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Personal Statement

Essay by   •  February 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  798 Words (4 Pages)  •  899 Views

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As I watched my mother rush to get the pot to boil some water with tears in

her eyes, I found myself at the mercy of one of the many asthma attacks that

presided over most of my childhood. Most of the houses around our neighborhood

in Juarez, Mexico were composed of one large room with a stove, bed, something

to sit on and no restroom, so getting to the steaming pot was only a few feet

away. Desperately trying to grasp for air as I lay on the couch, I wanted

relief not only for myself, but also for my loving mother. Understanding of

what was causing the onset of my respiratory problems became a quest. I did not

understand why I had a high temperature, why I had to breathe the mist of the

vaporized water, or why I had to use an inhaler. However, I did understand that

those things made me feel better, and without them I could not breathe

properly. As I grew older, biology became my fascination because it helped me

understand my illness and not feel quite so helpless in regards to my asthma.

Ignorance was a part of my life, but not by choice. I grew up in an area where

education was limited. My role models relied on tradition and rumors instead of

facts in order to solve problems. When I was seven, one of the neighbor's

children picked up a used, dried-out condom from the park in front of my house.

He then proceeded to throw it at me while laughing hysterically as it landed on

my shirt, and said, "You have AIDS!" I thought I was going to die. I asked my

grandfather if a person could acquire AIDS from a condom landing on their

shirt. He simply replied, "Yes." A month went by before I realized I was not

dying. The stress and fear that haunted me was a result of ignorance. In

effect, I was motivated to go down the path of knowledge, not ignorance.

While sixteen and in college, there were times when neither my parents nor I

could afford my textbooks, and I had to study for my classes solely from

lecture notes. Working two jobs was the solution to my financial problems. I

was recommended and hired for a position as an attendant to Gregory, a 22-year-

old male with cerebral palsy. After my experience with Gregory I realized that

I, too, had a disability by thinking of cerebral palsy as depressing and

socially segregating. It takes a while to figure out that Greg is

incapacitated because he is so vivid and full of energy contagious

to everyone around him. He has had multiple operations to make his limbs

stronger and his joints more flexible. Because of great desire to live and with

the help of his doctors, Greg has now his own paper shredding business, rides a

tricycle, maneuvers himself around with a walker, won first and second places

for horseback riding, and is big flirt with girls. This experience helped me

develop better communication skills not only with Greg, but

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