War in personal statement?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Dr. Mojo, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. Dr. Mojo

    Dr. Mojo Member

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    Hey SDN veterans,

    I was talking to someone about their experiences in a war-torn country and was surprised they were determined not to include it in their PS even though it impacted their desire to pursue medicine. I told them to come on here and ask but they were determined not to. So I thought I'd do it for them. Do you guys really think it's a no-no?

    And now, for my own personal statement... Do you think it is a bad idea to include references to literary characters by a certain author if it ties in with the theme of the rest of your essay? Or is that too flowery?

    Thanks a bunch,
    Moj
     
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  3. PhotoMD

    PhotoMD Rad!

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    My friend applying to dental school decided not to write her PS about her fiance dying even though it played into her dental school decision, for fear that it would be seen as preying on a personal tragedy. I don't think it's a no-no though.

     
  4. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I agree with this. If you've been touched by tragedy, a lot of times you have no interest in spinning it into a great personal statement yarn.

    For practical purposes, there's the issue of dead parents/spouses/friends being so common as to be a genre amongst personal statements.

    For personal purposes, sometimes these stories just aren't something we'd consider fodder for an adcom.

    I can see your friend's point of view on this.
     
  5. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    If it was integral to a well written personal statement, you could probably get away a reference to "As the protagonist says in Dante's Inferno..." or something.

    It doesn't have to be the classics, but I'd be hesitant to include a reference to pop literature. If the book was written in the last five years, the adcom may come off thinking that the only thing you read is that which is on the front shelf at Borders.
     
  6. Sporky

    Sporky Sporky

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    I have included my experiences in the slums of Pakistan and in the remote villages of Tibet where I work as a missionary in my personal statement.

    In fact, I describe the singular event which actually pushed me over the medical edge - holding a newborn baby with his brain sticking out. (Encephelocele).

    So, I say - include it.

    :)
     
  7. Dr. Mojo

    Dr. Mojo Member

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    Thanks for replying guys. What I failed to mention is he was lucky enough to not have any family members pass away during or because of the war. But living through that and coming of age in that environment changed/shaped him and fueled his desire to pursue medicine. I thought it would be interesting stuff for interview but I think he's afraid of stereotypes and prejudice. And even though he's obviously not going to get political, but rather discuss the personal impact it had on him, he's afraid he'll be opening a can of worms and will get grilled about politics in the interview. I just thought that although that's a possiblity, he could steer the interview back in the direction of how it affected him personally and how it caused him to pursue medicine.

    So maybe this is even worse because it's not the typical cliche pre-med scenario of having lost a family member? I don't know - I just told him that if I read something like that, I would interested in getting the kid that survived the war with renewed perspective to come in and talk to him... But what do I know?

    Moj
     
  8. Dr. Mojo

    Dr. Mojo Member

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    It's definitely a classic. But I was just hesitant because the genre does not at all seem applicable to medicine. From the Victorian era.

    Moj
     
  9. Sporky

    Sporky Sporky

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    We can't live our lives being afraid of sterotypes and prejudice.

    Remember Linus from the "Peanuts" comics? He used to only shine the front of his shoes. When Lucy asked him why? he said "because I don't care what other people think about me when I leave".

    We should live this way also. Life is about reality and very often reality is ugly.

    I think an interviewer would be keenly interested in his experience and politics has nothing to do with his experience.

    I do alot of work in the muslim world and I am a Christian, but when someone asks me about how I feel about Islam, I always deflect the question to something which I feel is more important, especially if I am in a certain country. The world needs doctors with more experience than American college or University life and your friend would bring a unique perspective to the discussion, I believe.

    For example, if someone asks me, "what do you think about Pres. Musharraff?" I always say, (smiling) "Well, I don't know President Musharraff and I don't like to form opinions about persons I do not know - that would be rather unfair, don't you think?" I would say the same thing about Bush.

    If your friend was from say, Bosnia and an interviewer asked him about Milosevic, he could simply say the same thing and move the conversation to his specific experience and how it relates to his being a great doctor in the future.

    My .02 centavos..


    :)
     

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