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Nervous Future Applicant looking got Specific Criticism of Narrative

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First Time Applicant this Summer/Fall.

Nearly the final draft (I hope).

Looking for specific feedback and, lets be honest, some support.




A playground accident when I was nine landed me, snow-suite clad and bloody, in the office of Dr. Keller with a jagged opening above my right eye. Dr. Keller had been finding cartoon characters in my ears and pacifying my worried mother since I was an infant. Childhood emergencies fled in the face of his compassion as he patched up my siblings and me for the first 18 years of our lives.

Mirror in hand, Dr. Keller asked me if I wanted to see my skull. “Heads bleed a lot,” he explained as I peered at my curious reflection, “So they don't get infections.” I asked questions as he worked and went home with eight stitches, two Captain Planet stickers, and an incredible fascination with the human body.

A few years later I broke my arm exiting a trampoline. Personal copies of the x-rays and a saw that cut casts but not skin had me hooked on medicine.

My large family helped me learn about syrup of ipecac, calcified hematomas, dislocations, concussions, strokes, diabetes, heart attacks and chemotherapy. When somebody was sick I went to the hospital with them. When somebody got hurt I rode along to the Emergency Room. I listened to the doctors and remembered things to look up in the Encyclopedia Brittanica that slept beside my bed.

I told my parents I wanted to be a doctor.

After High School I studied at the University of Alaska Anchorage, but my academic pursuits were derailed by an energetic streak that propelled me out of the classroom and towards adventure. I worked sporadically on a BA in Psychology, and worked diligently to become a well rounded man. My friends were grinding out Engineering degrees and dreaming of nine to five jobs with big paychecks. I had other ideas.

Being a young man in Alaska is incredible. She is rugged and viscious, painted with jagged peaks and broad valleys that called to my youthful energy. I have an intrinsic desire to push limits, and Alaska provided the perfect forum. On ski, on rope, and on foot, I worked to define the boundaries of my ability and tolerance. Adventure spurs the desire for more, and semesters of class were skipped in favor of semesters exploring Europe by bike, Asia by backpack, and the “Lower 48” by Volkswagon. I started a painting company to fund my adventuring.

In February of 2006 on the advice of a friend, I took a position at Covenant House Alaska, a residential shelter for homeless and abused teens, and abruptly started the next phase of my life.

I remember excitedly walking into the building on my first day and stopping dead in my tracks. Thirty-six residents were eating breakfast, neglected boys and girls, seated at long tables in dirty clothes. Thirty-six bodies needing shelter, food, and water, just like mine. People, yearning for compassion, belonging, hope, and love, just like me. Right down the road from my wonderful life were people with a need so desperate it was literally a matter of life and death.

I can still feel the starkness of that day, and thinking about it makes my hair stand on end. I walked into the building a wide-eyed young man, uncommitted and unconstrained, and left eight hours later dedicated to a lifetime serving people in need.

For five formative years I worked at CHA with an incredible group of people, including two nurse practitioners struggling in the trenches of street medicine. Working in the service of Anchorage's homeless community has been the most rewarding, challenging, and joyful experience of my life.

In 2009 I began seasonal work as an EMT Ski Patroller. The problem solving and patient interactions were thrilling, and my desire to work in medicine was rekindled. I researched Paramedic programs, but was disuaded by the terrible debt to earnings ratio and high attrition rate. I thought about being a nurse but wanted a broader scope of practice. A few years later I shadowed a friend at the Alaska Native Medical Center PICU and was convinced that I could have a rewarding and sustainable career as a PA.

In 2011 I took a position at Providence Hospital in the Adolescent Mental Health Unit in order to gain hospital experience, take classes across the street at UAA, and transition to a career in medicine. To gain more medically relavent experience I took a per diem position working as an EKG Tech in the Emergency Room.

My career in direct care Mental Health is winding down and it time for the next phase of life. It is time for an educational cruicible and a new set of skills so I can continue serving my fellow Alaskans. Five summers from now I hope to be living in a small Alaskan town on the coast; building a home and working as a PA in a clinic. I will be proudly working to improving the health and quality of life in an Alaskan community. With sincerity and hope I am applying for the opportunity to realize this dream. 

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