Why I do what I do.

People ask and I do to myself as well, why do you pursue being a doctor? It’s such a rough lifestyle, pay is very little, you are essentially tied down to working at a hospital for a good portion of your day (and sometimes it will even go over 24 hours as the policy is that residents aren’t allowed to be kept at the hospital past 30 hours).

And I do ask myself too, why did I pursue this career above everything else? Why didn’t I go with something where I could have a normal life, have a family, and just settle? The process overall is just so rough, it gets lonely, and it’s so ever changing that you have to always figure out a new way out.

Then I remembered. I recently watched a CNN special about the 8 children I believed who survived the Oklahoma City bombing back in 1995. There was one child from a Vietnamese family who is currently attending college at Oklahoma State. He expressed that at times he felt guilty for being one who survived and that it gave him more motivation to strive to become someone iconic in his life, to do not just well but live all to the fullest because he was given this opportunity to live.

Though there is a huge myriad of reasons for why I love medicine, above all, the biggest reason would be when I was a senior in college. There was a girl I knew who was taking the premedical courses with me. She was just the absolute perfect candidate for medical school: extremely active, smart enough to just barely touch a book and still ace an exam, and the most down-to-earth person you could ever meet. Yes, I was extremely jealous of her because here I was, working my butt off 10x that of anyone else and the fact that I was not a U.S. resident really played against me. I’d see people with similar scores to myself get accepted easily into a state medical school just because they had state residential statuses.

Then an accident happened which involved the life of her and 4 others. It was probably the largest tragic incident in a while in my college’s history. And it made me realize then …. that I for one, should not be complaining. I have been given the opportunity to live my life to the fullest and I should really seize this chance while I still have it, it gave me the motivation to work harder and to not despair so quickly because hey, just because someone else has everything that you don’t, it all means nothing when they’re no longer living. It gave me a stronger appreciation to my life and to everyone around me. It is odd how the death of someone you barely knew can really affect your outlook on everything. To this day, about 4 years after the incident, I still cry when I think or talk about this story. It is actually very hard for me to tell it without breaking down into a flood of tears. Even writing it now here I can feel the water welling up in my eyes. Some may take it as too intense or depressing when they hear this story but for me, it is where my inspiration and determination stem from. It gave me clarity to the life I wanted to lead, to how much I wanted to leave a mark on this world as someone who was so involved in making change and moving along with it as it happened.

This incident gave me the opportunity to live without fear (as I am quite the scaredy cat). It gave me the chance to have a stronger positive outlook on life, that no matter what happened, everything will work out because hey, I’m still alive. I no longer did anything for the sake of security, I did it because I really wanted to.

So there you have it. My reasons for becoming a physician …. though they do involve the passion to help people, there was much more behind it than that. Despite all the drawbacks of becoming one, I have no doubt in my mind that this is what I always wanted to become.

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