My Goals and Plans in Education

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Growing up in a third world country, I understood what poverty and hard work meant. I saw the challenges disadvantaged communities encountered such as poor living conditions, homelessness, low-paying jobs and lack of education. I’ve witnessed children as young as four roam the streets, sell whatever they can like peanuts and water bottles to help their parents make ends meet and sustain a life. Many of these families and their young children are sick with no money to afford medical supplies and care. They die in isolation and despair. It is truly heartbreaking. I did not come from an affluent and privileged family, but I was definitely blessed with a very decent life. I was fortunate to have parents who made sure I got the best care possible. They worked very hard to provide for and attend to my medical needs as a diabetic. For this, I am very grateful. The attention and love from my parents along with my experiences in the medical world as a young diabetic child planted the seeds of interest that eventually grew as my passion for medicine.

As a child, frequent visits to the endocrinologist and pediatrician were important events. Although I was a very timid and shy kid, I admit that I loved interacting with my doctor. Her office was a safe space where I felt understood, where my concerns and heartaches were heard and not judged. When I did not understand my disease and felt discouraged that it was not fully understood even in the world of medicine, it was in her presence that I found comfort. I felt blessed to share a deep and meaning relationship with someone who genuinely cared for my well-being. Her big heart for service really inspired me. She has not only provided service to many of the underserved areas in my home country but extended her care even to those who couldn’t afford it. My doctor exemplified what it meant to serve well with intention. She helped me understand medicine as an act of service and all the important values tied to wearing a white coat—professionalism, knowledge, compassion, and hard work. These values aligned with my principles; dedicating a life of service then became a dream.

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As a therapist aide, I have developed meaningful and lifelong relationships with individuals of all ages. I empathize with many of my patients who migrated from poorer countries, are living with diabetes, and those who- I have come to realize- not only seek rehabilitation but comfort in the midst of life’s challenges. I feel truly fortunate to be in the position to comfort these patients. The friendship I share with them, as well as my commitment and patience in attending to their needs hold great value and meaning to me and my patients. I’ve learned that a profession in medicine entails more than just a deep understanding of sicknesses and etiology and treatments. It takes inquisitiveness, dedication, and compassion to make a real difference in the lives of people. These are skills I’ve practiced by heart and developed through my experiences as a therapist aide, a mentor, and a shadow for health care professionals.

My experience as an aide and mentor nurtured my passion for medicine. I learned that providing care to the sick and helping students required more than just being knowledgeable in subjects like anatomy and physiology. An effective and excellent health care provider also exercises his/her ability to genuinely listen and empathize with others. I’ve had countless opportunities to apply these skills. One of my patients, Jose, has had multiple injuries and surgeries in his life. All of his surgeries were successful but not all of his rehabilitation. Jose would often come in the clinic frustrated, angry and even feeling hopeless. I knew that in order to truly help Jose, I had to not only comprehend his worries and feelings but provide him comfort and hope. As I worked with Jose through his exercises, we discussed his concerns. I instructed him his exercises and listened to him as a friend to normalize his fears. “My boyfriend had ACL reconstruction surgery before, and he was frustrated too. He felt like some days he would progress, while on some days he felt like he regressed,” I said to Jose. “Really? That’s exactly how I feel. I feel hopeless. I’m 28 years old and I just want to go back to playing ball again.” I made sure Jose didn’t feel alone by sharing my boyfriend’s and other athletes’ journey in rehabilitation. I also sympathized with his feelings and concerns by sharing my own experience getting surgery and rehabilitation. I could tell Jose instantly felt hopeful and relieved just from hearing these similar stories that proved he was not alone. He said, “You’re right. I need to be patient and in no time I’ll be back to playing again. Plus, I have a supportive team here.” Jose went through rehabilitation for 1 ½ years’ time and during his last visit, he hugged and thanked me.

Tatiana, a 21-year-old pre-nursing student, had fears and difficulties of her own. Despite regularly attending tutoring days, she struggled understanding anatomy. Her negative self-talk and the overwhelming demands of juggling work and school affected her confidence. I shared with her my own experience of trying to balance work and school. Just like Jose, I could tell that Tatiana suddenly felt encouraged. She passed her class with a B minus. Jose’s successful rehabilitation and Tatiana’s B minus felt like they were my successes too. Those successes were definitely a result of Jose and Tatiana’s dedication and patience, but they were certainly also a representation of our commitment and bond with one another. Events and memories like these continually inspire me to achieve my dream. I am humbled by the beauty that medicine brings in relationships; there is nothing greater than that which we find in the healing touch of one another.

Shadowing doctors, surgeons, and other health care providers not only sparks my curiosity but also challenges my analyitcal skills. It’s amazing to learn that different fields and departments in the study of medicine are all connected in some way; certain things learned in one area can act as or be a part of the solution in another area. One particular situation where I’ve witnessed this was during my shadowing opportunity with Dr. Thomas. A patient who had ACL reconstruction and type 1 diabetes expressed concerns about wound healing. After the patient’s visit, Dr. Thomas asked me, “what do you think was the problem there?” “The patient’s blood sugars are out of control which in turn slows down the healing process and increases the risk for infection,” I answered. Every opportunity opens doors to new discoveries, which continually fuels my desire to learn more and excel. Medicine is not just about interventional diabetes or pain management alone, nor is it particularly just about cardiology or any particular surgery. Medicine is connected and collaborative. I’m glad to have learned and witnessed the web of knowledge in so many specialties from my countless experiences. It never fails to amaze me that seemingly distinct concepts can be put together to solve problems and offer effective treatment. I strive to continually learn and gain even more experience to prepare myself to become an excellent doctor the community needs—knowledgeable, understanding, compassionate and dedicated to bettering lives.

UCLA PREP caught my interest because of the appealing and suitable characteristics the program offers. Given the chance to be part of such great opportunity, I have confidence that I will be equipped to apply to medicine school when the time comes. I believe that the program will provide essential information that I need, clarify questions that I may have, as well as provide an opportunity to build life-long relationships. I am excited to have learned about UCLA PREP, whose desires and outlook aligns with mine—to “strengthen the ability and readiness to study medicine,” and “to enhance chances of being accepted to medical school and succeeding once there.” I am excited for the journey ahead and I am looking forward to be a part of this team.

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My Goals and Plans in Education. (2021, Oct 28). Retrieved from

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