I was an honors student in one of the finest medical schools in China when I watched one of my closest friends die of leukemia. Observing her death before my eyes, gradually withering away, even after a bone marrow transplant, helped to trigger in me the burning desire to devote my life to oncology. At her funeral, I reflected on the way in which our health must be the highest priority in our lives.
Over the years, I have watched with great enthusiasm how powerful new therapies have saved the lives of cancer patients who formerly would have been terminal. By participating in the residency/internship program at XXXX, I will receive the state-of-the-art, advanced training necessary to help develop and apply cutting-edge therapies for various malignancies.
I grew up in a tiny rural village, deep in the heart of interior China. Our home was a thatched roof hut quite different from Western standards, yet it was filled with love. I remember coming home from school, wading through a herd of cows and a flock of squawking chickens, lured by the aroma of my mother’s fragrant noodle soup. My parents were humble, hard-working factory laborers who strongly encouraged me to do something different with my life. They always told me never to give up. Their solidarity continues to drive me forward until today.
My health issues were another factor in my decision to become a doctor. I had to stay in the hospital with a high fever for an entire month on one occasion, before the annual, highly competitive nationwide entrance examination for university. Due to minimal resources in my hometown school, every year only 5-10% of high school graduates would be selected for university study. If I missed this chance, I would spend the rest of my life in the factory as a technician. I refused to give up and was admitted to medical college. My application is strengthened by the fact that, in addition to earning my MD Degree in China, I also earned Ph.D. Degree in Medicine, which required an additional 3 years of study.
Those who work with cancer patients know that the will to live is a crucial element in long-term survival. Along with the advanced scientific training I have already received, I have also developed grit and determination to push ahead in spite of serious obstacles. In China, we call this “Rui Zhi,” (resolute, firm determination). I also hope to impart a deep sense of “Rui Zhi,” in my patients, instilling hope and determination to persevere in spite of the significant challenges faced when one does battle with cancer.
I was working as a research scientist in a cancer center until this past April. No matter how much I enjoy medical research, however, I know that nothing is more fulfilling than direct patient care, especially when a patient is cured against all odds. Since I moved to the USA, I have had to adapt to a new environment, support my family, and get established, which has taken me several years. Therefore, I am working hard to pursue my dream of becoming a highly accomplished oncologist. I feel strongly that your program offers the best of both worlds; the opportunity to learn the latest breakthrough research at the same time that I have the privilege of increasing, intensive participation in patient care.