I completed my high school studies in 2008, and soon after, I elected to take a job as a cashier at the Polar Ice Galleria in Texas. While the many of my friends were living it up, my decision to go into the job market was driven by the desire to pay my own way in the world, but also because I saw this as an important opportunity to orientate myself with the job market. By the close of October 2008, I had curved out a reputation for hard work. I did join two separate academic programs during the same year, and from 2010 and 2011, I was juggling my time between three separate academic programs as well as a part time job. In the summer of 2009, I began a two-year Associate of Science program, at Houston’s Lone Star Community College. In the summer of 2010, I joined the University of Houston for a bachelors’ degree program in Kinesiology (Exercise Science). In the fall of the same year, I also joined the Houston Community College. I am to complete both programs by the close of this year.
The past few years have been expectedly chaotic, and in spite of everything, I have fared extremely well, so much so that made the University of Houston Dean’s List in the fall of 2011, and spring 2012. Yet, up until this moment, I have never really reflected on everything. It is only now that I realize I have consistently been putting myself to hard situations for the thrill of it, for the learning experience and growth. I am easily my toughest critic, always tormenting myself in an attempt to identify my true passion, which arrived when my aunt was struck by a stroke. This incident suddenly turned my focus in health to revolve around therapy. At the beginning of this academic year, I chose internship as one of my course electives. Since then, I have been interned at the UH TIRR Memorial Hermann, where I have served as a volunteer, observer and a physical therapist’s assistant.
This way, I got a real life opportunity to interact with, observe and help patients walk, exercise and set up equipment, while at once assisting the staff in the outpatient clinic, aquatic therapy and therapeutic recreation among others. Through this experience, I have learnt with admiration the dedication with which physical therapists help and motivate patients on the road to recovery. Knowing that my aunt needs, has benefitted from the same care, while at once having a chance to help with patients struggling with impairment due to accidents and disease, is by far one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. It has afforded me a rare insight into human pain, and even more, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of weakness and pain. I did connect with hundreds of patients, whose courage and capacity to improve not only impressed and inspired me, but also helped me overcome my own fear of dealing with disabled people.
Prior to this experience, I was deeply terrified about patients realizing that I was uncomfortable; catch me staring, misinterpret something I might say or be hurt by my words or actions. Subconsciously, I also come to know that I am averse to confrontation, which I thought would be difficult to allow me to be any effective. My internship experience allowed me to interact and personally know the patients; to understand that they are not unlike able-bodied people or my aunt; that I was just as vulnerable to disability as they are, has been individually liberating and I love to be able to do it. Even more rewarding is the fact that patients sense and appreciate this, and nothing is as priceless as seeing the smile on the lips of a patient, who is in extreme pain, whether it is your own aunt or a complete stranger that on the news! I would like to be able to help more, and in order to do this, I do realize the importance of attaining a good education. To this end, I do also realize the need for a great learning institution, and I am persuaded that your institution’s excellent scholarship and faculty, great student community and learning resources are a perfect fit for my ambition.