How does the human brain work? How do hormones and chemicals affect out behavior and overall health? What could have gone so wrong to have pushed a rather seemingly normal young man to the edge resulting to a nervous breakdown? These are the constant questions tat lingered in my mind on a quite morning as I watched my friend carried away from his house to be taken for further care in the hospital. Maybe I was oblivious to the symptoms, or maybe I did not know what to look for or better yet, did not know how to differentiate normal from abnormal. Regardless, I was unable to recognize any symptoms of neurological dysfunction that significantly affected my friend’s mental health. I have been told it is not my fault, that I am too hard on myself. But what most people do not recognize is that I do not blame myself, but rather, the situation made me more curious about neuroscience and learning more about its implication in psychiatric care.
Growing up, I was not always sure about the career path that I would pursue. Every other week, I would have a different feeling or idea about what my future would entail. However, I distinctly remember the first biology lesson where I learned about the brain. There was something appealing, dare I say even seductive about knowing the functioning of the human brain that drew me to neuroscience. I was not only determinized to know more about it but also pursue a career in the medical filed. Since then, I have worked hard towards this goal by not only maintaining good grades but also volunteering in related fields.
However, I have to say with that the encounter with my friend unlocked a passion in me that I was unaware even existed. I realized that my true passion is not only to help people but also to understand how the human brain functions. For instance, I have learned that at the core of every function, there are different levels of cooperation stating from cellular level to the system level. The body is connected and the functioning of one-part affects or results to a series of action. Neuroscience, which deals with understanding the mapping and functioning of the brain lays at the center of understanding how the body works as a system in general. I am interested and curious to learn about how the body recognized foreign objects and how an immune system is initiated even without our knowledge.
Additionally, I am excited to learn about how chemicals such as dopamine affect our mood and behavior and the side effects of overflow or lack of these chemicals in the brain. The human brain is undoubtedly one of the most powerful creations system in the universe. There is so much to learn and also discover and I am excited and looking forward to begin this journey at Columbia University through the Pre-College Program. At the same time, the current pandemic has been an eye opener to the global challenges that we face in the medical field. If anything, COVID-19 has taught me on the important of improving global health to avoid similar situations. In my perspective, improving health involves ensure better physical and mental health which bring me back to my interest in acquiring relevant skills in neuroscience. Needless to say, I would be honored to be part of your programs as I continue to improve on my knowledge and understanding in the field of neuroscience.
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