Medical What topic should I discuss for diversity essay?

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tantacles

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Hello! I am seeking some advice and opinions on the strongest path forward for my diversity essay in secondaries. The options I've thought about so far are as follows:

1. I have volunteered extensively in high school and college at homeless shelters--not anything fancy, often just preparing and serving meals and talking with the homeless. My senior year I ended up doing my senior honors thesis in anthropology about barriers to healthcare for homeless adults. My experiences with the homeless have allowed me to learn from many people different from myself and basically taught me that despite having a college education, I know very little about the world, which drives me to study global health and pursue a career in it. Not many people have in-depth conversations with homeless people on a regular basis, and those conversations have shaped my view about a lot of subjects (many outside of medicine).

2. Working as a Resident Advisor (RA) in college, I got to support a wide range of students (international, low-income, first-gen, ultra-rich, etc.) through their college journey. I hung out with my residents and had fun with them (some became close friends) and also helped many of them through difficult times. This experience was really eye-opening for me in terms of developing personal relationships, supporting people different from myself, and for my own personal growth. It definitely prepared me to work with varying types of people and populations and was very formative for me.

3. When I was young I had a very rare autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre, where I became completely paralyzed (extremities, GI system, basically anything to do with muscles). I was hospitalized for a month and then did 2 years of physical therapy to relearn how to walk, eat, use my hands, etc. While I recovered from the disease, that experience demonstrated to me the importance of support systems in healing and gave me a new level of empathy for patients. Because I am still considered immunocompromised, a certain virus has brought this condition more to the forefront of my thoughts and actions--it's made me think about how I navigate the world and what I value.

4. I love soccer. It's been a huge part of my life since first grade. Watching. Playing. You name it. I could talk about it for hours, days even. It's given me my closest friends, allowed me to connect with people from all different communities across the world, and challenged me in multiple ways. It's how I stay healthy (physically and mentally) and how I de-stress. I have started pickup soccer groups with my friends and approached complete strangers, asking to play. It was one of my first lessons on how to work as a team, how to take criticism, and how to work hard to become better. I'm not sure how unique this topic is but it is definitely very meaningful to me and has shaped who I am on multiple levels.

Let me know what you think! Please be as critical as needed. If you don't like any of them, tell me that. I'd rather hear that now rather than later.
I would go with the Guillain-Barre story. 1, 3, and 4 don't really reflect on your diversity in a meaningful way. Anyone can volunteer, anyone can work as a resident adviser, and anyone can play soccer. These are great for other parts of your application, but not for a diversity essay. However, I bet you could spin the experience of having Guillain-Barre in a way that shows how your experience could help make you a more empathetic physician, and that experience is not one that many people have gone through.
 

Goro

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I would go with the Guillain-Barre story. 1, 3, and 4 don't really reflect on your diversity in a meaningful way. Anyone can volunteer, anyone can work as a resident adviser, and anyone can play soccer. These are great for other parts of your application, but not for a diversity essay. However, I bet you could spin the experience of having Guillain-Barre in a way that shows how your experience could help make you a more empathetic physician, and that experience is not one that many people have gone through.
I agree.
 

Goro

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Thanks for your feedback!

I did think of one other potential topic I wanted to run by you. I majored in anthropology and global health in college. Bringing an anthropological perspective to the world of medicine has given me a different frame of reference when working with others and caring for patients. It has challenged me to think outside of the biomedical perspective and in a global context. For the diversity prompt I think it might be useful in the sense that I can bring a not-as-commonly held perspective to share with classmates.

Do you think that would be better than talking about Guillain-Barre since it was more recent? Or not? @Goro @tantacles
Nope
 

Mr.Smile12

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Hello! I am seeking some advice and opinions on the strongest path forward for my diversity essay in secondaries. The options I've thought about so far are as follows:

1. [Community service -- maybe a little cultural competency]

2. [Cultural competency]

3. [Personal hardship/health-disability]

4. [Hobby]

5. [Academic interests/major]

Let me know what you think! Please be as critical as needed. If you don't like any of them, tell me that. I'd rather hear that now rather than later.

I'll also agree that given the choices #3 fits best if you develop it well.
 
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