As a pre-med student, you often get asked many times over why you chose the field of medicine as a career path, whether it be by friends, teachers, or even strangers you are just choosing to make conversation with on the bus ride home. I have to admit though, it is a question to which I did not have a clear answer to for the longest time. The truth was, I hadn’t always planned on being a doctor. In fact, for most of my life, I always saw myself as an engineer. Since child hood, I had had dreams of typing code on multiple computer screens, of twisting nuts and bolts of which my child-like mind did not know the purpose to, but knew it loved. It was the kind of career that had a very clear cut explanation that I eventually fine-tuned over the years.
If somebody asked me why I wanted to be an engineer, I was prepared to outline all of the reasons why, the most general being: I like building things. This wasn’t a lie. The thrill of putting the pieces together, the challenge of manipulating them to have the desired effect were all aspects of engineering that I had fallen in love with over time. This is what I had firmly believed for all my 17 years of life. However, at the very last possible second, while I was choosing which college to go to, my mother sat me down, and asked me to reconsider. I had been given a wide range of engineering colleges to choose from, any of which I would have been happy to go to. My mother, however, believed that I should take the time to choose my college carefully (a decision that, looking back on, I am forever thankful she made me take). This was due to the fact that despite my love of engineering, my mother had always firmly believed I was meant to be a doctor. She did not force me to choose any path in particular, and said she would support whatever decision I made.
With that in mind, I sat down in deep thought, and proceeded to decide what to do with my future. It was here that I had started to ask myself the fundamental question: why? Why did I want to be an engineer? Why did my mother believe so strongly that I should become a doctor? When I asked her, her reply was simple: Because she knew I loved helping people. It was here that my perception of myself did a complete 180. I realized I only liked tinkering with technology, as I had always wanted to do it with a greater purpose in mind. To create technology that would benefit society. I went back and compared all my experiences as an engineer to those as a community volunteer. I soon realized while I would make a good engineer, I would make a better doctor. Today, when people ask me the reason I want to study medicine, I can see in their eyes that part of them expects me to tell a sad story of a family member I lost to cancer, or a particular field of medicine that fascinates me to no end. While there are many great and capable doctors who study medicine for those reason, they are not what drives me. My reason to study medicine is simple: I want to help. And that reason is enough.