Traumatic events in PS

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MDPrincess, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. MDPrincess

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    I went through a couple of traumatic events this past year. I want to talk about both of them in my personal statement, but am having trouble working both them in in a way that makes sense and allows my essay to flow well. Should I just focus on one event and perhaps leave the other for secondary essays?
     
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  3. WinterLights

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    Stick with one in the PS. You do not want to make your life sound like a complete tragedy.
     
  4. MDPrincess

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    Thanks! I'd been going crazy trying to fit both in, but not having success.
     
  5. doomknight

    doomknight Bing

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    if you can fit both and still write a nice essay, it wouldn't hurt
     
  6. MDPrincess

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    Yeah, I'm just having a hard time getting it to flow well. I start out with one event and how that impacted my decision to go into medicine, but then talking about the second event in the following paragraph turns out to be awkward. Argh.
     
  7. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats

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    I wrote about my dad's unexpected death from an MI in my PS. The way I approached my PS was that I would write one. Then wait 2 days. Then write another. Then wait to days. Etc. Once I had 5 different personal statements I went back and read them all and gleaned the best aspects of each and was able to synthesize them into something more cohesive.

    I found that talking about a personal matter that greatly affected you fit best in the intro paragraph. This is why its best to limit it to 1. If you write about a second experience in your second paragraph it comes off as too much and it takes away the space that gives you the opportunity to talk about your positive traits and characteristics. So I stuck to one and expanded on it and talked about how it altered my motivations for being a physician. I then went into the "other stuff" afterwards.
     
  8. MDPrincess

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    Thanks for the great advice. I think my problem is that I'm starting out with this event in the first paragraph and then I'm going into other stuff for the rest of the paragraphs and it's making it difficult for me to have something cohesive.
     
  9. rowerlauren

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    I did something similarly to writing 5 personal statements... I just sort of free wrote about why I wanted to enter medicine and what I had gained from my experiences relevant to medicine. Once I had written all of this I found some really good paragraphs that I used in my personal statements (thank you TMDSAS for that extra one/three) and it really helped me write more coherently and much more concise. I also made sure that everything important made it into my statement since I had already gotten everything onto paper already.
     
  10. primadonna22274

    primadonna22274 Senior Member

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    Interesting question. My PS has been all-business, but I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with my supervising physician's mother who happens to be a guru of personal statements (she's in the writing center at MUSC). Straight off the top she wanted me to lead with something significant--in other words, how my best friend's husband's suicide 4 years ago got me to move from Oregon to South Carolina. I would never have thought to use it, but once I did, it flowed. It was a significant event for me in more ways than I could have cognitively identified--so much was undulating below the surface. Once I started writing I remembered all kinds of things; like James (the husband who killed himself in 2004) was one of the first people to get me interested in the PA concept like 14 years ago (I've been a PA for 8 years but was always on the pre-med track). Very stream-of-consciousness.
    She also told me a few useful things:
    1. Make it personal (duh, "personal" statement)
    2. Give a picture of who you are and what you're about
    3. Get rid of quotations--nobody reads them anyway
    4. "Show me, don't tell me"
    5. talk yourself up--things you've done, point out important parts of your application (for me, research as a PA student, teaching experience and a publication)
    6. get it down to one page

    All ambitious goals, but we'll see. Good luck to you.

    Lisa
     
  11. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats

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    Sounds about right. I had a physician proofread my PS who was on the ADCOM at UPenn for about 10 years. She now owns her own derm practice. Awesome woman, and she gave me some great pointers. If anyone is interested, I can upload my PS with her comments and send it to you. I just don't want to post in on a public forum.
     
  12. plauto

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    this is good advice. Hook the reader at the very beginning and they'll keep reading thru the whole thing.
     

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