Medicine and Me

I’ve been putting off answering this for a while, but I think it’s about time I got it over with. The million dollar question: Why do I want to study medicine? I’m in the process of redrafting my personal statement for my reapplication and what I keep getting told is that it isn’t “personal enough,” as I don’t really go into why I want to study medicine. Hopefully this post will make things clearer.

To begin with, a little bit of Tai history. I spent the first nine years of my life in Nigeria and had quite a privileged upbringing, as my family owned one of the biggest pharmacies in my mum’s home town. I went to a private school and we had a private doctor which meant that I had easy access to treatment when I got malaria and typhoid. It was only when I moved to this country that I found out that people actually die from these diseases; to me they had been like having a cold. Learning this contributed to my desire to become a doctor to improve the doctor to patient ratio, as young Tai realised there weren’t enough doctors in the world, especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

However this was when I was about 10 and only made me more determined; I had already decided being a doctor was the path for me a couple of years before. I have trouble telling people what led to this decision as it’s quite personal, so even though I’m not going to put it in my personal statement, here’s the real reason I want to be a doctor.

When I was about 6, my aunt passed away. It was my first real experience with death and it really shook my family, as my aunt had always been around so not having her there anymore sucked. My mum and her had been very close so she was distraught at the loss. The months after her death were horrible as my mum had a bit of a breakdown and just couldn’t cope with it all. So little me said to her one day, “Don’t cry mummy, I’ll be a doctor like aunty was when I grow up.” Apparently that made my mum cry more, but from that day she decided to focus on more positive things instead of dwelling on her sadness, and things started to get better.

And that’s it. My desire to be a doctor came from wanting to carry on my late aunty’s legacy. According to my mum I’m a lot like her in my mannerisms and look more and more like her as I grow older, so hopefully I can be as great a doctor as she was.

What began as something I said to cheer my mum up has become my big dream. As corny as it might sound, I just love helping and interacting with people, and the possibility of doing that as a career would just be the most gratifying thing. There’s just so much GOOD about being a doctor.

Now I wouldn’t call myself a genius, as I’ve always found Science tough, and A Level Maths in particular was very hard for me in parts. That’s why I’ve questioned whether or not I’m suitable for medicine as sure I’m great at all the people stuff, but could I handle the pressure of medical school? Would a degree in Economics, which has always come easier to me, be better? I used to compare myself to other medicine applicants I know, who are way more brilliant than I am, and I always used to feel so academically inferior.

But that was silly. Sure, I may not be as bright as them but I realised that beginning to doubt something I’ve always been so sure of just because I wasn’t used to not being top of the class sure was conceited. I think not getting a medicine offer was a humbling experience and good for me on reflection, because it’s given me a chance to get over myself.

So in conclusion, why medicine?

1. It would be a challenge. Why do something I find easy when I can keep pushing myself academically? Yeah Economics would be less difficult for me, but why do something I don’t enjoy? I wish I was better at Maths and Science, but I enjoy them and that’s what kept me going throughout A Level, and hopefully will get me through medical school and a career as a doctor.

2. The chance to interact with, meet, help people and just do so much GOOD. The world will never stop needing doctors so with more of them around, not only the privileged in developing countries will have access to medicine, so more equality.

And finally,

3. For my aunty.


3 thoughts on “Medicine and Me

  1. That sudden strike of feeling academically inferior makes me feel as though my chances as well as what I have to bring, would cripple under the lights of those who I feel are better. Reading this and knowing that I am on that same path of medicine, I feel assured that basically it’s what I think of myself, not what I see around me, and break myself. It’s been something I wanted so bad so why shudder. Lml and the question of why? seems to be one that’s always asked among those who desire to be in the medical field and to many I feel we all face the comment of it not being personal. Guess they just don’t get it sometimes. But what I am trying to say is that I love how this post spoke to me :)!

    • First of all, thanks for taking time to read and comment, much appreciated! 🙂 Glad you could relate to this, now I know I’m not the only one who’s had medicine doubts. You’re totally right; it IS what you think of yourself that matters. Took me nearly two years of going to a different school where I was in classes with very intelligent aspiring medics to realise it, but if you’re determined then there’s no point putting yourself down and thinking you’re not good enough, just go for it!

  2. Pingback: Making Money vs Doing What You Love | Life As A Medical Student

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