Do what you love and love what you do.
There comes a time in life when we are presented with choices and are forced to make a decision. Our major decisions as we grow older may include the college we wish to attend or the career path we choose to follow.
Many have this notion that as soon as the decision is made, there is no turning back. To them, the path is set in stone and it must be followed. Diverging from that path would be like complete chaos and the world would come to end. However, the fun thing about life and the fact that many must acknowledge is that the future is not engraved in stone. We continue to try new things, make mistakes, learn, and write stories, but the stories we write are never ending.
Of course, coming from the Indian culture, I know we are told to have our future set in order to attain that “safety net” in life. In several instances, that is true. One wants to live successfully in the future and not have to go through the major downfalls and struggles of life. However, I believe that the harder you fall, the more you learn and the more successful you are. Still, that does not mean we are to decide our fate in high school.
As kids, we are given a large canvas to paint and as we grow we continue to paint our picture with the world as our ultimate resource. We are given several opportunities to experience and see what makes us excited about life— whether it is art, science, history, music, math, or sports (and the list goes on). Some can tell what excites them early on in life and know which path they want to pursue for their future, whereas for others it takes more exploring.
From an early age, I always said I wanted to be a doctor and cherished every minute I spent playing with my toy doctor set. As the years passed, I kept an open mind to other areas that life had to offer. For example, painting has been a strong passion since I was three, and when people see my work, many tell me to become a professional artist. In fact, there was a point in my life when I thought about pursuing art as my career. I thought it would be fun to just paint all day and I would not have to go through the years of studying that medicine requires. But after months of thinking, I realized that I did not have the long-term desire to become an artist.
I suppose what really lured me to medicine was the amount of support and miracles I witnessed within my own family from the medical community. Me becoming a doctor is my way of giving thanks to the community for aiding my family through tough situations. With medicine firm in my mind, I focused my school work towards that, taking advanced math and science classes. Combining my joy with working for kids and my desire for medicine, I realized I want to specialize in pediatrics and there begins the chapter in my life I like to call “The Journey to Medicine”.
During the summer of my junior year in high school, I made a visit to Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai. What an experience! Every day was a different day with new patients. Each patient had a story to tell and listening to each one was just spectacular. As an observer, I witnessed an ophthalmologist’sdaily life and learned about different diseases, conditions, and treatments of the eye. I spent several weeks alongside knowledgeable doctors, gained an insight into what really happens in the operation theater, and had an absolutely fantastic time. I truly enjoyed myself as there was never a day where I was bored or wanted to leave early; rather, I always longed to stay back. This eye-opening opportunity confirmed for me that medicine is what I wanted for my future career. This experience not only strengthened my desire to pursue pediatrics, but it also gave me a new perspective on life, teaching me the art of communication and reinforcing the values of gratitude and appreciation for the things I have in life. I made the choice of medicine early on and I am certain that I want to continue in that direction, but I will definitely keep an open mind about other roads to journey through alongside medicine.
Life is filled with different paths, and sometimes it is good to try new things if only to confirm that what you want is what you really want. Listen to what others have to say and keep an open mind about life. Enjoy every day because you will never get that day back and you only live once, so live to the fullest. When people ask me about medicine and tell me, “Wow, that’s a long time you will be studying,” I tell them I am looking forward to those exciting years because I will be doing what I love: pursuing pediatrics, creating smiles amongst several children, and just enjoying life!