Medicine Personal Statement
I was 14 when my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Serious illness affects the whole family and the fear can be overwhelming, but her medical team's kindness and reassurance as they guided us through the first traumatic months helped us come to terms with the diagnosis. During cycles of debilitating chemotherapy I take on many of the household chores and help with personal care. This can be difficult and I have had to learn coping strategies to ensure my academic work doesn't suffer. One way has been to study the disease itself, which has led me to undertake an independent research project on the relationship between dietary protein, levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 and cancer risk.
Caring for my mother, and the emotional support I have received from my school nurse has taught me how much more there is to medicine than mastering the science. I want to make real a difference to people's lives with my career, and feel my experience will help me treat patients with empathy and dignity. Since January I have been volunteering at a care home for the elderly, many of whom have dementia. In group activities I try to be outgoing and energetic to keep everyone's attention, but with individuals I listen carefully and am sensitive to their mood, offering help when needed but respecting their independence. Two placements in schools for the severely disabled have helped me understand the difficulties faced by these vulnerable children and their families, especially as they approach leaving the school system. Spending two weeks in a Year 12 class, I was most challenged by an autistic boy whose size and physicality could be intimidating when he was agitated. I had to accept that he would never really engage with me but by being calm, patient and respecting his boundaries I was able to gain his trust and reduce his distress enough to help him with basic tasks. Spending time with a boy who had severe dyspraxia was rewarding, as through careful observation I learned to interpret his communications and appreciate his idiosyncratic sense of humour.
When I shadowed an orthopaedic surgeon I was struck by the time pressure he worked under. He coped by using his easy manner with patients to keep consultations on track, and his humour to diffuse the frustrations of a long wait. In surgery, I saw the importance of constant communication between all members of the team. I spent two very different weeks at a hospital in India, where the facilities and treatment options were limited. With few privacy rules I participated in examinations, observed dozens of surgeries and also attended daily lectures. I witnessed a great deal of suffering, as well as the strain on the staff at their inability to do more. I also appreciated that it was the reward of helping people that drove them to work so incredibly hard and I gained a taste of this satisfaction when I helped sterilize the wounds of a man with severe burns before his skin grafts. I believe that my passion for sport has shaped me.
At 15 I had the challenge of directing players 3 years older than me as fly-half and midfield for the school 1st rugby and hockey teams. Now I mentor younger players and organize squad training, and face the fresh challenge of playing rugby at county, divisional and academy level. My keenness to take on responsibilities outside of sport has led to my appointment as Deputy Head Boy and Head of House, where I work closely with staff and students to organize activities and events. I have an aptitude for problem solving and perform well under pressure. These qualities have seen me regularly progress to the Olympiad rounds of the UK Maths Challenge and win prizes for public speaking. Running for Cambridge Harriers, playing rugby for Blackheath RFC and singing in the house choir has let me develop friendships outside my usual social group. To relax I love to paint and play guitar, and I am excited at the prospect of pursuing my hobbies at university
Universities Applied to:
Bristol: Offer, AAA firm Leeds: Offer, AAA insurance Birmingham: Offer A*AA declined Edinburgh: rejected
Biology A2 A* Chemistry A2 A Maths A2 A*
History AS A FM AS A