Sample Essay

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I grew up in circumstances that provide a classic example of the frequent disparity between appearance and reality. To any outsider, my family might have seemed to be enjoying the ideal upper-middle-class existence: peaceful, pretty, and privileged. In actuality, however, alcohol and domestic violence were creating an environment within our house that, for me, was both difficult and frightening.

My mother had a drinking problem, and the encounters between my father and her often escalated into violence. I spent a great deal of time trying to care for my mother, a fact of my young life that I think later on may have subliminally drawn me toward a career in medicine. Besides instilling within me a desire to help others who are ill, my experience with my mother also heightened my sensitivity to other people and the difficulties with which they sometimes must cope.

I felt some of the same sympathy while working last year with a local doctor in rural Mexico. The poverty and ignorance there, which had much to do with the parasitosis, diarrhea, and other medical problems that we saw, were very affecting. I was impressed by the difference the doctor made in these people's lives and by the appreciation that they demonstrated. I was also fascinated by my venture into an urban Mexican hospital, where I had a chance to observe Caesarean sections, treat a gunshot wound, and assist in the delivery of a child.

Complementing my Mexican experience was my three-month summer internship with an oncologist at a stateside hospital. In this position I had the opportunity to observe many physicians and a variety of surgeries, as well as doctor/patient interactions. I was also exposed to cardiology, orthopedics, and urology-among other specialties -and gained a greater awareness of the compassion and understanding that a good physician must bring to his or her work.

The experiences both here and in Mexico were inspiring to me, and I came away from them with the feeling that I could do similar work and derive great satisfaction from it.

In my personal life, I find pleasure in many different endeavors. I enjoy traveling and have visited Europe, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Tahiti, Cuba, and South America. I also enjoy expressing myself through music. Although I am not a virtuoso on any instrument, I have played the violin since the sixth grade and currently write songs on the piano and guitar. My greatest love, however, is sports, and I participate in everything from competitive tennis and volleyball to cycling and scuba diving.

I know that medical school will require that I summon all of my resources, but I have the commitment and stamina to look forward to it all. It will provide me with the best opportunity to become a productive member of society while making use of my intellectual talents in a career that I expect to be constantly challenging and fulfilling.

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