Last April, I told my husband and his parents that I have decided to go abroad and pursue a Ph.D. degree, which would take me five or six years to complete. At the time, I was three months pregnant and had been a full-time housewife for almost three years. My decision was not one that I had reached lightly; instead I had carefully considered all my options and finally decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a scholar working for a university. Although I was fully aware that my decision was at the cost of not raising my son alongside my husband and being away from my family for a few years, I did not want to give up on my dream.
As a child I dreamed of becoming a scientist; a dream borne out of being raised in an intellectual and well-educated family who shaped my personality and inclinations. My parents are professors working in the China Agricultural University and we lived in a staff apartment inside the university campus. The environment I grew up in has led me to fully believe that becoming a university teacher or researcher would be a life to aspire for.
Initially, I had chosen pharmacology as my major due to the influence of my uncle who worked for a pharmaceutical company and shared with me the future career prospects in this industry. However, as I delved deeper into my studies, I grew to appreciate pharmacology. I was fascinated with learning about the human body as well as in attending various laboratory courses. I can now still remember the exciting moment when I saw the beautiful dose-response curve drawn up by a computer after I entered the data collected in an experiment of acetylecholine-induced contraction of guinea-pig ileum smooth muscle. I had grown to love my chosen field and did not have any regrets as to my choice during the college year.
A personal event cemented my decision to focus on pharmacology, particularly on the area of neuropharmacology; Two years ago, my mother was stricken with depression and her condition had a huge effect on our family. My father began to laugh much less than before. Most of conversations between us were about my mother's illness. Despite the rudimentary knowledge of depression I learned in my undergraduate studies, this disease has become a personal factor in my life instead of just objective information. I realized this disease can harm a person deeply and even destroy families. Conducting research in pharmacology is not only a career option that will allow me to earn, but it would actually allow me to aid society by improving the lives of people so that they can live longer and healthier to spend time with their loved ones.
I have always excelled in my academics. I was admitted to the best high school in China that recruited students based on their scores in the entrance examination hosted by the city education bureau. I was the top student in the University Preparatory course in the U.K., giving me the opportunity to study in a top ranking university, University College London. My continuous exemplary academic performance allowed me to gain the second upper (honored) bachelor degree.
Studying at a top university also allowed me to accumulate a strong background research. In my first year, I spent four hours a week at the laboratory which allowed me gain proficiency in basic laboratory techniques. In the second year, the course of experimental pharmacology taught me the nature of full agonist, partial agonist, and antagonist. I also learned the cell clamp technique, western blot techniques and ELISA. In the final year of my undergraduate study, I conducted my first laboratory research project: Spinal administered rapamycin reduces nociceptive transmission in rat in neuropathic pain. This particular project was unlike any of my previous experiments as it did not have expected results; rather, I had to discover the unknown by myself.
Since last year, I have been working at a famous laboratory in the top university in China - Tsinghua University. I chose to work here instead of finding another, financially rewarding job because it allows me to interact with graduate students and pharmacology researchers in the laboratory, giving me insight on their works and studies. The laboratory holds seminars where we discuss on-going and future projects. From this, I was exposed to a broader field of pharmacology, such as the function of sRNA.
After three months of extensive training, I received an animal experiment license for mice and rats. I was then assigned to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from a mouse's lateral and fourth ventricle with stereotaxic frame to compare the physiological difference in CSF content between a normal mouse and one suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Although there is an abundance of information on the techniques in collecting CSF in mice, there is very little information on the collection of CSF in the lateral ventricle and the fourth ventricle. Due to the individual differences in mice and the extremely small size (3-4 millimeter) of their ventricles, the success rate of my experiment was extremely low at the beginning. I was unable to collect 1 microliter of CSF in nearly a month. I felt a great pressure those days and could not get any more help from the internet or the library. The only way to conquer it is do it repetitively. Finally, after weeks of work, I was able to collect them in mice successfully three times out of five.
In the future, I would like to pursue a doctorate degree that would allow me to work as a professor in a university like my parents did. I intend to continue with my studies on neuropharmacology and molecular pharmacology in the signaling pathways, and neuroscience. I am strongly motivated and have a strong academic and research background. I believe my experiences, would allow me to contribute to the diversity of your student roster.
above is my personal statement for a ph.d degree. Can anyone help me to edit it? Thank you very much