After reading a few of the personal statements sent to me, I realized some people might not understand what a personal statement should be and look like. When I was writing mine, a book from Barrons, 40 essays that will get you into medical school, showed me how to write a personal statement and what should be in it. I think we old people who have gooton in should post our personal statements so that other people will have an idea of what is expected. So a preface on mine. I'm not sure it was a good essay. I think I might have scareed some schools off, but I felt I needed to tell my story how it happened. Since my parents were missionaries, I grew up in a family that emphasized helping others. By showing compassion and caring, they were able to help other people improve their lives. I could see how happy people were after my parents worked with them, and I knew that I wanted to do something similar. When I was 8 years old, we moved from the Philippines to San Bernardino. It was quite a shock to go from a Third World country with few amenities, to the United States where there was fast food, consistent hot water, and, until recently, no brown outs. I quickly adjusted and felt very fortunate to live in the United States. Nevertheless, while San Bernardino is a better place to live than the Philippines, it was still a very poor, gang infested area. Most of my friends had only one working parent and no role models to encourage or challenge them, and consequently they had very low expectations for the future. As a result, academic achievement was never a major priority. In fact, less than 50% of my class graduated from high school. Most of my closest friends are still living at home, and are stuck with no way to make a better life for themselves. I was fortunate in that my parents always stressed achievement and the value of education. Because of their encouragement, I was of the very few to make it to a high quality, upper level university. During my first year and a half at UCLA, I really had no direction. I initially was a chemical engineering major, mainly because my parents recommended it. However, I soon realized that I would not be happy as a chemical engineer. There is limited human contact and no opportunity to directly help people. I lacked motivation and structure, and because of this my grades suffered. My parents became alarmed by my grades, so they introduced me to a family friend and physician, Dr. Charles Hyman. After a few sessions with Dr. Hyman, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) along with some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) characteristics. He provided me with recommendations on how I could cope. For example, I used to get bored studying in a library, and would walk out after a brief time. Dr. Hyman suggested that I study in a coffee house so that if I was bored, I could find a short distraction and quickly return to studying. I also made various other changes to improve my academic and social life. My grades improved and I started enjoying college much more. My experience with Dr. Hyman also gave me a professional direction. After only a few sessions, he was able to markedly improve my life. I realized that as a physician I could help others, like Dr. Hyman did for me, while being in a challenging and intellectually stimulating field. After seeing Dr. Hyman, I took Dr. Steven Clarke?s biochemistry class. The complex mechanisms that regulate various cellular pathways fascinated me, and I switched my major to biochemistry. I then joined the laboratory of Dr. Albert Courey where I have been studying different proteins involved in the developmental processes of drosophila. By understanding how these proteins function we hope to gain more insight into human developmental processes. I also decided to get a minor in neuroscience because I want to better understand the relationship between the brain and behavior. I have enjoyed taking these classes and look forward to learning more about human function and disease. As I progressed down this path, I realized that I wanted to help out in underserved communities, such as the ones where I grew up. The fact that my parents emphasized education enabled me to position myself for a successful career and a strong future. This fact motivated me to help educate inner-city kids. I joined a program where I am helped teach 2nd grade children in south central LA how to read. At first I was shocked by how poor these kids? reading skills were and the measures they took to hide their deficiencies. For example, one student had memorized all the words of a couple of books and always read those books so people would think she knew how to read. Since I have been working with these children, there has been substantial improvement in their reading skills. I find it very gratifying to know I have made an impact. I realized that a teacher, like a doctor or a missionary, could make a huge positive impact on people on a daily basis. In the past year, I also started volunteering at the ER of King-Drew, a hospital dedicated to the underserved community of South Central LA. Because I work on the weekends, I am frequently the only volunteer in the ER, and I am able to see and help with the best cases. During this time I have been able to ventilate a patient, assist a doctor putting in a naso-trachial line, and participate in many other procedures. Frequently, I?ve seen how much a doctor can help a person in their greatest time of need. My experiences in the ER reinforced my desire to become a physician. I?ve come to realize that medicine offers the perfect combination of teaching, an intellectually stimulating environment, and best of all the ability to help people, and I look forward to learning about the field as a medical student.