Agenda & Updates — P.S. Do Your PS!

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Here are some updates:

– I invited a recently accepted medical student who starts next year to a Q&A to answer some premed questions. If you have any questions you’d like to see answered then write me at I read and critiqued her personal statement, and I’ve been rooting for her the whole time, so I’m happy to see her get in!

– I will be editing/critiquing a limited number of essays this year, during winter break. I’ll talk more about this later.

– I’ve just finished my first semester of medical school, in the autumn I took:

  • Medical Gross Anatomy
  • Essentials of Public Health
  • Biochemistry & Cell Biology
  • Medical Histology *will return in the spring.
  • Integrated Problems 1
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine
  • Human Behavior in Medicine

The classes sort of dribbled off with time, that is as time went on within a semester we’d have less classes. What I learned very quickly was that this also meant you just simply squeeze in a years worth of normal material into an even shorter interval. I couldn’t say what everyone found to be the hardest courses, but overall people found Biochemistry and Anatomy to be both incredibly interesting and yet incredibly difficult. However, others felt Human Behavior in Medicine to be difficult — not because of the content of the course, but instead because our school gives us exams that are meant to imitate the board exams, i.e. read a vignette then pick the best answer (being right just isn’t good enough anymore). I survived for the most part, but not without a bruised ego and an arm off.

“I’ve paid my dues,
Time after time,
I’ve done my sentence,
But committed no crime,
And bad mistakes,
I’ve made a few,
I’ve had my share of sand,
Kicked in my face,
But I’ve come through” — Queen*

So, now my winter Turkey Day holiday vacation is over, and I have the following courses:

  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine II
  • Neuroscience

In Introduction to Clinical Medicine I we focused on obtaining a history. To practice obtaining histories we either rounded at hospitals with outpatients or at clinics with inpatients. If you were doing inpatient then it was typically just a didactic exercise, if you were with inpatients then your history obtained likely became part of the medical record (if you obtained a good history). This course was the highlight of the week for us, it was a stiff reminder of why we’re doing all of this, why we lose sleep and eventually cry (internally or externally) ourselves to sleep at night: the patients. Overall, it’s a good course, and it’s a good time to measure how much you feel like seeing patients. My program focuses on being a safety net for those who are denied by other hospitals, so we field quite a variety of the sick and the poor — this was one of the big reasons I chose this school. In the second part of the course, now, we’ll also focus on doing physicals and auscultation and then practice them with patients during our shifts starting in January.

I’ve learned a few things about how to better study, and about efficiency, I’ll write it up at some point so and you can judge what you feel is useful for you (if useful at all).

About Critiquing Personal Statements

A lesson that I learned after applying to medical school was a basic one: do everything you care about early and do it right when it’s time to do it right. So, if you’re a premed reading my blog right now (first, thanks for reading!) please be sure to make every effort to put in your application early. Turning in your application early takes a lot of work, one of the most onerous parts is writing your personal statement. Sure, you may know person who astonishingly did everything late and still got into medical school but as its commonly said, “Even a broken clock is wrong twice a day”. So, as a friendly reminder I’m trying to tell you it’s probably time to get working on your personal statement even though it’s just December. Having a rough draft this early in the game gives you a lot of time to polish your apple before application opens.

Anyways, to facilitate this process of getting you to write I’ll be reading a limited number of personal statements over my Christmas break. Last time I read over 40 people’s statements, it was entertaining but rather labor intensive, so I won’t be doing that volume again. Instead, I’ll take personal statements in batches, at a first come first serve balanced by your need (and while it’s unfortunate, you being late isn’t a need). It’ll be the same rules as last year, you submit a final draft and you’ll get three re-writes critiques with me. When editing I’ll focus on your narrative, style, and structure but I will not re-write your personal statement as that’s fradulent. The grammar is your beast to conquer, I won’t fix anything unless it’s a mistake I don’t expect to be caught by your other editors — I’m not trying to be curmudgeon, rather it’s to encourage you to use your three re-writes with me wisely. This year, I will be accepting donations via Venmo, you can pay as much or as little as you’d like. However, if you can’t afford it (once, I was in your boat) just let me know and I’ll do it pro bono (you don’t need to write me a financial assistance essay, just give me a heads up).

This winter break over, I will be limiting the number of people I accept to five (potentially minus one, to make four spots; I’ll keep you updated as the spots run down). For now, if you submit to me or not, here is some links of previous work I wrote up about personal statements:

Good luck!

Editorial note:  originally, I wrote a line about my experience. And then I realized it sort of sounded like a Queen song, so the result was the quote before above — I love Queen.


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