Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
Once more into the breach, eh? Sorry for the long post. I'm trying to combine a "Why school X" and a "I lost weight" into the same essay (I'd rather not say the prompt).

Why School X

I think I've implied that I fit in with their mission throughout this secondary, and there is a detail on my primary that indicates I could be a good fit for serving their local community.

I've read on SDN that for "why school X" prompts, it's also acceptable to talk about the research they're doing that you want to be a part of, no? The researcher who I'm the most interested in helping out is a PhD who works at one of the school's institutes, not the medical school.

1. If I say I want to help out the PhD at the affiliated institute, will that look bad? As in, why don't you go pursue a Master's program there instead, or something?

2. Should I also or instead mention an MD faculty member at the med school who's coauthored publications with him? The other work of this MD is interesting to me, but not as much.

3. Should I also or instead mention an MD faculty member whose stem cell work I find intriguing?


Weight Loss Self Care

4. I've read that weight loss is an acceptable secondary topic, so I've written about the fact that I've lost 36 lbs. as of today (I have pictures to prove it) with diet and lifestyle self care, mainly by avoiding dozens of foods I'm allergic to. Is that OK?

5. Can I also say that by doing this self care I "reduced my inflammation"? Or is that too much? I'll happily remove it if you think it's best.

Please note, if questioned about this in an interview, I will stick faithfully to this simplified version of events (i.e. no papers or case reports).


How it fits together

I've said that the reason I want to work with these doctors is that they’re "developing treatments that may reduce autoimmunity, and possibly my relatively mild food allergies as well". The autoimmunity claim is exactly what these doctors claim in their own papers, word for word. The allergies part is speculation.

6. Is it a terrible idea to mention the allergies? Allergies are not the main reason I'd like to work with this group, but mentioning it would allow me to tie the two themes together into one essay, which would be nice.
 

efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
11,714
15,591
Status
Medical Student
Don't tell a med school you want to go there because of a certain very loosely associated PhD

I wouldn't use a 30 lb weight loss for any kind of "greatest struggle" prompt or anything like that

Def don't say you're allergic to dozens of foods and have "reduced your inflammation"

PLEASE don't say you want to go to this med school because working with a PhD on autoimmunity might help you treat your food allergies
 
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
Don't tell a med school you want to go there because of a certain very loosely associated PhD

I wouldn't use a 30 lb weight loss for any kind of "greatest struggle" prompt or anything like that

Def don't say you're allergic to dozens of foods and have "reduced your inflammation"

PLEASE don't say you want to go to this med school because working with a PhD on autoimmunity might help you treat your food allergies
OK, thank you, I will try again. I'll comb through the faculty directory some more, and I'll make sure that MD professor's stem cell research is really something I feel excited about. I won't mention inflammation.

Just to make sure I understand though, why shouldn't I say I have food allergies? Does the bias in medicine against people with non-Celiac gluten sensitivity extend to other food allergies as well? Or is it just a weakness that could be misinterpreted as a potential risk?

It's not for a greatest challenge prompt. I grant you my weight loss was a lot more mundane than what a lot of people go through, but for what it's worth I went from a BMI of 28.9 (overweight and borderline obese) to 23.4 (normal).

I got this idea because @jm192 in 2013 encouraged a poster to write about their 45 lbs. weight loss, saying it showed discipline. That made me think how when my friends see how I eat, they often remark on much discipline I must have to avoid all the foods I'm allergic to (it is a lot of foods). I don't really agree with them, to be honest, but I thought ADCOMs might see it that way. Most people do seem to have a hard time imagining never eating their favorite foods.

In addition, @cactusman said recently that weightlifting to lose weight was a common topic he was bored of. So I thought my story might be a twist on a tired genre.

Again, thank you so much for your input, @efle! I really appreciate it and I will act on it. Please excuse my request for clarification.
 
About the Ads

efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
11,714
15,591
Status
Medical Student
OK, thank you, I will try again. I'll comb through the faculty directory some more, and I'll make sure that MD professor's stem cell research is really something I feel excited about. I won't mention inflammation.

Just to make sure I understand though, why shouldn't I say I have food allergies? Does the bias in medicine against people with non-Celiac gluten sensitivity extend to other food allergies as well? Or is it just a weakness that could be misinterpreted as a potential risk?
Its not that physicians are biased against people that don't do well with lactose or something like that. It's that saying you've diagnosed dozens of food allergies and are reducing your inflammation and want to do research with Dr. X to help continue treating your inflammation makes you sound like a crazy person.

Some people do feel a calling to a certain area of medicine because of personal experience (like oncology because they lost family to cancer) or have a strong desire to work with specific faculty if they've a history of working with them already (like during a gap year). This really doesn't line up with your situation though.

Regarding the weight loss, I'm sure it will depend on what exactly the prompt was and who happens to read your essay. What's the prompt? If it's something like "why our school" and that's why you're talking about faculty of interest, then it's really odd to bring up an upper to mid 20s BMI change, imo.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Prometheus123
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
Its not that physicians are biased against people that don't do well with lactose or something like that. It's that saying you've diagnosed dozens of food allergies and are reducing your inflammation and want to do research with Dr. X to help continue treating your inflammation makes you sound like a crazy person.

Some people do feel a calling to a certain area of medicine because of personal experience (like oncology because they lost family to cancer) or have a strong desire to work with specific faculty if they've a history of working with them already (like during a gap year). This really doesn't line up with your situation though.

Regarding the weight loss, I'm sure it will depend on what exactly the prompt was and who happens to read your essay. What's the prompt? If it's something like "why our school" and that's why you're talking about faculty of interest, then it's really odd to bring up an upper to mid 20s BMI change, imo.
Thank you for clarifying your thought process. I am not saying I diagnosed myself with anything. I was diagnosed with non-Celiac gluten sensitivity as a baby. The rest were diagnosed by elimination diet and subsequent challenge. A clinician told me the lab tests were not very reliable and my insurance (essentially Medicaid) didn't cover them anyway, so that was the best option.

When I eat these foods, my face and half my body turn bright red and itchy. I also get swelling around my eyes. When I avoid them, these signs become no longer visible. This is what leads me to say that avoiding foods I'm allergic to reduces my inflammation. Like I said, I won't mention it.

I definitely agree with you that trying to connect the PhD to all this is a terrible idea.

So are you saying that I should only mention a researcher at a school for a "why school X" if I've worked with them before? I had the impression from reading previous threads about this that wasn't necessary, no?

The prompt is school specific, which is why I don't want to post it. It's most similar to a "anything else we should know?" one in the sense that it's pretty open-ended, but with a twist. I take your point that it really depends on who happens to read it.
 
Last edited:

efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
11,714
15,591
Status
Medical Student
I'd only single out a specific person if you've worked with them. You can def talk about areas of interest that the school has a strong department for. Tough to really say much without knowing the prompt though, something like "anything else" is usually optional!
 
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the tip about looking for strong departments. I already know of a couple I'm particularly interested in. And I'll PM you the prompt.
 
Last edited:
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
What about the school's particular research strengths? Is that good to talk about? I'm super into 5/7 of them. My three favorites are regenerative medicine, obesity and metabolic disease, and preventive medicine. That's pretty much my core interests in a nutshell.

The fact that they're as interested in metabolic dysregulation as I am, apparently, means that weight loss might be a good topic, no?
 

Goro

Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
54,462
80,867
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Hold very still because I'm going to try to smack some sense into you.

I've read on SDN that for "why school X" prompts, it's also acceptable to talk about the research they're doing that you want to be a part of, no? The researcher who I'm the most interested in helping out is a PhD who works at one of the school's institutes, not the medical school.
1. If I say I want to help out the PhD at the affiliated institute, will that look bad? As in, why don't you go pursue a Master's program there instead, or something?


It's OK to be interested in research. It's OK to be interested in the research of a particular person. But using the phrase "help out" is just plain ignorant. You're going to help him? What arrogance!!! Reject pile for you.


2. Should I also or instead mention an MD faculty member at the med school who's coauthored publications with him? The other work of this MD is interesting to me, but not as much.
So why work in his lab?

3. Should I also or instead mention an MD faculty member whose stem cell work I find intriguing?
That's fine. It's OK to rattle off a list of names of people who's work you find interesting


4. I've read that weight loss is an acceptable secondary topic, so I've written about the fact that I've lost 36 lbs. as of today (I have pictures to prove it) with diet and lifestyle self care, mainly by avoiding dozens of foods I'm allergic to. Is that OK?
Admirable and a fine topic.

5. Can I also say that by doing this self care I "reduced my inflammation"? Or is that too much? I'll happily remove it if you think it's best.
This will make you look like the insufferable know-it-all. Have you been taking NSAIDs? Corticosteroids? Have labs that show that your ESR, CRP and whatever else the inflammation people look at have gone done? No? Then you are still in the position of the guy we have seen who is trying to show that he has a little bit of information, but doesn't really know what he's talking about.


How it fits together
I've said that the reason I want to work with these doctors is that they’re "developing treatments that may reduce autoimmunity, and possibly my relatively mild food allergies as well". The autoimmunity claim is exactly what these doctors claim in their own papers, word for word. The allergies part is speculation.

6. Is it a terrible idea to mention the allergies? Allergies are not the main reason I'd like to work with this group, but mentioning it would allow me to tie the two themes together into one essay, which would be nice.[/QUOTE]


See efle's comments above. Again' it's OK to say you like research, and these people's research are interesting, but this has to be a tidbit. You're to medical school to be a doctor, and thus, you need to highlight the school's strengths that will help you achieve that goal.

I have to warn you that despite all the advice you've been given on SDN, you keep displaying a particular mindset that if seen in your app and/or interviews, will not merely get you onto the wait list, but rejected immediately, which is no mean feat for the latter.

 

CyrilFiggis

5+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2014
1,843
2,926
Status
Medical Student
I've read this and many of your previous discussions and I still have no idea who you are. At best, I can say you're married to an Indian woman and maybe have/had some love handles. Other than that, the totality of your commentary makes it seem like you're the "one-true med student" vastly knowledgable in all cultural competencies, able to help PhDs and mediate all student conflict.

But who are you? Do you have (non-medical) hobbies, passions, little quirks?
 

Ad2b

SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2014
2,875
2,691
Status
Pre-Medical
Hold very still because I'm going to try to smack some sense into you.
I never ever, ever thought I'd say this but... I think I <3 you. :laugh:

But who are you? Do you have (non-medical) hobbies, passions, little quirks?

Oh, I think we all know what they are :lol:

 
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
Haha, holding very still, thank you sir!

It's OK to be interested in research. It's OK to be interested in the research of a particular person. But using the phrase "help out" is just plain ignorant. You're going to help him? What arrogance!!! Reject pile for you.
Very good to know! Ironically, I wrote "help out" here because I thought it sounded uber-humble, like maybe I was just planning to fetch them coffee or something. In the essay itself, I originally wrote "learn from and collaborate with". However, I was concerned that "collaborate with" would imply that I think I'm somehow on equal footing with these people, which I'm obviously not. Also, the PhD doesn't teach any classes at the med school, so I was worried "learn from" would imply that I don't know that. What would be a better phrase to use? "Work in the lab of"? "Volunteer for"? Or should I just say I'm "interested in" or "fascinated by" these people's work and leave it at that?


So why work in his lab?
Yeah, agreed.


That's fine. It's OK to rattle off a list of names of people who's work you find interesting
OK. I have a feeling I'll add to the list today.


4. I've read that weight loss is an acceptable secondary topic, so I've written about the fact that I've lost 36 lbs. as of today (I have pictures to prove it) with diet and lifestyle self care, mainly by avoiding dozens of foods I'm allergic to. Is that OK?

Admirable and a fine topic.
Thank you. You know what this means, right? This means we may have finally found a way for me to mention what I personally think is the coolest thing about me, but in an acceptable, normal enough manner. Resisting the urge to do a jig right now. Actually no, letting it out. :banana::claps::soexcited:


5. Can I also say that by doing this self care I "reduced my inflammation"? Or is that too much? I'll happily remove it if you think it's best.

This will make you look like the insufferable know-it-all. Have you been taking NSAIDs? Corticosteroids? Have labs that show that your ESR, CRP and whatever else the inflammation people look at have gone done? No? Then you are still in the position of the guy we have seen who is trying to show that he has a little bit of information, but doesn't really know what he's talking about.
You're absolutely right. I was just confronted by this yesterday because of something that happened here actually. A couple of newbies posted some very basic questions. No one was replying, and I wanted to reduce your guys' work load as a thank you for all the help you've all given me and to give back to the community. So I replied, paraphrasing a bunch of gems from you and other ADCOMs I've read on here and synthesizing them into a couple sentences. It was 90% very good advice.

Hours later, I realized I forgot to mention shadowing, which could be misleading. Then I found out that the MCAT score conversion chart I used to convert the poster's score, which was made by a test prep company, is slightly inaccurate. Also, I didn't realize the OP was an ORM, so I gave them the white applicant stats instead. I also didn't explain that the hours for ECs I mentioned were what you told me were ideal, not actual requirements. There were probably other problems I'm not aware of. Thankfully, others jumped in and gave better advice. Needless to say, I feel like an idiot about all this now. And I really do see the danger now in quoting experts when I don't really have the depth of understanding and experience to really know what I'm talking about.

Regarding interviews and apps, apart from weight loss via diet and lifestyle self care, I will be a blank slate. My mantra in the waiting room for interviews would be "Tabula rasa now!"



I might have some old lab tests showing elevated ESR and/or CRP, but I'm not sure. I'll look just in case. My wife and I have a theory based on a USMLE video that NSAIDs might be contraindicated for me, so I try to avoid them. I have been prescribed corticosteroids more times than I care to remember in my life. I do use small quantities of the topical ones during the day sometimes, but I avoid them as much as possible. They're a devil's bargain, in my experience. I used too much of the topicals the night before the MCAT and they gave me horrendous insomnia, only slept two hours, not fun.


See efle's comments above. Again' it's OK to say you like research, and these people's research are interesting, but this has to be a tidbit. You're to medical school to be a doctor, and thus, you need to highlight the school's strengths that will help you achieve that goal.
OK. I will continue learning about the school today, in particular the med school's departments.

I have to warn you that despite all the advice you've been given on SDN, you keep displaying a particular mindset that if seen in your app and/or interviews, will not merely get you onto the wait list, but rejected immediately, which is no mean feat for the latter.
Tabula rasa NOW!!!

As always, a million thanks for the reality check.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: mistafab

Goro

Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
54,462
80,867
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Haha, holding very still, thank you sir!

Very good to know! Ironically, I wrote "help out" here because I thought it sounded uber-humble, like maybe I was just planning to fetch them coffee or something. In the essay itself, I originally wrote "learn from and collaborate with". However, I was concerned that "collaborate with" would imply that I think I'm somehow on equal footing with these people, which I'm obviously not. Also, the PhD doesn't teach any classes at the med school, so I was worried "learn from" would imply that I don't know that. What would be a better phrase to use? "Work in the lab of"? "Volunteer for"? Or should I just say I'm "interested in" or "fascinated by" these people's work and leave it at that?
.
Just say "I am interested in the research of Drs...." and leave it at that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Prometheus123
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
I've read this and many of your previous discussions and I still have no idea who you are. At best, I can say you're married to an Indian woman and maybe have/had some love handles. Other than that, the totality of your commentary makes it seem like you're the "one-true med student" vastly knowledgable in all cultural competencies, able to help PhDs and mediate all student conflict.

But who are you? Do you have (non-medical) hobbies, passions, little quirks?
I never ever, ever thought I'd say this but... I think I <3 you. :laugh:


Oh, I think we all know what they are :lol:
Haha, I have to agree with @Ad2b about the quirks. Thank you, @CyrilFiggis, for your probing questions.

I really like cooking, going out in nature, writing, singing (informally), seeing live music (when I can afford it, which is almost never these days), learning languages, road trips, good conversations, travelling....I like to read non-fiction about a variety of subjects (e.g. history, politics, philosophy, spirituality, psychology, etc). I also have a weakness for hilarious and excellent TV shows and movies, which I feel guilty about because it's a waste of time, but it helps me stay sane. I can get pretty goofy myself sometimes.

As for quirks, well...I don't know where to begin haha. For one thing, I'm not a competitive person at all (except with myself), which I realize is probably a disadvantage in this field. I know it sounds silly and not very realistic or smart, but I really like seeing others succeed. I think I like giving other people advice in part because of this, but also because when I give someone a piece of really good advice that might actually help them, I feel good about myself and my contribution to the world. I see now that's a highly problematic motivation that I need to control and channel better, at least until I have more training.

Another quirk is that I see the world a little differently than most people. I don't mean that as a good or a bad thing, just as a fact that people have told me throughout my life. On the negative side, because of this I don't have quite the same intuitive grasp of how to appear "normal" as most people do, at least not in writing. I think I learned to read body language and facial expressions as well as I did to compensate for this, as this gives me instant feedback on how I'm coming across to people in person which I use to adjust accordingly. On the positive side, because of this I sometimes see solutions to problems that others don't.

As a person, I'm sort of like a service dog that got a really overly-analytical brain in a science experiment gone wrong.
 
Last edited:
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
Just say "I am interested in the research of Drs...." and leave it at that.
That does sound like the passionate but not zealous way to say it. Thank you!
 
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
I've read this and many of your previous discussions and I still have no idea who you are. At best, I can say you're married to an Indian woman and maybe have/had some love handles. Other than that, the totality of your commentary makes it seem like you're the "one-true med student" vastly knowledgable in all cultural competencies, able to help PhDs and mediate all student conflict.

But who are you? Do you have (non-medical) hobbies, passions, little quirks?
Biographically speaking, I'm also a cynical nontrad (with a touch of idealism still). I stumbled around in life until half way through college. Then I had an early mid-life crisis for a variety of reasons (health issues, family stressors, the usual) but the biggest one was that I felt like my life had no meaning. So I took an extended leave of absence to try to find something that was meaningful enough to me and that I was good enough at to dedicate my life to. First I was an activist and canvasser for ~half a year. Then I moved to India and somehow wound up doing freelance digital content writing (a nice way of saying "editing the grammar on Facebook posts to help companies sell more stuff"). I grew a lot from the challenge of that, but it didn't feel meaningful at all to me.

Then I started dating my wife, and I guess she influenced me pretty heavily. Between her, dealing with my own health issues, family members' health issues, and the fact that there's a chronic disease crisis going on of epic proportions, plus careful reflection on my own strengths and weaknesses, led me to believe that medicine was the ideal path for me.

I thought about whether I was really willing to make the sacrifices necessary to walk this path for about a year while we lived in Dubai. Eventually I decided it was not only worth it, but the only thing I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.

What about you? What's your story, in as much or as little detail as you'd like to give? I'm always curious about how other non-trads come to this.
 

boogiecousins94

2+ Year Member
May 16, 2017
883
1,044
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I used weight loss for a challenge prompt because I lost 70+lbs in less than 6 months. I spun it in a way that showed how I can stick to a goal and persevere through stuff even if its difficult.

I think if you can use large weight loss to show that you can take on challenges etc. then it is good but if you basically just throw it in there without using it to explain something it can come off as random and unnecessary
 
OP
Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
Removed
5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
586
266
Status
Pre-Medical
When I asked "who are you?" it was rhetorical...... I honestly don't care.
Fair enough. I wish you all the best, and I hope to see you in medical school or work with you one day! :)
 
About the Ads