A student who plans to become a doctor – and the touching reason why30 october 2012, 17:19
Note to readers: I was moved by an essay that one of my Nazarbayev University students submitted for a Communication class assignment. She agreed to my request to run this edited version as a guest column. – Hal Foster
By Assel Zhunussova
My parents are physicians, and my decision to pursue a career in medicine may look obvious to many people.
However, neither my dad nor my mom ever advised me to become a doctor.
And I had a strong reason for not wanting to be a doctor: Medicine has been an unfortunate part of my life for a long time.
I’ve had a liver dysfunction since childhood, meaning that syringes and drugs are all too familiar to me.
I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals, partly as a patient and partly because my parents worked there.
I’ve listened to their complaints about working conditions and limited pay.
Therefore, for years I refused to consider medicine as my future occupation.
Moreover, I’ve always been interested in the humanities: I’ve been both a poet and artist.
I gave no thought to being a physician until I was in high school, when I realized that my medical condition had affected my general health.
I was small, and had problems with some of my other organs and my skin.
My determination not to be a slave to a medical condition, and my conviction that I could help others in my family avoid health problems, prompted me to want to become a doctor.
Still, I asked myself why I should be in medicine when I liked reading and writing so much.
I also asked myself how I could cope with the stress of treating others when I had my own health problems.
Finally I realized I wanted to help people simply because I understood how to be a patient – and could convey that to others.
I began to become passionate about being a doctor when I imagined myself educating people, including my family members, about their bodies, and about doing everything possible to treat them with effective communication and with compassion.
In my senior year of high school, I decided to go to medical school instead of what I had considered an unalterable choice: law school.
Today I am in the first year of my pre-medicine program in Nazarbayev University’s School of Science and Technology.
Yes, I’m going to be a doctor – and I’m so enthusiastic about it.
There are so many privileges to this profession. It starts with being able to contribute to, and participate in, the lives of those who are vulnerable – and to earn their respect and even their admiration.
I look forward to finishing my pre-medicine course, going to the School of Medicine that Nazarbayev University will open soon, and making a difference for those in my country.
Assel Zhunussova. Photo courtesy of Assel Zhunussova