Surrounded by thousands of stars, complete silence, and spectacular mountains, I stood atop the Colorado Mountain Peak awestruck by nature’s beauty. Immediately, I realized that I must dedicate my life to understanding the causes of the universe’s beauty. In addition, the hike taught me several valuable lessons that will allow me to increase my understanding through scientific research.
Although the first few miles of the hike up the mountain did not offer fantastic views, the vistas became spectacular once I climbed above tree line. Immediately, I sensed that understanding the natural world parallels climbing a mountain. To reach my goal of total comprehension of natural phenomena, I realized that I must begin with knowledge that may be uninteresting by itself. However, this knowledge will form the foundation of an accurate view of the universe. Much like every step while hiking leads the hiker nearer the mountain peak, all knowledge leads the scientist nearer total understanding.
Above tree line, the barrenness and silence of the hike taught me that individuals must have their own direction. All hikers know that they must carry complete maps to reach their destinations; they do not allow others to hold their maps for them. Similarly, surrounded only by mountaintops, sky, and silence, I recognized the need to remain individually focused on my life’s goal of understanding the physical universe.
At the summit, the view of the surrounding mountain range is spectacular. The panorama offers a view of hills and smaller mountains. Some people during their lives climb many small hills. However, to have the most accurate view of the world, I must be dedicated to climbing the biggest mountains I can find. Too often people simply hike across a flat valley without ascending because they content themselves with the scenery. The mountain showed me that I cannot content myself with the scenery. When night fell upon the summit, I stared at the slowly appearing stars until they completely filled the night sky. Despite the windy conditions and below freezing temperatures, I could not tear myself away from the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos. Similarly, despite the frustration and difficulties inherent in scientific study, I cannot retreat from my goal of universal understanding.
“Sally, we need you over here.” Marisa, a nurse at City of Hope calls over for me. I grab a pair of gloves and am at her side in a moment. “We need to lift this man to do a chest x-ray,” she informs me. Placing my hands beneath the patient, I await the countdown: “3…2…1…lift.” I am a volunteer in perioperative services at the hospital. My tasks include: transporting patients to and from surgery, running samples to the pathology lab, and assisting patients in recovery. Often, I imagine myself in the role of a physician. I am guilty, at times, of considering the patients whom I am helping as my own. It is these Monday afternoons, then I take time away from my studies in the Post-Baccalaureate Pre Medical Program at Scripps College, that my commitment to becoming a doctor is affirmed. While I am unswerving in my desire to become a physician, I have not always had such intentions. As a young girl, I was always one of the final contenders in the spelling bees, timed tests, and even kickball games at recess. I enjoyed the challenge of schoolwork, the competition amongst peers, and the rewards of my successes. Yet, as I grew older I was more often complimented on what a pretty young woman I was developing into, and less noticed for my scholastic achievements. This shift of attention from my educational pursuits towards my physical attributes had an effect on me, as I had always valued the opinions of others in order to get their approval. I began to believe that my value was in my looks and not in my mind, and was, therefore, not as inclined to pursue my education as vigorously as before. Coinciding with this digression in school was a turbulent divorce between my parents. Conflict in my family, coupled with the e… … middle of paper … …study organic chemistry. Rather than simply memorizing the mechanisms of reactions, the ability to really identify with and understand the behavior of molecules is a much more useful method of learning. In identifying with the subject, I can reason and understand its course. I want to apply these skills to medicine. Rather than simply administering a standard diagnosis, I want to approach each case with respect for its unique circumstances. My ability to understand and empathize with others will help me to provide personal care to patients. Medicine is the field in which my background in the humanities, my fascination with science, and my commitment to helping others will coalesce. Until then, however, I may be found on Monday afternoons in the hospital. I am the one peering over shoulders in surgery, anticipating the day when I hold the scalpel.