Submitted 2024-01-19

As a child, I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer was to be a butterfly back then, innocently enough, but my response changed as I grew older and understood the question. My interest in the medical field was ignited when a tragic experience led me to the hospital.

I was involved in a traumatic car accident when I was eight. I remember sitting on the road next to a burning car and thinking, “Who would have known the seat belt that saved my life would cause so much pain?” Once I got to the hospital, there was great concern for internal organ damage. My abdomen had been injured from the seatbelt, leading to my admission for further evaluation. While I was fortunate not to have life-threatening injuries, the childhood experience was traumatic and forever altered my perspective. I left the hospital with limited mobility and a newly learned lesson- that life is tumultuous, and you must adapt to its experiences, no matter how elevating or traumatic.

As I physically healed with time, I also learned how to mentally cope with my traumatic experience. I found comfort in knowing all the healthcare personnel who supported me through my recovery. The doctors showed me how empathy and dedication can help those in need. I have strived to exemplify these traits by helping my community and staying focused on my goals.

To achieve my goals, I have adapted to my responsibilities. I know the importance of showing up on time and performing at my best. I achieved these skills at a young age by maintaining good grades while constantly staying active- something very important to me. I spent a lot of time in high school playing sports like tennis and softball, something I was able to continue throughout college.

Throughout college, I found myself growing and developing in multiple ways. I learned how important time management is. I could maintain multiple jobs, attend pre-professional club meetings, and captain the softball team. Most importantly, I set aside time to focus on my mental health by spending time with my friends and family. I was also fortunate enough to take a mission trip to Thailand. I helped a needy family and shadowed a local doctor who used only his hands and experience to care for his patients. It was an enlightening experience, and it showed me how much we can take for granted. My passion for the medical field only grew, and I hope to continue to use my experiences to help those less fortunate.

Going into my senior year, I became a general biology teacher’s assistant and laboratory instructor. Teaching was my biggest responsibility yet, and I felt intense pride to be able to teach college freshmen the basic principles of medicine. I explained expectations and guided students through their learning at the college level. I wish to use this experience to continue to educate my future patients about their medical conditions.

Another aspect of my college experience that I enjoyed was the opportunity to study the effects of traumatic experiences on human physiology. I experimented to understand the impact of trauma on memory. The question lingered: “Why could I remember almost every minute of my car accident?” I used Hermissenda (sea slugs) to understand how epinephrine and propranolol affect the β-adrenergic system. During my accident, epinephrine was released, and this has been proven to enhance a person’s memory by activating the β-adrenergic system. In turn, propranolol can block the β-adrenergic system and reduce a person’s memory after a traumatic experience. The question arises, however, “Would I be the same person today if I did not remember that experience?” I want to say yes, but I attribute this traumatic experience to why I want to work in medicine. It sparked my interest and made me adaptable and reliable, despite being a grueling experience.

This experience sparked a passion for medicine, mental health, and becoming a dedicated medical provider. This passion has only grown as I acquired knowledge in the hospital as a medical scribe and emergency room technician. I aspire to become a clinician who serves as a comfort to the scared, crying patient. Someone who shows empathy, dedication, and intelligence to provide evidence-based care. My experience instilled a desire to help others and to achieve this goal through a career in the medical field as a Physician Assistant. A Physician Assistant can work in multiple specialties allowing them to touch many lives in different ways, which I hope to achieve. I understand this aspiration will take time, adaptability, and dedication, and I am prepared to undertake the challenge. I am prepared to work as hard as I can to become what I have always wanted to be, a Physician Assistant.