Medical School Personal Statement Example 1
I come from a family of healers. I remember spending nights with my grandmother as a little girl when my mother had to work late shifts as a nurse. Nanna was a doula and raw foodist who studied homeopathy and the healing arts before these things were cool. She did yoga on the shag rug in the living room, and when I got sick, she’d boil a batch of garlic or ginger tea or sersi (which would smell up the whole kitchen) from the bush she kept in the backyard. She’d make me swallow a tablespoon of raw honey then massage my little feet with camphor and eucalyptus oils. Of course, at the time, I viewed all of this as some sort of punishment, torture even. Being sick was hard enough, but Nanna’s rituals and concoctions made me feel like a science experiment. I would complain vehemently, but Nanna would hear none of it. She would explain that everything the body needed to heal itself could be found in nature and that these remedies of hers activated my body’s “natural healing abilities”. She talked about how her mother, who was not literate and never received any sort of formal education, could heal a cough in less than a day and could diagnose an illness just by looking at someone’s tongue or pushing the right “button” on a person’s foot. I never stayed sick for long, but at the time, I just attributed this to my prayers finally being answered, not Nanna’s home remedies or some legacy of healing that was being passed down to me.
As I progressed through my primary education, I excelled in the sciences. I was fascinated by the body, the various organ systems, the electricity that keep the synapses firing in the brain. In my spare time I would study nutrition, and I eventually came to appreciate Nanna’s unconventional lifestyle and healing techniques. Even when she was close to her death, we would still bust out a Natarajasana sequence on the living room floor (I was eventually able to convince Nanna to replace the shag rug with yoga mats). I had never thought much about “what I wanted to be when I grow up”. My mother was a registered nurse who put herself through school after she and my father were divorced, so I began to explore nursing as an option, even getting certified as an LPN toward the end of high school. However, I was being propelled toward something more, and it became clear through my experiences as an LPN and my co-curricular involvements surrounding the sciences that what I really wanted to become was not a comforter (which is how I viewed much of what my mother did) but a healer.
Throughout my premedical training, I have focused on the healing arts, Eastern medical philosophies, nutraceutical interventions, and the mind-body connection in addition to my core courses in the hard sciences. My research has centered on the intersections of mind and body, specifically improving prognoses in late stage cancer patients through laughter and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques (this research, which I conducted with my faculty advisor, has been published in several research journals). Wellmann University’s focus on the development and education of medical professionals who are prepared to “heal the whole person—mind, body, and soul” is in direct alignment with my personal values and professional goals, and it would be a dream come true to study at an institution that is at the cutting edge of medical practice.
I believe the medical profession is at a critical juncture. The industry is changing faster than ever before due to shifting national and international demographics, the reemergence of certain infectious diseases, the relationship between insurance companies and medical professionals, and evolving technology. Additionally, people are becoming more empowered (through WebMD and Google just as much as through formal education, personal belief systems, and negative experiences with health professionals) to diagnose and treat themselves, demand more of physicians, and to shine a light on mistakes and mistreatment. For so long, physicians have been forced into silos (specializations) and had their focus narrowed on a specific organ, system, or demographic such that we have forgotten in many cases that we are treating whole people. Physicians and patients alike are awakening to the perils of this approach—while specialization is necessary and important, physicians must be trained to understand that an organ or organ system doesn’t operate in isolation any more than the systems in which live and move are in isolation from each other. Wellmann University has not wavered in its commitment to this approach to the education of its students (even when it has not been popular) and encourages cross-specialization, working in teams, and student development. I am confident that my unique experiences and perspectives will add another layer of breadth to what is already a stellar student body and alumni family. To join such a cadre of world-renowned physicians, esteemed researchers, and health practitioners means that I’d have the opportunity to carry the legacy of the institution forward and promote change from within the profession as we continue to move into new frontiers of medical discovery and practice.
I have long decided what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a physician like Dr. Robert Goodman, Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience at Wellman who was a pioneer in the field of Neurophysiology and first studied the connection between happiness and healing in trauma patients. I want to be an advocate for patients who, because of some aspect of their identity, are marginalized and do not receive the same standard of care. I want to be a trailblazer in my own right, promoting the importance of holistic patient care. My long term goal is to transition into medical education in addition to opening a holistic medical practice, like the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, that serves patients on the margins of care. I want to be a healer like Nanna and the women who came before me, and Wellmann University is the place where I want to do it.