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Medical School Application, Personal Statement Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1067

Personal Statement

While standing in front of me drenched in sweat and failing to catch her breath, my scrumhalf pointed to a hole in the defensive line. This match was our last chance for making it to the Regionals and a penalty had just been called in our favor. She passed me the ball and I took off for the gap. The sudden impact to my head was like nothing I had ever experienced.  My vision flashed and I heard gasps in the crowd while I did everything I could not to fall to the ground. With only three weeks left in the season, my college sports career was over. Rugby was a huge part of my life during my undergrad years when I served as club Recruitment Chair, Vice President and team co-captain.

Rugby is like no other sport I’ve ever played. It forces a player to be strong for herself and her teammates and helps to build personal confidence. Thus, whenever I encounter an obstacle that seems impossible to conquer, I always think back to rugby.  One of these obstacles was Organic Chemistry during my junior year; not surprisingly, every physician that I have ever spoken with admits to experiencing the same obstacle. Nonetheless, I naively thought that since I had done well in previous chemistry courses, Organic wouldn’t be that bad, but when the semester began, it didn’t take long before I was proven to be very wrong. I struggled the hardest with this class and knew that I wasn’t doing well, but my pride prevented me from asking for help. I felt as though I would be admitting that I couldn’t handle it myself if I sought out some help and that I was a failure. Although I was working part-time and spent an average of fifteen hours a week involved with the rugby team, it took two years and two F’s to finally realize that I just couldn’t do it alone. At this point, I became discouraged and began to doubt my ability to become a doctor. And when asked if I had an alternative plan, I realized I didn’t have one, simply because becoming a doctor was all I had ever wanted to do.

I grew up in a household with one working parent (my mother) which meant spending a lot of time with my father. When I was five years old, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but being so young, I didn’t understand what that meant. All I knew was that instead of going to the park, my father would take me to the hospital where the office staff served as my babysitters while my father paid a visit to a tall man in a long white coat. After surviving prostate cancer, my father went on to survive a heart condition that required a challenging pacemaker implant; kidney cancer; two minor strokes; and a host of other medical conditions. As a result, hospitals became my home away from home and the men and women in the white coats became my heroes. Being a curious child, I often peeked around and observed doctors and nurses essentially fixing people. I listened to their conversations about positive outcomes and watched as they developed plans to treat challenging cases. So, I knew that when I grew up I wanted to be in their shoes.

At home, I was the one responsible for my father’s care. I cleaned his wounds and changed bandages from surgical procedures; I counted pills and gave injections according to the prescriptions. I told jokes to keep him calm as we waited on the occasional ambulance, or when I drove him to the hospital. No matter how much pain he was experiencing, there was always the look of gratitude in his eyes and the feeling that look gave me whenever I helped him. Most of my tasks were simple, perhaps even fun, but they meant the world to my father. Thus, out of all my  healthcare experiences, these were the moments that I enjoyed the most.

Later on, my father created his own prostate cancer outreach organization and now uses his experiences and education to give back to under-served communities. Working for my father’s organization has given me the opportunity to better understand the field of healthcare, health disparity, and the importance of education and prevention. Also, listening to the experiences of patients with inadequate medical care has inspired me to become a doctor that teaches her patients to make certain that they understand their condition and treatment; a friend who touches to make the patient feel like a person rather than a disease; and an advocate who will fight to ensure that her patients obtain the care they need. Obviously, becoming a doctor was not something I was wiling to give up, so with my confidence diminished by Organic Chemistry, I turned to something I knew I was good at–the game of rugby. All of the chaos that occurs during matches has forced me to rely on my instincts and confidence in the skills I’ve built up over the years, and since I have never allowed stress or fear to prevent me from succeeding on the field, I certainly wasn’t going to allow one little course to force me to give up on my dream. Much like hitting a cut-off man in baseball or making a mid-tackle pass in rugby, I finally admitted that I needed some help.  So I went to talk to an advisor and decided to participate in a post-bac program at UNC Greensboro, and when it came time to re-take Organic Chemistry, I knew that I would not make the same mistakes as I had twice before. I scanned the field, focusing on the most important parts by placing time-consuming extracurricular activities and jobs on hold so that I could focus on school. I recruited and incorporated my teammates by utilizing my academic resources and studied with other students. In the end, I reached the try zone and succeeded in Organic Chemistry.

Certainly, the study of medicine requires teamwork, compassion, patience, skill, and sacrifice, just like the game of rugby and taking care of my ailing father. In essence, both of these have created many challenges in ways that have forced me to be sure of my career choice. More than this, they have helped to develop the personal confidence, skills, and drive that are required to become a great doctor.

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