Hello all, this is my first post on this forum, so yes I'm a newbie. I don't mind newbie "initiation" rites, as long as they're respectfulEmotion: smile

I have decided to apply to McGill medical school a few days ago, although I am pretty sure I won't be accepted but I caved in to peer pressure and I'm trying my luck now. They have detailed instructions for their autobiographical essays; you can find them at this adress: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/admissions/appmdcm.htm

Here's my essay, it's still unformatted and possibly contains some typos as I don't have microsoft word on my computer and I have to contend with Ye Olde Wordpad... Pathetic I know. I think I might be over the word limit, but I'm not sure. Can anyone try to count it on their machine? btw I'm not a native english speaker, so by all means correct me if some sentences sound wrong or I've used an incorrect expression. Thank you bery much!

First Section:

"It was a typical summer day in my native Lebanon. I was busy ranging and filing test results, doctors' notes and other medical records at the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL) where I had recently started working as a volunteer. It was an undescript, mildly boring day until I opened a cabinet by mistake. Inside, two words on a label grabbed my attention and sent chills down my spine: passed-away. Immediately, I became disconnected with what I had been doing and with my physical surroundings; and solely focused on the numerous files of children that we were not able to save. Sparked by an uneasy curiosity, I had a look at some of these files. Looking through them was akin to reading a story; with a beginning, and end as well as a progressing intrigue.At that moment, as if I had experienced a revelation, I realised that medecine was the only path for me to follow, and that I should commit myself to direct all my endeavours towards the objective of becoming a doctor. I had considered this idea since childhood; and my education was already geared towards the domain of life sciences that I deeply enjoy; however at that precise instant I knew for certain what my professional career should be.

Through my experiences in this hospital I have become well acquainted with the stressful, demanding but also rewarding world of health care. Being a relatively small hospital with a limited number of doctors, patients and staff I managed to develop close bonds with the hospital family. I have come to admire the doctors who, under difficult, even chaotic conditions successfully manage their duties while keeping their temper under total control. From keeping company to ill children I learned how to deal with heart-breaking situations; and most importantly how in many cases the patient is not the only person who should be taken care of; but that most of the time the family of the patient suffers as much as he does (and possibly more), and that the key to a successful treatment lies in a strong rapport between the patient, his family and the health care workers based on trust, honesty and understanding. In this hospital I experienced a first eye's view of the hardships of practising medecine. Through my interactions with a cousin who is now a successful surgeon in the United States I have become familiar with the personal difficulties a docor encounters; specifically when establishing a family and fathering children. Furthermore, from my contacts with McGill medical students during open house events and with several of my close friends who have recently started medical school, I am aware of the demanding course loads and long sleepless nights involved in studying medecine. however, I have yet to meet a person who regretted taking this decision. I have no doubts that I will feel the same.

Second Section:

Born into a family of passionate pedagogues, I quickly learned the importance of working in a team and serving the community the hard way. As a child in the middle of the ruthless Lebanese war, this would concretize in our building's bomb shelter during the long days and nights of continuous shelling. There, a rare communal feeling-very hard to find in a large metropolis-reigned. Everybody was assigned a specific task, and the division of labour was well defined: children used to prepare sandwiches while adults risked their lives to provide the community with provisions from the outside inferno. Food, drinks, clothes; everything was shared. Moreover, while not being from a medical background, my mother was a committed volunteer at the American University of Beirut Hospital, treating war victims under the extreme conditions only experienced during wartime; often being trapped in the hospital for several days because the intensity of the bombardment kept her from making the trip back home. Thus, it is at an early age that I understood the importance of team work, helping and having compassion for others; and my admiration to what I saw as my mother's supernatural feats extended to the health care domain; the care for others' lives. Moving forward to more peaceful times in Montreal, the same qualities that were inculcated to me in Lebanon were still ever so present. I still remember how I was the youngest volunteer at the Cote des Neiges Community Center during the ice storm of 1997, while being an evacuee to the center at the same time; which earned me the personal praises of then-mayor Bourque. Furthermore, my involvement with the Air Cadet movement during my early highschool years not only reinforced my dedication to community service; but also allowed the development of strong leadership skills.

When I returned back to Lebanon with my family after the country was pacified and was starting to improve I became involved with the Maqassed's (a reputable philantropic society in Lebanon) music band during my last highschool years and my first year in university.

Being an avid clarinetist, I used to teach this instrument to young men and women, many of whom have surpassed their master by now. This represents for me the utmost proof of my succes in such a leadership position. Furthermore, the band used to perform in hospitals, nursing homes and on various social and religious occasions. I personally felt most rewarded when playing in nursing homes, to crowds of senior citizens that are seldom visited and have few moments of joy within the severity of the institution. A smile on their face made all the sore and broken lips from over-playing worthwhile.

Now Back in Canada, I take part during the academic year in the organization of Concordia's Biology Students Associations events, even though I am not an official member. I participate as a staff member or on the organizing comittee of social events such as orientation, movie nights and wine and cheese receptions; in addition to attending regular meetings and influencing the decision-making process. In this association, the emphasis is on team work and proper distribution of tasks; both of which I am familiar with since my early days. At the same time, I strived hard to accomplish outstanding academic results, and a token of recognition of my good standings what the invitation to join the Golden Key Internation Honours Society Concordia Chapter this fall which I have accepted. During the past two summer breaks, I have been volunteering at the CCCL in Lebanon while visiting my family. There, I experienced an in-depth participation in hospital life; dealing with paper work, assisting nurses and doctors on their rounds and keeping the patients and their families company and taking part in entertainement activities such as drawing, reading and music. Further, I also tutored teenage patients who where out of school or had trouble studying due to their treatments. In this hospital, I had the opportunity to apply the personal qualities developed through time: while dealing with parents angried over the rejection of their insurance claim I had to maintain my temper and try to reason with them as much as possible; while assisting nurses and doctors I had to be carefully attentive to their work and efficiently communicate with them. I was a leader while tutoring patients; but I was a compassionate and devoted friend who empathized with patients and their families during hard times. I learned how to manage emotionally-stressing situations this summer when I was mostly working in the in-patient ward, where most patients have severe conditions and many are terminally ill. A significant achievement in this section was to be tolerated enough by a child to be able to read him a bed time story. In this regard I have more than succeeded.

This work took place during the months of July and August; and I reported to duty five days a week for a half-day shift. The first year I volunteered I was simultaneously studying by myself for the MCAT, and thankefully my good results on this exam testify for my ability to cope with demanding, overloaded schedules.

From the chronological sequence of my biography, it is clear that my life has been one of swaying back and forth between Canada and Lebanon. This has resulted in a significant exposition to both Middle-Eastern and North-American cultures and lifestyles. Besides the communication benefits of having a good command of three languages (English, French and Arabic) and a fair grasp of Spanish, this has lent me an insight into the different cultural sensitivities of these regions; which allows me to understand a patient's background and be able to deal with it in the best possible way. One such instance that I witnessed in Lebanon was when a young woman from a conservative religious background refused to be examined by a male doctor. Conscious of the significance of this issue for the patient, and given the non-urgent nature of the examination, the doctor kindly apologized from the patient and told her a female doctor would come see her shortly. For someone who is not acquainted with such cultural subtilities, this incident could have resulted in negative tension between the patient and the doctor; and tension the the least thing we would want to have in a hospital.

I strongly believe that a doctor is more than a mechanical healing worker. As mentionned above, he should be well-traveled and cultured; especially in a city as multi-cultural as Montreal. Furthermore, he should be a moral beacon, a living model of humanism. A doctor should find inspiration in the works of great luminaries such as Voltaire, Rousseau or Kant whose passion and arguments for humanism have profoundly affected the way I view and interact with my fellow human beings."
Your essay contains 1607 words. Be careful, though! The first section contains 480 words whereas their site says that its length must not exceed 300 words.

I will start correcting it now, but that might take some time. If you are looking for a good, free office suite, try [url=http://www.openoffice.org /]OpenOffice[/url] :)
Hi!

You use both the British and the American spelling. Be consequent: use either the British one or the American one. I've used the British spelling for my corrections as that is what you used in the first paragraphs Emotion: smile

Good luck! Judging from your essay, I would say that your chances to be admitted are substantial. You seem to be a very motivated person. I think your friends are not mistaken! Emotion: smile

Cheers
Philologist

P.S. I've removed the flawless parts from this quote. That does not mean I think you should leave them out, of course! I just didn't want my post to become too long.
RubiscoInside, two words on a label grabbed my attention and sent chills down my spine: passed away.

on the numerous files of children that we had not been able to save.

Looking through them was akin to reading a story; with a beginning, and end as well as a progressing intrigue.INSERT SPACEAt that moment, as if I had experienced a revelation, I realised that medicine was the only path for me to follow, and that I should commit myself to direct all my endeavours towards the objective of (This seems unnecessary, particularly considering that you have transgressed the word limit) becoming a doctor. I had considered this idea since childhood, comma and my education was already geared towards the domain of life sciences that I deeply enjoy; however comma at that precise instant I knew for certain what my professional career should be.
Through my experiences in this hospital comma I have become well acquainted with the stressful, demanding but also rewarding world of health care. Being a relatively small hospital with a limited number of doctors, patients and staff I managed to develop close bonds with the hospital family. I have come to admire the doctors who, under difficult, even chaotic comma conditions successfully manage their duties while keeping their temper under total control. From keeping company to ill children I learned how to deal with heartbreaking situations; and most importantly how in many cases the patient is not the only person who should be taken care of; but that most of the time the family of the patient suffers as much as he does (and possibly more), and that the key to a successful treatment lies in a strong rapport between the patient, his family and the health care workers based on trust, honesty and understanding. In this hospital I experienced a first eye's view of the hardships of practising medicine. Through my interactions with a cousin who is now a successful surgeon in the United States I have become familiar with the personal difficulties a doctor encounters; specifically when establishing a family and fathering children. Furthermore, from my contacts with McGill medical students during open house events and with several of my close friends who have recently started medical school, I am aware of the demanding course loads and long sleepless nights involved in studying medecine. However, I have yet to meet a person who regrets taking this decision. I have no doubts that I will feel the same.

Second Section:

Born into a family of passionate pedagogues, I quickly learned the importance of working in a team and serving the community the hard way. As a child in the middle of the ruthless Lebanese war, this would concretise (Be constitent: use the British spelling OR the American one, though the British spelling is used in Canada) in our building's bomb shelter during the long days and nights of continuous shelling.

I still remember how I was the youngest volunteer at the Cote des Neiges Community Center (Center is American, but write its name as they do themselves) during the ice storm of 1997, while being an evacuee to the centre at the same time; which earned me the personal praises of then-mayor Bourque. Furthermore, my involvement with the Air Cadet movement during my early highschool years not only reinforced my dedication to community service comma but also allowed the development of strong leadership skills.
Now back in Canada, I take part during the academic year in the organisation of Concordia's Biology Students Association's events, even though I am not an official member. I participate as a staff member or on the organising comittee of social events such as orientation, movie nights and wine and cheese receptions remove semicolon in addition to attending regular meetings and influencing the decision-making process. In this association, the emphasis is on team work and proper distribution of tasks; both of which I am familiar with since my early days. At the same time, I strived hard to accomplish outstanding academic results, and a token of recognition of my good standings was the invitation to join the Golden Key Internation Honours Society Concordia Chapter this fall which I have accepted.

taking part in entertainment activities such as drawing, reading and music. Further, I also tutored teenage patients who were out of school or had trouble studying due to their treatments.

devoted friend who empathised with patients and their families during hard times.

This work took place during the months of July and August; and I reported to duty five days a week for a half-day shift. The first year I volunteered I was simultaneously studying by myself for the MCAT, and thankfully my good results on this exam testify for my ability to cope with demanding, overloaded schedules.

the doctor kindly apologised from the patient and told her a female doctor would come see her shortly.

As mentioned above, he should be peripatetic and urbane comma (no semicolon) especially in a city as multi-cultural as Montreal. Furthermore, he should be a moral beacon, a living model of humanism. A doctor should find inspiration in the works of great luminaries such as Voltaire, Rousseau or Kant whose passion and arguments for humanism have profoundly affected the way I view and interact with my fellow human beings."

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Thank you for the help dude. And the open office program is just as good as the microsoft stuff. I have some comments concerning your choice of words in the last paragraph (peripatetic and urbane). The first seems too technical and straight from the thesaurus; plus it sounds alot like pathetic. Can't I use "well-travelled" instead? And I'm not too sure what urbane precisely means; but what I'm trying to express here is being knowledgeable about different cultures.

Now the hard part is to cut it down to 1200 words. I had no idea I was this much over the limit, and I'm having trouble deciding which sections to eliminate. They're all important in their respective contexts, and since I'm trying to paint a chronological sequence of my experiences, I don't want to change this sense of "continuity of achievements". What can I possibly do?
How about using 'metropolitan' and 'sophisticated' in the place of 'well-travelled' and 'cultured'? That's just my suggestion...

If your university has set up a word limit, you have to abide by it.I,too, had the same problem when I wrote my autobiographical essay for my university and I was way over the limit. There's nothing you can do about it except re-read every line of your entire essay and cut down on some lines, which you will begin to find less relevant among the other sentences you wrote.Cutting down on some lines won't effect the chronology of your expreriences, although the flow won't look as smooth.There's nothing you can do about it when universities set a limit.

Good Luck.

Sav
Does "peripatetic" really sound that technical to you? The Economist uses it fairly often. "Urbane" means "notably polite or finished in manner" Emotion: smile

How do you think about "cosmopolitan" then? Emotion: smile
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