Apr 3, 2010
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When I was 12, I was diagnosed with melanoma. They biopsied it, took out comfortable margins, and I'm fine now, but it left me with a significant facial scar on my cheek. It's quite visible to the naked eye, even when covered with makeup (I'm a girl).

My question is, do I mention this in the personal statement? Do I talk about it to the interviewers? Do they care? Do I mention it because it is integral to the development of my character?
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Mentioning it is a personal choice; there is no one correct answer. I'd say you need to be aware of your personal comfort level in discussing this. If you're going to burst into tears, it might not be a great idea to bring up an emotionally charged issue. On the other hand, you've had a lot of years to get used to the scar and the impact this experience has had on your life. If the experience influenced your decision to go into a medical career, it is certainly a part of your "journey toward medicine." A middle road might be to mention the experience without revealing that it is the cause of the facial scar (which might have resulted from any number of things). Or to discuss the scar, but without the diagnosis. Do what feels right.
 
Apr 3, 2010
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I haven't burst into tears for years - I am quite comfortable with it and myself. It's simply a matter of fact, and it was significant enough in influencing my decision to become a doctor. So, emotionally charged? Not really.

I do want to avoid going the "pity" route, because I do not see that as being beneficial, so it will take some delicacy.

I ask because I do not know what the interviewers want to hear, or more specifically, what they care about.

Thanks for the quick response.
 

bannie22

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Up to you.

Your PS is about you.

Write about what you care about.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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I ask because I do not know what the interviewers want to hear, or more specifically, what they care about.
Adcomms care about your motivation for medicine and how you've tested it. Your personal exposure to the medical system should be only the beginning. Your interactions with patients and how you helped them, your exposure to medical environments and learning to function within them, and your passive observership of (hopefully) a few types of doctor and being able to converse about what they do all day (beyond seeing patients) should be a large part of your focus. Along with caring about people.
 

45408

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"I/my relative/random patient was sick and this compelled me to go into medicine" is a VERY trite device in the personal statement. Tread carefully, but my recommendation is to leave it out completely.
 
Apr 3, 2010
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Thank you for the responses.

I do agree that it can be a very trite device, which is why I most likely will not mention it in the PS at all, or at the most, very obliquely.

I'm simply gathering information. The resources on this site, in people and material, are very enlightening.
 

drizzt3117

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"I/my relative/random patient was sick and this compelled me to go into medicine" is a VERY trite device in the personal statement. Tread carefully, but my recommendation is to leave it out completely.
I sort of agree, but at the same time, the majority of applicants haven't dealt with cancer or the treatment of chronic disease personally... I'd like to read about it if I were reading the application, but that's just my $0.02, other adcoms might disagree.
 

Dianyla

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Better to not mention it but then use it as interview conversation fodder. "Oh, this? Pshaw, it's just that little cancer thingy I had way back when!" :smuggrin:
 
Apr 3, 2010
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It seems that the general consensus is, well, maybe, it depends :laugh:

I'll probably write up a statement that does directly address it as a fundamental reason for wanting to be a doctor - at least as a springboard - and then another that doesn't reference it at all, and then decide which is the stronger. I have a very knowledgeable person to ask.

Thanks for the input.