SFSU Post-Bac short essay questions.

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by vmli93, 05.14.14.

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  1. vmli93


    Hi! I am currently applying to a formal post-baccalaureate dental program at SFSU and would like some feedback on my responses to the short essay questions. Any constructive feedback is greatly appreciated. Please note that formatting on the application website is limiting to word limit as indenting takes up an absurd amount of "characters", therefore the responses are regrettably formatted as one long paragraph.

    1. Why did you choose the health profession indicated in your application?

    All my life I have been drawn to activities that require manual dexterity, whether it was playing the piano, drawing, or ceramics, each task was enthralling to learn and second nature to master. My decision to pursue a career in dentistry stems from my interest in magic. The types of magic that I couldn't resist were the ones that drew upon dexterity. Magic that utilizes minute sleights such as those used in, “Lighting a Cigarette” by Penn & Teller or the endlessly entertaining “Cups & Balls” trick performed by every magician ever, were the ones that kept my hands moving in imitation and my mind thinking. Although, magic is a delight for me to watch and learn, the feeling of disbelief and joy that magic could instill in other people is what truly makes me happy. Through my dental internships, I have had the opportunity to watch dentist perform complex procedures on patients. I have come to understand that dentistry is an occupation that is similar to magic in that it also requires an extraordinary level of dexterity. I know that dentistry is a career that would allow me to employ my adeptness with my hands to take care of others. Luckily, I was also able to feel the satisfaction and fulfillment of helping others first hand through my internship at CommuniCare Peterson dental clinic in Woodland— an organization that provides healthcare to the local low income populace. At the clinic I witnessed many patients who, despite suffering from poor dental health, decide to forgo dental care due to financial difficulties. However, seeing the caring dentists of CommuniCare push aside financial problems and focus first on relieving patients from their pain, reiterated to me that helping others as a dentist is a gift within itself. My duties at the clinics were to learn from the dentists, ensure a cleanly and sanitized environment, and most importantly, ease patients’ worries and pains by interacting with them. Although minuscule in comparison to dentists’ responsibilities, my duties gave me a feeling of gratification as I was able to contribute to improving others’ well-being. As a dentist, not only will I fulfill my passion to help the under-served in a significant way, I will also be challenging myself with the dexterously demanding aspect of dentistry.

    2. What is your present preparedness and suitability for entering that health profession? Use this section to address any academic problems you have incurred and how you have dealt with them.

    The experiences that I have accumulated throughout my time at University of California Davis have helped me prepare to become a successful dentist. Every job and internship has taught me essential skills that have made me a stronger individual. While my first dental internship at CommuniCare’s Peterson clinic has taught me professionalism through conversations with dentists and patients, my first job as a Student Assistant at IT Services has helped developed my critical thinking skills. As a student assistant at IT Services I was responsible for responding to emergency calls from professors to resolve technological problems that occur during a class. Not only did I have to practice my communication when I spoke with professors, but I also had to be able to think on my feet as every problem was unique. This experience also taught me to work efficiently under pressure. With every second that a problem persists students’ time and education were being squandered. This opportunity has facilitated in developing my ability to think critically and work proficiently under pressure.Following my job at IT Services I acquired two more jobs— one at Plant Pathology at UC Davis, and the other at MarroneBio Innovations. Both experiences had allowed me the opportunity to work in a laboratory environment. In the laboratory I was able to apply my knowledge of scientific techniques such as sterilization, purifying and amplifying DNA, and polymerase chain reaction— all things I had once learned on a theoretic basis in the classroom. As an accomplished dentist, one must be able to constantly absorb new information and assimilate it into physical application. During my time at these jobs, I learned how to do just that. I incorporated my education with my work to expand the knowledge I had already acquired from the classroom and to develop new innovative techniques to use in the laboratory. Although these experiences have shaped me into a well-rounded and prepared applicant for dental school, my grades prior to this point do not reflect my readiness. My grades have slumped during my earlier years because I was still searching for what I wanted to be. However, now that I am fully committed to becoming a dentist, I have overcome the slump in my grades and demonstrated that I have the mind-set and passion to be a successful dental student through my internship and work experiences.

    3. What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in preparing for your chosen health profession? (Feel free to include any issues concerning your ethnic, racial, and cultural background)

    As the first generation American in my family, I did not face the kinds of hardships my parents had faced. My parents have gone through great adversities to be able to raise me in a life full of opportunities.
    My parents were raised in GuangZhou, China in the early 1950’s. During that time dentistry was not taught as an occupation in schools, but instead it was a profession that was passed from generation to generation. Without a choice, my parents were both steered towards a life of dentistry under my grandfather’s guidance. As dentists, my family was better off than many others, but my parents did not see a future of dentistry for me. They wanted me to have an option in life, to pursue a career that would make me happy, without hindrance from the financial and social problems that once limited them.
    My mother and grandmother immigrated to China in the early 1990’s, and soon after, I was brought into the world. Due to their lack of an education in English and the difficulties in finding a job because of it, my father had decided to remain in China to work in order to support our new life. I spent much of my childhood with my grandmother, as my mother was away at school learning English. Without of my parents’ presence, I grew to become an independent person. As a first generation American, the English language came natural to me. For this, I was confident and often acted as a translator for my parents. This exposed me to the many obligations my parents had undertaken, and the difficulties they were experiencing by not understanding English; however, it was these incidents that have made me more understanding and grateful for their hard work. I was also facing privations at school as I was never able to receive help with my studies from my parents, because they never received a formal education. However, having been given such a fortunate life and boundless opportunities, I was determined to strive and succeed in achieving my goals regardless of the obstacles set before of me.
    Although I was brought to America with the opportunity to stray from the path of dentistry and chase my own dreams, I believe that the lessons I have learned throughout my life have made me into a person who is empathetic, compassionate, and assiduous—characteristics I have seen in the many dentist in my life.

    4. How have you used the resources available to you to help others?

    Having witnessed and conversed with many individuals whom have faced great hardships, I have come to realize that many things we utilize every day can be considered a luxury for others. I believe that there are many resources in my life that can be used and shared to benefit others. During my time at UC Davis I have participated in several community service events. As a student of a university, I have often heard people gripe about having to live off of Hot Pockets or Top Ramen. I too am guilty of having my fair share of complaints. But the memory of the streets of China where hundreds of starving homeless line the sidewalk, made me feel truly remorseful for the hot meals I have taken for granted. Coincidentally, I had assisted a graduate student who frequently discussed his involvement with a soup chicken. He informed me about a program called Chow Night, which is aimed to provide a warm meal for homeless/low-income families every Thursday. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and volunteered to help. During the event I assisted in the preparation, cooking, and serving of food. Seeing the look of satisfaction on peoples’ faces after consuming a hot meal made me joyous and ecstatic. I was ecstatic that hard work and just several hours could change somebody’s life.With an able body, I wanted to put my health and youthfulness to use. I have done so by volunteering as a runner in Davis’ Heroes Run 5K marathon, and donating blood at the Davis campus blood drive. In both high school and college I have greatly enjoyed running. After receiving an email about the beginning of the first annual Davis’ Heroes Run marathon, I knew that this was a perfect opportunity to do something I enjoyed, while raising money for the Davis Scholarship Fund which will benefit many students who face financial difficulties. Another opportunity to aid others came to me as Blood Source hosted a blood drive on Davis campus. Although I had never given blood before, I valued the idea that one donation of blood could save up to three lives. With this in mind, I eagerly registered and made my first donation.I am grateful for the life I have been blessed with, and the wonderful opportunities that I have encountered to be able to help others through the use of my resources. I am excited and ready to continue applying myself and doing everything I can to benefit others.

    5. What type of health profession practice do you envision establishing after your professional training has been completed? (Include demographics of patient population and location)

    After completing my professional training as a dentist, I aspire to open a private practice or work with a dentist who has already established a practice. I will care for patients of all ethnicity, age, and background, and provide a wide range of dental care options. Coming from a family who has emigrated from China and has faced many hardships, I feel empathy for those who follow the same path. As an Asian-American, I feel a deep connection with the Chinese culture; however, I want to help all ethnicity of people. As I have seen during my dental internships, many clinics and offices have many employees who can translate between doctor and patient; I wish to employ the same methodology in my practice, so that I will be able to serve not just the Chinese populace, but also people of various backgrounds. Although my family has been lucky enough to have had a stable source of income, many families who immigrate to America end up becoming the low-income underserved populace in society. My experiences through college have shown me the importance of helping others, and the joy that emerges from doing so. My involvement with CommuniCare dental clinics and CDA Cares have allowed me to experience the gratification of helping others. And to be able witness the look of happiness on peoples’ faces when they receive quality dental care at an affordable price, or even free, is priceless. I will strive to provide affordable dental care to low-income families and communities. I seek to achieve the goals of my practice while staying in California. However, I also have a desire to travel abroad to volunteer my skills as a dentist to other countries. My grandfather was raised in an underserved community. After becoming a dentist, he gave back to the society which raised him by opening a dental clinic in his hometown. With the passing away of my grandfather, his clinic is remotely operated from America by my father. I dream of returning to my grandfather’s clinic as a dentist, and to provide dental care for the community which has been the stem of my family’s commitment to dentistry. Ideally, I will open a private practice in California and to provide quality dental care to the underserved population; however, regardless of whether my practice is private or public, in California or even China, I solely want to apply my skills as a dentist and give back to the community.

    Thank you in advance!
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