"People are not rocket science"

I wasn't be a doctor. Please do not mistake me, I have every intent to become a doctor, an exceptionally good one at that; patients will know me for my persistence and professionalism, love me for my compassion and confidence. I will become a medical doctor not by birth, not by base expectation or innate qualification, but because I choose this path for myself. I choose medicine for its values, my values: science, finesse, efficiency, compassion, precision, intuition, nuance.

Medicine rises from a patient-oriented mindset, seeking to observe and treat illness case-by-case. One of my health professors, a close friend and mentor, claims the mantra: “People are not rocket science – they’re infinitely more complex than rocket science”. Healthcare professionals don’t treat sets of symptoms or calculated constructions, but rather seek to understand and heal an elaborate, growing, individual life.

My most fundamental lesson I acquired during my time as a Boy Scout, having just left elementary for middle school. I still recall my first campout as a young Boy Scout, how I pored over the handbook cover-to-cover preparing for the outdoor trials ahead. Setting my tent alongside my friends with heavy sheets of rain surrounding us, our bags well soaked by this point, holds a sweet timbre (albeit somewhat bittersweet, the aftertaste holds brighter) in my memory. And somewhere buried in that bag, my prized handbook of precise instruction had turned to pulp. On the one hand, my diligent study prior to our gale-force excursion helped to prepare me, to guide my responses as each camping surprise arose, but I relied all the more heavily on my comrades. I quickly took this lesson to heart: for all the knowledge I could muster, nothing kept me comfortable and confident quite like our team of callow friends.

I’m apt in scientific rigors of observation, but all the more adept in understanding people, which I regard as my greatest strength for a career in medicine: the ability to leverage analytical methods of diagnostics within a fundamentally human treatment process.

Hippocrates’ ideal physician may be summarized as briefly as this: better. Not more important, or more systematic or skillful, more compassionate, or more intelligent. If I desired an existence of science, I would pursue a laboratory life or a career in biomedical engineering creating something for doctors to use. But I don’t want to make something used by people; my passion remains wholly for people.

As a photographer for numerous weddings, countless events and portraits, the joy of serving people stands unparalleled in my mind. Carefully refining colors and adjusting pixels in the glow of my computer, my mind remains focused on a deeper purpose for the human connection. I greatly enjoy my art, even when it requires solitude, because the joy of sharing captured memories rewards the initial isolation. I continue to serve others in media through my private business, my tenure with Student Media at Texas A&M, and into my role as Creative Director of Impact. This gift for media patiently accepts lonely hours, prizing the final human connection.

My skills strike a balanced bent toward both science and humanity, and I will serve my patients well: intuitive, rational, intentional, relational, diagnostic, sympathetic, compassionate, detached, careful, quick, encouraging, and above all, constantly seeking improvement. Hippocrates’ ideal physician strives ever to become better, and considers him or herself ever short of this goal.

Grades appear hard-pressed to measure holistic growth, indicating an extremely narrow window to success. Daring to interact with professors, peers and mentors, I’ve gained depth through my education. On many occasions I’ve taken the time to enjoy a good cup of coffee with a past professor or to catch up and hear what’s new in their lives, and through this investment of time, I’ve been blessed to receive mentorship and council and support. Though my grade ratios have grown slowly, they’ve grown steadily upward – and my personal growth has outpaced the dreaded GPR.

I wasn’t born a doctor. I see medicine as a rigorous art, in need of practice to reach perfection, striving toward perfection without ever achieving it. I choose medicine because of a calling more than a paycheck. I choose medicine because of balance more than singularity. I choose medicine because patients deserve better – and because I will become better until my dying breath.