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the pediatric volunteer - Common App- Siginificant experience


thisissparta 1 / 2  
Aug 26, 2009   #1
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you

It was a Wednesday afternoon, the last bell rang and I rushed to my mom's car and buckled up. The twenty five minute drive, although time-consuming, gave me time to reflect on my day and look forward to working at the hospital. My position as the pediatric volunteer was the most rewarding job ever.

I knew Miguel would be waiting for me. He was always waiting for me. I imagined that he'd have already set up the board game Battleship so that we'd waste no time when I got there. I anticipated a stack of DVDs on the table near his bedside, one of which we would watch that day. But I was also aware that he was weak, perhaps, too weak. As I stared out the open window of the car, the warm air blowing into my face, my thoughts wandered to the first time I met Miguel.

I walked in through the double doors and immediately, the distinct smell besieged me. It always occurred to me that the hospital had a distinct odor, a somewhat bittersweet scent. I took the elevator to the third floor, made two consecutive right turns, and arrived at the pediatrics department. It was my third week, and in all honesty, it was quite monotonous. The children were too sick to play any games, the parents were too depressed, and I spent most of my time in the neonatal ICU monitoring the babies or sanitizing the play room. I wasn't expecting anything different this time around, but I took a walk around the department anyways.

Room 290. That was the room Miguel was in when I first saw him. I noticed the scrawny six year old Hispanic boy in bed, and immediately, I thought that he was too tired and unwell to do anything enjoyable. I didn't even bother asking, and I was about to close the door, when I heard, "hey, do you want to play a game?".-- his question caught me off guard. I was so enthused that someone wanted to actually play a game; I couldn't stop smiling to myself. Instantly, Miguel and I formed a bond. He had a spark to him, a vivacity of some sort which radiated to everyone around him. It was like he was oblivious to the fact that he was suffering through acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

In the following weeks, I continued acquainting myself with Miguel. It was almost disheartening to know that a unique and spirited boy like him had such a critical disease. He'd narrate stories about his Grandfather and how his friends teased him at school because he was a slow learner. Miguel began to consider me a part of his family; I guess, apart from his grandfather and his brother, I was the only one he had. It brightened my day to see him so cheerful, even though he was suffering through intense pain from chemotherapy. His sanguinity motivated me; his eagerness and zeal made me forget about all my trivial problems. As the weeks progressed, however, we switched roles. As he got weaker and weaker, I got stronger and attempted to encourage him. But my efforts were futile compared to his body's vulnerability. He was too sick to even get out of bed.

Miguel is one of the reasons why I am so inspired to enter the medical field. His exuberance and hopefulness made me realize that I have what it takes to pursue my goals. While spending hours in the hospital, I realized that this is where I belong; it is my niche, and I want to spend the rest of my life in this profession. There is so much scope for cancer research and I'm intrigued by the cause and treatment options. Miguel provided me with the drive and the motivation to keep trying. Working with grad students and knowledgeable professors over the summer at the UC San Diego COSMOS program confirmed what Miguel had inspired me to do and augmented my desire to fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor.

That day, as my mom pulled over into the parking lot, I got out of the car expecting to play Battleship with Miguel, watch a movie with him, and continue listening to his stories. I walked through the double doors, familiarizing myself with the odor, and made my way up to the pediatrics department. Room 290. I slowly opened the door, but the bed was empty. I felt a lump forming in my throat and a sick feeling in my stomach. I didn't know how to react, what to think. All sorts of heartbreaking thoughts rushed to my head, overflowing my emotions. He left, without even a warning or a goodbye. Miguel was gone.

But the impact that he had made on my life would stay forever.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Aug 26, 2009   #2
I count three instances of "it was" and one additional "was" in your first paragraph alone. This could be a strong story, but you will have to write it using strong verbs for it to have maximum impact.
OP thisissparta 1 / 2  
Aug 26, 2009   #3
Thanks for your advice. I tried to make the content sound stronger by using a wider variety of verbs. I'm not too sure if my attempt was successful. I'd greatly appreciate any critiques.
tal105 7 / 130  
Aug 27, 2009   #4
i truly love this essay. it could be a very strong entry once you polish it more.
like...

Miguel is one of the reasons why I am so inspired to enter the medical field..

this paragraph. you get here and then you lose it. you just go onto this thing and its all miguel is the reason i wanna be a doctor blah blah blah. make this stronger. once you make this as strong as the rest, your essay will be great.

btw, i also love how you start at your going to the place and end there. and i like your end sentence.

good luck! i really hope it comes together!
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Aug 27, 2009   #5
I tried to make the content sound stronger by using a wider variety of verbs.

Better, but you still have to get rid of the "it was" that starts the essay.
OP thisissparta 1 / 2  
Sep 5, 2009   #6
First of all, thank you guys so much for commenting.

I've tweaked a few things. Let me know how it sounds.

EDITED
--

Thank you! I'd appreciate any comments!
Liebe 1 / 542 2  
Sep 5, 2009   #7
That Wednesday afternoon, it felt like eternity had passed, but. finally the last bell rang and I rushed to my mom's car. The twenty five minute drive, although time-consuming, gave me time to reflect on my day and look forward to working at the hospital. My position as the pediatric volunteer was the most rewarding job ever.

But I was also aware that he was weak, perhaps, too weak.

^Your use of the word 'aware' suggests your certainty, whereas your use of the word 'perhaps' does the exact opposite as it shows an element of uncertainty. Whilst I enjoy reading clever juxtapositions, this just does not make sense.

I walked in through the double doors and immediately, the distinct smell besieged me. I took the elevator to the second floor, made two consecutive right turns, and arrived at the pediatrics department. It was my third week, and in all honesty, it was quite monotonous. I wasn't expecting anything different this time around, but I took a walk around the department anyways.

^I do not get this. You say that that it was monotonous, but then you start off the paragraph with something, the smell, that I presume was new to you at the time... I got confused after adding these two together, and your final sentence did not help either.

Room 290. That was the room Miguel was in when I first met him. He seemed so emaciated and withered that I it was difficult to notice the contour of his scrawny body, buried under the flannel blankets. I immediately assumed that he was far too ill to do anything fun, but. as I was about to close the door, I heard a meager voice, "Hey, do you want to play a board game with me?" I almost couldn't believe my ears-after the long and unexciting shift,I could finally get to know someone and have some patient interaction. That day, I stayed two hours over my shift time. Instantly, Miguel and I formed a bond. He had a spark to him, a vivacity of some sort which radiated to everyone around him. It was like he was oblivious to the fact that he was suffering through acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

^With the bold part, have you never had patient interaction before. Because your earlier two paragraphs informed me that you had interacted with Miguel before..

In terms of what I have highlighted in Italics, whilst the spark and everything is fine, what I do not get is the formation of the bond. You guys played games before right? Did you guys not bond then? If not, then perhaps you should state earlier why not.

Miguel is one of the reasons why I am so inspired me to enter the medical field. His positivity was contagious. His endless confidence and hopefulness made me realize that I have what it takes to pursue my goals. In addition, while spending hours in the hospital, I realized that this is where I belong; it is my niche, and I want to spend the rest of my life in this profession. I knew I had made a difference in Miguel's life and I wanted to continue doing that as a career.

*...Given the context, I am not sure if using the word 'contagious' is sensitive. I hope other people will comment on it's appropriateness.
*How can some one else's confidence and hopefulness, make you realize you have what it takes to pursue...YOUR GOALS.??

But my efforts were futile compared to his body's vulnerability. He was too sick to even get out of bed.

^That simile does not work at all, and I assume it because you do not know what the meaning of the words you have used are.


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