The Story of how i Chose Medicine
My reasons for choosing medicine was a gradual process, rather than the result of one watershed moment in my life. I was born in Ghana and was adopted in 2010, along with my older brother by our now American parent, when our mother died. For as long as I could remember, my biological mother sold “used clothing” from a tiny table near the entrance of one of the few Hospitals in Accra, Ghana. She was one of seven children and only managed to complete middle school due to poverty. She never earned much, but as a single mother, the little money she scraped together selling used clothing, sometimes in the drenching rain and the scorching sun, helped put us through middle school and the beginning of high school. Her selfless act kept our dreams alive, that one day, we will be able to realize our full potentials. She never gave up. Hard work and selflessness, these are the values she instilled in us.
As a teenager, the sudden death of our mother was very devastating and left a big hole in our dreams. Since we were very religious, it was very difficult for me to accept and to reconcile how God could take away from us the very person who kept us together, a selfless person like my mother. I heard whispers of divine intervention and God’s plan from some family members, but it was very difficult for me to understand the rationale behind these ideas when life seemed chaotic at that time and the future was bleak. “Fate had a different plan for us”, my grandmother would say. I recall peppering her with many questions about its meaning. As I grew older, science introduced me to the concept of entropy, but it also showed me that we can make sense of some of life’s confusing and troublesome occurrences whiles recognizing a person’s humanity or showing empathy.
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As I strive to be a well-rounded person and improve in all facets of my life, I have made every effort to find a balance between my personal interests and my social responsibility. I continue to use volunteer work as a way to provide a link between science and my faith. I had the opportunity to volunteer during my high school days at St. Rachael Hospital on a surgical floor. My job was to help the nurses with patients before and after surgery and running simple errands. This experience was a constant reminder of how doctors and nurses have to continually balance the reality of caring for their patient’s humanity while simultaneously attending to their ailment. This observation strengthened my faith, rather than diminish it.
I also had the opportunity to shadow a few doctors at Yale-New Haven hospital with their medical students. From researching different drugs to repeatedly observing patient history interview, I realized that medicine provided a platform on which we can explore our curiosity and share our collective understanding in life. With this understanding, we can rectify some of the injustices and restore people’s livelihood. My mother’s death might have come too soon, but medicine is the ideal way for me to achieve my purpose in life and to make my mother proud.
Being in that atmosphere and meeting their patients, I recall feeling a sense of excitement as I watched how the residents interacted to manage critically ill patients. I was able to get a better idea of what the realities of being a doctor entailed. My extended shadowing time also led to stronger relationships and whenever I get the opportunity to join some of them during their meetings, it further enriched my knowledge about the nonmedical responsibilities doctors have. I know that medicine is not always glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be. One pediatrician, I shadowed saw a number of patients with ear infections and even more with sore throats all in a single day. However, it reminded me of my resilience in dealing with hardship and gave me an idea of where my own strengths and skills would come into play as a doctor.
My long-term goal is to go into pediatrics and to work with children in a medically underserved community. I know I haven’t had a lot of medical experiences working with children, but as a Sunday school teacher, the thought of opening the classroom door to the children every Sunday brings me the jolt I need and I am determined to explore it further. With virtually little to no access to health care available to us growing up as children, I never thought I would ever get to a point where I am aspiring to become a doctor, but now that I am here, I intend to go all the way. Secondly, my mother was a victim of healthcare inequality, a subject that has been at the forefront of my mind ever since I left Ghana. It is my intention to give back to society by providing public service for people with the least access to medical services, like my mother.
My life started with my mother’s dream for me to realize my full potential, therefore, I want to be in a position to be able to save lives and help others to realize their full potential. Throughout my studies in college, I never surrendered even when I had countless sleepless night and had to retake some of my classes because I had that image of my mother sitting outside the hospital entrance, trying to make ends meet. As a result, I am definitely ready to take on the world and whatever it has in store for me.