My Account

Why I Want to Be a Doctor

Length: 803 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

Admissions Essay - Why I Want to Be a Doctor


My mother first gave me Cheerios when I was nine months old, challenging me to pick up tiny bite-sized donuts from a high-chair tray in our New York City kitchen. Eating Cheerios can be like microsurgery for nine-month-olds, as they master the hand-eye coordination to connect thumb and index finger to dry Cheerio and then Cheerio to mouth. The Cheerios were part of a set of age-appropriate developmental tasks my mother presented to me, based on the writings of child psychologist Arnold Gesell, who wrote that eating Cheerios refines fine motor skills.


My early exposure to Gesell's ideas, first as an experimental subject and then as a research assistant after my brother was born, began a lifelong interest in how experience shapes development. How, I wondered, did a child learn to grasp, to walk or to speak? Later, as I tutored elementary school students, I faced the same question, wondering how countless repetitions turned a blank stare into comprehension and then excitement about a new idea. Practice made a difference -- but why? And how?


I began to explore these questions in biological terms during my freshman year at Duke. In an introductory neurobiology course, I encountered the work of Hubert and Weisel, two Harvard researchers who studied the development of the feline visual cortex. They showed that if they covered one eye of a newborn kitten for the first six months of life, the part of the brain responsible for processing visual information developed differently, a shift that was irreversible after the eye patch was removed. In black-and-white slices of brain tissue, they showed that sensory experience could shape brain cells.


In the lab, I took my interest in development to the early phases of embryology, studying molecular aspects of gastrulation in sea urchins. After an initial molecular investigation, I spent a summer eking out information from an electron-microscopic study. The project required me to master the fine motor skills to pick up countless five-millimeter nickel circles with tweezers, a task hauntingly reminiscent of my early encounters with Cheerios.


During my undergraduate years, I balanced my interest in science with a love for writing that led me to become Editor of The Chronicle, Duke's daily student newspaper. Working more than 70 hours a week to churn out the newspaper, I spent my senior year in college struggling through tense editorial decisions with a group of 16- to 22-year-olds that became some of my closest friends and toughest critics. I had to answer to 15,000 readers I may never meet, and I did it 149 times in a year.


Exhilarated by my experiences at The Chronicle, I spent the summer as a metro intern at The Washington Post, where my reporting ranged from the dangers of ground-level ozone inhalation to a profile of a 7-year-old girl suffering from a rare genetic disease. In September, I attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where I learned first hand about the health care issues faced by women and children around the world. I devoted the rest of 1995 to a solo driving tour of the U.S., sharing my experiences in Beijing with audiences ranging from a Rush Limbaugh fan at a bridge of Madison County to a 4th- and 5th-grade social studies class in East Glacier, Montana.


I began working at The New York Times Electronic Media Company in January, helping to launch the newspaper's web site. I had led The Chronicle onto the Internet my senior year at Duke, and my work at the Times allowed me to continue experimenting with what new technology will mean for journalism's mission to inform and educate the public. But journalism's commitment to detached objectivity has frustrated me. I had once thought that I could pursue my interest in early childhood education by reporting on scientific research and pilot preschool programs, but I have realized that for me, defining the problem is not enough. I've also found that what I loved most about The Chronicle is not journalism per se, but the opportunity to teach younger students and to make difficult decisions on a deadline that matter to the people around me.


And so I've returned to my childhood interest in medicine, spawned by a grandfather and an uncle who were physicians and sustained by a love for science that began in elementary school. I want to become a pediatrician, using my journalism experience to communicate with parents and patients, and nursing my love for research and education in a teaching hospital.


Ultimately, I hope a lifetime of service as a pediatrician and researcher will bring me a few steps closer to understanding the link between experience and development -- because I plan to give my patients plenty of Cheerios.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Why I Want to Be a Doctor." 05 Dec 2016

Related Searches

Important Note: If you'd like to save a copy of the paper on your computer, you can COPY and PASTE it into your word processor. Please, follow these steps to do that in Windows:

1. Select the text of the paper with the mouse and press Ctrl+C.
2. Open your word processor and press Ctrl+V.

Company's Liability (the "Web Site") is produced by the "Company". The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws. The Company makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results to be obtained from using the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Material is entirely at your own risk. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Materials are provided on an as-is basis without warranty express or implied. The Company and its suppliers and affiliates disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

For a complete statement of the Terms of Service, please see our website. By obtaining these materials you agree to abide by the terms herein, by our Terms of Service as posted on the website and any and all alterations, revisions and amendments thereto.

Return to