Call me crazy, but I honestly believe for me, it is innate. There was never one point in my career that told me "You must be a doctor" and so I traveled down this path. I always knew it existed.
From as young as I can remember, I was always interested in the function of the human body. In school, health and biology were my favorites. I have a natural ability in understanding the processes of the human body pretty easily. I once told a fellow classmate when I was 13 that it looked as if he had impetigo, he told his mother when he went home, and she took him to the doctor at some point during that week, and yep, he had it. So I also could notice things like that, and was aware of different diagnosis/conditions from reading.
I come from a very poor family, with uneducatedness. My grandpa is illiterate. Growing up, nobody in my family or my immediate society had ever attended college, and many were not high school graduates. Due to this, I did not go for becoming a doctor. I didnt think it was a realistic dream for me. I went the nursing route not being fully confident I could complete that given my situation/obstacles at that time. I did succeed and just jumped over those obstacles, Thank God! I have worked as a nurse for 5 years now, and although my job can be very rewarding, I still yearn for more knowlege, more challenge---to be the doctor I had always wanted to be. So here I am.
I loved science in high school, so naturally I enrolled in college(at the age of 16) as pre-med. One small problem, I flunked Bio I twice. I then immediately gave up on my dream and went into panic mode. I took some Accounting/Business courses and made A's, so I though hey Accounting is my calling. Good salary, stable employment what else did I need. Well in 1999, the desire to become a doctor reared its head again, so I enrolled in school and took Physics I and II. I did quite well, so I said hey I am back on my dream path. Well, I got pregnant with my daughter and began having discussion with my OB about medical school, he dashed my hopes and made me feel guilty about the lack of time I would spend with my child. I immediately gave up and went back into the business world and pursued an MBA. Even after achieving the MBA, the desire never went away.
I still wanted med school. When my daughter was born she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. However, I was never was depressed or overwhelmed by the news. She began going to the hemotology clinic at the Children's hospital and I began learing about her disease in detail. Needless, to say the constant exposure to the residents, and medical literature just catapulted me back on the path. Now 15 years later, with two kids and a husband I am more determined now to pursue medical school with a focus on oncology/hematology.
I have no idea how I would put all of this in a personal statement, without rambling.
I have kind of a weird story, but it truly did get me thinking about medicine in a different way. When I had my first baby, he was 6 weeks premature, born by c-section, and was immediately transferred to a hospital across town. The nurses called me regularly to update me on his condition, but what I'll never forget was on the second day, a young man carrying a backpack and a bicycle helmet came into my hospital room holding a Polaroid picture of my baby. He was a resident who was working with my son, took the picture and bicycled across town to give it to me. I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open. I had never seen a doctor do something like that, and it really got me thinking about the kind of impact I wanted to have on people. That guy will always be my hero. I can't tell you how much it meant to me, and how much I missed seeing and holding my baby. As young as that resident was, he picked up on it. What a man!
I've wanted to be a doctor since I was about 5 years old (my Mom's a nurse and she exposed me to meny aspects of medicien/nursing as a kid). So, I don't really have a medical expereince that focused me in medicine, per se.
However, my father died of prostae/colon cancer 2 years ago and when he was originally diagnosed I was irronically also looking into giving up my job in industry to pursue a fellowship in Cancer Epidemiology (which was a serious drop in pay ).
What I can say about my expereince with illness is that I'm now VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY focused in health disparities/cancer research. In additon to my work in urological oncology(in pathology, of course ), I also hope to specifically work on project over the next year looking at kidney tumors in sickle cell patients, a largely VERY under reserched area.
I first decided to become a doctor when I was 13. Sometime in August 1983 my appendix ruptured. About one month later a pediatrician who did not know what was wrong with me sent me to a surgeon who also did not know what was wrong with me. The surgeon did exploratory surgery and found a ruptured appendix. He told my mom that it had probably ruptured about a month before.
It was a very interesting experience. I can't say I enjoyed being sick, but I loved the medical environment. I wanted to be a doctor just like the surgeon that saved my life.
As I expressed my desire to pursue this career, I was always talked out of it. Sometimes it was overt, "It would be a waste of education to just become a mother." Sometimes it was a little more subtle, "I have always thought doctors were a little odd."
Without the support system, I did not know what to do. I spent five years in college pursuing several different degrees. Fortunately, I did well in several science courses during that time. However, I also did well in business and economics. I ended up with a BA in Economics and an MBA. For me the dreams of becoming a doctor were over. Thas is until I had my first baby.
Once again I was exposed to the medical world and I loved it. Now, eight years later I still want to become a doctor. My husband says he will support me in anything I do. As an economist, though, I know that in order to do one thing I must give up something else. It is called opportunity cost. I am not sure that I am ready to give up my time as a mother to my three children. That is why I have come here. To find out how you balance your lives as future doctors and mothers.
By the way, as a really interesting side note in my family. My younger sister also wanted to pursue medicine. She got the same discouragement, but always came to me to pump her up afterward. This last week she just matched to her first choice in residency. I am so jealous. She is not married and does not have any children, so she does not face exactly the same challenges I would.