Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No. Six: Opener

Okay, folks, a preface to this. I'm thinking about using the following vignette as the opening for the personal statement of my medical school application.

It was the day before Christmas Break, 2010.
"Paul, try to be calm."
"I'm not calm! I'm not calm!" Paul shouts, dancing around, icing bag in hand. I instinctively duck as a stream of icing lands on his gingerbread house with a splat, obliterating the icicles we had just finished adding to the roof line. "Oops." He says, sitting back down with a thud, "Avalanche." He sticks two pretzels and a marshmallow snowman onto the icing and turns to me with a satisfied grin.
"What's he doing?" I ask.
His logic was sound, and all I could do was laugh.

Okay, folks, I need your opinions. BE HONEST, PLEASE! Would you keep reading an essay that started with this, or would you just throw it aside, citing my writing as juvenile and the subject matter totally irrelevant? I plan on linking my love of teaching to medicine, but that comes in the next paragraph.



  1. Very funny, and interesting as an opener to an application essay. I'd keep reading, for sure.


  2. I honestly would try to find out if this is appropriate. You may kill your chances by doing something that the readers would see as inappropriate. Look, instead, at the piece you're writing as a business document. The story is you, of course, and needs to reflect that. But the readers are going to be slogging (and there is no nice way to put this) through hundreds of these. They are looking for certain information delivered in a way that's easy to find and detect. I would, if it were me, seek to distinguish myself with clarity. I would especially seek to do so if the readers are physicians and are looking to see if you can synthesize information down to it's critical and most important elements with an eye toward how is this person going to write an H&P report. You're essentially applying for a job as a physician. Time to show you can think like one in order to prove you can be one.