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Personal Statement for University of Illinois

My father owns a drugstore that makes traditional Indonesian herb medicine, “jamu,” produced by mixing natural herbs. From then on, I became intrigued by the effect of different medications. When I first had a chance to mix the ingredients myself, I realized that I wanted to connect my life with chemistry, with this world of secret combinations that are only available to the chosen ones.

I would often pester my father about the ingredients of his “jamu,” and go to his library to read more about it. Once, I discovered that “alang-alang,” a herb that belongs to the grass family, can be used to inhibit cancer growth. Remembering the agony my late grandfather suffered from terminal stage of lung cancer; I was determined to cure people of cancer. This discovery has made me even more determined to learn about the effects of “jamu” and medicines in general.

Early this year, I was elected event coordinator of the International Full Gospel Club (IFGC).

During my tenure as the event coordinator of IFGC, we held a social event in May 2005, in which an organized panel of speakers, talked and shared their experiences to the students about their occupational fields. We did this because we knew that many students were still not sure about their majors. It was no surprise that the event was a success.

I value this experience in that it forced me to develop my personal as well as my organizational skills further. It also helped me to improve my creativity. I have been the IFGC’s event coordinator for six months, and in that short period, I learned about program planning, publicity, the value of working together, fundraising, and the importance of maintaining an optimistic attitude.
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One of the qualities that I cherish is my proven ability to coach fellow students. My friends to whom I taught chemistry have always appreciated my patience in helping them study and answer their questions on the difficult points they missed in class. I never hesitate to work with people from other countries, despite the language barrier that I endure at times. I enjoy this activity not only because it helps me to understand the subject better, but also it gives me a sense of accomplishment to see others succeed in the class.

My personal experiences drive me to become a biochemist. Last December, working in my Aunt’s pharmacy in Indonesia, I had the chance to work with professional pharmacists. I had the opportunity to gain a practical experience of the knowledge that I learned from books. I much enjoyed learning how the unique effects of each herb could be combined to produce a different medicine.

For instance, “temulawak,” a kind of ginger, can cure hepatitis. Although initially, I was only learning the effect of each herb, through experience, I managed to deduce the effects of mixing different herbs. Also, I learned that some herbs, like “kecubung” and “warangan”, cannot be mixed as they can cause blood coagulation.

I would be happy to share my tutoring skills and personal experiences at the University of Illinois. I hope that my new peers will benefit from my patience and willingness to help.

Ultimately, I hope to help myself and others to succeed as biochemists and pharmacists. It is a noble occupation aimed at helping other people, and I believe that by striving to achieve this goal I will become a better person as well.