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Biochemistry Personal Statement

My parents met during an autopsy course. I grew up surrounded by anatomy tomes and biochemical dictionaries and drew labelled hearts alongside winged princesses as a child. Initially through medicine, science has always been a part of my life. When I started to read up on all kinds of colourful diseases and chemicals, my first reaction was fear - but I soon realised that the only way to fight this was by studying what frightened me. And so fear turned into fascination.

I am utterly intrigued by the sciences. I have more than once caught myself marvelling at the simple yet divinely ingenious workings of, say, the human kidney or the evolution of a lyssavirus. Biology and chemistry at higher level not only taught me scientific basics, critical thinking, and valuable teamwork skills; they also supplied a constant inspiration to read further and work harder. I found myself captivated; almost obsessed, and decided early on to write my Extended Essay in chemistry. Writing on oncogenomics alongside my classes, I achieved third place out of 700 participants in the ASHG DNA Day essay contest. Fascinated by oncology, I also read and greatly enjoyed Siddharta Mukherjee's 'Emperor of All Maladies'. I then delved further into genetics and evolution with Stephen Jay Gould's works, James Watson's 'Double Helix' and Franklin Harold's 'Way of the Cell'.

My love for logic and puzzles drove me to choose maths as a third higher level and to complete an additional physics course outside of school. I admit I even enjoyed sitting the SAT and the UKCAT, because I saw them as challenging exercises in endurance and efficiency.

My classes and the books I read raised interesting ethical considerations, which I happily debated in both TOK and psychology class. Studying psychology also reinforced my desire to improve the human condition, and I believe that for me personally, studying biochemistry is the ideal way to do so. I find it hard to say what fascinates me more about biochemistry - the rational, scientific aspects that have always intrigued me, or the simple fact that I would be given a unique chance to contribute positively to our society.

Two years in a row I spent two weeks in the Kalahari desert with our school team, teaching biology and life sciences. I don't feel pretentious when I call it a life-changing experience that greatly deepened my subject knowledge, teamwork ability and personal awareness. I see biochemistry as closely intertwined with medicine, so I also attended internships at the Frankfurt Clinic of Pathology and a neonatology clinic in Austria to gain insights into both fields - and these insights were remarkable. I had the chance to dissect cysts, look at tumour cells under the microscope and see the wonder of human life in painfully fragile premature babies. My work experiences took a great deal of self-initiative and organisation, and they filled me with eager anticipation to finally study biochemistry at university level.

I try to be a balanced individual - I sing professionally, play the viola, practise archery, read about astrophysics and science fiction and enjoy medieval history. And yet, my brain always finds ways to relate these interests back to the sciences I love. How did the black plague work on a biochemical level, then? What are the organic acids in my bow rosin?

Ultimately, my desire to face the exciting challenge of studying biochemistry is based on a combination of the heartfelt need to improve the lives of others and a lifelong passion for the awe-inspiring complexity and ingenuity of the world we live in.

Universities Applied to:

  • University of Edinburgh (Biochemistry) - Offer (37 points with 5, 5, 5) Firm
  • Durham University (Biomedical Sciences) - Offer (37 points with 6, 6, 6)
  • University of Glasgow (Biochemistry) - Offer (36 points with 6, 6, 5)
  • University of Aberdeen (Biochemistry) - Offer (32 points with 5, 5) Insurance
  • University of St. Andrews (Biochemistry) - Rejection

Grades Achieved:

  • 37 points with 6, 6, 4

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