Personal Statement 2011

14 June 2010
It was the first swimming practice of my freshman year. I walked on the pool deck not knowing anyone, but determined to make the Brigham Young University intercollegiate swimming/diving team. The coach gathered us together and had us introduce ourselves. I discovered that I was one of ten people trying out for one position on the team. Fears crept in and I questioned whether or not I was good enough for the team. Despite my fears, I decided to try out because I knew I would regret not taking the challenge. For the next two months, I tried to prove to the coach that I deserved the one position. I remember the soreness of my muscles that were begging me not to jump into the water, run another stair, and lift another weight. However, I pushed through the soreness and watched as others quit or were cut from the team. The day of the last cut came, and the decision was between a diver and me. The coach pulled me aside to tell me the news; I did not make the team. I thanked him for the opportunity, and I was grateful for the experience and that I made it to the last cut. If I had quit that first day, I knew I would have regretted not trying out.

“I know I will regret not taking the challenge,” has been a saying that has guided me through my decision to become a doctor. At a young age, I watched my grandfather die due to complications from diabetes, and I was hospitalized and operated on for severe appendicitis. Throughout these experiences, I saw many physicians, and was in awe of their knowledge and skills; I wanted to be like them. When I entered high school, I enrolled in the medical sciences track, and learned the demands of the medical field. The coursework was challenging, yet I continued to develop my passion for medicine from the courses I took and my shadowing experiences. I loved learning about the human body and how to help people suffering from disease. Upon graduation, I was ranked first in the track, and I had earned a medical assisting license. A pediatrician I shadowed offered me a full-time medical assisting position. I knew that if I accepted this, I would have to postpone my undergraduate studies and medical school. I declined the opportunity because I wanted to play a more active role in medicine, even though this is the more challenging route.

Between being a biochemistry major, volunteering, researching, and shadowing, I had a demanding schedule in college. From this, I was learning how to be a doctor. However, it was not until I became head swimming coach that I fully understood how doctors feel after helping patients. While volunteering as the head coach, my demands were increased. Despite these changes, I found satisfaction in helping my team succeed and mature. I watched my swimmers improve their times, qualify for state, take third place at state, and learn life lessons. During this time, the stresses in my life seemed to decrease, and I enjoyed my busy life. This is how physicians must feel; they are satisfied with their challenging lives because they are helping others.

All of my preparation for medical school culminated in the early morning on January 1, 2010. After ringing in the New Year, I saw a man and a collapsed woman on the side of the street. They caught my eye and I told my friend to stop the car. The man ran up to us and explained that this woman was thrown out of a moving truck and was unresponsive. Seeing this man’s plight and the woman’s poor condition, I knew that I needed to help her. I ran to the woman and noticed that she was in worse condition than explained. She was foaming at the mouth, her eyes were rolled back into her head, and her breathing was shallow and labored. I used my knowledge from my experiences to try to help her, but it was not good enough. Following my unsuccessful attempt to wake her, I took her weak pulse and respiration rate and called 911. An ambulance arrived, and the EMTs quickly took over the situation. I watched them quickly regain her consciousness. As the ambulance drove off, I wished that I could have continued to care for her, and I was glad this woman received help. After this experience, I knew that I had made the correct decision to pursue becoming a doctor. There was no regret.

After getting cut from the swim team, I had no regret. I did my best and I did not quit. By trying out, I learned that closing one door opens many others. If I had made the team, I would never have been able to volunteer as a swim coach, perform research, shadow physicians, or manage a store. These experiences helped me understand what the best physicians do—they responsibly work to help others, despite the chance of failure. In addition, I learned the strength of the mind. My mind became a powerful tool that was able to push my body past my perceived limits. I was able to swim farther and work harder than I had before. This attribute will be vital in medical school and as a physician, because having strength of mind will give me assistance to persevere. I have learned valuable lessons by challenging myself, and I am excited for the future challenges I will face. Just as I would have been unsatisfied for not challenging myself to tryout for the swim team, I know that I would have regretted not taking the challenge to pursue a career in academic medicine.


AKLDS said...

“I know I will regret not taking the challenge,” A good motto that more should follow.

Well said personal statement!