Essay on The Air Conditioner Broke Down

Essay on The Air Conditioner Broke Down

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With a deep and abrupt rumble, the air conditioner broke down. It was mid-July in Lahore, Pakistan and the outside temperature was rapidly approaching 100 degrees. I was notorious for getting an upset stomach whenever my family visited Pakistan, and this trip was no different. At eight years old, I could not imagine anything worse than suffering through a stomach ache in the sweltering heat of a Pakistani summer. If the heat was not exhausting enough, my family had to listen to my perpetual complaining. Eventually, my grandma decided to take me to the local health clinic. Holding my hand, she walked me down the crowded clinic corridor. The filth and chaos was overwhelming, nothing like any hospital I had seen before. We reached the doctor’s office and he ushered us in while still examining another patient. Apparently, that was normal here. A frail, old man was seated on the examination table. His leathery skin hung loose over his bones, and his clothes were dusty and worn. He had tubes connected to him from every direction. Even at that age, I knew this man required medical care beyond the scope of this facility. My grandma looked to me and said, “You know Mariha, you are very fortunate.” I never forgot that day, and I can still feel the knot in my stomach. Seeing this man made me uncomfortable, but at eight, I could not truly pinpoint the reason. I can now admit I felt helpless against the healthcare inequalities that I witnessed. As I grew older, I searched for ways to bridge this gap both internationally and in my own community.
After my childhood experiences in Pakistan, I jumped at the opportunity to work in rural healthcare facilities in Peru. Volunteering in Peru introduced me to an entirely new set of healthcare challenges...


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...and my horizons, I pursued a minor in chemistry, a subject I initially struggled with. Merging my fascination with human anatomy and photography, I pursued several artistic endeavors during college as well. I focused on the notion of body image and explored its impact on women, and in the process I came to relinquish some of my own insecurities.
Throughout my life, I have strived to learn and grow from all my experiences. While my eight year old self would never have guessed that I would pursue a career in medicine, my grandma’s words still hold true today—I am very fortunate. Fortunate to have experienced the many facets of medicine, and to realize that becoming a physician is my true passion in life. A passion that I know will enable me to become a physician who communicates with her patients, and through communication, provides compassionate and attentive care.

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