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“He smells like death.”
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A petite nurse muttered this to the physician as she left the patient’s room. When she saw me, she scrunched her face into an expression of embarrassment. Although I smiled back politely, a mixture of shock and apprehension whirled inside of me like an uncontrollable hurricane. The physician simply explained, “Cancer.”
I was disturbed by the finality in that statement. It was as though the single word defined all the patient was and all that he would ever be. Shyly peering in, I observed the shell of a man who lay weakly on the bed. His skin was gray and spotted like wasted leather. His face was hollow with a grief that pervaded the room. Nevertheless, there was brilliance in his eyes. As he gazed simultaneously at me and through me, I suddenly felt conscious of my youth. Though I tried to focus on the physician’s examination, it was impossible to ignore the energy that exuded from a man whose candle was rapidly burning out.
After the examination, the patient shifted his attention from his tragic health to my quiet presence. “What’s your name? How old are you? You can’t be older than 16…” I answered his questions promptly before replying, “Your turn.” His lips curved into a gentle smile. After divulging a brief summary about himself, he whispered, “You’re a spark, young lady. Don’t let anything take that away from you…not even cancer.”
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This man is an enduring inspiration to me because he found the strength to spread his light during his weakest moments. From this experience, I developed a sensitivity to the suffering around me. Compassion is my purpose. Through medicine, I will serve my community; like the cancer patient, I will use my strength to support others.
Guaranteed admission into UIC’s medical program will allow me to prepare for medical service while also remaining involved with my other interests. I intend to pursue research, community volunteerism, and service abroad in order to obtain a broad perspective on medicine. GPPA will help me connect with professionals and further my education beyond the classroom. Apart from medical activities, I hope to remain involved with choir and jazz. Indeed, guaranteed admission would allow me to devote myself to these experiences without constant anxiety about medical admission.
I am confident in my decision to be a physician. Throughout high school, I intimately connected with medicine through shadowing, volunteering and “Dr. Rubin’s Mini Medical School.” As I progressed to be a teacher’s assistant at the latter program, I recognized that medicine will allow me to redirect my academic interests towards a humanitarian purpose. Additionally, student ambassador activities at Presence hospital fostered my passion for medicine. From a gruesome leg amputation to a laparoscopic hysterectomy, surgical observation at the hospital exposed me to extraordinary opportunities. As a well-prepared and enthusiastic future doctor, I can thrive in the challenging, yet rewarding pursuit of medicine.
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