It took me a long time before finalising my decision on choosing to study medicine as this is a life-long commitment coupled with high physical and emotional demands. However, my experience at a care home and the privilege of shadowing a GP helped me realise that this is where my purpose lies.
How Death Becomes Life by Joshua Mezrich deeply moved me with the heroic contributions of both patients and doctors in the field of organ transplantation; the success of cyclosporine-assisted kidney transplant is only possible after many failures.
The pressure to return the trust of the public showcases the emotional demands of medicine; the long hours in either the operating theatre or hospital ward are physically taxing. My GP shadowing experience during a measles outbreak allowed me to appreciate the meticulous nature of outbreak control, with strong teamwork and clear communication being the most important qualities. The establishment of an equal doctor-patient relationship was visible throughout my shadowing experience; a session with Jim, a young M?ori man, taught me the necessity of empowering patients to take an active role in controlling their health.
The GPs use of analogies to simplify complex medical conditions, coupled with explaining health in a cultural context like the four pillars of M?ori health to break down social barriers, was stimulating.
From June to September, I volunteered at a care home, helping to serve dinner to the residents. The setting exposed me to a wide variety of personalities, greatly enhancing my social awareness in the process.
My time with the elderly residents were rewarding through providing them the companionship that they often missed and learning about their personal stories at the same time. I especially appreciate my time assisting Joan, a resident with alzheimer, to eat as it revealed the challenging side of medicine and the importance of preventing negligence. The vulnerability of residents further reinforced how crucial it is to establish equal relationships so that the residents may feel safe and at ease to open up about their honest thoughts, helping to prevent discontent via miscommunication.
At school, I take Biology and Chemistry due to their strong interconnection, evident in the complementary biochemistry of DNA. To further enhance my understanding of DNA, I read Double Helix and learned about the use of X-ray crystallography as well as attending a metagenomics exhibit at Massey University. Learning about the intricacies of the kidney and the detrimental diseases that come with its dysfunction reinforce my belief in the great power a doctor, especially a surgeon, has in changing someones life for the better.
Outside of class, I run a history club and was part of the team that won third place overall in Auckland at the International History Bowl. The content-heavy nature of the competition and club made us rely on our teamwork and discipline to keep our cool under stressful conditions and things running efficiently. Furthermore, I have developed good interpersonal skills by teaching children history every Wednesday. I have lived away from home since I was thirteen hence able to deal with pressure by myself. I enjoy fencing, playing football and the piano.
My choice to study medicine is largely due to my desire to be constantly at the forefront in making a positive, potentially life-changing, impact on the quality of life of many people; the potential rewards that come with the positive impact and the relationships I build with patients make medicine a highly stimulating career. While studying medicine would be challenging, I know that my perseverance, curiosity and empathy will help me succeed.