The AdComs, however, those fine folks having to sift through hundreds and probably thousands of hoping-for-the-love-of-all-things-holy personal statements, don't want to read that we've wanted to be a doctor since we were five, or six, or pick your favorite elementary school age.
Therein, lies the trick. In my case, I have wanted to be a doctor since I was 5. My great aunt, Claudia, was the surgical nurse for Dr. Mayo. Yeah. "That" Dr. Mayo... I was born at the Methodist hospital, given all my shots at Mayo, and learned to despise the place (needle thing, mind you)... until my aunt gave me a gift.
She'd retired. The party given in her honor was attended and thrown by ... yes, that Dr. Mayo though I don't recall him or even her really (I'm embarrassed by both of those inadequacies). There was a book signed by everyone in attendance and it now is enshrined behind glass at the Mayo museum. Other memorabilia of hers is there too. Except for one little thing.
Her surgical kit. Minus the sharps. I have that. Black, weathered, worn (it is almost 80 years old!!!). I used it to fill with Pez toys and the "pills" that filled it. Tapes, bandaids, and gauze were in it too. Some girls played house, I played the innocent doctor... fixing boo-boos, tending to "broken" bones and dispensing "pills" - those flavored candies from Pez.
My interest in medicine probably started before that. It's in my genes. How else does one get to be "le gasp" 50 and have the same passion for becoming a doctor - so much so that at 50 instead of planning out my AARP usage, I'm planning out the library conference room reservations to ace physics (my last pre-reqs).
BTW, I am hoping that whatever med school accepts me (praying one does, that is) ... AARP has some sort of senior discount on books, microscopes, scrubs and shoes... :D gotta love it :)
Okay, back to where I was. For at least 45 years, I've wanted to be a doc. I've pursued the sciences and math unabashedly through elementary school, junior high, high school (including being a part of medical explorers, getting FA certified, watching live childbirth, attending the ER -- all before I was 18)... and then we had college.
The question then is:
I have 5300 characters to fit in WHY MEDICINE and for me, as all non-trade, why now!??!?!
1) I worked forwards. Actually, I started with the story of a phoenix. One only needs to sift through this blog to find the full story of the hell I survived - I'm not talking about the death of my son... I'm talking about the death of a heart and soul.
2) Then I told the story, albeit briefly, about my aunt leaving out Mayo. Why? Mayo is snobby. Putting that in my PS would make me seem arrogant (which I'm not) and there is no added value adding it, just extra characters for which there is no purpose. Win-win: that's my mantra.
3) After that short vignette, I told the story of my 4th grade hero: Garry Ranthum. That man has saved more countless childrens' lives just by being all that a teacher should be... sadly, in his death due to leukemia, I learned more about science and medicine.
4) From there it got easier: skipping high school - seriously - I'm sure if the adcoms are still reading, their eyes are shortly going to glaze over, fall backwards over their chairs or just use my PS as a paper airplane to see how fast it can hit the fire place ... wheeee - zip ---- ash.
5) Enter the deceased son. Short - less than 10 words on Austin. Why? Because I'm not going to use my PS to explain why my 30 year old grades are abysmal and use my son - my beloved blue eyed, blond haired little shaver as an excuse. *I* made bad decisions and *I* got bad grades. I'd probably have had bad grades if I didn't have him and he didn't die... so, leaving any morbid, sad story about my son out of this. Mentioned, yes! Elaborated on? no. Absolutely not.
6) Now the meat of the PS. WHY MEDICINE/ WHY NOW?!?!?!?!?!
Weaving science, math, hope, diagnostics, strategy, compassion, leadership does not come from any other discipline.
NP, PA, DNP - my God what would the world do without them?! They take on so much care and a great lot of what was just mentioned BUT not to the extent that doctors do. And in the end, the MD/DO still is the leader.
7) At the end, I wove in the story of an accident scene where I was the only one not involved. And in staying with the very wounded individual, came to realize that just perhaps, I'd matured enough to handle pre-reqs. I'd come to acknowledge that the shortcomings of my youth were no longer in me. And that the phoenix who had survived so much - ash, devastation, loss - had risen again.
Just in time for med school applications and MCAT.
After all that work, I was told the PS are barely read. Skimmed to get the gist of things and then a "yes" or a "no" pile.
I hope I get at least, "Maybe"... at the end, I just want to be doing this: