23 Jan

By the age of eight, I had already determined that I wanted to be a doctor. I found the idea of helping people overcome their illnesses as a cherishing experience, one that would not only have an impact on the life of a patient but on mine as well. As time progressed to when I had entered high school, my dream to become a doctor would still persist, but it had often refined itself several times. Now that I am a first year undergraduate, I had finally decided that I wanted to become a physician-scientist specializing in medical genetics and researching cancer biology. That would be my dream of becoming a “doctor” since the age of eight. 

“Wherever the art of medicine is Loved, there is also a love of Humanity.” ~ Hippocrates

The love to help others and assist them through their troubled times developed at a very young age. I would always find satisfaction in realizing that an action I took benefited the life of another, no matter how big or how small the deed was. Though it would be wrong to assume that I was born with such a heart and such a mindset for helping others, but rather I was raised with these values very early in my life. My mother and my father, and even the things I learned from my grandmother, are all responsible for my passion for “caring for others”; and if I were to ever become anything great in this world, it began with the values they taught me.

By the time I arrived in elementary school, my passion for “caring for others” would develop into a dream for “caring for patients”. I recall many times that I said that I wanted “to become a pediatrician”, perhaps because I was inspired by my own pediatrician, or perhaps because that was the only type of doctor I knew of at the time. Either way, my dream by the time I was in third grade was to become a “doctor”. 

Moreover, by the time I left third grade, I would experience one of the most life defining moments I would ever face—the loss of my hero.

Just a month shy of my ninth birthday, I would lose my father one night due to the unfathomable stroke. As a young elementary school child, comprehending the magnitude of such a loss would not be understood until several years later. Though his loss was the most difficult experience in my life, it has also given me a new perspective on the value of a human life, and from that point forward a career in medicine would become a mission.

Six years later when I arrived in high school, my desire to become a doctor would seldom shift to other profound professions. Entering into my sophomore year, I would be introduced to the studies of chemistry and biology at the same time. As passionately curious as I am, I had also studied physics through external learning tools. Together, these three sciences would captivate my interest unlike any other time of my life in the past six years. Due to these scientific disciplines, I would shift my career goal from doctor to biochemist to physicist to chemical engineer then back to doctor many times during my sophomore year. By the time I was in my junior year, I had begun to lean heavily toward a profession of science, but I had also wanted a career to exercise my lifelong desire of “caring for others”. At this point, I knew what I wanted to do, but did not know of a career name for it. I would often search for career paths that intersected the professions of doctors and scientists, and eventually I would learn about biomedical research. Midway through my junior year of high school, I knew that I wanted to become a physician-scientist, an MD/PhD, a doctor and a researcher—I wanted to change the world in new, profound ways.

“The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.” ~ Albert Einstein

Through my development over the years, I had learned quite a few things about myself. For one, I loved to see joy and happiness in others, and if it was lacking I wanted to “problem-solve” and make it better. Leading into another thing, I became so logical over my young academic career, hence the passionate intrigue for science, that I wanted to solve the world’s largest problems in medicine and human health. And lastly, my drive behind all of this—Why I Chose to Pursue Medicine—is that I never want people and their families to suffer through a loss of a loved one as I have before. Thus, I seldom think of my dreams as “pursuing medicine”, but as a dream of “pursuing an opportunity to create a better world”. That would be the dream I have had since the age of eight.

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