This personal statement got her into Neuroscience courses at University College London, King’s College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester and University of Bristol.
When I first attempted meditation, I was engrossed by the state of emptiness in my mind I was able to achieve, which led me to contemplate how the brain actually functions. Subsequently, I was exposed to the Buddhist view of perception and consciousness; as a keen scientific inquirer, this sparked my fascination towards investigating matters of the mind from a scientific perspective. From reading David’s Eagleman’s ‘Incognito’, the power of the subconscious mind in executing our auto responses left me enthralled and pondering upon the complexity of the neural processes that underpin our behaviour.
I chose to study Biology and Chemistry in IBDP in order to gain deeper understanding of the anatomy and the chemistry of the human body. The neurobiology option in Biology particularly interested me as it explores not only the structure of the brain but also how behaviour and cognitive abilities, to a certain extent, have been genetically predetermined by the process of natural selection. This led me to further inquire into the relationship between our brain and behaviour in my Theory of Knowledge presentation, in which I investigated the accuracy of our sense perception as a way of judging human behaviour from a neuroscientific viewpoint. In addition, I learnt in mathematics how the subject can be applied to problem solving in various instances; for example, the way in which graph theory can be used to map and model the vast network of neurons in the brain.
During the summer, I completed an internship at the School of Biosciences at Taylor’s University. I had the chance to work with postgraduate students of wide-ranging cultural backgrounds which provided me with an eye-opening experience of being immersed within the scientific community for the first time. Throughout my time there, I was required to independently carry out my own experiments using advanced lab techniques, which helped me to develop my investigative and analytical skills. I was also presented with the opportunity to attend an international food science conference, witnessing the exchange of scientific knowledge and opinions at a highly intellectual level.
Furthermore, I shadowed a pediatrician at a local hospital to find out more about the development of cognitive learning. Communication and interaction with the children and their parents helped hone my interpersonal skills in a new environment. Through discussions with the doctors and my own observations, I was intrigued to discover the different developmental stages of child behavior and how it relied very much on their innate gut responses more than reasoning or anything else. When I volunteer with Burmese refugee children who come weekly to my school, it is important for me to recognise the level of their learning abilities in order to organise educational activities suitable for them. Although language and cultural barriers make it more challenging, being able to make an impact in their lives is truly rewarding.
By constantly being active in various cognitive activities, I allow my brain to retain its neuroplasticity and improve my everyday life. I am involved in cross country, badminton, taekwondo and also serve as the captain of my school’s basketball team. I embrace my creative side as yearbook designer and occasionally writing press articles for newspapers. I am also part of the school’s string ensemble and performed in various shows and concerts in and out of school. My engagement in the student council as senior committee leader and the organising committee of my school’s first MUN conference allowed me to develop my time management and leadership skills.
I wish to pursue a research career in neuroscience in order to explore the myriad of other possibilities of the brain. Besides understanding neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, I believe that greater research into the brain’s potential of enhancing learning and behaviour can also help advance the lives of the neurologically healthy.
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