I've wanted to be a doctor since I was six. That was the year my father lost his leg in a serious car accident and spent three months in the Tarrytown Rehabilitation Hospital. I was exceptionally close to my dad and accompanied my mother to visit him whenever we were allowed. While the initial site of my father in a staid, strange-smelling environment was frightening, I realized quickly that the place was positive and full of good energy. This place and these people dressed in white were going to help my father get better. I couldn't imagine anything more wonderful.
My visits to my dad weren't limited to his bed or to the hospital lobby. I accompanied him to his physical therapy sessions and cheered him on as he regained strength in his upper arms. I watched while he learned to operate a wheelchair and and was amazed to see him actually "walk" with the aid of a prosthetic leg. I believed that every doctor who helped my dad was a saint and that they couldn't possibly do anything more rewarding with their lives.
When I announced to my family that year that I wanted to be a doctor, they thought it was cute. No one realized the epiphany I had at the rehabilitation facility. But I've worked hard for the past twelve years with the single-minded goal of becoming a physician. I've successfully completed every honors class in science and math that my school offers. I've entered (and placed) in every science fair in the state with entries that examine the effect of physical therapy on the recovery of athletic injuries. I remain fascinated by the human body and its remarkable ability to repair itself.
Two years ago I began volunteering at the Tarrytown Rehabilitation Facility, where my...