In this fifth installment of our special week-long personal statement workshop, we continue to pull essays submitted from the comments section through our free essay submission process and provide you, and our users, with a more thorough analysis of their essays.
This fifth submission is by Jacob. It is a wonderful personal statement detailing his life and experiences, growing as a humanitarian and finding a passion for medicine through his dance and missionary work in an underserved community.
We will present you with her original essay and our suggestions.
As always, use this as a guide to see where you can improve your own writing, and respect the work of others. It should go without saying this is not your essay, so don’t plagiarize.
Essay 5: “Then Reach, my Son, and Lift Your People up With You.”
It’s not every day that I find myself in a children’s hospital, let alone the Offenbach Kinderklinik in Germany; however, on May 2, 2006, I was there to perform with BYU’s Living Legends. The group is made up of Latin, Polynesian and Native American dancers, and I was there to perform a “Native American Grass Dance.” Gathered around, was the media, the attending physician, medical staff,
Gathered around, was the media, the attending physician, medical staff, and of course the children. I hoped to help bring smiles and entertainment to the audience and share my culture, but what I didn’t expect was what they would share with me in turn. As I danced to the rhythm of native drums and song, I couldn’t help but notice the children’s reactions. They truly looked at us with the most beautiful smiles. Their laughter was universal, and their applause was genuine. What I hadn’t noticed, were the burns on their bodies, and the scars both physical and mental left behind from a war in Iraq. After our performance, the attending physician explained how inspiring its message of love and unity was for the children. We represented three very different cultures united in a love for life. He further explained that the children were casualties and innocent bystanders in a conflict that did not represent such a thing. I had paid attention to what the media was saying back home in the states about the war, but this was real, and the children were real. Regardless of politics, religion, or any other belief I looked at them and knew they were all part of the human family. As I looked inward, I knew in my heart that I wanted to help others despite their background. It was in this moment I realized I wanted to do all that I can to protect, sustain, and improve the physical and mental well-being of every individual I served.
Upon returning from tour I served a two year proselytizing mission for my church in New Jersey, and was called to do so in Spanish. Though in my eyes, I went to do a service for the Latinos in that state, I left having been served by them. They welcomed me into their homes and shared with me their foods, music, and love of life. It was this love of life that many of them struggled to sustain, especially when it came to their health. During service opportunities every week, like translating, I saw some of their struggles to even obtain basic medical care. Had I not been around them, I would have never understood the complexities of being an immigrant in an inner city, while seeking such care. I did not feel that it should be this way, so when I finished my mission and started school again I switched my degree from music to the sciences. This way, I could pursue a profession in the medical field and help make a change.
I gained a lot of knowledge during my education, and I also learned a lot about life and myself. At one point I was struggling with a genetics class due to illness and surgery. I finally had to ask myself if I was willing to do what was necessary to pass the class. I was! I learned to really study, focus, and sacrifice as I finally passed. That experience has now empowered me in my professional work to continue my education as a life-long learner apart from what’s going on in my life. While in school, the knowledge I sought wasn’t just about the sciences, but I also wanted more life experiences. I have since traveled the world to many other countries with Living Legends, even representing the group as its president. In preparation for our tours we studied the cultures, language, and history so that we might better connect with our audiences. As we continued to do outreaches to hospitals, orphanages, and schools I found myself falling more in love with the people. That love has since carried over to the patients I have served.
While working with the mentally disabled, those in Hospice, and children in Head Start, I have seen the struggles that each at-risk population faces, and how they need medical providers that are willing to be advocates on their behalf. I have also seen the need for committed medical professionals on the reservations I have danced at, and in the inner cities that I have proselytized in. My experiences overall have truly cemented within my heart that I want to be that committed caretaker and advocate. It was through shadowing that I decided that becoming a Physician Assistant (PA) is what best suited me, and would enable me to accomplish these desires. I know that to work as a PA, within a family practice, would be the most fulfilling for me while practicing in any medically underserved and rural community. It is in these areas that I know my love for people and cultures, and passion to be an advocate for certain populations, would be best used. It is my hope, that when I become a PA, that I can lift the people up with me, just as I had sang so many times before in Living Legends. “Go my son, go and climb the ladder…From on the ladder of an education you can see to help your Indian Nation. Then reach, my son, and lift your people up with you.”
Suggestions and Revisions
By: Sue Edmondson (personal statement collaborative)
You've certainly accomplished much already. Your compassion and dedication to helping people is evident, and your future patients will benefit greatly.
The essay, though, focuses too much on your Living Legends and mission work. I'll show you a couple of places to cut some of that to leave room to write about your health care related work — hospice, those who are mentally disabled and shadowing. That's what the Admissions Directors and personnel will want to know more about. Put some of the emotions your express in your writing about Living Legends to examples of work with actual patients. It will ground your essay in the reality of life as a health care provider.
You also haven't said why you want to be a PA as opposed to other professions within medicine. You'll need to do that, and one of the best ways is to use a PA/patient case as an example. What did the PA do that impressed you? How was the PA different than other health care providers.
Please never use exclamation points. Your written words should make the point.
Take a look at these edited sentences:
Those are just two examples. You could and should do the same with every paragraph. This will leave you space to add the important information.
Best of luck.
Is my essay good enough?
This is the question I asked myself 12 years ago when I first applied to PA school. Unfortunately, it took me a few rejection letters to realize the answer was a resounding no.
As I have discussed before, it wasn't until I revised my personal statement and found my own unique voice that I was able to turn the admissions committees heads and get the interview.
How do you know if your essay is good enough? The answer is, you don't until you have feedback from the program of your choice and then it may be too late. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process. We can help answer this question for you, and by submitting your best work the first time, we can save you time, frustration, and money in the process.
We are ready to help, Click here to learn more.
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Photo credit: Dawn Kish
View all posts in this series
- How to Write the Perfect Physician Assistant School Application Essay
- The Physician Assistant Essay and Personal Statement Collaborative
- Do You Recognize These 7 Common Mistakes in Your Personal Statement?
- 7 Essays in 7 Days: PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 1, “A PA Changed My Life”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 2, “I Want to Move Towards the Forefront of Patient Care”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 3, “She Smiled, Said “Gracias!” and Gave me a Big Hug”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 4, “I Have Gained so Much Experience by Working With Patients”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 5, “Then Reach, my Son, and Lift Your People up With You”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 6, “That First Day in Surgery was the First Day of the Rest of my Life”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 7, “I Want to Take People From Dying to Living, I Want to Get Them Down From the Cliff.”
- Physician Assistant Personal Statement Workshop: “To say I was an accident-prone child is an understatement”
- 9 Simple Steps to Avoid Silly Spelling and Grammar Goofs in Your PA School Personel Statement
- 5 Tips to Get you Started on Your Personal Essay (and why you should do it now)
- How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement The Book!
- How to Write “Physician Assistant” The Definitive PA Grammar Guide
- 101 PA School Admissions Essays: The Book!
- 5 Things I’ve Learned Going Into My Fourth Physician Assistant Application Cycle
- 7 Tips for Addressing Shortcomings in Your PA School Personal Statement
- The #1 Mistake PRE-PAs Make on Their Personal Statement
- The Ultimate PA School Personal Statement Starter Kit
- The Ultimate Guide to CASPA Character and Space Limits
- 10 Questions Every PA School Personal Statement Must Answer
- 5 PA School Essays That Got These Pre-PAs Accepted Into PA School
- 7 Questions to Ask Yourself While Writing Your PA School Personal Statement
- 101 PA School Applicants Answer: What’s Your Greatest Strength?
- 12 Secrets to Writing an Irresistible PA School Personal Statement
- 7 Rules You Must Follow While Writing Your PA School Essay
- You Have 625 Words and 2.5 Minutes to Get Into PA School: Use Them Wisely
- What’s Your #1 Personal Statement Struggle?
- 31 (NEW) CASPA PA School Personal Statement Examples
- How to Prepare for Your PA School Interview Day Essay
- Should You Write Physician Associate or Physician Assistant on Your PA School Essay?
- Meet the World’s Sexiest PA School Applicants
- PA School Reapplicants: How to Rewrite Your PA School Essay for Guaranteed Success
- How to Write a Personal Statement Intro that Readers Want to Read
- PA School Reapplicant Personal Statement Checklist
- How to Deal with Bad News in Your Personal Statement
- Inside Out: How to use Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling to Improve your PA Personal Statement
- Ratatouille: A Pixar Recipe for PA School Personal Statement Success
- Personal Statement Panel Review (Replay)
- Mind Mapping: A Tool for Personal Statements, Supplemental Essays, and Interviews
- Start at the End: Advice for your PA School Personal Statement
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