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Someone... please help.. quick question about PS

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Letsgotothezoo

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I am currently doing my ps and wish to include some information about a bad academic semester. During that semester I started suffering panic attacks, which currently I do not have anymore... I included the fact that I had panic attacks and that I learned the value of balancing my time. The problem is that, a lot of people that read my ps, (even a doctor), have said that it is a bad idea to say anything negative about myself, even though I had a bad semester. What do you guys think? I really would appreciate any input. I just don't want to get into the interview, and when they ask me and I try to explain, they wonder if I was trying to ignore that semester completely.
 

ripsta

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I think you should briefly acknowledge the effect it had on your academic career. Don't make an excuse out of it; mention it in maximum of 2-3 sentences and state what you have larned from the experience. Right after mentioning it you should highlight some of your strong points.
 

admitER

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hmmmmmmmmm

I would put something about a personal struggle you overcame that semester. Be more vague about it, but if they ask about it in an interview, tell the truth.

A friend of mine had a similar situation, and was advised not to directly discuss "mental health/anxiety issues" on amcas. I know its very backwards, but you don't want adcoms to question your mental prowess as a physician. At least, that was the advice he was given.

IMO, it shouldn't matter. I have occasional panic attacks myself, never so severly as to affect my school performance, but I know that will in no way affect me as a doctor - and I don't think that info SHOULD bias an adcom - but I am merely passing on the info that I know
 

Revilla

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You're human. Why hide it? You had panic attacks and now you don't. Why not turn that into an essay about overcoming adversity? It's the kind of strength that helped you face your panic attacks and fight them that will get you through med school. You're not a quitter, you're a fighter, and you've learned that you can handle any curveball thrown your way with the best of 'em.

Now if your sole purpose for mentioning it is to say, "I had a bad semester because I had panic attacks," then I'd say leave it out. An admission like that should only be used to highlight your positives, not to deflect your negatives.
 

Letsgotothezoo

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thanks for the input.... I hope that LizzyM can comment.. is it rude to send her a PM with this question?
 

Letsgotothezoo

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oh by the way.. if anyone can comment... here's the exact section from my PS I'm talking about.

.When I started college, I quickly became deeply engrossed in my studies. My classes covered interesting topics and I also found them enjoyable due to their challenging nature. In my second semester, however, I began to suffer panic attacks and had trouble devoting all of my time to my studies. I became overwhelmed and I quickly learned that I had to focus on my personal needs. My struggle rewarded me with one of the most valuable lessons I've learned thus far: The importance of balancing work with personal time. In learning this lesson and truly understanding it, I have become more aware of myself, and found my balance.

Thanks.
.
 

ar2388

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i think that paragraph sounds pretty good. it doesnt sound like you are making excuses but rather that you have had an experience that taught oyu a valuable lesson
 

the donkey

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i was going to advise against including that in your ps, until i read the section to which you were referring. i think that looks good. you addressed a problem you faced, how you got through it, and the lesson you learned.

what i have learned from going through this process (once) this past year and ending up waitlisted; is that selling yourself is VERY important. you need to acknowledge your weakness(es), but not dwell on them. show that you've learned and grown from them, and that they have and will make you a better person, and doctor for that matter...but SELL your strong points...don't put too much emphasis on that one bad semester...
 
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