I have experienced a great many things that I believe make me well prepared for the challenges and trials of attending medical school. I grew up in a rural area; there were not many people in my small town, and as such I got to know the few people around me very well. In this area, there are quite a few people who struggle every day to get the primary health care that they need; even more struggle to become educated on health-related matters. Watching all of these people around me work so hard for what should be easily provided to them, I resolved myself to increase my involvement in the lives of the people around me. I wish to decrease their suffering by giving them the best health care that I can provide.
The most important life experience for me was moving from my home country of Egypt to the United States. The process of moving was hard for me; I felt a great connection to Egypt but yearned for the opportunities present in America. Once I got here, I started to acclimate myself to the unique nature of American culture, bettering myself through this exposure to different cultures. As a result, I have a great deal of experience in multiple cultures, having learned about improvisation, learning on the fly, and becoming an in-depth observer of those of different backgrounds. I became a self-starter, motivating myself to work harder to adjust to this new environment, and I feel this sense of initiative will help me immensely in medical school.
There are three people in my life who have greatly influenced my sense of self, my character and my decision to attend medical school. First and foremost is my mother; she taught me the meaning of self-sacrifice and doing for others, among other amazing traits. My mother, being the good mother she is, always put what we needed before what she wanted – this allowed us to have the good lives that we have so far. From her, I learned that giving yourself for the sake of others is one of the best things that you can do; following suit, I started to help and support medical students to find spots for training in the summer, as well as collecting items and money for orphans during the holidays. As a medical student and a doctor, I make sure to spend extra time with my patients to provide emotional support and advice as they needed it.
The president of the Egyptian Family Health Society was another big influence on me. The most important lesson he ever taught me was to treat people like we want to be treated – according to him, everyone has a story behind who they are today, and we should respect that. Translating this into my work as a physician, I hold to this as a means to relate to our patients more readily. I feel like we have to feel what others do in order to understand their suffering, or at least relate to what they are going through. By showing empathy and respect for everyone under our care, we can remove judgment and concentrate on caring for them.
Last but not least, my last influence is not a specific person, but a group of people as a whole: children. When you observe children, especially in the first two years of their lives, there is an innocence and a perseverance to them that I find admirable. Seeing just how many times it takes them to master even the simplest thing – eating, sitting, standing, walking and talking – made me realize that every new task is just like that, no matter how complicated. You have to keep trying and dedicate yourself to the task. The skills we learn as a child help us cope with the more complex challenges of life and work, and I hold to that philosophy in my own efforts.
There are a number of qualities that I feel makes me stand out in terms of my applicability. I have worked as a health counselor and educator for a diversity population; this has enhanced my communication skills amongst people of different cultures and backgrounds, in addition to my existing experience with multiculturality. There, I also received a great deal of experience with the ethics of the patient-doctor relationship, and put those ethics to practice in a medical setting.
My volunteer work has also provided me with a lot of experience in charity and medical-related work. I have worked in charity institutions to support orphans in need, and helped medical students in Egypt secure summer internships. I also promoted health among college students during my undergraduate work, and supported health education for pregnant women in an underserved area. I was very proud to help those in need, and I believe this demonstrates a strength of character which is sorely needed in such an important issue as health care. These activities permitted me to practice good ethics and volunteer medical practice to populations that sorely needed it.
Finally, my academic achievements of note include my presence on the honor’s list throughout the years I spent on my medical education. Furthermore, I have passed the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 Cs, both on the first attempt, demonstrating my superb knowledge of medical terminology, practice and procedure. These accomplishments highlight the strong dedication I have to my schoolwork. Unlike some who may emphasize either their academics or their extracurricular activities, I strive for excellence in both – I want to back up my own passion for medicine with the expertise and knowledge to help my patients. With these traits in mind, I believe I have cultivated a strong set of skills and sufficient character to benefit greatly from admission into the School of Medicine.