Dental School, Bilingual, Bicultural, Columbian

Sometimes I have dreams about getting accepted to dental school - or more frequently still, nightmares about being rejected. I have great hope for several reasons. First, I am Hispanic and not just bilingual but also bicultural since I grew up in Colombia. Second, I have distinguished myself in my volunteer work at a local homeless shelter, mostly in the kitchen, as well as countless hours invested in Autism consciousness raising events, primarily setting things up and taking them down. The center of my world is my community involvement and contribution. Dentistry is my chosen path.

Born in Medellin, Colombia, I lived there for 10 years before moving to Miami; my entire family is from Colombia.  Graduating from high school in 2009 and earning my college degree in Biology in 2015, I have distinguished myself most of all as a very enthusiastic volunteer, primarily at XXXX House, a community shelter and kitchen for the homeless, along with helping out with a broad variety of charity events directed primarily to the Spanish-speaking community. I have many Cuban as well as Colombian friends in Miami and I have learned a lot about the Caribbean. This is what I love most about Miami, the Pan-Hispanic community. In college I was very active with the pre-dental club and I feel strongly that these efforts have enabled me to learn many things that will be of great value to my pursuit of a career in dentistry.

I am very open to learning new things and take the time to listen to everything people have to say, always keeping an open mind. I have pride but know when to leave it at the door, almost always, humble, cheerful; I strive to be gracious and learn from my mistakes. I made the Dean's List for 4 of my 8 semesters. My greatest weakness as an applicant, however, is still probably my GPA. It would have been much higher if it were not for the fact that in the fall semester of 2013 a close family member was murdered in Colombia and the entire family relied on me for support during this very rough period. That caused my grades to drop for that semester to a 2.5 GPA since I ended up with a D in Organic Chemistry. The fact that I was able to graduate with a 3.45 GPA nevertheless, and earn a DAT of 21, speaks to my tenacity under pressure.

Since Junior High School I have been telling everyone that I want to become a dentist and all of my family members and friends have always supported that dream.10 years from now I see myself as a very hard-working orthodontist who is heavily engaged in the care of disadvantaged youth – constantly giving something back part to my community. I look forward to having a family and excelling as a husband and father as well as dentist. I want my parents and the rest of our community to be proud of me. Neither of my parents ever attended college and I am in fact only the second member of my extended family to do so. I will be the first to pursue a professional degree. My parents were wonderful in many ways, particularly insofar as they showed me much of the world growing up, which has helped me to cultivate great multicultural sensitivity and empathy, tending to think of myself as a global citizen. We visited Japan, China, India, Israel, Egypt, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain as I was growing up and staying in most of these places for weeks at a time.

I am very good at Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Basketball, and Soccer and have participated in numerous team tournaments. I go to the gym and run marathons. Finally and perhaps most importantly, I won first place in a video game fight as a result of my advanced hand-eye coordination.

My ultimate dream for the long term is to spend my final decades back in Colombia running a mobile dental clinic with a special orientation towards helping the underserved that are located in remote areas. I am curious as to what kind of 4-wheel drive vehicles might be available in another 20 to 30 years, perhaps solar powered.

What I love most about dentistry is its globalization, not in terms of commerce but humanitarian mission. The fact that the underserved in Colombia are important to the North American dental community is perhaps what makes me feel most happy to be alive at the beginning of the 21st century. My country Colombia is now signing peace accords and working hard to build a civil society that is less violent. Little, by little, I want to spend increasing time in solidarity with the dental profession in Colombia, studying, observing, helping out for the long term, building a peaceful Colombia where all people are cared for in terms of their oral health.

I thank you for considering my application to become the finest dentist possible, with a big heart, and, subsequently, great joy.

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