Thursday, June 24, 2010

To med, with love

"If I have a million bucks, I would definitely take you. But sadly,
I don't have yet. Will you wait for me? "
                                                                 --to med, with love

They say it's really hard to choose between two things that you are passionate of. But why, in the first place, do I have to choose? Don't I have the right or the privilege to experience both?

It's been almost two years since this struggle started. After graduating in 2008, I was really convinced I wanted to become a scientist. Biology has always amused me. It's really fascinating to study the many aspects that comprise it, especially the field of cell and molecular biology. Who would have thought I would experience isolating DNA and RNA from plant cells, clone genes by transferring DNA segments into bacterial cells then check the sequences? Who would have thought that when I was born, my future boss was a graduate student in the other part of the world looking for the gene responsible for submergence tolerance in rice, and that after 15 years he'll be able to find it? Working in International Rice Research Institute is really an answered prayer. Here, I'm doing things I never imagined I'd be doing - things I just see in Discovery Channel.

But then, unexpected things do happen. One day I just realized my old dream coming back again. As a child, I wanted to become a doctor. I would play with my doll: she's my patient, I'm the doctor; doctor checking if the patient is sick; doctor writing some medicines on a piece of paper with an Rx sign (which until now, I still don't know what Rx means). Oh well, those were the days. Going back to the present, yes I think I want to become a doctor, I want to study medicine. I want to study what is the cause of a particular disease, the mechanisms involved, and how to treat it. They say med is hard but I think I'm prepared for it. But the only thing that really hinders me is the financial aspect. It is a well-known fact that studying med is a very expensive thing. It's like you'll be needing a million just for the tuition fee (this applies to my dream school, ASMPH), and how about the miscellaneous fees, and the books, and the everyday expenses like food, dorm? etcetera, etcetera. And the fact that Medicine is not a money-making endeavor. Do not expect you'll be earning big bucks after graduation. You still need to speacialize in a particular field and it's still several years away. It's like you're giving 100% energy, effort, determination and you'll only receive a small amount written on your paycheck. But I think that's the catch! You've given your all to save lives! It's priceless!

If only I have what it takes. If only I'm brave enough to take the risk. But as of now, I think I don't have it yet. My family doesn't have sufficient money to support my medical education and I don't want them to carry the burden. My parents are getting old and I just want them to experience the good life. And I can't quit my job because, well, I love doing this and this is my source of income and I get to help my family through this. And I think I'll be doing my Masters soon, hopefully. Nah, I do have lots of dreams!

But one thing's for sure, I want to experience both worlds. I want to become a scientist and a doctor. I hope and pray that someday, somehow, my dreams will come true.

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