Posted by: Staff | 01.11.2010

College Essay XIX

“So, do you all want to be doctors?” Ms. Lewin casually questioned us over lunch this summer. While few of us were eager to claim “doctor” as our future profession, my friend and I remained unusually reticent. She could not claim devotion to nursing, as I could not truthfully declare my undying love for bronchology, cardiology, or veterinary medicine; however, I could profess that I was utterly confused.

I’m not quite sure what prompted my passion to become a doctor, but from an early age I knew this was the path my life would take. With my determination, focus and stamina, I knew this goal could become a reality. My indecisiveness in the clinical field therefore shocked me because I had spent seventeen years meticulously planning a future that undoubtedly included some job in the medical field. For whatever reason I believed that nothing could sway my passion to become a doctor, but I was mistaken.

This summer, I was given an invaluable opportunity to shadow doctors from various departments throughout Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Although I thought that this opportunity would validate my belief in becoming a doctor, it fortunately exposed more questions than answers.

I began to grow uncertain of this profession after a discussion with a minister at Beth Israel’s volunteer office. The minister saw our scrubs and instantly knew that we were shadowing doctors. He was astonished that we knew where our futures lie at such an early age. Speaking to us of the difficulties of working with terminally-ill patients, he explained how at hospitals “a doctor would meet patients at the most pivotal moments in their lives.” With some thought, I began to envision what he meant, and from viewing the medical field holistically, I realized the gravity of what I misunderstood.

Similarly to most students my age, I romanticized this profession and foolhardily based my life’s aspirations on TV shows like House and ER. From what I incorrectly gathered, I believed that doctors only found cures, and this is not the case: doctors

don’t just put pen to paper, they also become attached to the emotional aspects the medical world present. Through observation, I grew to understand that the relationship, between a doctor and patient, is extremely complex. How will the family cope with this situation once the doctor explains to the man that his wife has no prospects? How can a doctor muster the courage to tell someone this misfortune? How can I, at such a young age, determine that I want to spend the rest of my life in a profession I hardly understand?

Once I came to the realization that my life may follow a different path than anticipated, I panicked. It was unlike me to lack a plan. I immediately felt the need to return to the drawing board and reassess my life. “Where do I want my life to go; what do I want to be?” were questions I continually asked myself. Through conversation with family and friends, I was able to determine my underlying reasons for desiring this profession. I considered becoming a physician because of my strong foundation and passion for the sciences, and also felt drawn to the idea because I wanted to help and advise others.

I began to recall my encounters with scientists who work alongside Beth Israel and other research institutions. These people sought cures for various conditions and, while being of service to others, they also applied their love for the sciences. I then realized there were many ways to unite my passions and interests without limiting my opportunities. With time I began to understand that my unknown future was alright. I could even, dare say, found this uncertainty exciting.

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