Why I Chose the Pre-Medicine Path
Ever since I was a little girl, my father, who is a physician, told me that I have to be a doctor when I grow up. Surrounded by doctors in my family, I was raised thinking that this was my fate. Somewhere down the road, I realized that medicine is what I want my future to be. I told myself I would do whatever it takes to reach my goal. Even if the rigorous coursework and busy schedule is a challenge for me, it is an obstacle I must pass in order to achieve my ultimate goal. But how did I become so adamant on this mission in my mind? I would say that this dedication developed because of my passion. Ever since high school, I have been very active in social work. Engaging in community service and helping people to any capacity that I could. In my undergraduate years I have volunteered and interned in a variety of medical settings, including clinics, hospitals and a hospice. I realized that the field of medicine is probably the ultimate form of “helping others” because in this profession, one helps individuals to improve their health, and therefore their lives.
I have been very fortunate because I have had the opportunity to travel abroad a few times during the past few years for service. I realized that healthcare perception varies so greatly across the world. I began to read books by Paul Farmer, an MD who calls himself a “poor people’s doctor” and who dedicated himself to serving people in areas where health care access was scarce. His intelligence as a physician and his amazing contributions to the lives of many inspired me, and this is why I went on my first medical mission to Tanzania. In Tanzania I saw the direct impact of providing access to health care in areas where there is a shortage – it changes lives. As I helped treat patients in the Tanzanian communities and saw the content and gratitude patients felt after being treated, it warmed my heart like nothing else ever has; it was so rewarding. I realized that I wanted to make these positive contributions to the lives of individuals for the rest of my life. I enjoy gaining knowledge, so I can obtain it and be in the position where I have the capacity to help those who need it, in the way that Paul Farmer does; maybe I can be called a “poor people’s doctor” one day. Being in this position has become my ultimate goal.
This epiphany came to me in the midst of my undergraduate years, as I struggled through rigorous pre-medicine courses. During moments of frustration, I would remind myself that these trials are just small bumps on the road to my ultimate destination – becoming a doctor. Like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, sometimes I feel like my goal is impossible to reach. But then, I think that “at the end of a rainbow, there is a pot of gold” and becoming a doctor is my “pot of gold”. No matter how many twists and turns there are until I get to the end of the rainbow, I will do what it takes to get to my pot of gold. A little bit of passion goes a long way. I advise all pre-health students to find that passion, and make it the driving force behind your ultimate goal. If you really want to achieve your goal, no hurdles in the path should be able to stop you. I have found this to be a very fruitful approach to dealing with the rigor of the pre-medicine path.
Mehak Haq, 2015