When I was 7, my sister once gave me a 500-piece jigsaw puzzles as a present. I cut open the cardboard box as soon as I could, and poured the pieces out onto my puzzleboard. I worked patiently on the puzzle for hours at a time, my excitement building as more and more of the picture was revealed. I cut down my sleep time until the image of a picturesque forest was complete. The puzzle overshadowed all else in my life, if only for that short period of time.
Im 18 now, and my hobby to complete puzzles have changed into complete MYSELF by pieces I got from the experiences I have had, people I have met, opportunities I have gotten and mistakes I have made.
When I was 14, I lost my sister by cervical cancer. Cancer spread into her thigh, caused her to be confined to bed and to lose her appetite. Because the diagnosis came too late, all treatment was futile.
One day I heard my mother was crying in the bathroom. She was mumbling and asking Why there is no treatment?, Why there is no drugs and pills?. That moment launched my dream; to help cure cancer a common wish, but the life-changing pursuit. After searching from google and asking from teachers about how to become a person who could help in a fight with cancer, how to be a part of any drug discovery that would kill cancer, I found out that I had to study biology which felt like a magic key that can answer to all the questions I’ve always wondered before, such as Why twins look alike? Why do flowers wither if I dont water them constantly? How do different eye shades of color happen?.
Since that time, my passion and thirst for biology have started to develop. First, I used to read simple biological books in my free time. Then, my interest in biology grew more and my room turned into a laboratory where I become a scientist and do experiments. I became a kid who spends hours to collect ants to see how they behave and begs my mom to buy me a light microscope.
Three years later, I transferred to a school where they taught Biology at an advanced level to students who had similar dreams as me. Then the simple books I used to read in my free time changed into books such as Biochemistry, Molecular biology of the cell, Microbiology which were written for university students. Also, the laboratory I used to work (which was my room) became National University of Mongolias laboratory where I can actually do many kinds of biological experiments.
In addition to changes that new high school brought me in my life was I had to become a teammate in a team with people that I just met. In the beginning, it was difficult for all of us to work with new people and deals with their characteristics and behaviors. Some of us always sleeps during the class while someone was studying hard all day. Someone already knew and studied Biochemistry while someone had just found out about what protein was. We were different. As an individual, as our knowledge of biology, as our interest in other stuffs, as our dreams and goals. But we tried our best to understand and work with each other. Rather than trying to change each other, we adjusted ourselves in the situation. Then, we became not only high school team but also friends for life when we graduate our high school. Our team room was not only a place where we bombard each other with our biological knowledge but also was a place where we talk about our dreams, beliefs and also our worries. Be a team person, be a good friend these are the pieces that I got from this experience which I think will be required in university.
Besides reading biological books all day and conducting experiments, one of the most important and happiest things I did in high school was teaching. Explaining from smallest details to bigger picture of biology to other kids who were also interested in this science was nothing but prestigious experience. In the beginning of the class, they give attention to the lessons, but, after 30 minutes, their eyelids always become heavier and heavier, some of them starts to sleep. Desperate to re-captivate their attention, I ignored my hard-thought-out-lesson-plan and decided to watch funny videos that explains the topic, and play quiz game that has a prize for them after the 30 minutes of lesson. The first time tried my new plan, surely, the lesson was chaotic with them shouting and talking loudly, but surprisingly, we were all laughing with wide-awake eyes after few minutes. Most surprisingly, in the end, they all understood the context that Ive been trying to explain! Just a pinch of fun did the trick to further their engagement. My students taught me that teaching was not about just going according to strict curriculum and repeating after textbook. It was about understanding them, intrigue their curiosity, to make them wonder, make things fun in order to ignite their will to learn.
Then I graduated high school and applied to Korean Universities not only because its development in science field and laboratories but also my desire to take one step closer to my dream in a place that I can find best in education. The application process – writing personal statements, study plans, collecting the documents, and also waiting for the application results – it was difficult yet amazing journey. I had many worries in the beginning such as Can I do this successfully? Am I a student that universities want? Do I have potential to compete with other students?, but, I handled these thoughts by thinking I shouldnt be the one who kills my confidence No matter I fail or successfully get through this road, it will be the most valuable experience I have ever had. So I will just enjoy this journey by not being hard on myself while doing at my best. This was my mindset during the application process. The results came up well and I became student of Seoul National University. I understood how important it is to control my mind and believe in myself.
While being excited and bit nervous to go to another country and study in university, I volunteered at the Second General Hospital of Mongolia about 2 weeks. My volunteer duties included: greeting patients, directing them, measuring patients blood pressure, calculating their body weight index, deliver the restocks to the departments of the hospital, and sometimes help nurses to transfer patients from ambulatory to emergency department. Volunteering at the hospital taught me how to be patient when some visitor acts impatiently, how hard it is to handle emergency situations, how amazing it feels when patients become healthy again and say thank you from their heart to hospital workers.
Now 1 months had already passed since university started. Exploring the campus and meeting new people every day, while managing to do all the assignments and reports on time, volunteering at the animal laboratory, studying Korean language independently every morning for 2-3 hours is the new life that requires me to have an excellent time management and responsibility. I wont say it is easy to adjust to the new culture and university life, but I have no plan to give up either. My favorite quote these days is, Done is better than perfect. I think it means that, doing something is better than just trying to be perfect. I will try to do everything wholeheartedly and enjoy the road as much as I can while not trying to find the absolute perfectness. I will be like a sponge that collects as much as it can from all professors and their classes of university.
These are the experiences I have had, the pieces that I added to the puzzle named ME until now. I dont know if I will be successful, if I ever come close to my dream, but, I will keep collecting these kind of pieces that would help me to develop myself and create better me in the future.