Before I fork out an unforgettable entertaining personal statement and explain why I will become a physician assistant, I wanted to briefly address what I believe to be the weakest aspect of my application: the academic “numbers” that are used to determine my aptitude as a potential PA student. By their nature the various GPAs generated by CASPA do not tell of my story of development as a young student. My sharp, positive trending undergraduate GPA – ≤ 3.0 Freshman-Sophomore semesters, to a ≥ 3.6 GPA my junior through senior year semesters, demonstrates my self-generative abilities and my development as a young student.
My cumulative 3.8 GPA I earned while obtaining my MBA years later, demonstrates preservation of that work ethic. My biggest fear is that the various GPAs calculated by CASPA are seen as a red flag to schools – it would lower the average GPA of the entire selected class. I assert that I am the most unabashed, stereotypical, more-than-just-the-numbers applicant that any admission committee will come across this application cycle.
In my ten years in the medical field the best medical providers I have worked with possessed leadership skills, maintained a sense of humility, and held an unyielding passion for medicine. I believe it is no coincidence that the majority of these “best providers” I collaborated with were Physician Assistants. These PAs all had a calming presence, remained composed in stressful situations, and exhibited genuine compassion and commitment to serving others. They spoke to their patients as one human being to another.
Rather than the presumptive impersonal nature of many provider-patient interactions. The exciting part of all of this: I just described my own greatest strengths. These qualities I possess, leadership, tranquility, empathy, compassion and desire to serve others are derived from my personality – shaped by my life experiences – and a decade of working in the medical environment. These personality traits are what will allow me to become an extraordinary physician assistant.
I was elected team captain for my high school varsity lacrosse team from my sophomore to senior year. I was assigned a role on my college team’s leadership committee as a sophomore. At the age of 23 I was hired as head varsity coach for a girl’s high school lacrosse team; the youngest varsity coach ever hired by the school. With that school’s lacrosse program winning multiple state championships, this position was highly competitive and sought-after. I can confidently say that my colleagues supported my participation and celebrated my success in this role.
My dedication to the game of lacrosse paid dividends when a former coach and now friend asked me to assist in coaching his NCAA division III lacrosse program – and with it the opportunity to obtain my MBA with tuition paid. With healthcare programs absent at my post- graduate institution, I chose to focus on becoming a better leader; taking management and leadership development classes.
These leadership positions come with a sense of pride. However, I believe the best leaders are humble and personify continuous improvement and self-development. It is through this leadership philosophy that I hesitate to claim I taught my players anything. If I did my job well, my players taught themselves, I merely provided the tools and opportunities for them to do SO.
Native Americans called lacrosse “The Medicine Game” (ironically, they also called it “little brother of war”, but that doesn’t fit my narrative here so we’ll stick with the former)- The game’s originators believed those who participated were granted “healing powers”. Regardless of the lore surrounding lacrosse, it is a personal conviction of mine that “The Medicine Game” carries with it a healing spirit. It tested my composure, trained my self-awareness. It required me to make bad decisions and continue being a leader.
These aspects created self-doubt and insecurity. But because the game trained my self-awareness, I was able to discern lessons that accompany failure. Through those lessons I could heal. I became doubtless in my capabilities. With each figurative storm, I was taught a new lesson. Most important of all those lessons; I can weather the storm. With my acquired confidence I found a natural ease in applying these lessons to my life’s calling – serving others as a medical provider.
My experience as an EMT provided opportunities to test my emotional endurance in a high-stress environment. As a child in cardiac arrest was rushed through the ambulance-bay doors, I did not find myself panicked or overwhelmed by the commotion. I continued to fulfill my responsibilities. Whether I was participating in the actual resuscitation or attending to the needs of other patients, these situations revealed to me how naturally I’m able to maintain a calm demeanor. Proof of this came when multiple colleagues would comment on my calming presence. However, the single greatest of those compliments I received came from an orthopedic surgeon who described me as “unflappable”.
Not all the qualities of a good physician assistant came to me as naturally. My transcripts serve as evidence that it took time for me to develop and preserve a healthy balance between friends, athletics, and school in my undergraduate career. I ultimately discovered that when I am passionate about something – when I have found something that allows me to be myself my dedication is absolute. I managed to earn a 3.8 GPA in my last three semesters: a 3.6 GPA or higher from my junior to senior undergraduate semesters. This work ethic continued as I earned my Master of Business Administration with a 3.8 GPA.
My dedication to medicine is derived from my core values; to be honest with myself and who I am. That is, it is not the title of PA-C that I desire – I desire to be myself. Through my intimate interactions with many PA’s, I have discovered that becoming one will allow me to be myself.