Sample Essay

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I first became interested in medicine when I entered college in 1978. When it came time to choose my major, I selected psychobiology and, accordingly, studied a curriculum with a strong emphasis on science and psychology. Then, early in 1981, my mother became terminally ill with cancer. Although there are five other children in the family, the responsibility for caring for my mother fell to me. She needed constant care, and it was up to me to provide it.

I had to withdraw from one of my classes at school, while commuting to campus for tests in the remaining two classes (my routine with my mother made it impossible for me to attend lectures, so I had to rely heavily on my textbooks and self-study). Despite the trauma I was going through at home, I somehow managed to do well in these two classes (calculus and physics), keeping up at least part of my college career.

For four months, I spoon-fed my mother daily and helped keep her alive. I kept the entire family going, even after my mother's death, when I was emotionally and physically depleted (I had lost 15 pounds during her illness).

After it was all over and I was back on my feet, I decided I wanted to put myself back in a situation in which I could help others who were ill. I started working in the _____ hospital . . .. I also started working as a student health advocate in college, following a ten-week training period that covered diagnosis, role-playing (responding to ''patients'' with a wide variety of problems), first aid, and emotional concerns-all followed by extensive testing.

Caring for my mother, working at the hospital, and serving as a student health advocate-all of these experiences have not only solidified my interest in medicine but also have taught me how essential it is that physicians be sensitive to the emotional as well as physical needs of their patients. My life to date has taught me lessons that can't be learned in a classroom, lessons that-with the further academic training I hope to receive in medical school-should make me one exceptional doctor.

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