Personal Statement for AMCAS
'I hope my brain doesn't start melting.'
I don't recall much of what happened next, but I do remember thinking that as I
watched my temperature creep past 104F. When I regained my composure, I was out
of the heated chamber and in a cold shower, my sweat-drenched clothes still on
and the temperature probes still dangling from my body. Slumped over, my mind
slowly started to function again as a sense of satisfaction settled in. Another
experiment done, another data set complete... all in all, another good day at
I hope that by testing on myself I'll be able to take the necessary risks to
make discoveries that can improve lives and push the envelope of current
knowledge. Moreover, I hope that one day all of my self-testing and probing
help treat heat stroke victims, develop new cooling techniques, and save lives.
After a quick cleanup and snack, I gather myself together, leave the exercise
lab, and start running. Most of the time during the 3 hours of swimming, biking,
and running I think about the Ironman. Just thinking about the race fills me
a sense of excitement, fear, and pride all mixed into one. I chose this race
because I admire how its finishers are made, not born. I'm not a natural swim
champ, a Lance Armstrong, or a Kenyan runner. I'm a guy who believes in the
of challenges and discipline, and that the easy road may not take you where you
really want to go.
When I finish my workout and my body's pain finally turns into relaxation, I
head back to the lab to work. I enter the hospital and walk by the myriad of
patients lining the hallways leading to my office. Whenever I take this route I
feel an unfulfilled sadness. I see crippling pain in each person's face,
and gaze as they watch people pass by. They sit in their wheelchairs trapped,
unable to move and live freely. It feels unfair that I can workout when so many
around me can barely move. Every day I want to help these individuals and
alleviate their physical suffering. As a result, every day my desire to become a
doctor grows stronger.
Sitting at my desk and analyzing stacks of data, afternoon transforms into
night. I start thinking about the events of my day and I ask myself: why do I do
all this? I pause for a few moments to reflect. I do all this because I want to
better prepare myself to help people like those who shared their lives with me
during my high school and undergraduate clinical experiences - people with heart
disease, diabetes, cancer, leukemia, and AIDS. I do all this because I want to
personally and directly improve the quality of people's lives, and because I
believe there is no greater good than helping the sick become healthy.
Walking through the darkness to my car, I can't help but think about journeys
and destinations. The average hyperthermia experiment is 15 miles of cycling and
lasts 60 minutes. The Ironman spans 140 miles and takes roughly 12 hours. The
road to becoming a good physician has no set distance and can last a lifetime.
However, it is the one that I am more eager to travel than any other, and it is
the one I am the most prepared to work for, commit myself to, and pursue no
matter what it may require.