Personal Statement Workshop

Welcome to DoctaJay’s Personal Statement Workshop!!! (Part I) Now I’m in no way an expert on personal statements, but I believe I can provide some helpful advice here and there.1) When should you write your personal statement?Please please please please please write your personal statement your Junior year of college. The last semester of your Junior year is good too, but by the time that year ends, it should have already have been written and proof read. I have a good amount of friends who waited until their senior year to write their personal statement which causes unneeded stress. Also, because you then have to submit your AMCAS application later, it puts you in an AMCAS verification pool which may take up to a month to get through. Also, since teachers will be very busy at the beginning of the school year it may be harder for you to get your personal statement (PS) read, which brings me to my next point…2)Who should proof read my personal statement?

Choose two good people and stick with them, and them alone. If you e-mail it to your parents (who have no idea what all this is about), your grandma, all your professors, and your friends who are English majors and pre-law majors you will get just as many different opinions as to what needs to be changed on your PS. Too many chefs can ruin the pot, and the same occurs with your PS. I only choose one professor actually to proof read my PS, and no one else. She read it for grammer and content and after about 5 sessions, whittled my PS down to something half-way acceptable.

3) How many drafts should I have?

This truly depends on you. I had a good amount, but it is better to write WAY over the AMCAS 5,300 character with spaces count and then whittle it down than to struggle to get close to 4,000 characters. I’ll continue the rest of this later, but below are all of the drafts of my PS in chronological order, starting with the first and ending with the final. This should show you how much editing is sometimes needed for a PS. I’ll post part Ii of this later with much more advice than was in this one:

FIRST DRAFT
I’ve already graduated from medical school; I’m just reapplying to freshen up on some things. I know it’s hard to believe, because no one really wants to relive the stress of medical school, but I just don’t remember everything I learned. My mother was about 7 months pregnant with me, as she walked across the stage to accept our diploma from the Howard University School of Medicine. Needless to say, I don’t remember much because I was confined to her womb, but I am determined to catch up on all the pertinent information I missed.

When I contemplate the question of, “Why Medicine”, I realize that it can only be answered by explaining a combination of experiences that I’ve had. Ever since 1990, when my dad brought home our first personal computer, I’ve been a computer geek. By the time I got to high school I was teaching myself how to program, building computers, dabbling in amateur robotics, and looking into colleges with good engineering programs. I in no way contemplated medicine, because my mother was a doctor, and I wanted to be unique and I figured that I was better at computers than science. It all began with a summer program called MITHS at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. It was a program that was supposed to attract minorities into the health field. For three weeks, we took medical school classes, and learned as much as we could. I was absolutely hooked by this program, and returned from California with a second love, medicine.

I was thinking of majoring in biomedical engineering, but I decided to keep the computer side of me a hobby and major in biology at Oakwood College. It turned out that I was actually pretty good in science, and my first year was very successful. During my freshmen year I joined a mission group called the National Association or the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS). It was in this group that I realized how satisfying it was to help someone without expecting anything in return. The smiles of gratitude I received were worth more than any grade or accolade I’ve earned. One experience in particular really solidified my desire to be a doctor. When I was in Zambia, Africa with NAPS, we were working in a United Nations refugee camp filled with refugees from Angola. About 60% of the kids there had ring worm, and it really broke my heart, because that is so easily treated if there were the funds to do it. The sand is very deep there and most of the kids don’t own any shoes. One day, as we walked to the Zambezi River with 150 people that wanted to be baptized, I saw one little boy fall to the ground in pain. Of course he didn’t have shoes, and he stubbed his toe very badly on a tree stump hidden by the sand. His toe was split open pretty badly, and was bleeding a lot. All I had was a Wal-Mart first-aid kit, so I took it out and start to clean his toe first with alcohol. He winced slightly, but then signaled with his eyes that I could continue. I cleaned everything off, and put a nice big band-aid around his toe. He tried to thank me in Portuguese, but when he realized I didn’t understand, he smiled, and that told me more than any words could. As he ran off towards the Zambezi, I sat there in awe. I realized that that was what it was all about. I wasn’t a big time surgeon yet, but I took the time to stop and help someone. As I walked away I realized that I wanted this feeling everyday. I wanted to wake up every morning whether it is in the rough streets of Baltimore or the plains of Africa, knowing that I could help someone that day.

That same summer, after Africa, I went to the University of Cincinnati to conduct research. The research was very exciting, and although I didn’t publish any papers, I did win 1st place in the category of Neuroscience for my poster at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, the largest research conference for minority students in the world. I gained more than research experience at the University of Cincinnati; I was given the opportunity to shadow a surgery resident on the trauma part of his residency. He truly became a mentor to me and allowed me to see what the life of a trauma surgeon was really like. I saw gun shot wounds, stab wounds, car crash victims, emergency thoracotomies that couldn’t save the patient, suicide attempts, etc. I was also given the opportunity suture the chest of a patient that couldn’t be saved with a ED thoracotomy, I was taught out to anestisize a gun shoot wound, I was taught how to pull a chest tube, I assisted in the amputation of a car crash victim’s leg, I was shown how to remove scar tissue in laparoscopic surgery, how to check for a cardiac tamponade, how to examine a chest x-ray for signs of a pneumothorax, and a myriad of other things. Needless to say, my experiences in the hospital were quite a bit more exciting than sitting in the research laboratory. Because all the doctors I shadowed were surgeons, I took quite a liking to them, and even started to walk like them! In all seriousness though, the clinical experiences at UC further reinforced my desire to become a physician, and sparked my interest in surgery.

All of these experiences have shaped me into the person I am now. The mission work has had the biggest effect on me, and I’m sure it will influence where I decide to practice. Medicine appeals to me not only because of the possibility of helping someone every day, but also because it presents intellectual and technical challenges every day. Also, as I’ve seen so far, doctors get to play with lots of computers and technical equipment, which rekindles the computer geek inside me! Apart from being academically qualified, I believe that my passion for mission work will make me a very caring physician; a physician that views their patient as more than a case, or a leg, but a person. I know that medicine is the only field that fits for me, and once I go back to medical school to relearn some things, I know I will do the field justice.

SECOND DRAFT
I have already graduated from medical school; I’m just applying to freshen up on some things. You see, my mother was about 7 months pregnant with me as she walked across the stage to accept our diploma from the Howard University School of Medicine. Needless to say, I don’t remember much because I was confined to her womb, but I am determined to catch up on all the pertinent information I missed.

When I contemplate the question of, “Why Medicine”, I realize that it can only be answered by explaining a combination of experiences that I have had. Ever since 1993, when my dad brought home our first computer, I have been a computer geek. By the time I got to high school I was learning how to program and build computers. In the summer of 2002, my interest in medicine was sparked with a program called MITHS at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. The program’s objective was to attract minorities into medicine. For three weeks, we took medical school classes and we learned how to speed read. It was there that I found out how much I loved learning about the circulation of the heart, the anatomy and physiology of the brain, and many other aspects of the human body. When I received Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy for making the highest grade in anatomy class, my newfound desire to pursue medicine was solidified and I sought out colleges with good biology programs.

In high school I found my love for the human body, and at Oakwood College, my passion for helping others was formed. My freshmen year I joined a mission group called the National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS), in which I have had many experiences that have truly strengthened my character and changed my focus. In the summer of my freshman year, I went on a mission to Zambia, Africa with NAPS. In Lusaka, the capital, we visited an AIDS clinic. Seeing hundreds of babies, children and their parents lying in cots dying changed everything. I now realized that my place was also there with them, and I resolved that when I became a doctor, I would come back and help prevent AIDS from destroying more lives. While there I began my future work by helping to build the NAPS AIDS Prevention Center and by participation in a march against AIDS in Zambia’s capital. At our final destination, the United Nations refugee camp in Nangweshi and Kanja, I had another experience which reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor. After working for almost six weeks feeding children and preaching, we were on our way to from the Kanja camp to the Nangweshi camp with about 150 refugees who wanted to be baptized. Sadly, many of the children did not have shoes, and the sand was very deep there. While walking, I saw a little boy on the ground crying in pain. His toe was bleeding profusely after stubbing it on a tree stump hidden by the sand. With a Wal-Mart first-aid kit I bent down to see what I could do. After I got the bleeding to stop, I began to wipe his toe with alcohol; he winced in pain but signaled me to continue with his eyes. When I put a big band-aid on his toe, he looked up and started to thank me in Portuguese; when he realized I couldn’t understand he just smiled at me, which told me more than words ever could. He got up and ran off and I sat there with a feeling I had never had before. I wasn’t a doctor, but the little I did made him feel better…I helped him. This experience reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor, so I could have this feeling every day.

We also did relief work here in the U.S. When Hurricane Rita hit, I along with 30 others NAPS members left school and drove down to Lake Charles, Louisiana. The area we happened upon looked more like a third world country than an American city. Many of the older people and those in poor neighbors couldn’t leave before the hurricane hit, and were trapped inside their houses. We cut numerous trees off houses, teamed up with the Convoy of Hope to pass out ice, and distributed hundreds of pounds of food, water, hygiene products, and other necessities. This, and many others experiences with NAPS formed my passion to help others and have reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor to help the underserved, especially those dying of AIDS around the world.

After Africa, I went to the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine to conduct research. The research was very exciting, and I ended up winning 1st place in the category of Neuroscience for my poster at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, the largest research conference for minority students in the world. Aside from research, at the University of Cincinnati, I was given the opportunity to shadow a surgery resident on his trauma rotation. While shadowing, my love for surgery was formed. On top of participating in numerous procedures, I realized that surgery suited me perfectly by satisfying my instant gratification personality while permitting substantial patient contact.

All of these experiences have shaped me into the person I am now, and have led me to the field of medicine. No longer confined to my mother’s womb, I am excited about the prospect of returning to medical school to learn everything I missed. I truly desire to serve others, especially the under deserved, and I intend to dedicate my life to that task.

THIRD DRAFT
I have already graduated from medical school; I’m just applying to freshen up on some things. You see, my mother was about 7 months pregnant with me as she walked across the stage to accept our diploma from the Howard University School of Medicine. Needless to say, I don’t remember much because I was confined to her womb, but I am determined to catch up on all the pertinent information I missed.

When I contemplate the question of, “Why Medicine”, I realize that it can only be answered by explaining a combination of experiences that I have had. Ever since 1993, when my dad brought home our first computer, I have been a computer geek. By the time I entered high school I was learning how to program and build computers. However, in the summer of 2002 my interest in medicine was sparked through the MITHS program, sponsored by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. For three weeks, I took medical school classes and learned how to speed read. It was there that I discovered how much I loved learning about the circulation of the heart, the anatomy and physiology of the brain, and many other aspects of the human body. By the end of the program, my interest in pursuing a career in medicine was solidified, and I sought out colleges with good biology programs.

In high school I found my love for the human body, and at Oakwood College, my passion for helping others was formed. During my freshmen year I joined the National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS). NAPS emphasizes a lifestyle of service to others, and this emphasis has truly strengthened my character and changed my focus. My 1st mission with NAPS occurred in the summer of 2004. Early in the mission, I visited an AIDS clinic in Lusaka, the capital city. As I observed hundreds of babies, children and their parents slowly dying while lying on cots, I realized that I had to help. I resolved that day that I would use my medical training in Africa to prevent more diseases like AIDS from destroying more lives. While there I helped build the NAPS AIDS Prevention Center and participated in a march against AIDS in Zambia’s capital. Our final destination, the United Nations refugee camp in Nangweshi and Kanja, is where I had another experience which reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor. After six weeks of feeding children and preaching, we were on our way to from the Kanja camp to the Nangweshi camp with about 150 refugees who wanted to be baptized. The sand was very deep there, and unfortunately few children had shoes. While walking, I saw a little boy on the ground crying in pain because he had stubbed his toe on a tree trunk hidden by the sand. His toe was bleeding profusely but after I got the bleeding to stop, I used my first-aid kit and I began to wipe his toe with alcohol; he winced in pain but signaled me to continue with his eyes. After placing a band-aid on his toe, he looked up and started to thank me in Portuguese; when he realized I could not understand he just smiled at me, which told me more than words ever could. He got up and ran off and I sat there with a feeling I had never had before. I was not a doctor, but the little I did made him feel better…I helped him. This experience reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor, so I could wake up every morning knowing that I was going to help someone that day.

I also did relief work here in the U.S. When Hurricane Rita hit, I along with 30 other NAPS members left school and drove down to Lake Charles, Louisiana. The area we happened upon looked more like a third world country than an American city. Many of the older people and those in poor neighbors couldn’t leave before the hurricane hit, and were trapped inside their houses. We cut numerous trees off houses, teamed up with the Convoy of Hope to pass out ice, and distributed hundreds of pounds of food, water, hygiene products, and other necessities. This, and many other experiences with NAPS formed my passion to help others and has reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor to help the underserved, especially those dying of AIDS around the world.

After working with the people in Zambia, Africa I was given a special native name that I truly cherish. The name is Mutanga, and it has two meanings, warrior and servant. Interestingly, these two meanings completely describe my character. With every task or problem that I am confronted with, I attack it swiftly and thoroughly, much like a warrior on a battle field. In addition, when someone needs help, seeing how I can serve them is my first basic instinct. I was named Mutanga perhaps purposely. The Zambians noticed these two traits in my character, and it is these two traits that I want my patients to notice also. My patients will know that like a warrior, I will fight to get them healthy again, and they will also know that as their doctor, I’m there to serve them.

Although I have dedicated my college life to serving others, I know that becoming a physician will significantly increase my ability to help more people in need. No longer confined to my mother’s womb, I am excited about the prospect of returning to medical school to learn everything I missed. I truly desire to serve others, especially the under deserved, and I intend to dedicate my life to that task.

FOURTH DRAFT
I have already graduated from medical school. You see, my mother was about 7 months pregnant with me as she walked across the stage to accept our diploma from the Howard University School of Medicine. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much because I was confined to her womb, but I am determined to catch up on all the pertinent information I missed.

When I contemplate the question of, “Why Medicine?”, I realize that it can only be answered by explaining a combination of experiences that I have had. Ever since 1993, when my dad brought home our first computer, I have been a computer geek. By the time I entered high school, I was learning how to program and build computers. However, in the summer of 2002 my interest in medicine was sparked through the MITHS program, sponsored by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. For three weeks, I took medical school classes and learned how to speed read. It was there that I discovered how much I loved learning about the circulation of the heart, the anatomy and physiology of the brain, and many other aspects of the human body. By the end of the program, my interest in pursuing a career in medicine was solidified, and I sought out colleges with good biology programs.

In high school I found my love for the human body, and at Oakwood College, my passion for helping others was formed. During my freshmen year I joined the National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS). They emphasize a lifestyle of service for others, and this emphasis has truly strengthened my character and changed my focus. My first mission with NAPS occurred in the summer of 2004. Early in the mission, I visited an AIDS clinic in Lusaka, the capital city. As I observed hundreds of babies, children and their parents slowly dying while lying on cots, I realized that I had to help. I resolved that day, that I would use my medical training to prevent diseases like AIDS from destroying more lives in Africa and in other underdeveloped nations. During the mission, I helped build the NAPS Centre of Hope for AIDS prevention and I participated in a march against AIDS in Zambia’s capital. Our final destination, the United Nations refugee camp in Nangweshi and Kanja, is where I had another experience which reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor. After six weeks of feeding children and preaching, we were on our way from the Kanja camp to the Nangweshi camp with about 150 refugees who wanted to be baptized. The sand was very deep, and unfortunately few children had shoes. While walking, I saw a little boy on the ground crying in pain because he had stubbed his toe on a tree trunk hidden by the sand. His toe was bleeding profusely but after I got the bleeding to stop, I used my first-aid kit and I began to wipe his toe with alcohol; he winced in pain but with his eyes he signaled me to continue. After placing a band-aid on his toe, he looked up and started to thank me in Portuguese; when he realized that I could not understand he just smiled at me, which told me more than words ever could. He got up and ran off and I sat there with a feeling I had never had before. I was not a doctor, but the little I did made him feel better…I helped him. This experience further confirmed my desire to become a doctor, so I could wake up every morning knowing that I was going to help someone that day.

I also did relief work here in the United States. When Hurricane Rita hit, I along with 45 other NAPS members left school and drove down to Lake Charles, Louisiana. The area we happened upon looked more like a third world country than an American city. Many of the older people and those in poor neighbors could not leave before the hurricane hit, and were trapped inside their houses. We cut numerous trees off houses, teamed up with the Convoy of Hope to pass out ice, and distributed hundreds of pounds of food, water, hygiene products, and other necessities. The Huricane Rita mission and many other experiences with NAPS has formed my passion to help others and has confirmed my desire to become a doctor to help the underserved.

After working with the people in Zambia, I was given a special native name that I truly cherish. The name is Mutonga, which has two meanings, warrior and servant. Interestingly, these two meanings completely describe my character. With every task or problem that I am confronted with, I attack it swiftly and thoroughly, much like a warrior on a battle field. In addition, when someone needs help, my first basic instinct is to see how I can serve. The Zambians noticed these traits in my character, and it is these traits that I want my patients to notice also. As their doctor my patients will know that like a warrior, I will fight to get them healthy again, and they will also know that as a servant, I will attend to their needs with compassion and humility.

No longer confined to my mother’s womb, I am excited about the prospect of returning to medical school to learn everything I missed. I truly desire to serve others, especially the underserved, and I intend to dedicate my life to that task.

FINAL DRAFT!!!
I have already graduated from medical school. You see, my mother was about 7 months pregnant with me as she walked across the stage to accept our diploma from the Howard University School of Medicine. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much because I was confined to her womb, but I am determined to catch up on all the pertinent information I missed.

When I contemplate the question of, “Why Medicine?”, I realize that it can only be answered by explaining a combination of experiences that I have had. Ever since 1993, when my dad brought home our first computer, I have been a computer geek. By the time I entered high school, I was learning how to program and build computers. However, in the summer of 2002 my interest in medicine was sparked through the MITHS program, sponsored by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. For three weeks, I took medical school classes and learned how to speed read. It was there that I discovered how much I loved learning about the circulation of the heart, the anatomy and physiology of the brain, and many other aspects of the human body. By the end of the program, my interest in pursuing a career in medicine was solidified, and I sought out colleges with good biology programs.

In high school I found my love for the human body, and at Oakwood College, my passion for helping others was formed. During my freshmen year I joined the National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS). They emphasize a lifestyle of service for others, and this emphasis has truly strengthened my character and changed my focus. My first mission with NAPS occurred in the summer of 2004. Early in the mission, I visited an AIDS clinic in Lusaka, the capital city. As I observed hundreds of babies, children and their parents slowly dying while lying on cots, I realized that I had to help. I resolved that day, that I would use my medical training to prevent diseases like AIDS from destroying more lives in Africa and in other underdeveloped nations. During the mission, I helped build the NAPS Centre of Hope for AIDS prevention and I participated in a march against AIDS in Zambia’s capital. Our final destination, the United Nations refugee camp in Nangweshi and Kanja, is where I had another experience which reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor. After six weeks of feeding children and preaching, we were on our way from the Kanja camp to the Nangweshi camp with about 150 refugees who wanted to be baptized. The sand was very deep, and unfortunately few children had shoes. While walking, I saw a little boy on the ground crying in pain because he had stubbed his toe on a tree trunk hidden by the sand. His toe was bleeding profusely but after I got the bleeding to stop, I used my first-aid kit and I began to wipe his toe with alcohol; he winced in pain but with his eyes he signaled me to continue. After placing a band-aid on his toe, he looked up and started to thank me in Portuguese; when he realized that I could not understand he just smiled at me, which told me more than words ever could. He got up and ran off and I sat there with a feeling I had never had before. I was not a doctor, but the little I did made him feel better…I helped him. This experience further confirmed my desire to become a doctor, so I could wake up every morning knowing that I was going to help someone that day.

I also did relief work here in the United States. When Hurricane Rita hit, I along with 45 other NAPS members left school and drove down to Lake Charles, Louisiana. The area we happened upon looked more like a third world country than an American city. Many of the older people and those in poor neighbors could not leave before the hurricane hit, and were trapped inside their houses. We cut numerous trees off houses, teamed up with the Convoy of Hope to pass out ice, and distributed hundreds of pounds of food, water, hygiene products, and other necessities. The Huricane Rita mission and many other experiences with NAPS has formed my passion to help others and has confirmed my desire to become a doctor to help the underserved.

After working with the people in Zambia, I was given a special native name that I truly cherish. The name is Mutonga, which has two meanings, warrior and servant. Interestingly, these two meanings completely describe my character. With every task or problem that I am confronted with, I attack it swiftly and thoroughly, much like a warrior on a battle field. In addition, when someone needs help, my first basic instinct is to see how I can serve. The Zambians noticed these traits in my character, and it is these traits that I want my patients to notice also. As their doctor my patients will know that like a warrior, I will fight to get them healthy again, and they will also know that as a servant, I will attend to their needs with compassion and humility.

No longer confined to my mother’s womb, I am excited about the prospect of returning to medical school to learn everything I missed. I truly desire to serve others, especially the underserved, and I intend to dedicate my life to that task.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *