Dental School Personal Statement

681 words | 3 page(s)

It was terrifying, yet life-changing, when I witnessed my friend scream and slip off the edge of the dock, smacking his jaw into the side. I’ll never forget the cracking sound, nor the look of his incisor, which was now split in half, causing him incredible pain. When he regained his composure, I insisted on taking him to the local clinic, but he refused, as his family could not afford even the modest bill he would receive.

It was at this point–the point where someone I cared deeply about could not afford basic medical care–that I had my life changing epiphany. That is, I knew I had the power to change the world around me by helping people get much needed medical care, especially dental. Unfortunately, in Samoa, where I spent a lot of time exploring, people are at higher risks of developing tooth decay due to high rates of diabetes, which causes higher blood sugar and higher saliva glucose levels, and because of the lackluster economy and low levels of education, people do not have access to even basic dental care. Therefore, I realized from an early age that I could use my passion, problem solving skills, work ethic, and empathy to help people all over the world by becoming a dentist.

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As I grew up, I had many interactions with different types of people that taught me how to appreciate people of all types. Perhaps the most profound relationship that I developed over the years was with Anne, an elderly Jewish woman and former secretary of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, who had been somewhat ostracized from the community due to her eccentricities. As a 92 year old, she needed a lot of assistance, but, most of all, she needed a friend, as she had few other people in her life.

Therefore, I spent a lot of time with her, listening to stories from her life and bringing her the little things that she missed, like fresh salads. On Saturday afternoons, we would sit for hours and exchange stories and she would ask about my life as a younger person, as if to live vicariously through me. When I left Samoa, I knew I would be separated from someone that taught me perhaps the most valuable lessons of my life: everyone deserves respect, as we all have inherent value, personal relationships are paramount, and that I should not judge people based on their backgrounds or personal problems.

Furthermore, throughout my life I have made a concerted effort to hone the skills that would make me an excellent dentist, such as dexterity, collaborating with others, problem solving, and not being afraid to step outside of the box and innovate. For example, during my time working in Dr. Rosbash’s lab I built a revolutionary device called FlyBox, which allows researchers to simulate neurons and record its behavior in real time via the fruit fly model. After countless sleepless nights and multiple failed models, it is now being used in multiple labs and even a university course.. Although it was both physically and mentally difficult, my time building and designing my device honed my ability to innovate, as well as my dexterity, my ability to view things holistically, my attention to detail, and problem solving skills, all of which are essential to being an amazing dentist.

Moreover, I have realized that not all problems have solutions and that clinical research is necessary to help ease the pain of patients with incurable diseases. My eyes were opened to this when I was working at Facial Animation Lab, where it was my job to research the facial expressions of patients with Bell’s Palsy and cleft lips/palates. One of these patients, Rachel used to come in so that she help further the science, despite her discomfort. Her dedication to contributing to science, even though it made her embarrassed because of how she looked, was truly inspirational. Therefore, my whole life has led to a career that combines dentistry and clinical research, as most of the world is in desperate need of both.

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