what to do with the time given to us

You are a bad doctor if you don't have any patience.

Today, I went to a pre-medical society's meeting and heard a very inspirational presentation by the club's advisor, a distinguished doctor. He emphasized that an amazing GPA and steady hands do not make a doctor; rather, you must love people. You must enjoy interacting with people, make connections with strangers who become patients, and be able to bear the responsibility of your patients' lives.

I have been pretty down in the past week due to all the crazy pre-med academic competitiveness (I don't like competing because why can't we all win and go to smiley-butterfly-rainbow-land) so being reminded about what my dream really is all about was very inspiring. It got me thinking about why I want to be a doctor. Here is a short essay I wrote in response to today's events.

Why I Want to Become a Doctor

J. R. R. Tolkien, one of my favorite authors, once said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I believe that we were put onto planet Earth for a specific reason. I look around every day and see evidence of this: people helping friends and strangers, sharing their thoughts and their feelings with each others, smiling themselves after cheering up a friend. I believe that we are put amongst a million other people because we are meant to interact with each other. When we call ourselves “the human race,” we are not pointing to each human individual running towards their own inconsequential goals. No, we speak of the race that all humans are running together, towards the same goal that brings joy to us all. Our job is not to look after ourselves, but to pick up comrades who have fallen, point out the way to strangers who may be lost, and hold hands with those beside us so that together, we will be stronger and faster.

In short, I want to become a doctor because I want to dedicate the precious time that has been given to me to those who need my help.

How, you may ask, can I be so arrogant as to presume that they need my help? Aren’t there thousands of other researchers and physicians and medical students who can help these people? Aren’t there other ways to help people? Why should you be the doctor?

I have thought about these things, and I have doubted. But the conclusion I come to is irrevocably this: I can and will become a doctor because I have been given the opportunity to become one and I choose to use it. I could have been born blind, deaf, or psychologically ill. If that had been the case, what I could contribute to the human race would be considerably different from what I can now. I could have experienced familial and financial difficulties that left me scarred or prevented me from acquiring the education I have now. In that case, my potential contribution would be different as well. I’m not presuming that my potential would be smaller – only that it would be different. But no – through the work of God, or destiny, or maybe just a series of coincidences, however you choose to look at it – I have been molded into someone who believes in the triune God, enjoys oil painting, loves mentoring my “little brothers and sisters,” has a passion for medicine, and whose dream is to be a part of Doctors without Borders.

These experiences give me power. I can choose to reach for whatever they bring into my reach. A degree at xxx, the connections I’ve made, and the valuable résumé experience I have puts millions of possibilities within my future. But I want to make my mark in the world through helping people who come to me. I know that becoming a doctor is the way I am meant to bring forth my opportunities, trials, failures and successes, and the cherished time that I’ve been given to the human race.

This is what I have decided to do with the time that is given to me.


  1. Put very well, sister! :) Let's have a meal together sometime...I've been thinking of attending those kinds of meetings, too, but I never know about them...and where they are/stuff like that...

    Anyway, glad to see that you are not blindly choosing your path. Today I thought about something similar to what you said about using what God has given you--as in, you could have born blind, etc.


  2. Yays! I'm going down biology too....except I think I'm leaning more towards genetics...probably research...I dunno. But it's good to see you active :P