My father and mother immigrated with me to America from Sri Lanka in 1976, new parents in a new country. Two small suitcases held their lives, raw from culture shock, to be transplanted in snowy soil. Being the daughter of a physician, I was instilled with a deep respect for the healing professions at a young age. My parents were both very strong examples for me. They were determined, extremely hard-working, and they concentrated on us kids as if nothing else in the world mattered. Their influence shaped me in my formative years and embedded a strong need within me to nurture. I wanted to be a person people went to when they were in pain so I could give them one less thing to cry about; one less thing to worry about; one less thing to have to suffer through, because, despite its beauty, life already held enough pain.
My initial interest in dentistry began when I was studying microbiology. My respect for the damage microbes could render caused me to turn my attention towards the preventive aspect of dentistry. It was at an SHPA guest lecture that I met my first dentist mentor. After day one of volunteering at his office, I regretted that I hadn’t considered dentistry sooner. I volunteered at the UCLA dental clinic, and was blown away by their dental school. I thought the only way I could attend UCLA dental, or any dental school in California for that matter, was only in my dreams.
When viewed in its entirety, the application process looked like one great big tangled ball of yarn, but the Health Professions Office calmly unraveled it all for me. They gave me their big blue application timeline, wound me up, and pointed me in the right direction. They repeatedly went over my personal statement with a fine-toothed comb until it was perfect. I can’t even begin to describe what a huge relief it was during that terribly stressful time. My acceptance to UCLA dental school is in no small part due to the support of Ms. Barb Hoke and the Health Professions Committee. I came to them with this wisp of a dream, and they helped me buckle down to make it my reality. Choosing to attend Cal State Fullerton will always be among the best life decisions I have ever made.