Medicine Personal Statement
Having always been fascinated by science, and I chose to pursue this interest by studying biology at university. Before starting my degree, I took a gap year travelling through central and southern Africa.
There I realised the scale and horror of the AIDS pandemic, became interested in healthcare, and considered more carefully how I might become involved. I have since returned to Malawi with sponsorship to examine attitudes towards sexual health.
Here I inevitably became involved with individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS - the youngest just months old. Experiencing the personal consequences of disease in this way confirmed my resolve to study medicine.
Once at university, I sought to gain experience in a more orthodox healthcare setting by spending time with my GP and in a hospital oncology department.
In the latter I worked with porters, administrators, nurses and radiographers as well as observing some consultations.
Watching these people work together taught me that good patient care is driven by empathy, hard work and, above all, a sense of humour. Impressed by the hospital atmosphere I returned as a volunteer in orthopaedics and later as a surgical orderly in gynaecology.
My duties included cleaning up after operations, moving patients and taking them to and from theatre.
While in this job, some of the surgeons were kind enough to let me join them in theatre, in clinic and on ward rounds.
This helped me appreciate just how hard doctors actually work and some of the extraordinary pressures to which they are exposed.
On a more practical level my work as a firstaider with St John Ambulance has increased my confidence in taking responsibility for casualties - typically those suffering minor lacerations, fainting and falls. I have also worked at a disabled riding school and at a school for disabled children.
These roles opened my mind to disability and inspired me to begin evening classes in sign language.
My appetite for learning also accommodates extracurricular classes in German and Spanish which I enjoy in addition to working towards an A-level in Chemistry. These interests demand self discipline and have greatly improved my ability to manage time effectively.
Away from the books my weekends are spent with the Territorial Army. As an Officer Cadet, the TA has vastly improved my confidence and ability to work as part of a team under pressure.
Although challenging, army weekends are extremely rewarding and provide many opportunities to relax and socialise. To meet the demands of the TA I keep fit by lifting weights, swimming and fencing.
As a keen traveller I have visited twenty six countries since leaving school. To fund these trips I have worked as a door-to-door salesman in America and have hitchhiked across Europe to reach northern Africa.
In testing my communication skills, these experiences have taught me much about establishing rapport with strangers in challenging situations.
These travels have taken me to some extreme and potentially dangerous destinations. More than once I have been rescued from disaster by complete strangers who stood to gain nothing from helping me. This has taught me that the common language of people everywhere is essentially kindness and compassion.
These values are intrinsic in the role of the physician and are the reason I cannot imagine committing to any other profession.
This statement makes me cringe now but it did earn a place at medical school. I am not sure why so many people are convinced it is "fake". It was written after a gap year and two years of university which is plenty of time to travel and collect work experience. Good luck everyone!