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First draft, please be critical!

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“If you are building a Lego car, and the wheels will not move, why might this be? What could you do to fix it?” I read off this question to my fellow undergraduate researcher, as I was preparing diligently for my first assessment in the local elementary school. The culmination of my studying, rehearsing, and certifying was coming down to the next few days. Even with the weeks of training under my belt, I had not yet realized the significance of this question. What more could I possibly learn from Legos? After all, part of my childhood was spent mastering the tallest, sturdiest Lego tower possible.


Some 15 years later, however, I found myself with a fresh perspective—one I would have never expected. In August 2012, I become? part of a psychology lab aimed at assessing children’s memory in the classroom. The study involves using Legos to teach about gears, simple machines, and a host of other units, collectively referred to as “Things That Move.” For training, I had to build various models, specifically a motorized Lego car. As one would imagine, there were certain challenges these children, as well as myself, encountered. For me, it was the wheels not moving. I had to continually reassess and change the pieces as necessary so that everything meshed as a cohesive unit.


Playing with Legos at the age of 21, I realized that the answer to the “why might the Lego car not move” question paralleled the role of a physician assistant, and my journey thus far that has prepared me (to be a physician assistant? don’t want to repeat PA but need something along these lines?). In January 2012, prior to entering my lab, my mother was diagnosed with leukemia and was rushed to NC Cancer Hospital to begin treatment. This was newly chartered territory for me. I was only a junior in college trying to keep my head above water. I had to juggle my course loads, extracurricular activities, and being with my mom. My mother’s gallant support throughout her own battle made something inside of me snap. I thought, “If she can be that strong, so can I.” Despite my past sub-par semesters, I had to reevaluate myself, and, just like the Lego car, I had to try new “pieces” to make it work.


While standing by my mother, I was exposed to the inner workings of a health care team. Because of the complications from her case, I met a plethora of medical professionals—physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists, to name a few. Her hospital room often became a place of congregation for these providers. Not only was I given a center stage view of a health care team, but I was able to interact with them and learn more about their respective profession. Just like Lego pieces in a model car, there are pieces that carry out their own responsibilities to make the whole system work. If something goes wrong, such as the wheels not moving, the components must be flexible to change. While almost any health care professional can fit into this mold, the physician assistant is particularly appropriate since they must work within the realm of physician delegated autonomy. As more physicians are entering into specialties, physician assistants will be critical for primary care. Their flexibility to practice in various fields of medicine contributes to their growing need. My utmost desire is to become a physician assistant and practice primary care in an underserved area.


When my mother passed away in October 2012, the pieces of the puzzle all fell into place. Much like the Lego car, I have learned to readjust and re-discipline myself when life throws me curves. This has only made me stronger, and confirmed my decision to be a physician assistant. If I had to predict my life a few years ago, I would have never considered the loss of my mother, or the strength I would gain from the experience. However, I know that this journey has better prepared me for future struggles; I know I can face whatever life throws my way. Somewhere through the twists and turns I found self-confidence, steadfast strength, and determination that I believe has prepared me to be a physician assistant.

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You spend 2 1/2 paragraphs talking about legos, and the the first mention of a PA is not even until halfway thorough the essay. It's a great attention getter, but rambles on too long. You paint a very good picture of your mom's illness, but are vague about your connection to the PA profession. You mention being able to observe the whole healthcare team in your mom's room. Why not be a MD? Why not an ARNP or RN? What struck out about the PA profession in particular? What have you done to educate yourself about this field and how sure are you that you want to do this for the rest of your life? What specifics in your life have you improved to make you a better, more put together, successful person, able to take on the workload of PA school, and how have you recently demonstrated this?

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I agree with the cutting down on the legos part and focusing a tad more. But don't get rid of it if because it keeps your essay tied together well. I liked it. To answer your two questions in the essay:


when I feel I'm using physician assistant too often I throw in "profession" as a substitute

"...paralleled the role of a physician assistant, and my journey thus far that has prepared me (to be a physician assistant? don’t want to repeat PA but need something along these lines?)"

You could write "...paralleled the role of a physician assistant as well as my journey that has prepared me for the profession." Something along those lines.


The other question- it should be became instead of become.


By the way I am very glad I read this. Your story is very powerful.

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