MikeGinnyGOLD Member HOP Mad Doctor 13,923 posts Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted: Ok, warning: Big, long post ahead.
So I have begun working on my personal statement for the residency application process. The personal statement is basically my chance to say why I want to go into my chosen field and why I'll make a good resident.
Why am I posting it here? Because I want your help. I want constructive criticism on this statement. How can I get it to be the best statement it can be?
So a few things you need to know:
1) My target audience is residency directors (who are all doctors...pediatricians in this case). The average demographic is: White, male, 40's-50's, married with kids. He'll be reading my application in his "off" time (at home, on a plane, etc.). He's trying to pick out residents who are going to be good, solid, and hard-working. He doesn't want noisy, unpredictable people or people who are going to jump up and fight against every little injustice. He will be reading about 1,000 applications for an eventual program of 5-30 residents. So I need to jump out and get him with my first paragraph, but I also don't want to do anything too "wierd" like write a poem or somethiing.
2) I have decided (for now) to disclose my ADHD diagnosis. Because my resume contains so much about the work and presenting I've done for ADDA and CH.A.D.D., I don't think there's much of a way out of this without leaving all of it out. That would make my entire application look pretty bland.
3) While I welcome comments like "great job!" I really want constructive criticism. Pick and tear this apart. Be a nitpicker. Correct my grammar and my style. Call me a dull bore. I don't have to take every bit of advice I get here, but I want to collect advice.
I've known I wanted to be a doctor since I was a child. I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 8, and I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis at age 16. It was at these times that I saw the awesome power of medical science first hand. My doctors changed my life with the stroke of a pen on a prescription pad. When I experienced that, I wanted to learn their art.
In particular, ADHD had the most profound impact on my life. As a child, it seemed that my teachers didn’t believe in me. But parents and my doctors did believe in me. I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 8. Thanks to that early diagnosis and treatment, I was able to graduate from high school at the top of my class, earn two degrees from Stanford, and go to medical school. As I have advanced along my path, the negative impact of the disorder has lessened to the point where I have used no special accommodations of any sort in medical school. This is a very good sign that I have chosen the right career. My diagnosis, no longer a weakness, has become a gift; it is my calling to medicine.
In my teen years, as I began to "turn around," to find a path towards functional adulthood, it became obvious to me that I should do everything I could do to give back both to the community of health care professionals who had helped me and to the community of patients with ADHD. I joined CH.A.D.D. and ADDA, which are national advocacy organizations for children and adults with ADHD. I have presented at their national conferences and published in their magazines on the topic of managing ADHD in high school, college, and higher education. One of my professional goals is to be invited to give the keynote address at the annual CH.A.D.D. convention by age 45.
In college, I took a keen interest in the workings of the brain. I knew that I wanted to study ADHD and other developmental/behavioral disorders, but the science of neurobiology took me by surprise. I had no idea how fascinating the field was until Prof. Robert Sapolsky's introductory lectures in my Sophomore year biology class. I studied molecular genetics and neurobiology with a voracious appetite. A Bachelor's degree wasn't enough, and I considered a Ph.D., but it seemed too time-consuming. I eventually settled on a Master’s in Biology before continuing on to medical school.
Between my interests in genetics, neurobiology, and eventually public health, I considered pediatric psychiatry and neurology. But as an undergraduate in San Francisco, I saw teenagers out all night at raves doing drugs, having unsafe sex, and suffering the consequences. I joined DanceSafe, a harm reduction organization that sets up tables at raves to educate teenagers about the risks of the choices that they make without trying to make their decisions for them. I’ve already tried to help, but we need more people in adolescent medicine to help teens deal with the challenges of adolescence in the 21st century.
Adolescent medicine is the perfect synthesis of my interests and skills. It allows me to do both psychiatry and neurology while being able to practice in primary care. I enjoy both research and teaching, and adolescent medicine offers opportunities for both. Adolescents need dedicated professionals who can advocate for them and I want to do it.
I love children of all ages. I'm fascinated by the array of problems and medical conditions that children face. I have something to give back to the profession that has helped me so much in my own life. I want to help the kids who need the most help, to serve the underserved. I want to be a pediatrician!
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StoneGOLD Member Stream Entrant 2,829 posts Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posted: Hope this helps
I love children of all ages, and I am absorbed by the array of problems and conditions that face children. I would like to give something back to the profession that has helped me so much in my own life by helping the kids who need it most, and to serve those who are underserved.
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was eight years old. That was when I truly began to experience the monumental impact that a physician can have on a patient’s life. My parents were distraught at the initial diagnosis, but they took me to a psychiatrist for treatment. The treatment helped me change my behaviour and I started to consider my future. By the time I was in high school I had mastered the art of self-organization to the point where I was a straight-A student and I was able to graduate in the top 5% of my high school class.
I joined national advocacy organizations for children and adults with ADHD, and I have presented at their national conferences and published in their journals on the topic of managing ADHD. As a college student I knew that I wanted to study develop-mental/behavioral disorders, but the science of neurobiology took me by surprise. I had no idea how fascinating the field was until the introductory lectures in my Sophomore year biology class. I studied molecular genetics and neurobiology, and decided that a Masters of Science degree offered a good compromise between a B.S. and a Ph.D. I earned both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree from Stanford, and then started medical school.
Between my interests in genetics, neurobiology and public health, I considered pediatric psychiatry and neurology. However, as an undergraduate in San Francisco, I saw teenagers out all night doing drugs, practicing unsafe sex and suffering the consequences. I realized that something had to be done to help them. I decided that I could do the most good as a specialist in Adolescent Medicine because adolescent medicine is the perfect synthesis of my interests and skills. It allows me to research in both psychiatry and neurology while delivering primary care. I enjoy research and teaching, and adolescent medicine offers ample opportunities for both. Young people need dedicated professionals who can advocate for them and I believe I have the skills to meet this need.
If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh