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Nearing a final draft - would appreciate any feedback!

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Hi all,


I'm nearing a final draft for my personal statement and would appreciate any feedback that you have to offer. I'm concerned that I took the advice "don't restate your resume" to an extreme, so if you feel that more information is needed about why I think I will be able to excel in a rigorous PA program, please let me know. Anyway, here it is:


     On November 30, 2006, my father died after a short battle with lung cancer. He had been a smoker all of his adult life, but no one in my family thought it would kill him at the young age of 43. He went from being an apparently healthy person to being gone in the span of only a few weeks. The day that my sister and I were called down to the school office is one that will be etched into my memory forever.

     Just a few years before, my mom had quit smoking. After years and years of hearing that smoking cigarettes could cause cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, she finally had a conversation with a physician assistant that caused her to take action. The extra time that the PA was able to spend with her, discussing cessation strategies and the way the lungs can recover after only days after kicking the habit, finally pushed my mom to quit. I can’t imagine what my sister’s and my future could have been if that PA hadn’t been there to sit and talk with our mom.

     My decision to pursue a career as a physician assistant was a fairly recent one and has been fueled by interactions with patients at the hospital where I volunteer, participants in my research studies, a general love for learning about the human body, and my mother’s experience with that PA. I have always been interested in science and my decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology ignited my interest in learning about human anatomy and physiology. While taking undergraduate coursework and participating in a variety of community service activities, it became clear that I also love working with people.

     As my time at Temple University neared an end, I knew that I didn’t want to stop learning about human physiology. Initially I decided to pursue a graduate degree in exercise physiology, with the intent to continue on to a PhD and become a faculty member at a university. This career path had seemed perfect for me, since I would be able to teach future students material that I am passionate about, while hopefully advising them and inspiring them to enter a healthcare field or research that could benefit the health of others. While at the University of Delaware, I have been able to work with professors, who have taught me how to become a better teacher, and physiologists conducting human research, who have taught me techniques to study the human body. The research that I have been involved in adds to the knowledge that healthcare professionals have about how the human body works, and thus has the potential to influence health care in the future. However, there is no direct benefit to our research subjects and nothing we do will immediately enhance their lives or their health. So, while I have loved this experience, it has helped me to realize that my future is outside of research and academia.

     After much reflection, it became clear to me that I want to do more for people than where my current path is leading me. I have realized that I need to see things through by getting to know people in order to help them in both the short and long term. I need to be able to problem solve with patients in order to help them achieve health in their own lives, rather than working more abstractly, like in research, to “find a cure” for something.

     Fortunately at UD, I was also given the opportunity to volunteer as an exercise physiologist, as well as shadow numerous health care professionals at the university and at a local hospital. I have been able to interact one-on-one with patients and watch physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and doctors individually assess patients’ needs and symptoms, adjusting their methods of treatment accordingly. It was as if each person was one giant puzzle waiting to be solved, which I savored. I know that with my committed investment in healthcare, combined with my compassion toward people, I will be able to solve each individual puzzle I encounter. Working in concert with a physician, I will be able to help people: those like my father when they get sick, and those like my mother before they continue down an unhealthy path, which is directly in line with both my skills and passions. 

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