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Second Draft Personal Statement: Please Critique

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Hey guys,

Here is my personal statement. I'm applying to 2 schools that use CASPA, and this is the statement I'm hoping to use. I'd really appreciate some feedback, mostly on content. I'm afraid it wanders a bit. Please let me know what you think.



Personal Narrative: <5000 characters

My mother didn't even flinch. I guess by that point she was used to my outlandish questions. I could see her thinking. She knew no simple answer would suffice; I would want to know all the details, and that meant more uncomfortable questions. So there we sat, at the stoplight a few blocks from my elementary school, as my mother explained the biology of the male erection and waited [AH1] for the barrage of follow up questions she knew was sure to come.

When I look back at some of my childhood memories, I cringe for my parents. My curiosity knew no bounds, so I sometimes asked somewhat socially inappropriate questions in public. I couldn't help it; I wanted to know everything. I could see that behind their composure, my parents were steeling themselves for whatever might come next. To their credit, they never deflected a difficult or uncomfortable question, but instead answered to the best of their abilities. If I still wasn't satisfied, they gave me the opportunity to inquire on my own. It was that patience for my tenacity and respect for my intelligence that nurtured my inquisitive nature.

I have carried this innate curiosity into adulthood, though I'd like to think I've become less dependent on others' answers and more proficient in determining socially appropriate behavior. When it comes to learning, knowing the what is not enough; I want to know the how and the why as well. With a dietitian for a mother, I've been as familiar with various foods' caloric values as most are with their taste, so when picking a major in college, I decided to expand upon that ingrained knowledge. It was not enough to know a banana has one hundred calories, I wanted to know what that meantphysiologically. In exploring dietetics, I discovered that my favorite topicsoccurred primarily in two areas: medical nutrition and clinical nutrition. Within those two subjects, I most enjoyed learning about disease pathology, associated laboratory values, and patient diagnoses, and then explaining to hypothetical patients what those meant. For me, dietetics limited more than facilitated my professional scope; I wanted the autonomy to do more than merely manage treatment. With this reflection came the realization that medicine is my calling.

True to my nature, once I had determined my goal, I immediately set about achieving it. My last semester before graduation, I began shadowing medical professionals. I've never been one for passive learning, so after my first few times, I started carrying a pocket-size notebook to write down unfamiliar terms or ideas. Recently, I've started shadowing a well-respected rheumatologist in Atlanta, Dr. Gary Myerson. Dr. Myerson is extremely intelligent and keenly observant and expects the same level of performance from his colleagues, including his shadow. After a few afternoons of shadowing, when presenting a new concept, Dr. Myerson simply spells the word out loud to me, with the assumption that I will take the initiative to learn about it on my own. After one mention, he expects that term to be part of my vocabulary, and treats it as such in subsequent meetings. Over the course of our relationship, I've developed what I call "Myerson's Dictionary," which is currently a pages-long list of rheumatology-specific terms and the most accurate explanations of them my research could provide. Working with Dr. Myerson has raised my personal expectations of achievement and encouraged me to continue bettering myself.

I have always deeply cared about the welfare of others, and my experience in healthcare thus far has only strengthened my commitment to people. It has also given me a clear vision of how I would like to conduct myself as a medical professional. Watching my father's dedication to comprehensive patient care, experiencing Dr. Myerson's commitment to patient education, and remembering my mother’s patience has clarified my philosophy toward patient care: patients should be universally treated with respect. This means believing that patients are capable of understanding their conditions and can thrive when treated as competent, listening to concerns as part of a larger picture, and seeing patients as people, not diagnoses.

I believe medicine to be both a science and an art. I am comfortable with this duality and excel in both aspects of the field. I will succeed in the science of medicine through my capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. I will succeed in the art of medicine, however, because it draws on the most fundamental parts of myself: my delight in learning, my eagerness to share knowledge, my desire for self- betterment, and my commitment to people. My mastery of both will come from me at my most basic: that girl in the car, always asking questions.

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