Neuroscience Personal Statement
From a young age I have been fascinated by how biological processes happen and work. When I went to an exhibition about the brain during my GCSE years I came across Santiago Ramon y Cajal and my curiosity for Neuroscience expanded. Intrigued by Cajal's drawings of neurons which first showed that there are individual cells in the brain. I quickly delved into neuroscience and was captivated by the complexity of a fundamental part of our body. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease alongside other injuries fascinate me, as I want to know if there could be a cure for paralysis or Alzheimer’s disease.
In order to explore neuroscience in greater depth I completed an EPQ 'Is genetics the most effective indicator of Schizophrenia?'. From the research and development of my essay, I concluded that environmental factors play a dominant role in the cause of Schizophrenia. As a result of completing an essay on a neurodegenerative disorder I was inspired to undertake volunteer work helping people who suffer from dementia. I wanted to gain first-hand experience with people who suffer from these diseases and to observe the effect it has on them. I have been volunteering at the Alzheimer's Society day care, providing support and engaging in a variety of activities with people who live with dementia. Ramachandran's 'The Tell-Tale Brain' opened my eyes into current research of the brain and how patients who have suffered from brain damage can develop a range of extraordinary conditions such as 'itchy' phantom limbs as well as rehabilitating phantoms showing the brains plasticity which Cajal first made reference to. Oliver Sacks 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat' also shows that when the brain is affected it can lead to a variety of neurological impairments, although there may be a shortage of these cases, I began to contemplate what is it that makes us ‘normal’ human beings.
Although Neuroscience is not taught at A-Level, I have developed an interest through my studies in Chemistry and Biology as to how bonding in carbon and hydrogen are essential in the structure of molecules such as neurotransmitters and how cells especially in the brain are vital for essential processes which keep us alive. In order to widen my knowledge I attend. ed a lecture on 'Brain Sex Differences' at Imperial College which provided me with an understanding of how differences in brain genders is crucial to treating disorders such as Parkinson's disease. In addition, I read the Scientific American Mind for an insight into the latest areas of research in this field, and have become the online editor for this area in my college magazine, keeping students aware of the latest research as well as recommending and reviewing books.
Outside of school I have been part of the Scouts Association for over ten years and have completed both the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh and I am currently completing the Gold Award. As well as being part of the Scouts, I have been volunteering with the 17th Harrow Scout Beaver unit for eight years which has allowed me to gain experience helping children. I have also completed 'The Challenge' which enhanced my skills in teamwork and organisation. Volunteering for Harrow Mencap has also provided me with the skills of working with people who have disabilities by supporting them and helping them in gaining confidence, most recently in the theatre group programme as well as being involved in fundraising.
In my opinion, Neuroscience is more than the brain and nervous system; it is about being able to improve quality of life, whether by discovering how to rehabilitate phantom limbs or developing new cures. Neuroscience is an intriguing and exciting field with tremendous potential, as Cajal stated, "The brain is a world consisting of a number of unexplored continents and great stretches of unknown territory." I look forward to the opportunity to explore this unknown territory in my undergraduate studies.
This personal statement was written by memb for application in 2014.
Offers from: Kings, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff