Disclaimer

The content of this blog reflects my personal experiences and opinions during my veterinary school education. It does not reflect the experiences or opinions of my classmates, colleagues, or the UC Davis School of Veterinary medicine. If you wish to contact me via email: hamaleo11@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Personal Statements


My Second Personal Statement: (The one I got accepted with)
 I am competitive and my life experiences have added to my personal character and stamina. Since I can remember, I was addicted to horses, eager to muck twenty stalls just to spend time with them. During my parents divorce, I turned to horses to give me the strength and reassurance I needed. I spent long hours at the barn far away from my troubles at home learning about equine care, training and management. Eager and present to hold horses for the local vet, I had the opportunity to be involved in various diagnosis and treatments.
I was hesitant to attend college at first, although I was drawn to veterinary medicine from my lifelong involvement with horses, I did not know if I could afford a college education or handle the challenging coursework. Scholarships relieved my financial burden; I sought out to tackle the coursework. My successes in learning how to problem solve and developing an applicable study method enabled me to excel in my chemistry courses and receive a position as a tutor at the Sierra College skills center. Always able to establish a good rapport with students, I consider myself to possess a talent for teaching others in an outgoing and professional manner that helps them to perceive difficult concepts easily. My persistence and resourcefulness in obtaining scholarships throughout college is rewarding as I am commended for my academic success. My accomplishments in my college years have helped me to understand my own potential and the path that I wish to pursue. Once I realized that veterinary medicine was my goal, I worked harder to succeed, and obtain experience in the field. My desire and diligence to obtain a variety of jobs and internships in the animal health field is indicative of my motivation for success. 
My internship in equine medicine at the VMTH gave me the chance to see life as a veterinary student and the opportunity to participate as part of an investigative team of knowledgeable veterinarians. One of my most memorable shifts involved a young alpaca that was in labor for almost 24 hours. I watched intently as individuals from various departments of the VMTH worked together to relieve the distressed alpaca. I jumped in the mix when an extra hand was needed to pull the chain wrapped around the trapped Cria. I heaved and thought positive thoughts for the young alpaca and her unborn Cria. As the lifeless Cria was released from its confine, a sense of relief and sadness came among the group. I watched the doctor console the owners as they grieved for their loss of a new life. The experience was a memorable example of the abilities and limits of veterinary medicine.
Working as a foal team member in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the VMTH introduced me to unique cases requiring critical care. My experiences with foals have always been in a positive light, with the foal eagerly nursing, a curious expression accompanied by a soft nose and fuzzy ears. This picture became drastically different when I met my first critically ill foal. Caring for sick neonatal foals requires a substantial commitment physically, mentally and emotionally.  You have to be able to think quickly when dealing with foals. I was able to remain calm and rational when exposed to stressful and high-pressure situations when we had difficult mares and fragile foals. I worked the graveyard shift under the supervision of veterinary technicians who were more than willing to let me get my hands dirty. I performed physical exams on mare and foal, assisted with milking and feeding of the foal through a nasogastric tube. In addition to assisting in veterinary procedures, I could not help but become attached to patients and always followed up on cases. While providing an invaluable service, I was able to gain excellent veterinary medical experience.
Travel is one of my favorite hobbies. I spent four weeks in South America studying the Spanish language in addition to broadening my cultural awareness. Staying in hostels while traveling through Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia allowed me to meet fellow travelers engaging in their cultures and experiences. Having witnessed the similarities and differences among many diverse cultures and geographical areas has allowed me to relate to various nationalities, a quality that will help me work effectively with colleagues and help me better serve my clients in the future.  I believe that a veterinarian must be attuned to the needs of their community. Veterinarians should have the heart to offer their services for the betterment of their community. Working at the Mercer clinics in Sacramento assisting with treatment of pets of the homeless has given me perspective in the necessities of the services offered by such indispensable programs.
My undergraduate program is a process whereby I have deepened my interest and understanding of Animal Biology. I consider science as a process and means of advancing society. The major allows me the autonomy of my future as an undergraduate by detailing my education to my interests. The practicum research project is what separates the Animal Biology major apart from other majors at the UC Davis. I am currently conducting research for my senior practicum under the supervision of Dr. Gershwin at the VMTH in veterinary immunology. I began my research investigating the field of immunology by auditing Dr. Gershwin’s immunology course for first year veterinary students. I found my experience in her course stimulating, a genuine example of the veterinary curriculum where I learned a great deal about clinical immunology and gained appreciation for the relevance of my research project. My research project aims to examine several antibody classes from equine sera samples in order to develop an assay to predict if a horse may be predisposed to having a vaccine reaction. The applicability of my project to the real world was heartbreakingly made aware to me when Dr. Gershwin informed me of a recent clinical case witnessed by the mobile VMTH on a routine call to examine an older mare with an acute lameness. There turned out to be no problem with the lameness, but as the vet was leaving, she noticed the mare was not up to date on her vaccinations. After administration of the vaccines, the mare dropped dead due to a severe vaccine reaction. The consequence of not knowing if the mare was predisposed to having a vaccine reaction was detrimental to the mare, emotional turmoil for the owner, and shocking for the young vet. The purpose of my research is to prevent endings like these and other problems associated with vaccine reactions.
All of my life experiences have been significant in bringing me to this point. I am mentally prepared and determined enough to succeed at any endeavor, and posses the maturity demanded in the veterinary profession. Working with experts in veterinary careers has highlighted many of the physical, emotional, and financial struggles involved in becoming a veterinarian. My compassionate feelings for animals and zeal for emerging research facilitates my commitment to veterinary medicine that will motivate me through the years to come. My ultimate goal is to be accepted into the Veterinary Scientist Training Program to combine my passion for research and joy of teaching while also serving on the cutting edge of new technologies and the ever-changing face of veterinary medicine. My future is greatly anticipated, as for me, veterinary medicine emerges as the ideal approach for satisfying my intellectual curiosity as well as my desire to contribute to the betterment of animal, human and environmental health.  I am aware that this is a career with many demands, both emotional and physical, but I know that I possess the diligence, ardor and endurance to overcome these obstacles and to become a valuable member of the veterinary community. 

My First Personal Statement: (you can see the difference!) This one was not quite up to par with my second try
 My life experiences with animals have led me to pursue an education in veterinary medicine. Since a young age, I've loved horses, and had a profound interest in working with and helping animals. All my life I have established goals and made a dedicated agenda to accomplish them. Animals, especially horses, have driven me to work hard toward my ambitions. Although my parents couldn’t afford to provide me with everything I desired they were very supportive in helping me succeed. I became self-motivated, taking initiative to work hard for the things I wanted in life.
            At ten years of age, I purchased my first horse. By working at the barn in exchange for riding lessons and my horses’ keep, I became knowledgeable about equine care, training and management. I competed in a wide range of events at local and statewide competitions. By competing in hunter/jumper, western pleasure, and endurance riding I gained insight to the competitive aspects of the equine industry and the concept of the horse as a partner, but also an athlete.
            During high school, I worked at several different barns as an assistant trainer. I had an opportunity to work with a variety of horse breeds as well as equestrians. I started young horses under saddle as well as riding seasoned show horses. I would often encounter difficult horses and then work with my senior trainers to solve the training issues. With the experience I gained in the saddle and the many hours I spent with horses, I was able to teach others how to ride. During my first summer camp, I took responsibility for a group of four ten year olds with no previous horse experience. Over the four weeks of camp, I became a teacher and a mentor to my group. I was able to effectively convey basic equine care and riding techniques through group exercises. I taught my students to communicate with their horses as well as each other. After the camp, I went on to give riding lessons to all different ages and riding levels.
             Though I enjoyed training horses, I still felt strongly about pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. I earned scholarships to attend Sierra College so I could take animal and equine science courses along with my prerequisites for veterinary school. I excelled in my animal related courses, though I struggled through chemistry. I worked diligently to overcome my difficulties, seeking help from the tutoring center. I worked hard to receive an “A” in the class. After my second semester of general chemistry, I realized that I actually liked chemistry. I began working at the tutor center with students individually as well as in groups to help them overcome the same challenges I had faced in chemistry. I learned how to explain the material while being patient with students that struggled.
            In addition to my undergraduate coursework; I became involved with Saddle Pals, a therapeutic riding program for the disabled. As a volunteer, I became involved with weekly lessons that gave students the opportunity to work with horses and overcome the challenges they faced in life. Since many of the horses used in the program were rescue cases with soundness issues that left them only good for light riding, routine veterinary care was essential to the stability of the program. I admired the local vet who had dedicated her time to treat the horses in the program at a low cost, allowing the program to thrive.
              Through hands-on experiences in veterinary settings, I have gained understanding and insight about the veterinary medical profession. Working at Lakeside Pet Hospital, a small animal veterinary clinic, I was exposed to the daily tasks required of a small animal veterinarian. I learned that veterinary work at a clinic was often arduous, but also gratifying. By following up on patient cases, I often gained insight to both routine and emergency situations. One Sunday morning at the clinic, I had the chance to be involved in a unique case. The patient was a mini Yorkshire terrier that had been kicked in the head by a deer. As I watched the doctor examine the small dog, it was evident that the animal had severe trauma to its head, and there was nothing we could do but to end the dog’s suffering. This was my first experience where I encountered the limits of medicine.
            This summer, I had an opportunity to work with Dr. Dave Turoff, a skilled and highly respected local veterinarian. I gained exposure to working with large animals in an ambulatory practice allowing me to assist in exams that showcased the dynamic process of veterinary medicine. I was intrigued by the method of obtaining a patient history, vitals and symptoms to locate a specific problem. We often had to treat patients before getting blood work or x-rays, exposing the limitations of a mobile practice. I had confidence in the logical process of treatment protocol. 
            My dedication to working with horses has evolved into a passion to become a veterinarian. I am confident that my life experiences have driven me to be successful in my pursuits.

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