Personal Statement by Samar Singh
Oftentimes, when a child is asked a question such as, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" the child will give a different response every time. Children's minds change often, sometimes daily or hourly. Surprisingly enough, however, I have always responded to that question in the same way, stating, "I want to be a doctor when I grow up." For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to do something to help make others' lives better. My interest in medicine was sparked as a child when I used to hear stories from my father and grandfather (both physicians) about the various patients they had treated and how deeply satisfied they felt at the end of a long day's work. My own experience volunteering at hospitals and at a medical clinic has confirmed my desire to go into the field of medicine.
Currently, I am interning at the hospital with a Registered Nurse who is also a specialist in End-of-Life Care. Through this internship, I have also gotten the chance to observe physicians in various departments, an opportunity that has opened my eyes and helped me to see what being a physician is really about. I have been able to participate in consultations with families whose loved ones' lives are literally hanging by a thread. Both patients and their families need a strong support network of physicians and healthcare providers who can relate to often difficult healthcare situations and provide information that will assist in making thoughtful decisions. Being a physician is not only about diagnosing and treating patients' illnesses; it is about getting to know patients as individuals so that they are able to receive optimal healthcare.
My strong compassion for others has led me to believe that medicine is definitely the right career for me. This is why I opted to accept the scholarship offered to me by East Carolina University in conjunction with the Brody School of Medicine. This scholarship was first created in the year 2000 and I am one of the first four students to be offered this opportunity. Selection was based on high school grades, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, and interviews. Through this scholarship, I was assured a seat in medical school as long as I completed my medical school entrance requirements before the end of my sophomore year in college and maintained a 3.5 GPA in my science classes and in my classes overall. Because of this unique academic honor, the MCAT was not required, which is why I do not have MCAT scores listed elsewhere in this application.
I knew in my heart that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and the Early Assurance Scholarship was the way to help turn this dream into a reality. However, my future goals include not only becoming a physician here in the United States, but also dedicating time and services to helping individuals in developing countries who do not have access to adequate healthcare. Coming from a developing country myself, I am deeply aware of the wonderful facilities and opportunities individuals are offered here. I have had the chance to observe first-hand the difficulties my parents had to go through in order to provide their children with better opportunities than they themselves had. When he moved to the United States, my physician father basically had to start all over by taking all his medical licensing exams again and going through residency training just as anyone straight out of medical school would have had to have done. I observed firsthand both of my parents' dedication and hard work, and my father and mother have always instilled in their children the importance of values such as honesty, persistence, and passion for doing a task well. Their experiences clearly demonstrated to me how worthwhile the results of hard work can be. I would feel both humbled and honored if I could also give back to society in some manner, and I believe that pursuing a career in medicine would enable me to do just that. As Jimmy Carter said recently in his Nobel Prize speech, "We can choose to alleviate suffering." Through my medical career, I aspire to be a person who chooses to help make life better for the people whom I touch.
Even though I realize the fact that being a physician is an immensely time-consuming career, I still hope to have time left over to pursue my other areas of interest. For instance, I love to travel and learn about different cultures and ways of life. After my high school graduation, I got the chance to travel to England, France, Finland, and Sweden, and that trip was definitely by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. It opened up my eyes and made me realize that we should not simply immerse ourselves in our own little world without venturing out to see what else actually exists "out there." The population of the United States increasingly includes individuals from various cultures worldwide, and in order to live together harmoniously, we have to work to understand and engage creatively and positively with cultural differences. Events in the last few years have made me acutely conscious of the fact that life is too short to be taken for granted. My philosophy in life is that we have a responsibility to do anything in our power, no matter how small it may seem, to make this world a better place.
As a Sociology major I am learning how, due to constraints created by society, people are sometimes forced into situations they do not choose. Due to limited financial resources or unequal access, some individuals are not even offered basic necessities of life such as healthcare. My goal is to try to use the professional training that I will receive in medical school, combined with my compassion for other human beings, to try and change the lives of others for the better.