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1st time applicant CRITIQUE AWAY

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My heart is pounding and I’m drenched in sweat as I maneuver down the field. We are in possession, with only twenty seconds on the clock. My teammate almost drops the lacrosse ball only to recover at the last second and pass to me. I’m at the goal with one opponent left in my path. With what energy remains I pitch the ball, it soars past my opponent and into the net. The buzzer sounds, with that final shot we’ve won the game.  

                Growing up playing sports I’ve learned not only the value of teamwork, but the difference that one player on the field can make. Throughout high school I threw myself into competitive sports and even academics, constantly trying to stay on the move. I played lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, and even ran cross country all while maintaining fifth in class. It was in high school that I learned the value of maintaining strong relationships among your teammates and classmates, while at the same time pushing yourself towards improvement.

                Entering college I found myself somewhat lost when faced with suddenly having to make a decision on what path I wanted to pursue. I knew from volunteering and playing sports that I wanted to work in a social environment that would ultimately challenge me and encourage constant learning. I had no idea what career would best fulfill these qualities, however I had an idea that I wanted to possibly pursue medicine.

                This idea of becoming a Physician Assistant (PA) didn’t fully reach fruition until I began volunteering at the Snake River Clinic and was exposed to a variety of amazing healthcare individuals. I met pharmacists, doctors, CNAs, and most importantly PAs. From volunteering I knew that I wanted to enter healthcare, but it wasn’t until working with a PA did I realize the path I should take. The PAs I worked with at the clinic loved their career as well as the versatility and opportunities it provided them. They often talked about the team work and trust they held with their doctor, as well as the independence they shared when working with patients. Similar to a sports team, they relied on each other for a common goal, yet individually they each played a vital role in the overall success.

                Although working with PAs in the clinic peaked my interest in pursuing this career, it wasn’t until working in a hospital that my decision was final. Working in the hospital I quickly realized that each floor requires certain adaptations and even each patient is unique. The mental health floor has taught me that patience is a must and that some illnesses require more compassion than medication. The surgical floor has taught me time management, maintaining vitals on each patient while at the same time ensuring proper care and helping the nurses. Lastly, the ER has taught me to never grow complacent. Any patient can come in at any time, with mere minutes to change dire circumstances into a positive outcome. Overall, each floor ensures a change of pace, and requires versatility in thinking and working. This variety of work creates new challenges every day, something I now look forward to in becoming a PA.

                Besides experiences my own obstacles while working in the hospital, I have also witnessed the dynamic and supportive relationship between a PA and their doctor. This relationship was the most clear when watching my first surgery, a lumbar microdisectomy. During this experience I was able to witness every step of the journey, from meeting the patient and scrubbing down for surgery to closing the incision site and waking the patient up. My excitement was beyond tangible, as I got to see the depth of responsibility that the PA had in helping the surgery. Everyone in the room worked as a team, from the anesthesiologist putting the patient under, to the doctor and the PA hands working in unison to repair the damaged patient. The doctor’s trust of his PA was exhilarating, and the PA even got to suture the wound shut upon completion.  This experience is one that greatly opened my eyes to the vast opportunities for PAs, and has pushed me harder towards my goal.

                One day, we wake up to find we are no longer on the same playing field we once took for granted.  The game in adulthood has changed, bringing with it new endeavors and obstacles to overcome. Life is full of tougher decisions and ultimately, we hope that our career, similar to the sports we once loved, will motivate us to compete and continue pressing forward.  Choosing to become a PA has meant balancing work, school, volunteering, and all of my own interests. Sometimes this has proven a daunting task, as I’ve had to give up visits home and nights out with friends. Yet, I have seen the difference a PA can make, and the joy found in this profession, that in the end makes all the struggles worth it.

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I actually enjoyed reading your statement and I read it from beginning to end -- believe me, when I read statements I usually glance through several paragraphs but yours kept me entertained and wanting to read more. I like how you related your experiences into the profession of a PA.


However, I do agree with the first paragraph. I think you can survive without giving that "hook". Starting with your second paragraph would also make sense and deleting your first paragraph can allow you to add more beef into your story. Great first draft!

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