With the ever-changing field of medicine, many people wonder what medicine will be like in the future. For example, will we still have to live in fear of contracting an incurable and deadly disease, like AIDS? Or will medicine in the future have the capability of handling such threats to our lives? Answering these questions and having the proper education and training to help prevent such threats has been my major ambition. I feel that I can best fulfill this ambition by becoming a physician. I never really thought of going to college until the tenth grade.
Just like my father, I had always thought I would be a mechanic and own my own shop because I enjoyed the challenges that arose while diagnosing different problems in cars. It wasn’t until I was at my doctor’s office that I realized the similarities between the work of physicians and mechanics. Both require one to diagnose and solve problems. That was when I became interested in medicine. As time went by, I started to develop a fascination with the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the human body. Furthermore, I was amazed with how physicians were able to use medication to alleviate pain and heal individuals.
Consequently, these attractions to the workings of the human body and the physician’s job led me to pursue a career in medicine. During my first semester at the University of Arizona, my interest in medicine was further intensified by attending the Minority Pre-Med Club meetings in which several physicians came and spoke to us about their roads to medical school and their current positions in the medical field. The following semester, I accepted an offer by the president of the Minority Pre-Med Club to help organize and implement community service projects and special events for the club.
This gave me the chance to use my skills and interests in helping out the community and fellow pre-med students. During the spring of 1993, I started tutoring mathematics and chemistry for the Minority Student Services Math & Science Learning Center at the University of Arizona. Through comprehensive tutor training, I further developed my interpersonal skills and knowledge of the concepts and procedures gained from previous course work to help students in their classes.
Not only was this a valuable learning experience for the students I tutored, but it was also a worthwhile learning experience for me. In particular, I found working with students from different cultural backgrounds very broadening and personally rewarding. In the summer of 1993, I volunteered in the transportation department at St. Mary’s hospital in Tucson, Arizona. This gave me the opportunity to communicate with many patients and observe physicians. I will never forget the faces of those severely ill patients.
The importance of medicine and physicians in our society became even more clear and compelling to me. The following summer I participated in the first Minority Medical Education Program (MMEP) held at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. The purpose of this program was multifaceted. It gave me a better understanding of what is expected in medical school and the responsibilities and characteristics of a commendable physician. For example, through my involvement with MMEP, I have been shadowing an orthopedic surgeon at University Medical Center for more than twelve months.
I observe his specialty and communication skills with his patients and fellow physicians. I also have the chance to watch him in the operating room and, in some cases, as a scrubbed observer, like the time I was part of a medical team that gave an infant with deformities the chance to walk. It was the climax of my pre-medical experiences. I will never forget the trust and confidence this physician had in my ability to give him a helping hand in surgery. More important was the fact that I was part of a team that made a significant difference in the patient’s life.
This is a feeling nobody can take from me. I absolutely knew after this that I wanted to be a physician more than anything in my life. I know that one day when I am a physician I will provide the experience that was given to me in an effort to help a pre-medical student. Without mentors, pre-medical students will never get the proper experiences and may never be certain whether medicine is the suitable career for them. I am the first in my family to attend college. Luckily, I have a family that has supported and encouraged my success in college.
I have also been fortunate enough to have made it this far on my road to medical school with the help of my pre-medical advisor, pre-medical programs (MMEP), and my mentor. I know that with their continued support, I will be able to successfully complete the curriculum needed to become a physician. I know, however, that the road to a medical degree will be hard and long, but I will never give up my dreams of becoming a physician. I am determined to help fight the war against those life threatening diseases like AIDS, and by becoming a physician, I can be on that special team that will make a difference in a patient’s life.