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It was on the many volunteer expeditions to foreign countries in need that convinced me that I wanted to become a doctor because it was clear that there are so many people in need who require the expert care of a physician. Although it was harrowing to work in some countries that were in the midst of civil war or that had just experienced a major disaster, it taught me about humility and the value of humanity.
I will never forget the looks on the faces of those struggling with the bare minimum or even going without food – they always smiled when they saw me and if they had anything they would offer to share it with me. This took me off-guard because I know that I did not look like I needed anything and I certainly did not want to take anything away from them. Their determination to carry on, share with others, and remain positive even in the face of uncertainty and tragedy made me realize I had to do more than what I was already trying to do.
It was very rewarding to me to participate in their lives and make a considerable difference where I could but to also realize there was so much more that I could be doing for them. When I returned home, I participated in a number of research trials and studies to further expand my knowledge of medical science and how it can be applied to those that could benefit from the findings.
If I had just simply gone straight into research, I would not have had the level of sympathy and understanding of the human side of medicine that is so critical alongside the clinical aspect of medicine. Together, these experiences broadened by knowledge, skill, and understanding of the future role of medicine in helping those in third-world countries to improve their health and well-being as well as learn new ways to take care of themselves and improve their status.
My volunteer work is largely due to a family that always encouraged the idea of helping others. As far back as I can remember, my parents encouraged myself and my siblings to do things for other people out of the shear reason of helping improve others’ lives and feeling the satisfaction of making things better for others.
It provided me with a greater appreciation for life overall, which made me feel like I could apply this to the medical profession where there is often a lack of that human understanding in what is done for others.
My hard work and dedication to helping others can be furthered by continuing on through your medical school where I will gain a new level of knowledge and skill that will be represented in the field in places where these are needed the most.