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Jamaica conjures up images of a far-away exotic locale, where the people are warm and friendly and make visitors feel at home. It is also the place where I was born, and where my love for working with people developed. Since most of the employment there is related to tourism, like many of my friends, I worked in the airline industry after graduating from high school. This satisfied my curiosity about what was beyond my country's boundaries, but as exciting as travelling and experiencing other cultures were, returning home carried the predictable need for something more. So, full of ambition and with the encouragement of family and friends, I decided that going to college was the route to take, but in America.
The two years when I studed chemistry at XXXX University in Miami, Florida, where challenging, difficult and rewarding. Because there were many other students from foreign countries at St. Thomas, the transition to the American educational system and culture was smooth and enjoyable. Participating in the International Students' Organization and in student government were my special extracurricular projects. Though little time was left for much else, there were moments when I longed to be back home I especially missed playing darts which my family did as a team, setting new records by claiming championship trophies for three straight seasons. As a sophomore I decided that I wanted to attend a more prestigious and affordable institution. XXXX University seemed the most attractive, so I transferred to begin my junior year in the Fall of 1985.
At XXXX, I reconsidered my narrow focus on chemistry and decided to switch majors to psychobiology, which introduced me to the fascinating interplay between physiology and pharmacology. As I progressed through the major I was constantly aware of the link between emotional well-being and positive outcomes.
My motivation to study medicine came from my extracurricular activities. My first practical experience volunteering at the Venice Family Clinic with children from refugee families provided excellent opportunities for patient contact. The clinic's meager resources called for an approach which stressed counselling, and I witnessed the good results which came from gaining patiets' trust and treating them with respect and genuine concern. At the Reed Neurological Reseach Center's outpatient clinic, whre I worked part-time, I had the opportunity to work with physicians invovled with patient car.e It was clear that compassion was an important element in physician's success with their patients. Another special project during this time invovled Big Brother of Los Angeles. This organization matches boys from fatherless homes with selected volunteers. Over the years it has been a joy to recall the times whne my Little Brother was shy and withdrawn with little self-esteem and seem him today as a well-adjusted and optimistic adolescent.
Medical School has been a learning experience like no other. Without a doubt I feel that I have gained the most and have been most comfortable, in the clinical setting. It was during my research experiences in the Department sof Neurology and anesthesiology that I was influenced by my mentors, Dr. Ernestina Saxton and Dr. Corrie anderson, towards a career in academic Medicine. Not only did I learn much from their strong commitment ot both patients and students, I also became intrigued with the relationship between research and clinical medicine.
As the end of third year rolled around, if you had asked me what I wanted to do after Medical School, the list of possibilities would have been impossible. I would have told you that I loved working with my hands, thrived on personal contact with patients and was sure that somewhere down the line I would be invovled in teaching. Of course just about any field in Medicine would seem to be perfect, but after completing an Anesthesia elective, I kew that this was the specialty for me.
From pre-operative rounds, to the scurry of activity at induction ending in a smooth recovery, I have felt only fascination for the meld of cognitive abilities and technical skill that adminstering anesthesia demands. In many ways the process generated a similar excitement and anticipation that some of my hobbies like mountain biking or downhill skiing did. Moreover, the reward at the end was a gratifying sense of completion, a feeling that is rare in many other specialties. I have come to realize that the more I participate in the process, the more satisfaction I derive, and this influences my choice of residency programs. I will be happiest in a program which promotes developemnt of skill in every area of Anesthesia, and also balances the practical experience with a strong didactic program in a close-knit and friendly environment.