Signora Ferro lay heavily on the gurney which threatened to succumb to her enormous body. The air
smelled of fresh sweat, unwashed bodies, and rotting flesh. The doctor to my side shook her head at the site of the
gangrene on her foot which now seemed to be taking over her entire leg. Signora Ferro was likely in her late thirties,
but homelessness, poor hygiene and even poorer nutrition had begun to take a toll and had changed her appearance
to that of a fifty-year old woman. Her condition was so severe that her entire foot was amputated and even this
drastic measure was not enough to guarantee her condition would not worsen. I will never forget the look of utter
desperation and hopelessness with which her gaze met mine.
I was born and raised in Europe until the age of thirteen (my mother is German and my father Italian) and
during my semester abroad, I decided to utilize the opportunity to explore healthcare in Italy. My jobs included
shadowing and assisting the doctors at the clinic as well as on a motor home transformed for the purpose of traveling
to locations such as the central stations to cater specifically to illegal immigrant patients, who otherwise, had no
access to medical care. Signora Ferro was no exception to this rule.
Being a doctor encompasses much more than being intelligent and having achieved expertise in the field.
Without a genuine drive to make a difference in another’s life, and the courage to stand tall in the face of
uncertainty, the best academic is just a mediocre physician. When I was twelve, my mother and step-father decided
to leave Germany and move to a small town in northern California. As a teenager, it was difficult enough to leave
my home, my friends, and my father. The situation was further aggravated by the fact that I spoke very little English
and thus was unable to communicate with my peers and make new friends, let alone what was being taught in class.
Many times I almost lost hope, but my determination to succeed and overcome my obstacles drove me and enabled
me to graduate third in my class.
During my first year of college, I stumbled upon a genetics class for non-majors. I quickly became
uncharacteristically infatuated with the subject, especially in regards to human diseases. Upon completion of a few
more science classes, I changed my major from psychology to biology and enrolled in every science class related to
medicine. The most influential course I have taken is Biology of Cancer because it applied empirically acquired
knowledge to designing...