I'm currently traveling in Veitnam trying to finish my personal statement for PA school. Would anyone be interested in reviewing it? I would greatly appreciate any feedback or criticism you could provide. I can't attach it properly on this computer so I just pasted it below, ignore the formatting. Thank you!
As I sit here reflecting on my past while looking out upon the vast Mekong River in Laos, I feel
grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. It’s strange to think that where I am now and my future
goal to become a physician assistant (PA) is significantly owed to a deadly disease and the
woman who it afflicted.
My mother’s nursing career sparked my interest in biology and medicine early on. She
influenced me to pursue an occupation in health care. Double majoring in biomedical science
and psychology led me to complete extensive coursework and research that strengthened my
desire for a career in medicine. My past volunteer experiences have provided me great insight
on the importance of the personal side of dealing with hardships. This life-long interest and
pursuit of biological and medical knowledge has guided me toward my decision to become a PA.
However, who gave me my true passion to become a PA was a woman named Kris.
Kris was a 47 year old woman who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. After
I graduated from university I became her caregiver and assumed responsible for many aspects
of her life. At the time I was unprepared for the journey that I set out on. However, I became
committed and determined to give her the best life that she could have. Taking care of Kris
solidified my calling to become a PA.
Initially, I helped with daily life activities, such as administering medicine, cooking meals, and
cleaning Kris’s home. Scheduling and accompanying her to countless doctors’ appointments
became routine. During her appointments I felt comfortable in a hospital setting communicating
with doctors as I had spent hundreds of hours volunteering at Borgess Medical Center. While
there I had learned the importance of working together with all of the staff to provide patients
with the best possible care.
Overtime, my responsibilities increased as Kris's condition changed and she lost certain abilities.
Kris was a woman who valued her appearance. Every day I bathed her. Then I styled her hair
and applied her makeup she would continue to feel pride in her appearance. I often painted her
nails and even helped her shave her legs. These small acts were crucial in helping Kris feel
more like herself and to keep her spirits high. One day, I could hear her aggravated complaints
coming from her bedroom. As I opened the door, I found Kris had dressed successfully except
her underwear were on top of her jeans. We both started laughing. Suddenly her mood changed
and she sat down on her bed. She was so frustrated she began to cry. When I sat down and held
her to comfort her, she asked me “Why is this happening to me?” At times like these, I would
sometimes cry too because I had no answer. When situations like these became more frequent I
learned strategies to help her cope, and ways to change her tears into laughter.
Kris and I shared a strong bond, and I became her closest companion. As her speech abilities
declined, we communicated in our own ways. Witnessing her mind deteriorating was an
emotional and extremely difficult process for me. I understood that our time together was
limited, and continued to be there for Kris, regardless of how challenging the circumstance.
At a meeting with her neurologist, we were informed Kris would need twenty-four hour care.
Following the appointment and communicating with her family, assisted living was decided
upon and I recognized that my time as Kris’s caregiver had come to an end. About a year later
Kris passed away.
I had no idea how much I would learn and grow from that rewarding yet heartbreaking period of
my life. As Kris’s caregiver I discovered what it means to be truly compassionate. Witnessing
her life fading inspired me to make the most of my own. Kris gave me the courage to act on my
strong aspiration to travel, explore new places, and to meet new people. For the last three years
I have been teaching English in Taiwan and traveling throughout Asia. The decision to move
across the world was intimidating but ultimately one of the best and most gratifying choices I
have ever made.
Educating students of all ages has taught me many skills that will aid me as a PA. To be an
effective teacher one must ignite a person’s desire to learn and have the ability to adapt to
individual learning styles. I’ve learned how to communicate effectively using a variety of
methods. Above all I’ve mastered patience, understanding, and empathy required in teaching.
Teaching is essential in the medical field that is always evolving. Physician assistants need to
educate and communicate with doctors, other PAs and health care staff. Most importantly I will
need to know how to instruct patients and communicate well with them.
Living abroad and traveling I’ve developed efficient problem solving skills. In each of the ten
countries I traveled in throughout Asia, I absorbed the culture and grew from the diversity.
During these adventures my perspective of the world broadened and I’ve even learned about
other health care systems. I’m excited to use what I have learned from teaching and traveling
to become a more skilled PA in the future. Kris helped me to realize life is about relationships,
diverse experiences and gaining new perspectives. Now my strongest desire is to use my past
experiences to become the best PA I can be. I’m ready to start my career in medicine.