MD, Medical School Admission, Chinese

December 16, 2013

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’ as well as to ‘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 enjoy some variety in it.  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. My goal is to become a skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate physician who will work diligently for the benefit of my patients.

 I moved from China to the U.S. when I was 10 years old and had very little English. My initial efforts at acquiring sufficient facility in English to move from 6th grade, failed. I was told that I had to attend a ‘summer school’ if I wanted to avoid repeating the year. My shame and fear fired a determination in me to master English and I did so beyond my expectations. This situation and its resolution provided a most valuable lesson. From that point in my life, I fully appreciated that my fate depended entirely upon me, upon my decisions, upon my determination and my hard work and it is a lesson that 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 whatever reasons.

 To spend the greater part of the day among people whose language you cannot understand and who cannot understand your language, provides wonderful lessons in the importance of communication and the non-verbal ways in which it can be achieved. Surprisingly, I had no difficulty in making friends in spite of the language barrier and I developed a skill in ‘reading’ non-verbal signals that I have been able to apply since in my life and I believe that this is a very important ability for any aspiring physician.

 I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate studies. For two years I was involved in biochemistry research. This research experience has provided me with useful medical insights as well as introducing me to basic research techniques I also derived great satisfaction from seeing our efforts yield original results. This research also provided me with team working experience as well as some independent work calling for detailed planning in the use of my time. I was also involved in the training of new laboratory assistants and found great satisfaction from seeing their skills and knowledge increase through our cooperative efforts.

 For the last ten years, I have worked very hard to prepare myself for medical school. I have been enjoying participation 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 have also worked as a volunteer in the medical intensive care unit at a major hospital in New York City where I shadowed nurses in providing patient care.

 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 the 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 wondered at his determined work which was ultimately insufficient to save the patient. I have witnessed the deaths of several patients, old and young, and the emotions and reactions of their loved ones. These experiences have increased, by many times, my determination to become a physician.

 My preparation has been undertaken 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 reach, understand and communicate with them as the unique persons that they are.

 Whilst I am not widely travelled and have not been exposed to many different cultures directly, I have happily studied and worked with people of very many different cultural and social backgrounds. I realize that in almost any line of work, but especially in medicine, cultural awareness and sensitivity is very important. I enjoy sharing knowledge about my own Chinese culture and learning from others about theirs.

 I am aware that medicine is a very competitive field of study but I undertake to bring to my studies and future work every bit of the determination, resilience, focus and other characteristics that I apply when meeting a stronger kickboxing opponent! I will not merely succeed but excel. 

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