Neuroscience Personal Statement
Submitted by Olivia
The brain, to me, is such a complex and sovereign organism that has influence over the internal mechanisms and this has always allured to me. My true fascination has manifested from observing the external factors that can affect the function of the brain. From a young age I have been exposed to addiction; a factor which I believe has incited a passion within me to pursue a neurological career. I have witnessed the physical and psychological effects that an alcohol addiction has over an individual, and in my seventeen years the greatest thing that I have observed is the pattern of habits that relapse and evolve with an addiction. Although this can be a truly upsetting environment to have been around, I have learnt that the brain and mind, like many other things in life, are susceptible to error. This is something I wish to delve deeper into in my studies.
Whilst in a philosophy lesson in which we were exploring the issue of whether the evil and suffering that exists in this world can be reconciled with an omnibenevolent God, I first encountered the contribution of Paul Kalanithi to the debate. Intrigued by his approach of harmonising his neurosurgical practice with his faith, all the while accepting the terminal diagnosis of lung cancer, I read his 'When Breath Becomes Air'. The line; '...the fact that brains give rise to our ability to form relationships and make life meaningful. Sometimes they break', resonates with me and opened my eyes to the importance of neurological development in the world today. Ethics classes have made me become more acquainted to discussions regarding the psychological involvement in notorious crimes, for example, the influence of OCD and Asperger's Syndrome on the 2013 Sandy Hook perpetrator Adam Lanza. I enjoy engaging in these lessons, and at times challenging other classmates as I acknowledge that there can be many ways to psychologically tackle these dilemmas.
Biology, I believe, has provided me with the skills required in both neuroscience and psychology. In class we regularly practice experimental techniques such as microscopy which I know will be utilised when studying the brain closely. The most prominent thing that biology has given to me is the ability to study the systematic nature of our body, and how even the 'simplest' bodily function requires nervous stimulation. I often leave lessons perplexed yet fascinated by the human body, and even more astonished by the paramountcy of the brain within the body; something that I would be grateful to study at university. Studying health and social care at A level has given me the opportunity to explore the physical, mental and social affects that neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's can have on an individual, with such chronic diseases like this on the rise I believe that my knowledge from studying this subject would aid any future research.
I have worked as an optical assistant in a local optician's for over a year now. This job has given me the opportunity to develop and display skills of applying my knowledge in independent and team settings. I have been trained in conducting field tests, which has further increased my interest in studying the brain as these tests can correlate optical health with neurological health.
In my spare time I attend the gym regularly and practice yoga and mindfulness; keeping me physical and mentally fit. Both of these activities have shown to have great psychological benefits, and I would say I am an advocate of this. I also enjoy reading and learning about psychological theories and developments via YouTube and the news. For example, I recently read of the 2017 Nobel Prize winners for physiology who discovered that our cells have a 'body clock' explaining human sleep and behaviour patterns. This has truly fascinated me and one day I hope to embrace the opportunity to make such scientific development like this.