Personal Statment: Describe an experience and impact on you.
As I blew the candles on my birthday cake, I made a wish; a wish to have a normal nose again.
SMASH! Right into the back of a boy's head. I remember the accident at the age of seven that left my nose so damaged, it attracted unwanted attention from gawkers and mockers. My nose was nothing more than a flattened piece of fused cartilage which restricted my capability to breathe properly.
As a little girl growing up in the prejudiced Caucasian environment of southern California, I was called "Freak!", "Pig-faced!" and sometimes downright "Ugly." One memory , that I now laugh at, was the day I discovered hurtful web pages created to lampoon my "Hideous" and "Disgusting" nose. At school, I constantly scurried to bury myself into a book, in fear that someone would make another mean joke about my nose. I thought there would never be an end to the ridicule, tears, and shame.
Screams of agony from excruciating pain were accompanied by endless nose bleeds. This was my life over the course of four tormenting surgeries meant to fix my nose. I assumed that these bone-breaking, expensive reconstructive surgeries, over the course of eight years, would be the antidote for my deformed face and despondent perspective of life. Although these surgeries did change how I was perceived by others, my modified appearance did not alter my pessimistic outlook towards life.
Fortunately, at the age of fifteen, I had a revelation at my grandfather's funeral. An inspirational and righteous man, my grandfather peacefully marched with Gandhi to protest against the British presence in India. He was brutally tortured in jail in hopes of gaining freedom for the Indian people. Grandpa, a determined women-rights leader, always said, "Poonam, society can try to take away your beauty, confidence, and dignity, but no one can take your knowledge gained from an education." I realized that I, as a young girl, had foolishly lost my way to a narcissistic society by allowing this critical society to devour my confidence, self-beauty, and dignity.
I stopped caring about the vile slander that poured from superficial peoples' mouths. I began to finally grasp that my middle and high school experiences could not wane away to something as puerile as physical beauty.
As a result of my strife, I developed a new outlook towards life and have pushed myself to interact with this "new world" that I began to see.
By becoming actively involved in school and community activities, my self-confidence and quest for knowledge has grown exponentially. I now possess the fortitude and knowledge to deliver speeches in front of large crowds and in doing so I have become a front-line leader in clubs such as Mock Trial, Key Club, and Future Business Leaders of America.
After the numerous surgeries and 'new world' experiences, I gained freedom. With my new freedoms and ability to breathe properly, I now have the opportunity to participate in sports such as Varsity tennis, Track and Field, and the city-wide summer swim team without fear, instead, with confidence and perseverance.
This new point-of-view on life has fueled my passion for the medical field. I have organized and participated in Red Cross blood drives and temple-sponsored health fairs, as well as volunteering at settlement houses, and the local hospital. I strive to establish rapport with my community through volunteering, because it enables me to help those, like me, who are trying to overcome their own personal hardships.
I am proud to say that I have been invited to participate in the distinguished Congressional Academy in Washington DC and have been recognized with numerous academic and leadership awards. I can now walk through the halls at school looking towards the horizon with my head held high while finally receiving respect from my fellow peers for what I do, not what I look like.
I have accepted the fact that I am an independent and determined leader who will no longer be the little girl who hid from the world.
Looking back at the struggles I faced at a young age, I realize these incidents served as the catalyst in developing the strong and confident person I am today. These struggles have guided me towards a career in the medical field where I will be offered the opportunities to aid others in their personal strife. Helping others is essential to me, as I have had to face my fears and stand up to a daunting society. I know that if I can guide others to stand up and help them face their fears successfully, then I will make the seven year old version of me, who could not fully comprehend the critical views of society, proud.
My goals are to one day intertwine medicine, business and law by becoming CEO of a large non-profit health organization chartered to help people from all walks of life through compassion.
Thus, as I am taking stronger steps towards attaining my goals, I am at the start of my path... my path to an education. "An education that no one can ever take from me."
My education starts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.