Writing a challenge essay about a family member's hospitalization

Silence in ER

5+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2013
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So I have a challenge essay I need to write, and I wanted to write about my mom's hospitalization the week of my third mcat attempt. But They want me to show how I managed to address it and the truth is I don't know how I got through? It was her third hospitalization that month so I had already been losing sleep at night. I felt really guilty for studying and leaving her alone. I had to repress and compartmentalize everything, because I have a few younger siblings and I had to take care of them. And I had to basically try to not be so worried she would die in the hospital or while I was in the library. But I mean, I don't see how any of that shows a plan of attack or a logical response to these problems. What do I do? And what are somethings I should think about?
 
Aug 14, 2014
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So I have a challenge essay I need to write, and I wanted to write about my mom's hospitalization the week of my third mcat attempt. But They want me to show how I managed to address it and the truth is I don't know how I got through? It was her third hospitalization that month so I had already been losing sleep at night. I felt really guilty for studying and leaving her alone. I had to repress and compartmentalize everything, because I have a few younger siblings and I had to take care of them. And I had to basically try to not be so worried she would die in the hospital or while I was in the library. But I mean, I don't see how any of that shows a plan of attack or a logical response to these problems. What do I do? And what are somethings I should think about?
That sounds really tough and I am so sorry for your experience. Contrary to popular advice on here, I wrote a lot of secondary essays about my caregiving responsibilities. When I was discussing these things in relation to "challenge" questions, one thing I brought up was knowing when to call on others for help. Did you seek any kind of support from anyone, whether from another family member, friend, or someone "official" like a hospital social worker? I think it's important to show that you know when to reach out.
 
OP
Silence in ER

Silence in ER

5+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2013
473
406
in northeast pennsylvania
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
That sounds really tough and I am so sorry for your experience.
nah, it was okay. I mean, yes, it was tough, but I ended up getting a 515. And my mother is okay/getting better, thank God. I don't really enjoy speaking about it.

When I was discussing these things in relation to "challenge" questions, one thing I brought up was knowing when to call on others for help. Did you seek any kind of support from anyone, whether from another family member, friend, or someone "official" like a hospital social worker? I think it's important to show that you know when to reach out.
Hospital social worker? I didn't even know those existed,
I guess I depended on my siblings. When my mom came home from the hospital, she was still pretty sick. My little sister and brother sat beside her day and night, until I could come back and relieve them. Otherwise, i wouldn't have been able to go to the library to work.
 

feather421

2+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2015
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Medical Student
Have confidence in yourself, and how you handled the situation. Put yourself in a friend's shoes, and imagine them relaying this story for you. Chances are, they'll be much more generous and have a lot to say about how well you did. Write from that perspective.

Only caveat--don't focus on the MCAT prep aspect. I have a good feeling that schools have read about a million challenge essays about a hard class or MCAT prep, so you may just want to tread lightly and not make that the focus of your essay.