct to the PS writing guide you mention there, I would definitely appreciate it!
 

omletdefromage

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While we all love science and your research is a definite feather in your cap, you don't wanna come across as "I want to be a doctor so that I can do even cooler experiments, and also heal the odd sick person or two" because the next 8 or 10 or 12 years of your life probably won't particularly resemble that. What about your clinical experience?

Agreed -- I frickin love people. I love patients. I wish I got to work directly with them more. In my first two years of research, I worked for a pathologist and now I work for a radiologist, so I feel like all of my research experience also counts as clinical experience from shadowing my mentors during their clinical duties. Beyond that, for a year I shadowed once a week at ICU rounds at NIH, which was not your average ICU (people with incredibly complex medical histories and treatment plans). There would usually be a team of about 15 people, all different specialities and allied professions discussing short- and long-term goals for care.

I wrote my first personal statement about a patient there who was on their last leg, putting in motion the ICU procedures for dealing with an end-of-life situation. I wrote about the value of the ICU team's interdisciplinary approach, and ended with admiration for the patients that make clinical research possible. What stayed with me from that situation was that everyone who was at some point involved in the patient's care participating in discussions about how her last days would be spent, EXCEPT the Principal Investigator who originally admitted her on his clinical trial. I thought that was terrible.

That's the extent of it.
 

thlaxer

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I have time but I hate not having any leads. If you can direct to the PS writing guide you mention there, I would definitely appreciate it!

I really liked this "workshop":

http://studentdoctor.net/2008/04/essay-workshop-101-lesson-1-the-audience/

Other good tips:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=536199
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=375844

What stayed with me from that situation was that everyone who was at some point involved in the patient's care participating in discussions about how her last days would be spent, EXCEPT the Principal Investigator who originally admitted her on his clinical trial. I thought that was terrible.
I would keep that last part to yourself.. You shouldn't try to (intentionally or unintentionally) judge or put down anyone in your personal statement. It makes you look bad.
 

MedPR

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Can't submit your AMCAS until June, so you still have 5 weeks :)
 

omletdefromage

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help2

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I wrote my first personal statement about a patient there who was on their last leg, putting in motion the ICU procedures for dealing with an end-of-life situation. I wrote about the value of the ICU team's interdisciplinary approach, and ended with admiration for the patients that make clinical research possible. What stayed with me from that situation was that everyone who was at some point involved in the patient's care participating in discussions about how her last days would be spent, EXCEPT the Principal Investigator who originally admitted her on his clinical trial. I thought that was terrible.

So maybe I can't tell from this snapshot, but it seems like your PS wasn't personal enough. From this synopsis, it seems like a huge portion of your statement was devoted to talking about what impressed you about others, rather than what you learned about yourself. (I totally had this same problem, and I rewrote a very impersonal personal statement into a very personal one).

Focus on YOU- how you felt, grew, learned, changed. What were some challenges?

It'll always help to focus inward, because that is what will make your personal statement stand out. There might be hundreds of applicants writing about a patient they knew at the end of his/her life- but it's the ones that tie this back to the applicant's process of growing and understanding that get selected above the others.
 
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