Medical School Personal Statement Example 3

I grew up poor on the Southside of Chicago in a neighborhood called Roseland. I was raised by my single mother along with my two brothers in a community comprised mostly of low income black and Hispanic households. I am the oldest, so I always felt a special sense of responsibility to blaze a trail for my siblings. I wanted them to know that they could know more and be more and have more than our parents and those that we saw in the course of our daily lives did. In order to do this I knew I had a steep hill to climb. My mother worked 3 jobs to be able to support us without government assistance or much support from anybody else. She took pride in her work at the Jay’s chip factory and always told us to keep our heads held high and not to allow anyone to make us feel less-than because of what we didn’t have (a father, the latest gadgets, new clothes, enough food…just to name a few things). I think it was this sense of pride that was implanted in me early on that gave me the confidence I needed to declare regularly to myself and my brothers that we would make it out the ‘hood one day and live in big houses like the ones in Beverly or the suburbs.

I knew I wasn’t athletically gifted or musically talented, so becoming a professional athlete or rapper (pretty much the only two occupations that black boys in inner cities across America are encouraged to aspire to) was not an option for me. The only thing I thought I could become was a factory worker like my mom (which I ruled out early on), a police officer (which I also ruled out after I saw them raid my best friend’s grandmother’s house because they were looking for a drug dealer who had the same name as my friend’s sister), or a driver for CTA. These were the only jobs that I knew black men to have. I was always “gifted” so I put two and two together and decided to do the best I could in school and see where that got me, and I encouraged my brothers to do the same. Because of my “gifted” status, I was able to get a full scholarship to Providence St. Mel high school on the Westside. The bus ride was long, and I didn’t have any friends, but my mother was so proud of me. We knew that most Providence St. Mel graduates went to college—many on full tuition scholarships—and that’s what I decided I was going to do. And that’s exactly what I did. I graduated number three in my class. As the first one in my family to even consider college (my mother had been the first to graduate from high school), I knew I was finally becoming the trailblazer I always wanted to be. I was afraid to leave my younger brothers, but I knew I had to keep going if I was going to be able to give them a complete blueprint for success. So I went away to Purdue University on a full academic scholarship as part of the McNair Scholars Program.

I felt blessed that I had attended such an academically rigorous high school whose focus was on preparing its students for college. Many of my friends who had not been so lucky struggled academically and were forced to take remedial courses that their tuition didn’t cover. A couple even dropped out—one went to community college and one stopped out completely—due to the struggle of both keeping up academically and filling in the gaps left by their financial aid packages. I excelled in my coursework and was especially attracted to math subjects. By this time, I’d been lucky enough to acquire some wonderful mentors and advisors who explained that, with my abilities, a career in engineering, medicine, or education teaching math subjects would be a good fit for me. I was undecided, and at the time I didn’t realize that tragic life events would soon help me decide.

My youngest brother, Sean, was shot while walking home from school, the victim of a stray bullet. There was no trauma center on the Southside, and my brother’s blood loss was so severe that he couldn’t survive the 20 minute drive to Northwestern. They’ve since built a trauma center at University of Chicago in Hyde Park, but it came too late to save my brother. The loss of my brother forced me to ask some tough questions and to make some tough decisions. I was very close to leaving Purdue and returning to Chicago, but my advisor encouraged me to stay and to reflect on my promise to my brother to be a trailblazer. This reminder and assurance that I could still set an example that my brother, and others like him, could follow is what kept me going during this most difficult time in my life. Another tough question I asked myself is why was there no trauma center near where I lived? Roseland hospital had one many years ago, but it was defunded. I knew that growing up, we never went to the doctor for check-ups like some of the other kids I knew. I learned we didn’t have insurance and that most Americans, especially those with backgrounds like mine, didn’t either. I wanted answers to these questions, and I decided that if the answers didn’t already exist, I wanted to help answer them. I decided that I wanted to become a doctor that semester so that I could return to my neighborhood, or a similar one, and provide care that was severely lacking to people and places where there wasn’t a strong incentive to go.

For the past 3 years, I have dedicated myself to my pre-medical studies, achieving a 3.87 GPA and involving myself in key leadership roles on campus, such as serving as the Vice President of the biomedical sciences club, Treasurer for pre-med AMSA, and President of the Black Student Union. I have volunteered at the inner city hospital in the emergency room for the last 3 years and presented at the national AMSA convention on the subject of healthcare disparities across historically marginalized demographic groups. I am intimately familiar with Wellmann University’s mission, as one of my mentor’s is an alum, and I am confident that my life experiences and background will add dimension to the 2021 graduating class. Beyond this, I will add dimension to the medical profession as a whole, which is one where people like me from backgrounds like mine are still severely underrepresented. This lack of representation has implications for who has access to treatment, at what level of quality, and where. Research shows that more doctors like me means more doctors in cities and neighborhoods like the one I grew up in serving patients like my brother. Admission to Wellmann means the chance to complete the blueprint for my brothers. I am building my own legacy now, and I would like Wellmann University Medical School to be a part of it.