Coming Full Circle
Uploaded by dkmed on Sep 08, 2008
“Mom, I’ve decided I’m not going to medical school.”
As the gravity of my words sank into the ensuing silence, my intuition told me that they fell on deaf ears. Indeed, it would be a full two months and $200 in university long distance service bills until the finality of my decision not to apply to medical school had been adequately communicated. It shocks me to realize that it has been five years since I made that phone call, which I recall so vividly. However, in these five years I’ve traveled the world and had the opportunity to serve and learn from destitute villagers in India, I’ve achieved a master’s degree in neuropharmacology, I’ve lived through the painful discovery that my brother has an as-yet incurable neurodegenerative disorder—multiple sclerosis (MS), and I have come full circle to realize that there was a physician inside of me all along whom I am passionately excited to cultivate.
As a child, it seemed like I was destined for medicine. For my mother, it might as well have been ingrained in my DNA. Ever since I could walk, I had been in and out of hospitals volunteering, observing, interacting and learning from the doctors and patients. Throughout high school I worked in two family practice clinics, a gastroenterology lab and in a surgeon’s office. I’d taken patient histories and chief complaints, removed post-op stitches, scrubbed in and assisted in ER and outpatient OR procedures. When I entered college at the University of Southern California, I breezed through 2 years of pre-medical coursework without thinking twice about my de jure destiny.
Then in my 3rd undergraduate year, I revolted. A sense of individuality grew inside of me, and with it an intense desire to carve out my own place in the world, to find myself, to become a man, to realize my independence and to exercise my freedom to choose my own destiny without the trammels of parental pressure. Despite 2 years and 1000 miles of distance between my family and myself, I had not yet cut the umbilical cord; this autumn of 2002 was the beginning of my matriculation into adulthood and taking responsibility for my life.
Since then, undoubtedly the most important lesson I’ve learned is that your own problems melt away when you are given the joyful blessing to serve, heal, and feed others. In 2003 I joined a non-profit organization centered in India whose...