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My life journey changed one January morning as I ascended the stairs to my room. An annoying ache had suddenly appeared near my left shoulder, and I was quickly becoming short of breath. At the hospital an hour later, I was diagnosed with a “spontaneous pneumothorax,” a collapsed lung. Although unaware at the time, I was about to embark on a life-changing experience, one that has strongly influenced my character. About a month after being released from the hospital, I suffered two additional relapses, and found myself facing one of my biggest phobias – surgery. A year later, I thought my lung issues were behind me and I focused on moving forward with my life – but my lung had other ideas. Over the next few months, it collapsed an additional five times.
Two years, three surgeries, and multiple chest tubes later, I found myself looking at the world a lot differently. My health issues helped prioritize things in my life in profound ways. After my surgeries, I found myself looking at life in a more positive, appreciative manner; I also developed a higher tolerance level. I realized that I lived a blessed life, and when I recovered I decided to seek out volunteer activities to help those less fortunate than myself. I started helping out at a local soup kitchen, became a volunteer soccer coach, and traveled to Louisiana to assist the rebuilding of New Orleans. These experiences have been invaluable to me, and I look forward to expanding my volunteer activities while attending Marquette.
The annoying ache that started the most influential experience of my young life also sparked my interest in human biology. During my hospital stays, I was fascinated by the medical technologies in use today, and frequently asked myself questions like “How does this work?” and “How could this be improved upon?” I became a sponge, soaking up any information the doctors would spare me. The experience solidified my decision to major in Biomedical Engineering, which perfectly blends my love for the sciences, skills in math, and interest in health care.
On a more personal level, my lung problem has provided an important medium in which to grow as an individual. Through this experience, I have become a person who is mature beyond my years. I have fought through health issues, excelled in school, participated in organizations, experienced different cultures, and helped contribute through volunteer work. While some may call my hospitalizations a misfortune, I consider them a gift that has improved my perspective on life, and I look forward to further examining the implications of this at Marquette University.
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