During my first year of medical school, I started to shut the world out. I lived in my bubble. My student bubble. Focusing on myself and all my miseries and made-up calamities. But I realised that it was selfish. If I was going to be a doctor, I had to take an active interest in my community. I started to volunteer with the YWCA. Then I started to question if my real vocation was medicine or if perhaps I had chosen the wrong path. Maybe research was my true calling. Having spent a year here at the NIH, I know that I want to be a physician scientist. I won’t be able to cure cancer or Alzheimer’s disease but I know that if I continue exploring the world of research, eventually, I will make some sort of contribution. But I made the commitment to be a doctor. Yes, perhaps I have ‘paid’ for it with tuition and my youth, but medical schools took a risky investment when they accept students into their school because like it or not, that $200,000 (give or take) from tuition really doesn’t even cover the expenses of training a medical doctor. With taxpayer’s dollars, they made an investment in me with the expectation that I would repay society by providing healthcare for the taxpayers and I don’t intend to renegade on that commitment.
Everytime I find myself questioning if all the sacrifices my family has made for me to be here is worth it, I have to remind myself that it will be because eventually I will be a doctor, eventually, I will be a scientist. Eventually I will realise my dreams to make something of myself. Perhaps the world is coming to an end. But before it does, the time I have in it, I want to do something useful, something meaningful.