This may seem like a dumb question but I’m not sure how to approach my personal statement.
A little background-
I’m a first generation Russian-American, my family immigrated to the US in ‘89. My parents hardly spoke any English at all, so my mom worked as a caregiver and my dad was a truck driver. Soon after I was born in ‘92, my dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He fought for about a year until the cancer metastasized and ultimately took his life. I still wonder to this day if he could have lived longer if he had doctors who spoke Russian, who could have explained more thoroughly how to treat his cancer rather than just treating him like a piece of meat because he didn’t speak their language.
When my dad died, my mom took on more shifts as a caregiver (or cna) making minimum wage trying to support my 4 siblings and I.
I was taught the importance of working hard and I knew I had it in me to pursue my dream of becoming a physician… but my public education in my poor town did not adequately prepare me for college, so I flunked out of community college after my first few semesters.
After years of toiling at dead end jobs and the. becoming a parent, I finally decided to go back to school to pursue my dream and this time around I’ve gotten nothing but A’s and B+’s.
My low cumulative GPA, due to those courses I flunked, is a huge concern. I know that I’ll need an excellent personal statement (as well as good mcat) to tip the scales but I’m a little unsure of how I should approach it.
Should I go the diversity route, and talk about my challenging upbringing as a first generation immigrant in this country? Or would that not be appropriate since I still check the “white” ethnicity box and still operate from a place of white privilege that isn’t given to immigrants of color?
I just don’t want to come off as insensitive, especially in the wake of the BLM protests, because my challenges as a white immigrant are not comparable to the people of color in this country.
Or should I talk about the impact that losing my dad to cancer had on my life and on my dream of pursuing medicine, and just avoid the immigrant approach altogether?
I’d just love some input from other pre-med students who are immigrants or first generation. Thanks!