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Residency Neurosurgery, Canada, Archery

From early childhood, I hoped to ‘make a difference rather than merely ‘make a living, and there are few fields in which a more direct and beneficial difference is made in the life of another than through neurosurgery. The area also attracts me for the same reasons that archery (at which I excel) and flying (which I am learning) attract me; they all require extreme precision, a vital nerve, and calm confidence. I am aware of the many exciting advances being made in this field, and I am confident that I can play a part in these advances in the future.

My interest in the specialty was initially fired by meeting patients with low quality of life arising from severe neurological deficits, and this experience prompted a strong desire to help such patients to achieve as normal a life as possible. I am also fascinated by the diversity of causes, symptoms, and potential interventions, and available techniques in this field of medicine.

Throughout my medical studies, I have sought as much exposure to neurology as was possible. In my fourth year of medical studies, I spent 13 weeks in a neurosurgery rotation in 4 locations in Canada. I was exposed to a broad spectrum of neurosurgery, ranging from peripheral nerve neurosurgery to spinal surgery to brain surgery to vascular surgery. As my knowledge and skills grew, I was more involved in operating, occasionally acting as the first assistant in surgery.

This application is made after the most careful consideration and would not be made were I not convinced that I can ‘add value to this specialty and that I have the enthusiasm and other characteristics, potential, and background to enable me to become an excellent clinician, researcher, and teacher in this specialty.

I have sought to acquire as much research experience as possible in my academic career to date and have been fortunate to have assisted, and been mentored by, highly experienced and skilled medical researchers.  I believe that I have the characteristics required of a first-class researcher. My academic awards and prizes received to date will assure the reader that I am an intelligent and diligent person, and that I pursue my goals with determination and single-mindedness but with flexibility where appropriate.

After graduating with high distinction, I entered a graduate program at the Institute of Medical Science. My research involves several projects focused on kidney disease. Besides publications, I also presented my work at city conferences, rounds, and international meetings. I will defend my Ph.D. thesis in 2012. In addition to research, I continued my volunteer activity at TWH. I currently provide administrative support to XXXX's Clinic.

My ultimate ambition, having acquired significant clinical experience, is to establish my own laboratory to conduct research in the field of neuron regeneration. I hope that one day I will contribute to research that may lead to the development of techniques to enable the regeneration of neurons in the central nervous system, to promote the full recovery of sensory, motor, and cognitive functions in people who suffer from damage to their brain tissue or spinal cord.

I have always taken the view that ‘all work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ and have several hobbies that are physically and psychologically demanding. I have achieved a high standing in competitive archery and in Go-Kart racing and am immensely enjoying the challenges involved in learning to fly. At school, I became Badminton Club's president. I spent a lot of time promoting memberships, applying for funds, and planning and organizing events. My hard work paid off when the club became one of the most popular organizations on campus, with over two hundred members, in recognition of the vice-President's Leadership Appreciation Dinner.

I am a friendly person who has happily studied, socialized, worked with, and treated people from various social and ethnic backgrounds. I was raised in China, where I spent the first 16 years of my life. The aged are treated with particular respect and even reverence in my culture. This ability to connect respectfully to the aged is increasingly essential in the world of medicine, in which the challenges of an aging population are becoming more and more apparent and significant.

I also have peer-tutored students who were new immigrants. I understood that many of them were facing the same set of difficulties that had challenged me when I first came to Canada. I gained great satisfaction seeing how my efforts helped them to adapt to life here in Toronto so they could also pursue their dreams. I have also acted as an interpreter for Mandarin-speaking patients which was not only satisfying in itself but provided me with the opportunity to learn much about their various conditions, symptoms, and treatments.

I understand that residencies in this vital specialty are highly valued and that only exceptional candidates can aspire to them. I am confident that I can bring highly relevant skills, characteristics, enthusiasm, and unique insights to the program, as well as an unusually high level of potential for success within it.

Thank you for considering my application.

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