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I grew up poor, do they really want to know how much of a sobstory it was


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Dal asks for challenges and adversities I faced in my community.

I can't answer this with any relation to community because I grew up a poor first generation Canadian. We were too busy trying to face our own challenges. Every example I think of to write about is completely unrelated to medicine, even though I do write about how these adversities have led to me "becoming a [insert whatever positive adjective you want] person". I don't want the essay to come off as I was poor and want medicine for money now.

Thing is, I'm scared to let anyone read the essay because of how personal these challenges were. None of my friends know of them, and my family's English is not strong enough to be able to review my work.

How uncomfortable can a challenge be before it's not ok to write about to an admissions committee? 

 

 

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Hey Kawhi2Raptors,

If it is important to you and your experience I would absolutely write about it. I also share your experience being a first gen Canadian myself. I'm going to be reapplying this year and have been racking my brain about how to improve my app. (FWIW, my lowest section was the essay so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt). However, if this pandemic, social climate, and current political climate has taught me anything...it is the culmination of your experiences that led you to where you are. There will be a subset of your patients who you relate to from a lived experience level that others may not, for these patients your understanding could be the difference that ultimately results in better care and an increased trust in the medical system that seems to be losing ground at the moment.

I hope this helps, and I hope I see you in the interview trail!


 

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Part of my essay was about my experience growing up in poverty and domestic violence, and how this experience has shaped who I am today. It was not a sob story; I need no pity nor sympathy. I wrote about this to explain why I took so long to get to medicine (older med student), how it motivates me to improve patient care and better support the communities I wish to serve as a doctor, and why being a doctor is the best way for me to do so.

It was very hard to write about, and it was extremely personal, at times embarrassing. But it is part of what drives me every day, so I had to include it.

Please have other people read and edit your essay! It will be good for you and your essay.

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On 8/11/2020 at 11:54 AM, TheBanana_stand said:

Hey Kawhi2Raptors,

If it is important to you and your experience I would absolutely write about it. I also share your experience being a first gen Canadian myself. I'm going to be reapplying this year and have been racking my brain about how to improve my app. (FWIW, my lowest section was the essay so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt). However, if this pandemic, social climate, and current political climate has taught me anything...it is the culmination of your experiences that led you to where you are. There will be a subset of your patients who you relate to from a lived experience level that others may not, for these patients your understanding could be the difference that ultimately results in better care and an increased trust in the medical system that seems to be losing ground at the moment.

I hope this helps, and I hope I see you in the interview trail!


 

I never thought about that last part. It's reassuring! 

The challenge I had in mind that would help give perspective to how difficult it is being a low-income, first-gen Canadian was when I had to resolve a customs issue on behalf of my parents as child and that's been the minimum level of responsibility and expectation of me since. I'm not sure what lesson I learnt from this that can correlate to patient care besides just having empathy for difficulty. 

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On 8/12/2020 at 6:23 AM, dh. said:

Part of my essay was about my experience growing up in poverty and domestic violence, and how this experience has shaped who I am today. It was not a sob story; I need no pity nor sympathy. I wrote about this to explain why I took so long to get to medicine (older med student), how it motivates me to improve patient care and better support the communities I wish to serve as a doctor, and why being a doctor is the best way for me to do so.

It was very hard to write about, and it was extremely personal, at times embarrassing. But it is part of what drives me every day, so I had to include it.

Please have other people read and edit your essay! It will be good for you and your essay.

You were not worried about your troubles growing up coming off as a sob story? I'm sure you can relate to the shock your friends have when you let them in on the struggles you've faced and I fear my experience might be taken as hyperbole when it is anything but.

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8 hours ago, Kawhi2Raptors said:

You were not worried about your troubles growing up coming off as a sob story? I'm sure you can relate to the shock your friends have when you let them in on the struggles you've faced and I fear my experience might be taken as hyperbole when it is anything but.

It’s okay to let the school know that you struggled. That’s part of who you are, and likely something that motivates you. There are parts of my story that I didn’t include (I did not go into graphic detail), but I said what needed to be said to explain myself.

A lot depends on how you write about it—don’t overdo it, but don’t be afraid to write something raw.

I’m happy to read your essay when you have a draft, and provide feedback, if you’d like.

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On 8/13/2020 at 5:04 PM, Kawhi2Raptors said:

I never thought about that last part. It's reassuring! 

The challenge I had in mind that would help give perspective to how difficult it is being a low-income, first-gen Canadian was when I had to resolve a customs issue on behalf of my parents as child and that's been the minimum level of responsibility and expectation of me since. I'm not sure what lesson I learnt from this that can correlate to patient care besides just having empathy for difficulty. 

I'm first gen, didn't have to resolve customs issues but I do represent my family to resolve different issues. What you have done I think, shows responsibility, cross-cultural communication skills, and the ability to understand regulations. I'm not familiar with Dal or their criteria but for most Canadian med schools, what they look for are certain attributes as opposed to knowing what pt care/being a doctor is like.  When it comes to challenges w/in your community, you can also discuss how there are others who face similar challenges as you and use your own experience of overcoming challenges as an example b/c you are part of the immigrant community in your area.  

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