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Thoughts on a long-distance relationship as the topic of an adversity essay?

JumbaJoo

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Basically the title. Upon much introspection, I truly feel that struggling to make a long-distance relationship work in college was absolutely the greatest personal challenge I faced. However, I've heard that there are certain topics you shouldn't write about, and I wasn't sure if a romantic relationship would be included in that list. I'd appreciate any insight!
 

Ehegi

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In general, this is a topic I'd shy away from -- mostly in that it can get fairly messy and the whole point of application essays is to demonstrate qualities which would make you a successful medical student/doctor. Not to say it's impossible, but it takes much more mental gymnastics to connect those two topics, esp given romantic and professional realms are an automatic taboo crossover in the medical field.

However, everyone is unique. If you truly feel that there are some deeply defining personal qualities that make you a great applicant that can only be demonstrated through that experience, and you are a fantastic writer that makes such a logical connection feel natural in your writing, then go for it? I'd just have several people read it over to make sure it communicates the message you want and is not cringey.
 
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JumbaJoo

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In general, this is a topic I'd shy away from -- mostly in that it can get fairly messy and the whole point of application essays is to demonstrate qualities which would make you a successful medical student/doctor. Not to say it's impossible, but it takes much more mental gymnastics to connect those two topics, esp given romantic and professional realms are an automatic taboo crossover in the medical field.

However, everyone is unique. If you truly feel that there are some deeply defining personal qualities that make you a great applicant that can only be demonstrated through that experience, and you are a fantastic writer that makes such a logical connection feel natural in your writing, then go for it? I'd just have several people read it over to make sure it communicates the message you want and is not cringey.

Thanks for the insight. To be honest, this prompt was quite challenging for me to answer, as I felt that most of the personal challenges I faced in college are quite lame and limited to academics. This is the only one I felt was meaningful and could actually be defined as a challenge. I'd be delighted if you'd be willing to take a look at what I have right now, but for summary's sake, I tried writing more about how it was unexpectedly difficult. In the essay, I also tried to focus on character changes I made as a result of long-distance, such as being more emotionally honest/open. The prompt also specified to include what I learned about myself, so I mentioned that I became more aware of my adaptability/ability to persevere (probably the most awkward part of the essay). Do you think this sounds alright as an answer, or are there more compelling things to write about? Also, am I supposed to directly mention how these relate to medicine, or is focusing on challenge itself more appropriate? Sorry for the paragraph of text!

This is a very challenging topic to write about well.
I can't remember seeing it done persuasively.

I definitely agree that it's not easy to write about. Would you be willing to take a look at what I have so far? I'd really appreciate it!
 

gyngyn

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Thanks for the insight. To be honest, this prompt was quite challenging for me to answer, as I felt that most of the personal challenges I faced in college are quite lame and limited to academics. This is the only one I felt was meaningful and could actually be defined as a challenge. I'd be delighted if you'd be willing to take a look at what I have right now, but for summary's sake, I tried writing more about how it was unexpectedly difficult. In the essay, I also tried to focus on character changes I made as a result of long-distance, such as being more emotionally honest/open. The prompt also specified to include what I learned about myself, so I mentioned that I became more aware of my adaptability/ability to persevere (probably the most awkward part of the essay). Do you think this sounds alright as an answer, or are there more compelling things to write about? Also, am I supposed to directly mention how these relate to medicine, or is focusing on challenge itself more appropriate? Sorry for the paragraph of text!



I definitely agree that it's not easy to write about. Would you be willing to take a look at what I have so far? I'd really appreciate it!
Sorry, as an admissions officer, I prefer to give advice in the forum so that all can benefit.
I'm sure there are well-respected members who are not admissions officers who will do so!
 
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Ehegi

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I'd probably stay away from this topic to be honest. As @gyngyn said, this is a very challenging topic to write about well. If you're choosing it because it's the least "lame" and not because it's an unusual/extraordinary experience that will blow your reader's mind, then it's unlikely to overcome the inherent negatives/challenges of the topic. It's a gamble, so don't call unless you have the cards to back it up.
 
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JumbaJoo

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I'd probably stay away from this topic to be honest. As @gyngyn said, this is a very challenging topic to write about well. If you're choosing it because it's the least "lame" and not because it's an unusual/extraordinary experience that will blow your reader's mind, then it's unlikely to overcome the inherent negatives/challenges of the topic. It's a gamble, so don't call unless you have the cards to back it up.

Thanks for the advice!

If I may borrow you for one more question, what're your thoughts on writing about dealing with my father being in the hospital for close to 2 weeks due to chronic kidney disease. I originally shied away from this topic based on the idea that it was my father in the hospital and not me, but I am reconsidering now. @gyngyn I would love your thoughts on this as well if you don't mind!
 

drducky.

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Thanks for the advice!

If I may borrow you for one more question, what're your thoughts on writing about dealing with my father being in the hospital for close to 2 weeks due to chronic kidney disease. I originally shied away from this topic based on the idea that it was my father in the hospital and not me, but I am reconsidering now. @gyngyn I would love your thoughts on this as well if you don't mind!

I think that’d be a good topic. You can talk about how it was a difficult time for you, how it may have influenced your studies, how you didnt let it control you, and how you overcame it, etc
 
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Basically the title. Upon much introspection, I truly feel that struggling to make a long-distance relationship work in college was absolutely the greatest personal challenge I faced. However, I've heard that there are certain topics you shouldn't write about, and I wasn't sure if a romantic relationship would be included in that list. I'd appreciate any insight!
Having been in a LDR when I was courting the lovely now Mrs Dr Goro, I think it's a fine subject.
 
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gyngyn

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Thanks for the advice!

If I may borrow you for one more question, what're your thoughts on writing about dealing with my father being in the hospital for close to 2 weeks due to chronic kidney disease. I originally shied away from this topic based on the idea that it was my father in the hospital and not me, but I am reconsidering now. @gyngyn I would love your thoughts on this as well if you don't mind!
It could work.
 
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viralhiker

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Can someone describe why this may not be a good idea for an adversity essay? This seems like fair game for a difficult personal challenge. It is important to have a support system while pursuing this path, and OP describing how they balanced their work/personal relationships sounds like it should be well received. Similarly, I find it more compelling than OP's story about his father being in the hospital. If adcoms want to see personal growth, resilience, and introspection, wouldn't the first idea serve to demonstrate those qualities better?

My own $0.02 as a first-time applicant as well.
 
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Kpw101

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Can someone describe why this may not be a good idea for an adversity essay? This seems like fair game for a difficult personal challenge. It is important to have a support system while pursuing this path, and OP describing how they balanced their work/personal relationships sounds like it should be well received. Similarly, I find it more compelling than OP's story about his father being in the hospital. If adcoms want to see personal growth, resilience, and introspection, wouldn't the first idea serve to demonstrate those qualities better?

My own $0.02 as a first-time applicant as well.

I'm not an adcom so take what I say with a grain of salt. Balancing work/personal relationships and how they affect your success as a student is kind of well represented already. If you're a successful student, it's implied that you handle these things well. It makes the topic a little difficult to angle in a way that makes you seem unique. Having a family member in the hospital for a serious illness however is a very taxing emotional endeavor that can really test the limit of someone's resiliency and is unique in that not everyone experiences this at this point in their lives.

Not trying to say that your LDR isn't emotionally challenging OP. I personally understand the things those couples have to face. If it truly tested you in a way that you think can be written in a good light, I think it's fine. Make sure you get a couple of people to read it though!
 
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