Medicine Personal Statement
A dissection of the eye decided that my future career would be rooted in medicine. The fascination of how such a complex biological system encompassed both physics and chemistry enticed me, and prompted me to begin researching what it means to be a doctor.
To gain a practical understanding of medicine I worked in a hospital in Arusha, Tanzania for three weeks. My most important duty was taking patients' vital signs and noting them in their files. On ward rounds I learnt about the treatment of a variety of conditions and the attending doctor allowed me to join the diagnostic procedure.
Creating a diagnosis from lab results and symptoms was exciting and challenging; I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also witnessed the doctor's ability to inspire confidence in his patients using his leadership skills, and how this helped the patient trust the doctor's advice.
Additionally, I organised a placement in a hospital where I watched many orthopaedic and laparoscopic surgeries whilst also learning about hospital life. I familiarized myself with patients' post-operative needs and the various monitoring systems that take patients' vital signs; a stark contrast to Arusha, where not even the operating room had a heart monitor.
I also observed consultations, noting the importance of a doctor's bedside manner in reassuring the patient before and after surgery.
Furthermore, I had the opportunity to scrub into a variety of procedures with a plastic surgeon, who also works with the Red Cross in war zones. His work with the Red Cross was both charitable and adventurous; something I may one day consider doing.
We also discussed the ethics of cosmetic surgery, how a field that on the surface seems vain contributes greatly to a patient's self esteem.
To learn more about the caring side of medicine, I volunteer weekly at a local geriatric rest home. Working with the residents was sometimes disheartening due to the seeming futility of the carers' efforts, but the joy the residents received from some attention further strengthened my resolve to become a doctor. The experience taught me specifically the need to care, even when there is no cure.
The IB subjects I have chosen illustrate my dedication to the academic side of medicine. In higher level (HL) chemistry I have been given some of the tools to understand how the macroscopic changes in a person, such as cyanosis, can be caused by a molecular problem, a deficiency of either haemoglobin or oxygen.
Both HL physics and mathematics have added to my ability to solve problems and grasp abstract concepts. In my school career I have excelled at science and mathematics, winning the achievement awards for both subjects. My IB extended essay relates mathematics to medicine, using data on the incidence of influenza in Switzerland to create an epidemiological model of the virus's progression.
My interest in medicine has also encouraged me to read around the subject. In particular I have been captivated by the rivalry between Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur in the book "The Discovery of the Germ" by John Waller and disturbed by an article on the spread of drug resistant malaria in The Lancet.
This year I was elected Student Council President, enabling me to represent the student body in all important administrative decisions. I have taken part in many international Model United Nations conferences, personally achieving a Best Delegate Award.
I train at a gym three times a week to relax and stay fit, which also has the benefit of teaching me about nutrition and the physiology of exercise. I have participated in a student expedition to Argentina, where I canoed and trekked for thirty days. On the trip I took on the additional responsibility of being the group accountant, ensuring that there was enough money to pay for food, lodging and transport.
I believe that I have acquired the necessary people, leadership and motivational skills to be successful in, and to contribute to a future university and medical career.
This personal statement was written by jamesop for application in 2010.
Applied to Cambridge (Caius), Imperial, King's and Edinburgh. Got offers from all except Edinburgh.
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