How to Talk About Being Inspired by Your Child’s Adversity

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OPM 239: How to Talk About Being Inspired by Your Child's Adversity

Session 239

This nontrad mom found her passion for medicine through her child’s adversity. How should she discuss it on her medical school personal statement?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community. 

This podcast is brought to you by Mappd, a new technology platform that we’re developing for premed students. Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[02:40] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“My purpose for this post is to ask how parents, especially mothers, make it work with a family before embarking on this major career switch. My husband is a lawyer, who works long hours, and we have a 2-year-old. I am also 5 months pregnant with our second. My husband is incredibly supportive and on board with this switch, but I am nervous about the sacrifices that come with becoming a physician and balancing them with being the best mom I can be. 

My second concern is how to formulate my why statement. My son was born premature and spent 6 weeks in the NICU. The doctors who worked with him had a significant, life-changing effect on me. I want to give back in the same way as a physician. I think SLP is a great field, but I felt limited at times in my scope of practice. I would like to use a more in-depth knowledge base of medical pathologies to make a difference in the lives of the patients I work with. 

As strongly as I feel, I can’t help but think this “significant life event” personal statement comes across as generic. Any advice on career switches as a parent and personal statements would be greatly appreciated.”


Check out The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement. You can buy this book anywhere. That’s step number one. Step number two, this comment about being generic is not a great comment. 

Every student feels like they’re not special and they don’t have what it takes. They feel they don’t have the right story. At the end of the day, what you have done and have gone through has been done before. 

Get it out of your head that you don’t have to do some off-the-wall, crazy thing that’s going to make you stand out in an application. Being a mom, a nontraditional student, having gone through this experience, and being a clinical provider are already amazing experiences that are going to help you in your application to medical school. 

Where being generic comes from is if all you said was that your son was born and the doctors were amazing that’s why you want to be a doctor. Where students go wrong and why a lot of students are afraid to talk about this story is because they don’t reflect on it. They don’t show the impact that that story had on that student. 

Especially with your SLP background, you can show the reader what it was like for you to be an SLP for you to be unfulfilled at work, especially now, knowing what the impact physicians can have on patients and their families.

It is a common story. But common things are common everywhere in life. And that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do that thing because everyone does that thing. 

'At the end of the day, your story, the impact it had on you, and your reflections are going to be what makes you unique.'Click To Tweet

Your life experiences, who you who raised you, your friends from grade school and high school and college and everywhere else along the way – shape the lens from which you see life through. All of that stuff has shaped who you are and will greatly impact you and your future patients as well as your future classmates. Lean on the story, lean on the reflection, and lean on the impact that it had on you. 

Your seed was that you ended up going to be a speech-language pathologist. Then you had this event of having your son born prematurely, being in the NICU, and seeing all that impact that happened. Then you realized that what you’re doing is not enough and you want more. So talk about those experiences. 

That’s how you frame your story to show why you’re doing this. Yes, common – but not cliche, and not generic.


Meded Media

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement

Nontrad Premed Forum