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I saw similar thread recently and thought that maybe I would give it a shot. I will be applying next cycle and would like to start thinking about my personal statement. Any feed back would be appreciated.

Background: I was always interested in the sciences and it was what I was good at. Since middle school up until my junior year of high school I wanted to be a marine biologist. Medicine never crossed my mind because I never visited a physician since my mother believed her Asian home remedies would do the trick.

Turns out, Asian home remedies aren't the best for Chronic Illnesses. The summer heading into my Junior year I got diagnosed with Crohn's disease after losing around 30 lbs. and other associated ailments. I got a ton of medical exposure, physician exposure, and learned what it meant to be a patient. Along with the medication I received, I wanted to take control of my life through another means and I found that avenue by working out. I gained back the 30 lbs. plus some and since then I wanted to help others empower themselves in some shape or form.

That is how I got introduced to medicine and why I want to get into medicine. ^^^ The above will most likely be my introduction. I've posted a few times whether or not I should include chronic illness into a personal statement and I got mixed feedback. However, my personal statement truly means nothing without a proper introduction as my diagnosis was what got me exposed to the field of medicine in the first place.

Now I have a few experiences that solidified my desire to become a physician:
1. Volunteer coach with Special Olympics.

2. A volunteer club that mentors students through Athletics

3. Working in the ICU as a PCT

4. Research

My biggest issue is what to include. I want to have three experiences that I can talk about but I don't know which one to choose. I know number three is definitely a good choice.

I just don't know which other two to include. The Special Olympics one, the athletics club, or research. I'd like my paper to follow a theme of empowerment, service, and leadership (I see empowering others as a kind of leadership but I don't know if others agree) which I could do a lot by talking about points one and two, but I also don't want adcoms to think I'm not intellectually driven either. I love research.

So, essential my paper could go in the following direction:

Paper 1: Introduction, experience 1, experience 2, and experience 3. This one really highlights my background in service and pushing others in their own interests/goals and my experiences as a PCT.

Paper 2: Introduction, experience 1/2, experience 4, and experience 3. This one will most likely briefly talk about my desire to service and push others in their own interests/goals but it will also talk about my interest in research and why I know it isn't the career I want to do, and lastly, my experiences as as PCT.


Which paper seems better?
 
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I think it depends more on your ability to connect those experiences to WHY you want to be a doctor. Saying, for example "Special Olympics made me want to be a doctor because I like helping people" is a lot different from "Special Olympics made me want to be a doctor because through it I learned I care about XYZ, which is something I could do as a doctor." I'm just a med student, but it seems to me like it's more important you can show the desires you gained from your experiences are well-informed rather than what those experiences were.
 
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I think it depends more on your ability to connect those experiences to WHY you want to be a doctor. Saying, for example "Special Olympics made me want to be a doctor because I like helping people" is a lot different from "Special Olympics made me want to be a doctor because through it I learned I care about XYZ, which is something I could do as a doctor." I'm just a med student, but it seems to me like it's more important you can show the desires you gained from your experiences are well-informed rather than what those experiences were.
Most definitely. I intend on doing that in my essay, I just didn't explicitly state the "Why?" and "How?" my experiences furthered my decision on why I want to be physician in the original post. Regardless of which essay I choose to do, I will do that.

My main concern is just whether or not it would be better to just focus on a major theme or somehow include my experiences as a research assistant and how I learned that although I enjoy it, it taught me that I am looking for "blank" and medicine provides that while research doesn't. I ask because would it not be good to include a reason why I don't think another potential career option was for me. Especially one that I was interested in for well over a decade (Marine Biology).
 
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Most definitely. I intend on doing that in my essay, I just didn't explicitly state the "Why?" and "How?" my experiences furthered my decision on why I want to be physician in the original post. Regardless of which essay I choose to do, I will do that.

My main concern is just whether or not it would be better to just focus on a major theme or somehow include my experiences as a research assistant and how I learned that although I enjoy it, it taught me that I am looking for "blank" and medicine provides that while research doesn't. I ask because would it not be good to include a reason why I don't think another potential career option was for me. Especially one that I was interested in for well over a decade (Marine Biology).
I think it would be a waste of space in a personal statement explaining why you don't want to do research for a career. If you take care to effectively explain why you know you want to do medicine, not wanting to do careers X and Y is then implied.

In regard to your chronic illness question, I think some people are hesitant to recommend this approach because it can come across as cliché. If this is truly the reason you became interested in medicine, the authenticity of this experience will be apparent in your writing. In such case, it likely wouldn't be a detriment.

General themes make personal statements easier to follow and more memorable. You can include unrelated experiences, but it is best to intertwine them in some way. Personal statements that don't do this often come across as though they are merely a list of resume bullet points.
 
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Most definitely. I intend on doing that in my essay, I just didn't explicitly state the "Why?" and "How?" my experiences furthered my decision on why I want to be physician in the original post. Regardless of which essay I choose to do, I will do that.

My main concern is just whether or not it would be better to just focus on a major theme or somehow include my experiences as a research assistant and how I learned that although I enjoy it, it taught me that I am looking for "blank" and medicine provides that while research doesn't. I ask because would it not be good to include a reason why I don't think another potential career option was for me. Especially one that I was interested in for well over a decade (Marine Biology).
I think it's worth mentioning that you realized you wanted more than a research career would provide.
 
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I would keep the theme, and save details of the other activities for secondaries or “most meaningful activities” unless they fit in a coherent way with the rest of your PS.
 
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I would keep the theme, and save details of the other activities for secondaries or “most meaningful activities” unless they fit in a coherent way with the rest of your PS.
Good suggestion. Completely forgot I could make research one of my "most meaningful" if I wanted to or discuss it in my secondaries.
 
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I think it would be a waste of space in a personal statement explaining why you don't want to do research for a career. If you take care to effectively explain why you know you want to do medicine, not wanting to do careers X and Y is then implied.

In regard to your chronic illness question, I think some people are hesitant to recommend this approach because it can come across as cliché. If this is truly the reason you became interested in medicine, the authenticity of this experience will be apparent in your writing. In such case, it likely wouldn't be a detriment.

General themes make personal statements easier to follow and more memorable. You can include unrelated experiences, but it is best to intertwine them in some way. Personal statements that don't do this often come across as though they are merely a list of resume bullet points.
Dang. I thought mentioning family members chronic illness was a bit cliché but didn't think many applicants would have a major chronic illness that they would discuss in a PS. Guess I am wrong there.

Regardless, will probably stick with. There isn't any other reason as to why I decided to do medicine if it wasn't for that experience.

I appreciate your input though! Based on suggestions provided by other SDNers, I think I will stick to my theme and discuss my interest in research elsewhere.
 
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I saw similar thread recently and thought that maybe I would give it a shot. I will be applying next cycle and would like to start thinking about my personal statement. Any feed back would be appreciated.

Background: I was always interested in the sciences and it was what I was good at. Since middle school up until my junior year of high school I wanted to be a marine biologist. Medicine never crossed my mind because I never visited a physician since my mother believed her Asian home remedies would do the trick.

Turns out, Asian home remedies aren't the best for Chronic Illnesses. The summer heading into my Junior year I got diagnosed with Crohn's disease after losing around 30 lbs. and other associated ailments. I got a ton of medical exposure, physician exposure, and learned what it meant to be a patient. Along with the medication I received, I wanted to take control of my life through another means and I found that avenue by working out. I gained back the 30 lbs. plus some and since then I wanted to help others empower themselves in some shape or form.

That is how I got introduced to medicine and why I want to get into medicine. ^^^ The above will most likely be my introduction. I've posted a few times whether or not I should include chronic illness into a personal statement and I got mixed feedback. However, my personal statement truly means nothing without a proper introduction as my diagnosis was what got me exposed to the field of medicine in the first place.

Now I have a few experiences that solidified my desire to become a physician:
1. Volunteer coach with Special Olympics.

2. A volunteer club that mentors students through Athletics

3. Working in the ICU as a PCT

4. Research

My biggest issue is what to include. I want to have three experiences that I can talk about but I don't know which one to choose. I know number three is definitely a good choice.

I just don't know which other two to include. The Special Olympics one, the athletics club, or research. I'd like my paper to follow a theme of empowerment, service, and leadership (I see empowering others as a kind of leadership but I don't know if others agree) which I could do a lot by talking about points one and two, but I also don't want adcoms to think I'm not intellectually driven either. I love research.

So, essential my paper could go in the following direction:

Paper 1: Introduction, experience 1, experience 2, and experience 3. This one really highlights my background in service and pushing others in their own interests/goals and my experiences as a PCT.

Paper 2: Introduction, experience 1/2, experience 4, and experience 3. This one will most likely briefly talk about my desire to service and push others in their own interests/goals but it will also talk about my interest in research and why I know it isn't the career I want to do, and lastly, my experiences as as PCT.


Which paper seems better?
First of all realize that what is important to you and doesn't make it into the PS can become an MME essay.
I can make an argument for #2, especially if you love research, but it seems like #1 fits more with your theme of empowerment and research might be easier to write about in a stand-alone MME.
Best,
Linda
 
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First of all realize that what is important to you and doesn't make it into the PS can become an MME essay.
I can make an argument for #2, especially if you love research, but it seems like #1 fits more with your theme of empowerment and research might be easier to write about in a stand-alone MME.
Best,
Linda
What would your argument be for including research?

Also, would it be a bad idea to talk about my previous career interest in marine biology and how I switched to medicine? It's a small detail that I can remove no big deal. Just curious if I could tack it on.
 

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My argument for including research would be that it shows another side of you and that the Special Olympics/Athletics are related activities.

Regarding the marine bio questions, I probably would not include it in the PS although it's hard to say without reading your PS. It doesn't seem to fit with your theme so well. I can imagine how you could fit it in effectively and succinctly, but I can also imagine it really taking away. Execution matters. Sorry I'm being wishy washy here.
 
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My argument for including research would be that it shows another side of you and that the Special Olympics/Athletics are related activities.

Regarding the marine bio questions, I probably would not include it in the PS although it's hard to say without reading your PS. It doesn't seem to fit with your theme so well. I can imagine how you could fit it in effectively and succinctly, but I can also imagine it really taking away. Execution matters. Sorry I'm being wishy washy here.
No that's fine. Thank you. Kinda hard for you to be specific without knowing the specifics of my application anyways.

I asked because I was thinking if I did bring up marine biology in the beginning I could bring up my research experience and how it confirms that it isnt something I want to do eventhough it was a previous life long interest.
 
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Keep everything in a nice logical flow. Although I can’t ascertain this without reading your PS, you seem to be focusing on the structure, but it’s equally important to devise your”hooks,” things that actually make your essay memorable. If I were you, I would open up the introduction with a vivid telling of home remedies that your mother treated you with to encourage the reader to imagine the story. You get to describe your volunteering and relevant EC’s on AMCAS, but PS is the only place where you can do story-telling and share personal stories with the Ad-coms.
 
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