Help is very much needed!!! I am over the 650 word limit at currently about 800 words. I’m applying Duke early decision 1 and WashU early decision 2 and a couple BS/MDs (boston, rochester, case western, uic) and Umich, Upenn, Ohio state, UNCC, UIUC, Rice, Northwestern, Loyola Chicago
Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Dada(Grandfather) would vividly remember the tale of when Ram defeated the multi-headed demon, but had a blank face if I asked him what he ate for lunch. Hours would pass by as I just stared into his dark brown eyes; intently listening to his stories. However, things took quite a turn when he became the main character in his own story as he traveled from the ER to the nursing home to his own home, and back again to the ER. But the problem he had to face was that his cells never seemed to find a break from metastasizing. A once happy and full of life man turned pale and tired surrounded by the bleak IV stands, empty walls, and busy nurses that quietly yet constantly remind him of his cancer. I was there with him through it all. We would talk for hours, annoying the nurses with our laughter and reminiscing about memories through our shared art of storytelling, which allowed him to escape from the bleak walls of the hospital with a smile that couldn’t be wiped off his face.
He taught me the art of storytelling, and I learned to integrate it into my life and learn from the lessons in the stories to overcome my shy and tunnel minded self. My love of storytelling sparked my curiosity to learn, gave me an open mind, and a voice.
Although there was nothing that could be done to get rid of his cancer, it felt as if the nurses and doctors didn’t even try to find a solution. As the red line deteriorated on the screen, my eyes swelled with tears as I gripped Dada’s hand tighter, refusing to let him go. I remember being there for him through all his questions without a single idea in mind of an answer. I remember all the time I spent sitting in silence just waiting for just something I could cling to in signs of hope. I remember the helplessness.
Although, as fast as despondency had filled my heart, it was now gone; I was consumed by anger, frustration, and motivation. My mind was overran with the view of how hospitals worked, a tug-of-war between reality and belief. I wanted to be that person that can answer the questions. I wanted to become a physician. Driven to immerse myself into the medical community, I became the Research Officer for Future Doctors of America club. I was immersed into the wide web of new innovations and findings in the medical community. My curiosity and voice guided me to present topics and findings to my fellow peers like how fish could teach us how to cure blindness to the mysteries of autism as few can resist their genetic destiny and become almost superhuman. It was an eye-opening experience as I was exposed to the wonders and greatness of the science in medicine, but there was something missing. Apart from the marvels of medical science, I wanted to feel, connect, and find an experience in which my interest would turn into passion. I volunteered in the emergency department at my local hospital and shadowed doctors. While shadowing, I was introduced to triaging, patient diet monitoring and transitioning from diagnosis to treatment. This was the first time I was able to be on the other side. The side that made the helplessness go away and be the change. While volunteering, I met a Indian patient named Shreya, an eight-year-old girl diagnosed with terminal cancer. She would start laughing uncontrollably whenever I told her about one of my many embarrassing stories and making fun of our shared experiences with velans (Rolling pin that Indian parents use to scare us if we were naughty). For a moment, memories flooded back from when me and Dada were in the hospital room. I remembered that laughter, and not only did Shreya and Dada forget that they were dying, but their smiles expressed happiness and the beauty of being alive.
There is something sacred, empowering, when a connection forms when people need it the most; whether it be simple as starting a joke, or just providing some words of familiarity during times of loneliness and despair. We may never end the sting of loss, but both storytelling and physicians are the bridge between the past and the future. I have a chance to learn from tragedy and use that to shape a better future. If I can learn something from one loss, keep moving forward, and use that knowledge to help even a single person – save one life, bring a moment of joy, avoid a moment of pain—then that is how I want to spend my life.