I have practiced the martial art of Muay Thai kickboxing for five years. The decision to do so has been among the best I have ever taken. I have had the great satisfaction of facing stronger opponents and prevailing in the contest through the application of greater determination, resilience, and an ability to focus. This is the way that I intend to face all future challenges.
I want to be a physician because I want to ‘make a difference’ and ‘make a living’. I want to help people in a direct, ‘face-to-face’ way, where I can see, and take satisfaction from, the positive results of my work. I want to be able to employ all my intellect and personality in my work, and I believe that medicine will fully satisfy these aspirations. I also believe that I possess many of the characteristics required of an excellent physician and hope that when you have read this statement, you will agree. I aim to become a skilled, knowledgeable, and compassionate physician who will work diligently to benefit my patients.
I moved from China to the U.S. at 10 years old and knew very little English. Initially, I was told I had to attend ‘summer school’ if I wanted to avoid repeating the sixth grade. My shame and fear fired a fierce determination in me to master English, and I aced summer school; and went on to exceed my expectations. This helped me to better appreciate how my fate depended entirely upon me, my determination, and my hard work. This lesson I will never forget. My initial feelings of isolation and exclusion also enabled me to genuinely empathize with others who feel excluded or isolated, for one reason or another.
Spending much of the day among people whose language you cannot understand and who cannot understand your language, provides terrific lessons in the importance of communication and the non-verbal ways it can be achieved. Surprisingly, I had no difficulty making friends despite the language barrier, and I became skilled in ‘reading’ non-verbal signals. I believe that this is an essential ability for all aspiring physicians.
I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate studies. For two years, I was involved in biochemistry research that provided me with useful medical insights and introduced me to basic research techniques I also derived great satisfaction from seeing our efforts yield initial results. It provided me with teamwork experience, and I learned to work independently, manage my time, and multitask. I was also involved in the training of new laboratory assistants and found great satisfaction in the progress of our cooperative efforts.
For the last ten years, I have worked hard to prepare myself for medical school. I have been enjoying participating in a Premedical Preceptorship Program in which I have shadowed residents in a variety of specialties including family health, radiology, and emergency medicine. I have also assisted in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. I volunteer in the medical intensive care unit at a major hospital in New York City where I shadow medical professionals.
During my preparation, I have seen the realities of medicine in a big city ranging from patients suffering stab wounds, suicidal patients, a patient whose whole body was a mass of glass shard wounds to a distressed little girl suffering from a painful ear infection. I have witnessed the desperate efforts of a doctor to save a patient who had attempted suicide and marveled at his determination. I have witnessed the deaths of several patients, old and young, and the emotions and reactions of their loved ones. These experiences have further increased my determination to become a physician.
I have learned under the guidance of many dedicated and skilled physicians and nurses. They have given me an appreciation of the fact that patients are not merely the sum of their symptoms but are individuals and that the medical professional should seek to understand and communicate with them as unique individuals.
While I am not widely traveled, I have been exposed to many different cultures and have happily studied and worked with people of different cultural and social backgrounds. I realize that in almost any line of work, but especially in medicine, cultural awareness and sensitivity are critical. I enjoy sharing knowledge about my Chinese culture and learning from others about theirs.
I know that medicine is a very competitive field of study, but I will apply great determination, resilience, and focus just as I have done with kickboxing.
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