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All of the samples on this web site were written more than 2 years ago and all are anonymous.

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MA OT, Down’s Syndrome, Syrian-American

April 8, 2016


While I was born and raised in America, I also think of myself very much as Syrian, especially since we went back for long visits on several occasions to Syria as I was growing up. I have a BA in International Studies from the University of XXXX and I am currently enrolled in my last OT pre-requisite (physiology). I have received straight A's in each prerequisite class so far, I believe, because of my great passion and enthusiasm for OT. Your particularly distinguished program at UXX is my first choice for graduate school because I adore the diversity of your campus community and very much admire the work of your faculty.

I also very much admire the global sense of mission and I am especially hopeful that you will look favorably on my application as a result of my interest in putting my education at UXX to work on behalf of refugee children from my family’s country of origin, Syria, as neighboring Iraq. I admire the way that faculty in your program describe OT professional as “architects of life”; and I look forward very much to studying this concept in depth in a variety of professional contexts, particularly in the case of special needs children.

While I have never yet worked with refugees, the increasing numbers of Syrians, now in the millions who are displaced both inside and especially outside their own country has attracted my attention and the documentaries that I watch about life for my people who are now in Lebanon, Jordan, etc., breaks my heart. The children in these refugee camps have taught me a great deal about being resourceful, learning to play with almost nothing at hand but refuse. I am concerned for their education and welfare, especially as the war drags on with no end in sight. Thus, in addition to studying the core courses in your program and cultivating my eternal interest in special needs children, I also hope to do research at some point concerning occupational therapy in refugee camps. Hopefully, I might be able to put this to good use, along with the fact that Arabic is my native tongue, participating in missions to refugee camps in the Middle East.

Another factor that inspires me to succeed as an OT professional has been my own struggle with disease as a child, nephritic syndrome, which resulted in my being unable to participate in many school-related activities since I was almost constantly getting sick due to a weak immune system, and taking up to 36 pills a day. On top of that, my parents were overly cautious. When my body stopped responding ot the regular medications my doctors decided to take a stronger approach and give a stronger medication to try and normalize my body function. Hair and weight loss along with stunted growth were some of the side effects of the medication to keep my kidneys functioning properly, with weekly trips to the hospital to get my blood drawn. Nevertheless, by 15 I was cured and now that I am again whole, I bring with me the strength of many lessons learned in the treatment of ailing children.

My fascination with OT has also very much been reinforced by my very special relationship with my husband’s little sister who has Down’s Syndrome. I have observed very closely and studied the favorable impact of OT in her life and this has helped to spur me on to make my own professional mark in this area. Eman Harake has been the biggest blessing of my life and she has touched me in ways that she will never know. A very strong and bright girl, she is growing into a young woman with the ability to love unconditionally. As a result of having Eman in my life, I have learned a lot about what it means to have Down syndrome and how it not only affects the individual’s life but the lives of family members as well.

I remember one day Eman showed us how she had learned to drink from a straw for the first time—witnessing and reflecting upon her intense pride and satisfaction opened new doors of creative thinking for me. I began to reflect at length on the way in which Eman is able to do most things for herself only as the result of countless hours of therapy by OT professionals. It was the success of OT with Eman that set me most squarely on the path where I find myself today. I want to be that person who provides the tools that are necessary for a child with a disability to live as enriching a life as possible.

I have decided to dedicate my life to the cause of special needs children, empowering them to live life to the fullest degree possible. My central long-term dream is to focus my OT efforts on serving the under-privileged, specifically, children with special needs from at-risk homes. Surviving and recovering from nephritic syndrome at such a tender age helped to shape my definition of success. Coupled to the fact that a Down’s syndrome child in our family is also very much the center of my world, I feel that my background and current interests are highly complementary to the study and practice of occupational therapy. I want to empower and inspire others who have been disabled at some point to make the very most of their potential.  

I sincerely thank you for your consideration of my application.

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