Why did I become a doctor?

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Medical School Admissions Essay on Why I Decided To Become a Doctor:

By Rahul Gladwin | December, 2004.

Noises of construction and shuffled voices of people resonated in Naini Tal, a remote hilly region at the northeastern Indo-Nepal border. At seven o'clock in the morning, a small group of people bustled with construction activity. Dressed in jeans and T-shirts, they were a Christian volunteer team from the United States, volunteering to build homes for the poor. With the assistance of local villagers, they relentlessly cleared ground to build a house. The view of lush mountain slopes, scent of rain-washed Weeping Willow leaves, and fresh mountain air kept them active during their six-hour work shift, amidst furious attacks by swarms of mosquitoes.

My concept of 'volunteer work' completely changed after I organized this trip to Naini Tal - a hill-station at the edge of the Himalayas. The most important experience of all was the manifest satisfaction that changed the lives of the volunteers who participated in this trip. I learned that volunteering makes life more rewarding when we teach ourselves to volunteer, and the sense of responsibility and leadership develops when we find out what we want to do, and volunteer that. Furthermore, I asked the volunteers to search themselves for their talents and offer them to others. I told everyone that we were working for the benefit of others, and not for an esteemed award for our work. As a certified tutor, I taught courses in English and computers, and talked to Nepalese children on topics ranging from careers in teaching, engineering, and health, to bodily hygiene. The month-long trip to Naini Tal has taught me an important lesson: volunteering isn't just working for a couple of hours weekly at a hospital or nursing home - not that these things aren't important. Volunteering is also making things better by speaking up and getting people organized.

Medicine bridges my passions for science, art and interacting with people. I hope to start a medical clinic in Naini Tal, and organize health related volunteering trips to this underprivileged Himalayan region. Within me burns the same fire that motivates any health care provider-the desire to help others achieve and maintain a healthy existence. For me, there is no question as to what specific area of health care to which I would devote my life. Since I was ten, I have been fascinated with the form and function of the human body. It is truly serendipitous for me that the field of medicine exists-one of the few fields that embrace the confluence of science and the passion of saving lives.

To gain hands-on experience in medicine, I volunteered for hospice at the Provena Covenant Medical Center. My contact with patients, their families, and clinic staff has nurtured communication and listening skills required as a medical doctor. I've also been volunteering at the Dental Circle - observing oral and plastic surgeons. My experiences at the Dental Circle and Provena have taught me that being a doctor isn't about appending a 'M.D.' to your name, it is dedicating your life to life-long learning, and sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others. My grandfather, an Ayurvedic doctor, once said, "I will plant the tree, though I will not taste its fruit." Watching him heal people inspired me. He has helped so many people; I want to do the same.

My officer position as the chief editor for the student branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) at my university at has further enhanced my presentation and people management skills. A degree in electrical engineering will further enable me to efficiently utilize the latest high-tech medical equipment available. Because microchips double their speed every eighteen months, it has become vital to have technology proficient medical doctors.

Within medicine, I'm interested in cardiology. With a background in electrical engineering, I will be better equipped to detect and analyze electrical signals coming from the heart. Furthermore, as an engineer in medical school, I will bring a certain point of view to the table: a unique way of thinking and seeing things, and solving problems. My career as a medical doctor will certainly uphold and exceed all that is expected of a health care professional, while promoting research and development in technology oriented medicine and patient care.

a view of Mussoorie

Above: Looking toward Nepal from Naini Tal

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