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Feedback on Personal Statement for First Time Applicant!

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It was March of 2010 when I went on my first Alternative Spring Break trip. I was a freshman biology, pre-med major travelling up to intercity Philadelphia to work in soup kitchens and after school care. I had no idea what I was going to encounter. On that trip, I saw such poverty. I saw the human struggle face-to-face. I saw things that triggered me to think about my future goals and to realize that the strongest motivator for my future career was the simplest two letters: "Dr." (and of course the corresponding dollar signs). It was such a selfish motivation, one that I was ashamed to admit but grateful to discover.~

Though in the following weeks my desire to stay in the field of medicine would never change, I was inspired to look for a new type of career: one that relied more on teamwork than being the alpha dog, on compassion rather than credentials. I sought a career that offered lateral mobility, one where I would be able to serve where help was most needed. I sought a career where service was valued as an equal to knowledge. Ultimately, this journey introduced me to the career field of Physician Assistant, a field that was created to fill the needs of a society that was low on primary care physicians. A field that, at its very core, has the goal to serve where there is greatest need. It was the perfect fit, and it was something that the title of Dr. would have never allowed me to find.

The next few years of college passed and through the combination of service with alternative break trips, Relay For Life and Homeless Outreach, I continued to learn how big of a footprint the combination of dynamic teamwork, willing service, and resourceful knowledge could make.

My new mission became to learn more about the Physician Assistant profession and to prepare for a future in medicine. However, this journey was not without its speed bumps. Throughout the next three years, it seemed like my focus was constantly being diverted away from Chapel Hill and towards my family life 853 miles away in Wisconsin. During that time my brother was hit by a drunk driver (he survived), a few close family friends died, and an immediate family member suffered from newly diagnosed mental illness and suicide attempts. Soon, the mission was no longer figuring out how to become a PA; but rather, how to study even when that was the last thing I felt like doing, how to take a test after receiving a set of bad news, and, at times, how to rely on others when I was used to doing it all by myself. Even though my grades suffered a bit as I found that balance, with support and hard work, I managed.

And then came February 7, 2013. The clock had just struck 1AM and I had put down my biochemistry textbook, just about ready to call it a night. I got the phone call that my dad had passed away after suffering from acute interstitial pneumonia for the past 3 years. He had been told a year, but only given 72 hours. Though the weeks and months following were a true struggle to work through, it was not without a special gift, a saving grace in piecing together the next year: one final conversation with my dad the day before he died. In that conversation I told him about Redeemer Ministry Corps. I told him about this AmeriCorps program that combined my love of service with crucial health care experience. I told him about this program where I would work as a Patient Care Assistant and Pastoral Care Visitor on the Stroke/Acute Care unit. I told him how RMC would allow me to return to Philadelphia where this PA journey started. I told him I would see him tomorrow.

I never got the chance to visit my dad in the hospital before he passed away as he died 8 hours before my plane was scheduled to land. But now, every day I go into the hospital, I get the opportunity to treat and care for each patient the way I would hope my dad was cared for in his final hours: with respect, dignity and compassion. During the last ten months in Philadelphia, I have been incredibly humbled and inspired by my experiences with patients and fellow staff members. Whether I am giving a bath to a stroke victim, comforting a recently diagnosed cancer patient, or feeding an Alzheimer's patient, I am reminded more and more each day of how special it is to be part of the healthcare team and to bring about healing to the truly vulnerable. Though I am ready to add the knowledge component to my patient care experience, I am also incredibly thankful for the lessons that I have learned and the journey that has led me here.

I want to become a Physician Assistant in order to find that intersection between knowledge and teamwork; to become a part of the solution to the growing need for primary care especially in vulnerable populations; to focus more on the patients and less on the money and prestige. I want to become a Physician Assistant so that those values of compassion, service, and respect that my dad instilled in me can be exemplified every day.

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Overall very good. Your personal stories a very attention getting.


Some suggestions that you can easily ignore. Maybe leave out explaining the PA profession so much like you did in the second paragraph. The 3rd is good but could be combined into another paragraph. To me it doesn't flow smoothly there.


I hope this helps some. If I'm not clear in any way please let me know.


Good luck to you!

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I continued to learn how big of a footprint the combination of dynamic teamwork, willing service, and resourceful knowledge could make.


This could go with the 2nd paragraph possibly. Then combine the rest of the 3rd with the 4th paragraph.

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