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In 2006, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic condition causing inflammation and ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract. Although Crohn's Disease is not something I ever wanted, managing it over the years has affected me in some unexpectedly positive ways. I am more self-aware and I understand what values are important to me. The hurtful name-calling I endured in grade school - when prescribed corticosteroids caused my face to swell - not only made me emotionally stronger and more resilient but also more empathetic. The most significant impact of my Crohn's Disease, however, was that the competent and compassionate care I received from my team of doctors and nurses not only helped me control my symptoms but it inspired me to pursue a career in nursing.
I explored my interest in nursing through personal volunteering opportunities that have included working as a Counselor-in-Training at the Taylor Family Foundation's "Camp Gutbusters," a non-profit summer camp in Northern California for chronically ill children, and serving as a summer student volunteer at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center. The personal fulfillment and gratification realized from these experiences, especially my interactions with ill patients and their families at UCSF, confirmed my instincts that nursing is the right college major and career path for me.
Knowing that nursing is a highly skilled and technical profession, I've prepared myself for the academic rigor of nursing school by taking challenging math and science courses in high school. During my volunteer assignments, I asked nurses about nursing school, their careers, and the personal traits nurses should ideally possess. Evaluating myself against their respon...

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...experience that prepares me well for post-graduate studies and leadership positions in the health care field.
Comments made by Courtney Lyder, Dean of UCLA's School of Nursing, to the Barco's Nightingales Foundation, on why he chose the nursing profession really resonated with me. Dean Lyder said that "Nursing is the noblest profession that one can be part of. Nursing chooses people; people don't choose nursing...we have a unique world view and strive to make the world a better place." It is true - nursing has chosen me. My extensive research about nursing careers, the lessons learned during my volunteer experiences, the thoughtful self-assessment made after my discussions with UCSF nurses, and my interest in helping others have enabled me to make an informed decision about pursuing a nursing career, one that starts at the University of California Los Angeles.
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