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“Sally, we need you over here.” Marisa, a nurse at City of Hope calls over for me. I grab a pair of
gloves and am at her side in a moment. “We need to lift this man to do a chest x-ray,” she informs me. Placing my hands beneath the patient, I await the countdown: “3…2…1…lift.”
I am a volunteer in perioperative services at the hospital. My tasks include: transporting patients to
and from surgery, running samples to the pathology lab, and assisting patients in recovery. Often, I imagine myself in the role of a physician. I am guilty, at times, of considering the patients whom I am helping as my own. It is these Monday afternoons, then I take time away from my studies in the Post-Baccalaureate Pre Medical Program at Scripps College, that my commitment to becoming a doctor is affirmed. While I am unswerving in my desire to become a physician, I have not always had such intentions.
As a young girl, I was always one of the final contenders in the spelling bees, timed tests, and even
kickball games at recess. I enjoyed the challenge of schoolwork, the competition amongst peers, and the rewards of my successes. Yet, as I grew older I was more often complimented on what a pretty young woman I was developing into, and less noticed for my scholastic achievements. This shift of attention from my educational pursuits towards my physical attributes had an effect on me, as I had always valued the opinions of others in order to get their approval. I began to believe that my value was in my looks and not in my mind, and was, therefore, not as inclined to pursue my education as vigorously as before.
Coinciding with this digression in school was a turbulent divorce between my parents. Conflict in my
family, coupled with the e...
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organic chemistry. Rather than simply memorizing the mechanisms of reactions, the ability to really identify
with and understand the behavior of molecules is a much more useful method of learning. In identifying with
the subject, I can reason and understand its course.
I want to apply these skills to medicine. Rather than simply administering a standard diagnosis, I want
to approach each case with respect for its unique circumstances. My ability to understand and empathize with
others will help me to provide personal care to patients. Medicine is the field in which my background in the
humanities, my fascination with science, and my commitment to helping others will coalesce. Until then,
however, I may be found on Monday afternoons in the hospital. I am the one peering over shoulders in
surgery, anticipating the day when I hold the scalpel.
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