In the beautiful words of wisdom writer James Allen, “There is an appointed season when inspiration meets opportunity and one will move toward his destiny to fulfill his divine purpose.” For me, there is no greater pleasure than the ability to use my intellect and abilities to alleviate human pain and suffering. The personal gratification I receive from working with and caring for others is a major motivation behind my desire to become a physician. Furthermore, becoming a physician will allow me to participate in one of the most intimate dialogues between people. In this role, I will be able to empower individuals to take better care of themselves as well as those around them.
“Relentless” is how I would describe my mindset over the past nine years with respect to my journey to medical school. As a college junior, I took the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) for the first time, confident that I performed well enough to be competitive. I was excited at the prospects of starting medical school the following year. I applied to medical school for the first time my senior year in college and was unsuccessful. Despair set in as I realized that my dream would not come to pass as I had planned. I consulted with an advisor who provided insights into what it would take to become a competitive applicant. I then enrolled in a MCAT review course and participated in a Summer Medical and Dental Education Program.
I applied to medical school for the second time and again was unsuccessful. So I decided to engage in research, teaching, and consulting. These opportunities, however, did not provide the sense of satisfaction that I looked for in a career. I then enrolled in another MCAT review course as I worked part time and made up my mind that I would do whatever it took fulfill my dream of becoming a physician. After further reflection, I decided to apply to a postbaccalaureate program to better prepare for medical school.
I applied to the postbaccalaureate program, got an interview, was waitlisted and ultimately rejected. The interviewers recommended that I retake a couple of courses and reapply. In an effort to demonstrate that I was sincere about my aspirations, I left my job and moved to Carbondale, Illinois where the postbaccalaureate program was located. After retaking the courses and reapplying to the program, I was placed on the waiting list a second time. At this point, I had grown despondent because I left a good job close to home to pursue a dream that had eluded me for several years and my hope was all but gone. Could it be that I would never experience the privilege of the physician-patient relationship? By God’s grace, I persevered and finally received word that I was granted acceptance into the program in March of 2005. There is always a blessing behind closed doors and the uncommon dream is usually the exact opposite of your present circumstances.
As a non-traditional student, the adjustment from the corporate arena back to the academic environment proved to be particularly challenging. In fact, the story of my life since moving to Carbondale, Illinois, was akin to the Biblical account of Joseph the Dreamer. One truth I learned from his life is that things come to us in seasons. Here was a young man who, at the outset, was mistreated, rejected, and falsely accused. But before Joseph could enter his place of purpose as governor of Egypt, he had to acquire a deeper revelation of what it meant to be humble. One would think that he would have become bitter; instead, Joseph grew in compassion for his loved ones and became a blessing to the whole region.
In retrospect, this was one of the tests I had to pass before entering the next season of my life and I now serve as a resource for all my colleagues. Further, this transition taught me how to persevere in the face of adversity and engage in honest self-evaluation. These attributes, in conjunction with my values and belief system, will undoubtedly sustain me throughout the rigors of the medical school experience and enable me to effect long-lasting change within the community as a servant-leader.
If I were to characterize my first year of medical school in a phrase, it would be “success in the very face of adversity.” I’ve learned that I thrive and look forward to challenges. In fact, adversity is simply confirmation of divine partnership. As a physician, it would give me the greatest satisfaction to know that my work is benefiting society and that future generations will be able to benefit by enjoying good health. Moreover, my background and education have instilled in me the ethical values and sense of dedication that the medical profession demands.
From these experiences, I have gained a sense of what it means to give unselfishly and derive much satisfaction from knowing that my efforts are worthwhile. After taking the MCAT four times, applying to medical school three times, and applying to the postbaccalaureate program twice, I continue to stand on the fact that in the fullness of time, my dream will be fulfilled and the labor of love will produce seasons of fruitfulness.
This essay was written by Okey Eniya. To contact Okey, please email him at email@example.com.