When I began my freshman year at State College, I was sure of one thing: I did not want to become a doctor. I was seventeen and desired individuality above all else. I thought I should create my own identity, and I believed that the best way to do this was to avoid the work that my parents did. My mother was a doctor, and that was enough to make me rule out ever entering the profession.
Instead of medicine, I planned to pursue work in the sciences. I had always enjoyed studying for my science classes. I had even showed some aptitude for the subject, both in class and in the laboratory. And from a young age I had believed that I should use whatever talents I had to benefit others, rather than just myself. Basic science research therefore seemed like a good fit. I spent the summer after my freshman year of college working in a laboratory, doing research into precursors of Alzheimer's disease in animal models. However, I had not anticipated the reality of the work and its demands. The asocial environment of the laboratory did not suit my personality. I left at the end of the summer reconsidering my goals, feeling that my personality was not suitable for a successful career in bench research involving animals.
Returning to Vassar, I realized that I was newly uncertain about my career plans. The work I was doing in my classes was interesting, but it was not helping me make decisions about what I wanted to do with my future. Vassar did not seem like the right place for me to make those decisions, either. I decided to apply to transfer to other schools, and I was happy to be accepted by Brown.
After I left Vassar, I chose to delay my entrance to Brown by a semester to ensure that I returned to school with better-defined goals fo...
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...xperiences that have shaped my belief that I will do my best work pursuing a career in medicine and public health. I started college with a vague plan to help other people. Since then, I have clearly defined my career goal, to both practice medicine and conduct research in public health. I will achieve this goal by training as a physician and supplementing that training with a master's in public health. I know I can be satisfied, and benefit patients, with the work I will do.
Ironically, it is the example of my mother that convinced me that I could succeed in both areas. She is a successful clinician who conducts research in both basic science and public health. She is a good example of the integration and completeness that one can achieve with a career in medicine. I have the focus, the passion, and the ability to succeed as she has; all I need is the opportunity.