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mhgutierrez02

Tips for Personal Statement

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Hi Im Melissa Gutierrez-Perez MPAS-PA-C. 

I have a blog and thought I would share today's topic on this thread. IF you like it follow my blog - melissa-gutierrez.simplesite.com 

 

STANDING OUT

Hello all, another recent thread I've seen in my e-mails is people asking what helps their personal statement stand out. 

Honestly this is the only part of your application that shows your personality and a little about yourself, Everything else is grades, resumes , experience BUT what I believe will help you stand out -- a good personal statement. 

Often we all write about how passionate we are about helping people and how much we love medicine -- if you are going into this proffesion that is honeslty expected , truth is they want to know the WHY. 

WHAT in your life made you so passionate about medicine , WHY is this your calling ? 

I was trying to find my personal statement for PA school but I couldn't find it but I do remember my WHY and WHAt made me so passionate about this field . 

Thought I would share and hope it gives you some insight on what  you can include in your personal statement.

I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine when I was in High school , it wasn't until I was in Freshmen in college that I realized what a Physician Assistant was and suddenly I knew I found my niche. 

There was many things that aspired me to help others- #1 was the upbringing I had with my parents. We came from Monterrey , Nuevo Leon Mexico .   My parents decided to come over here in order to work and be able to help take care of my dad's parents  who were both starting to have some medical issues.  At this young age I didn't understand the concept of being undocumented, I would go to elementary school and I seemed to be just like the other kids - I felt American.  It  wasn't until I was in high school that I realized I was not like everyone else. Not even like my own sister. She went to Driver's ED and got her license , would travel, and got to visit colleges. When I came to high school I couldn't get a license, work , or even think of going anywhere else for college. It hit me that my opportunities would be a little sparse, but my parents are the definition of Resilience.  I knew that I wanted to go to college and study medicine , regardless of my immigration status.  This resilience was the reason I had the drive and fire to enter this career. 

Reason # 2 was My Padrino ( Godfather) -- I've shared this on my blog before but I had a very unique and special relationship with my godfather. It's almost unexplainable unless you were around us. You would think I was his daughter. He himself was so passionate about medicine, he studied medicine in Mexico didn't finish his full career but I remember going to his house in Monterrey and seeing his medical bag -- with stethoscope, bandaids, tounge depressors, reflex hammers.  I wanted to be like him. And he would tell me that I had the ability to help people .  My padrino got very sick when I was in high school with liver cirrhosis -- I saw him deteriorate in front of my eyes , I saw someone that I loved slowly be taken away from me.  He urgently needed a liver transplant which he received In 2011. I thought to myself YES ! He's going to be okay--- but he wasn't . He suffered from Cardiac arrest in  October 2011.  2011 was a hard year for my family, we lost my grandma July 2011, My dad's brother August 2011 , and my godfather in october 2011. I experienced so much illness and loss -- and it hit me  that this is exactly the career path I wanted. I wanted to be help my patients in their best and worse moments of their life. I wanted to help their families and their loved ones.  My Padrino was my WHY . Still is till this day. I don't think I ever got to tell him how much he actually influenced me but I know he is looking down on me. 

 

Reason # 3 - I Am passionate about my community and helping improve it. 

I live in the Rio Grande Valley , A community that is largey undocumented and undeserved . There is a huge lack of patient education -- which Is a key indicator of why i think patients don't get better- they don't even understant their illness. I believe that if you take the time of day to  explain to patients what's going on why their lifestyle modifications are so crucial to their health there's a huge improvement in patient compliance. Often in medicine , we are so RUSHED, have to get to next patient ,next surgery, next meeting but the patient in front of you deserve your full time and dedication. I'm so blessed to have been trained by Dr. Griego and his staff, their clinics are the definition of busy , BUT they take the time to educate their patients and explain everything to them.  I made sure to explain in my personal statement that not only did i want to help others but in specifically the community in which I was receiving my training from. 

 

Reason # 4 - I have the drive of a lion.

My family and I didn't have it the easiest, especially financially. My mom was undocumented as well, only my dad and sister were documented.  My dad would work from Monterrey and my mom would take care of my sister and I . Eventually things in Mexico got pretty bad and his business over there started going down, this was a huge obstacle that we weren't expecting, We experienced a lot of difficulties in paying just simple things like water, electricity. I remember having to heat up water with boiler outside and my mom would have to rush it to restroom so i could attempt to shower. OR having to go to my boyfriends ( now husbands) house to shower and do homework afterschool .  NEVER once did i feel defeated or emberassed of our difficulties , my parents handled this with class.  During these times it just so happened that we also experiened our family losses that i mentioned above. At this point I did see my father break, he lost his mother and two brothers in a span of 4 months.  I remember feeling defeated espeically with the loss of my godfather. BUT i couldn't break because He was breaking . The man who was holding everything down on his own was officially broken-- not only did he suffer loss and heartbreak but we were having a hard time keeping our home and paying our bills. I could tell it was stress that was finally crumbling him-- my mother never once brought him down, she was still grilling me to excel in school and sports.  She was still focused on getting me to pass my SAT to get into college. That summer we officially moved out of OUR home , it was our home for almost 10-12 years.   It was sad , we had so many first in this home and I knew my parents had a hard time because it was all their years of hardwork all GONE.  We moved to a simpler and smaller home , one that we could afford. I had everything I needed a roof, food, car, water, a bed.  At this point our next goal was to become legal US residents, this was our best opportunity to a better life. That's when I knew that more than anything I needed to bust my butt in order to give back to my parents for everything they sacrificed and given me.  I set a goal for myself - I was going to get a 4.0 every semester - A goal that i almost met. The only semester I didn't reach this goal was my first, missed it by one class. I know that for many GPA wasn't the most important , but to me it was. I wasn't going to have the experience other had  because I couldn't work to get medical experience or apply to programs or research things because i was undocumented , SO my graded needed to be perfect.  We struggled a lot to figure out how to fix our legal status -- this was a fear of mine . All this hard work may mean nothing , what If i graduate but im undocumented ? I won't be able to apply to PA school , It would mean nothing.  But my parents promised me that we would figure this out, and we did , 6 months before applying to PA school I became a US resident-- and from that moment on I knew nothing was going to stop me. 

Everything in my life shaped me to be who I am today. Which is why I say I have the drive of a lion-- because no matter how many times they say no I was going to fulfill this dream.

I wanted them to get to know me through my personal statement, when I first applied I was waitlisted-- I was so sad . But I didn't give up I would go to campus weekly and talk to different professors and hope that if a position would open I would get in. 

I talked to One professor In June of 2015, I was in her office for an hour we went back and forth sharing our experiences. She went on to tell me I was 21 , young and didn't have that much experience they though I could use some more hands on and to just keep applying -- I remember telling her almost in tears , " I know that i may not have the resumes other people do but I can assure you no one has the passion and drive I do. I've been thrown curve balls throughout my life and  I did it, graduated at 20 years old with honors with a Bachelor's in Biology and a minor in psychology. I can handle this program ." I almost was emberassed that I got so emotional but she went on to tell me .... look out in your e-mail you may be getting something. The next day I received an acceptance letter . 

Moral of the story is make sure they get to know you, make sure they read that statement and they remember you . 

STAND OUT ! 

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