Personal Statement

by Stan

10. Please supply further information in support of your application including your reasons for applying to the Hopkins School of Medicine:

In applying to Hopkins, I'd like to believe that my academic record speaks for itself:

- Graduated with a 3.9 cumulative GPA, Biochemistry and Humanities double major with a minor in Quantum Mechanics;
- Lead assistant to Dr. Neidle in his research on the G-quadruplex interactive molecule BRACO-19;
- Captain, University Mock Trial Team;
- Assistant Manager, Men's Basketball Team;
- Founder, Stanford chapter of The "Magic: The Gathering" Players for the Ethical Treatment of Peers (MPETP)

Rather, I'd like to use this opportunity to explain my passion for medicine and my desire to become a doctor. I've dreamed of being a doctor ever since I was little. "Danny, you used to always dream about being a doctor," my dad reminds me. He loves telling the story of my first word. I was about two years old at the time but I hadn't spoken yet. I wasn't even making any verbal noises. My parents thought I might be mute but Dr. Woo, our family doctor, told them not to worry; I would speak when I was good and ready.

One day my father and I were watching television when "St. Elsewhere" came on.

"Can you say 'Doctor', Danny?" My dad asked. "Doctor? Can you say doctor?"

"Pediatrician," I replied. Honest to God truth.

While becoming a doctor was a childhood dream of mine, that dream could never be realized without the influence of numerous people in my life. Our family doctor, Dr. Woo, was one of these influential people.

I was a clumsy child growing up, always tripping or falling over something. My dad used to say was I so clumsy because subconsciously I wanted to go to the hospital and see Dr. Woo. He might've been right because coming home from school I always found something to trip over: my toys, our dog, my dad's feet, you name it. And more often than not, these accidents resulted in a trip to see Dr. Woo. I remember this one time in particular when I was eight years old. My dad bought me a skateboard and laid it down next to my bed to surprise me. I didn't see it so when I woke up, I stepped right on it, lost my balance, fell and broke my arm.

"Help! My son! He needs to see a doctor," yelled dad as he rushed me into the E.R.

"Harold, what happened to Danny this time?" The nurse at the station asked.

"He broke his arm," said dad.

"Let me get you in to see Dr. Woo," she replied.

I liked Dr. Woo. She was this sweet, old, tiny Chinese lady who kindly put up with my inquisitive nature. "Where do babies come from?" I asked as she examined the x-ray of my broken arm.

"Oh Danny, you'll have plenty of time to learn about that stuff," she replied.

"Do you think they teach Physiology at Kumon?" My dad asked, "Will Danny need to enter college with a background in physiological sciences if he wants to graduate as a Biochemistry and Humanities double major with a minor in Quantum Mechanics?"

Dr. Woo chuckled. "Oh Harold, Danny will have plenty of time to learn about that stuff as well."

"How are you going to fix my arm?" I asked.

"Well, I'm going to set the bone back into place and then put a cast on it," she replied.

"Can he set the bone himself?" My dad asked.

"No," she said. That was Dr. Woo. It was from her that my interest in medicine grew and began to take hold.

Marissa Swanson was the smartest girl in high school. My dad used to say that girls were placed on this Earth to corrupt boys and make them stray from becoming doctors. I don't think Marissa was the corrupting type. She was lanky, with stringy blond hair and light brown eyes. If heaven forbid I received the second highest score in class, it was inevitable that Marissa's was the score above me. As you may have guessed, our competitive natures led to a common attraction to one another.

"So, um, you wanna go to the prom with me?" I asked her one day.

"Um, sure," Marissa said, "Are you going to pick me up?"

"I can't. I skipped a grade so I don't get my license until next year," I replied.

"I can drive," she said.



I was so nervous prom night. I was trying to make everything perfect. I got the most expensive tuxedo I could afford. The biggest roses. The works. The doorbell rang and I asked my dad to answer the door because I was still putting on my tux. I rushed downstairs just in time to find Marissa Swanson in tears, wearing a baby blue silk gown with matching shawl. She looked back at me for a fraction of a second and then jumped into her Civic hatchback and peeled off.

"Dad, what happened? Where did Marissa go?" I asked.

"She said she doesn't want to go to the dance with you," he said.


"...Yes. She said she was going home to study for the SAT so that she could go to a better college than you and become a better doctor than you."

"Why was she crying?" I asked.

"She was afraid that if you don't study harder she might be smarter than you," he said.

I was crushed. I didn't even know Marissa wanted to be a doctor... But through the pain I learned a valuable lesson. Being a doctor takes a determination and dedication that few people have. Marissa had it. While I was busy upstairs getting gussied up for some dance, worrying about frivolous things like remembering the corsage and phone number of the horse-drawn carriage ride company, Marissa was focused on her future. She was determined to make it. Not only that, she cared enough about me to come over and tell me to do the same. I never lost sight of my goals ever again.

While there have been many influential people in my life, I think Dr. Woo and Marissa Swanson were two of the most. Sure, you could put my parents on that list, but parents are supposed to care. They're supposed to help you succeed. Is it really that out of the ordinary for your father to study and take the MCATs with you for moral support? Of course not. Your parents just want the best for you, which makes it that much more extraordinary when you come across someone like Dr. Woo who selflessly guides you toward your goals. Or someone like Marissa Swanson who challenges you to be your best. Without them, I would never be on this path to becoming a doctor. All I can do is repay them in the only way I know now: applying to Hopkins and becoming the best doctor I can be. Or as my father says, "becoming a cardiac surgeon at a major metropolitan hospital with a thriving private practice."

Thanks Dr. Woo. Thanks Marissa.

Copyright 2003, 2004