My decision to pursue a career in medicine stems from an early age, when I used to dream of working in science and medicine and even now – all these years later – I still cannot imagine doing anything other than having a career in those fields.
I believe the event that solidified my ambition happened when I was quite young. My sister (three years my junior) was born with coarctation of the aorta; she had correction surgery when she was just two weeks old. I don’t remember it myself, but my parents tell me she would not have survived if it wasn’t for the doctor’s early detection and advanced surgical procedures.
As a consequence, my family and I have a high respect for doctors. My sister is now a healthy freshman in my high school - it’s nice to have her around! Not only that, but in retrospect the experience showed me that there is no more noble or rewarding profession than to practice medicine. By virtue of diligent studies and overcoming any obstacles along the way, those earlier dreams of making it my career can soon become a reality for me.
I am motivated to learn more about medicine because I have a strong desire to succeed and to achieve my life objectives. I also know that as in any technological field – and medicine is very much in that category – it is vital to keep abreast of new techniques and research findings. Neither will completing this program mean the end of that requirement. In today’s rapidly-changing environment, standing still is not an option. To stand still is to start falling behind. To be successful, learning must be regarded as an ongoing and mandatory activity.
The six-year BA/MD program appeals to me because it offers an ideal balance between the arts, science and medicine curricula. I like the idea of being able to take medical school coursework from year one, and the opportunities to shadow a physician during the early years of the program. I also like the year-round program concept by UMKC.I enjoy challenges, and I feel my high school years have prepared me for it.
A great feature of the program is that it effectively shortens the timescale needed to become a fully-qualified MD without sacrificing quality in the process. From what I have heard, it facilitates greater “hands-on” experience than typically is gained from conventional programs taking eight years to complete. In addition – and for me importantly – it obviates the need for MCAT preparatory course costs, which I believe can amount to around $9,000, which would put me deeper in debt before I can start my career proper.
I should like the UMKC School of Medicine to know that in just about all aspects of my life I have been influenced and guided by my parents’ ethos to do my best and to always try as hard as I possibly can. That will be my philosophy and my work ethic at the UMKC School of Medicine. I will take maximum advantage of the education I will obtain there, with the objective of being ideally qualified to choose any specific career path within Medicine in the future.
Without question, my parents have been responsible for shaping me as an individual to become the person I am today, and to have created a person who is, or will soon be, fully capable of making a success of a career in medicine. If I can one day fulfil their hopes and dreams for me with pride I will have achieved my goal. Even if people think of me as only half as worthy as them, I will be proud to have achieved that much.
As far as hardships or challenges that may have influenced my education and career goals are concerned I refer once again to the story of my sister’s condition mentioned earlier. I appreciate just how fortunate we were to have that availability of high quality medical care. It makes me think about places and communities where there are no medical facilities and where even seeing a nurse to obtain basic medicines can mean days of travel, probably on foot. We all tend to take our everyday amenities and facilities for granted; it is only at times of crisis that we are made to realise just how much we are dependent on the skills of others, just as our family was on those doctors and nurses who saved my sister’s life.
A significant issue facing my generation, and what I would do to contribute to solving that issue:
I have two such issues in mind:
The first is the general lack of interest among my generation in politics. I believe this is because basically we distrust politicians. I am not sure how I as an individual can do much about that, other than to encourage my peers to take more interest in politics and to vote when elections come around, so that even in a small way we might influence how we are governed.
The second important issue for me is obesity, especially childhood obesity. It is well known that it has become an increasing problem in recent years and with ever younger children. Medically it is a serious problem because obesity in childhood is known to increase the risks of contracting various diseases at a relatively young age, plus it is more likely to lead to being obese as an adult (especially if the parents are also obese!).
I believe that the basic need is to change children’s eating habits and to change them at as early an age as possible. I have given this matter a lot of thought and have concluded that fixing the problem requires a multi-faceted approach. I would introduce “good eating classes” into the curriculum of every school, starting with the youngest children, to “catch them early” before bad eating habits become ingrained. In parallel with those classes, I would find a way to get to their parents to educate them also. Maybe school projects to take home for parental involvement and participation might be the way(?)
An experience in which I interacted with people from backgrounds different than my own and what I learned from it:
My most relevant experience is probably my volunteer work at the Crisis Nursery in Wentzville, which is an organization providing short-term care for young children in situations of family crisis and/or child abuse and neglect. Each week we have different kids to look after. Some are very talkative, some are quiet and reserved or withdrawn into themselves, and some are outgoing and extremely energetic, even hyperactive. What I have learned from my voluntary work there is to be patient, and to listen carefully to their needs, always bearing in mind that every child is an individual and may or may not be able to open up to a relative stranger. Some of the abused children have very low self-esteem and require a great deal of encouragement to share in group activities at the clinic. Some of them say the strangest and most unexpected things to me and I have learned to “think on my feet” so that I respond in ways that may help them with whatever problems they have. The work is challenging but can be so rewarding, particularly when a child who has been ultra-shy and withdrawn begins to come out of his/her shell and to communicate with us. Of course we are not successful in that sense with every child that comes through the doors, but the ones that we know we have helped make it all worthwhile. I believe that working there also helps me to learn a little more about myself, too.
A time when I had an ethical or moral disagreement with (my parents, other members of my family, or other superiors) and how I handled the situation:
My parents are immigrants to the US, and come originally from China. Most Asian parents are very focused on school works and grades achieved by their children – and mine are no different from that stereotype! While I was in High School my mom would constantly quiz me about doing homework and studying, insisting I do my school work before I relaxed by watching TV or going out with friends. Sometimes it would irritate me so much that – like a typical rebellious teenager – I would deliberately and stubbornly delay doing the required school work just to be difficult. That response would of course inevitably lead to increased tensions and conflicts between us, which at the time made me quite angry, but that with hindsight and maybe a growing maturity I can see was entirely my fault. I suppose my way of dealing with those situations was childish, and I am sure my parents realized that also and saw right through my tantrums. Lately I have come to realize that not only were they always thinking of my best interests and my future, but I have to admit they were right. I would probably not be in a position to apply for this UKMC program if they had not kept me focused on my academic success.
Thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing my personal statement and the associated short response answers.