I decided that I wanted to become a doctor very early in life, even before I knew what that truly entailed. I believe it was after I read one of my father’s medical encyclopedias during a moment of boredom. Over the years, as I matured and gained more knowledge in science, that desire to become a doctor was strengthened by my growing love for science yet I still had no idea why exactly I wanted to go into medicine. Then, the unthinkable occurred in my life. A normal Tuesday afternoon was turned into one of the darkest, if not the darkest day of my existence. My country experienced a tragedy that left many dead, including people who were very dear to me. I witnessed people suffer, die, and become mutilated because of a severe shortage of medical professionals in my country. I knew then beyond the shadow of a doubt why I wanted to become a doctor.
While the tragic losses that I have witnessed made me more resolved to pursue medicine, I still only had a very generic idea of what being a physician is like. In my mind, I imagined only the medicine aspect of it and saving lives. What I learned this summer, is that being a doctor goes far beyond science and the desire to save lives, it requires empathy and tolerance. I am a very reserved person and am often reluctant to show emotions, therefore learning how to take down some of the walls around me in order to understand the patients was no easy task and I am still learning to do so. This summer, I started out the Brandeis Summer Shadowing Program mostly expecting to learn about medicine, which I did, but I also learned the intricacies of the profession that I chose to purse all these years ago on a whim.
-Taisha Joseph – Cambridge Health Alliance