“why do I wanna be a doctor?”
I’ve never write it out seriously, so I think it is a good chance to do that.
First of all, let me say there is no such a NECESSARY reason of my being a doc. My parents ain’t doctors, and also my life has been quite nothing to do with hospital, medicine, or that kind of stuff. So, unfortunately, the thing is not like “oh AKIRA!you must be a doctor!!”,though I wish it was like that. In fact,I was thinking about going to ICU(the name of non-medical university in Tokyo)just before the entrance examination.
Well, it was when I was traveling India 5years ago when I first decided to study medicine.
My family was in Cairo-the capital of Egypt-for 3years when I was a kid. It might sound arrogant of me, but ”foreign countries” and “other cultures” were closer things for me than for other Japanese kids, since I went to a local international kindergarten, and also my parents often took me to European and African countries. So since that time, I have been thinking like, ”there are many countries beyond the ocean and wanna go all over the world” or ”I wanna work not only in Japan but in the world”.
Seems like, it was super exciting for small me that many animals were living freely in the savannah of Kenya. I was thinking of being a vet at Hokkaido Uni seriously until just before I went to America as an exchange student.(Why Hokkaido?---well,I liked this comic of vet in Hokkaido, simple reason indeed.) My dream had been always being a vet. I even sent an e-mail to Ms.Asuka Takita,a vet working in Kenya who I respect, about how much I was longing to be a vet like her!
Anyways, now I guess you can see how much I wanted to be a vet,not a doc. So then, what was the turning point? Well,I would say,it was my visit to Smoky-Mountain in Philippines when I was 15. Smoky-Mountain is slum areas around those mountains of garbage and all kind of trash produced at Manila, the capital of Philippines. I talked with NGO staffs working there, and walked around the slum.
It was just, so shocking…
What I think normal wasn’t normal there… Common sense? There ain’t no such thing… Only terrible environment and sad history existed…
I simply thought “I wanna do something…”,or more to be correct, I thought “I must do something…”
It might be hypocritical of me… It might be my egoism…but I think it’s impossible to choose “not doing anything” if you see that sight,at least it was so for me.
After this experience,I searched for jobs that I can work internationally and do something to all those unfairness in the world in the future. And it was that time I first learned there is such thing as MSF,the international medical team. My dream had gradually changed from “to work worldwide” to “to dedicate myself to the world” by this moment.
However I couldn’t give up of being vet immediately ,maybe I bore it too long. Therefore I went to the best highschool in my hometown for the time being so that I could have many choices of university.
The junior year of highschool, I selected the science course, which was right before I went to America, because I considered the chance I would change my mind to other courses,(it’s easier to change course from science to otherts). I didn’t have any special feelings of science course,though I wanted to keep myself opened.
There are many reasons I went to America as a member of students exchange program. I now think one of the reasons is that maybe I wanted to escape.
I could be a vet, and I could spend a normal life without any philosophical questions, or passion and appreciation to live my life. There was a growing sense of uneasiness in my mind. I really didn’t want to waste my life. I longed for a life worth living.
Anyways I spent one year at Texas,America. Throughout the year, I felt strongly the hugeness of the world, but at the same time I also felt that there weren’t any differences between me and any people. We are all same human. Un fortunately I didn’t get any chances that are critical for my future career, but I luckily had many chances to meet a doctor, thanks to my host mother.
My host mother experienced a serious car crash a few years ago I met her. A huge track bumped the back of her car, and she got paralyzed from the waist down. Every hospital abandoned her, the situation was that bad. She couldn’t give it up though, and one day she visited Dr.Chin,a chinese herb doc. After years of chinese traditional treatments, surprisingly, she fully recovered! I sometimes met him when my host mom saw him. The miracle medical science brought about impressed me a lot.
In 6days I came back to Japan, I left Japan again to India. I made use of my summer holidays to this travel. I wanted to take my time to think about my life and things before starting studying for univirsity.
The 3weeks in India was the most precious time in my life so far. I saw many realities during this first solo travel of mine. There were many cows waking on the streets. The air was humid and smelled like mixture of sweat and Asian spices. Cities were filled with din and bustle, and energy of people. Trains don’t come on time as if it’s normal. Many irresponsible street vendors talked to me. Beds in cheep inns were full of bedbugs. Cheep inns at back alleys were so dirty. You can find carcasses of mice and rotten waste water. A mass in the early morning at Mother house was so holy. A girl who had HIV was smiling at me without any sadness in her eyes. Beggers don’t have their own homes. An old woman whose whole body was burned was sitting on the street, next to a big pile of trash. A begging boy who had lost his arms and legs was there. Dead bodies were being burned at a crematorium beside the Ganges. Skinny dogs were swarming over it. Old men begging money so that he can buy firewood which would be used when he’s dead. Beautiful orange cloth were swinging in humid wind. The eternity of the Ganges saw all of those. And I saw the same sky as Japan.
No other words can describe the days I spent and what I felt. There are so many things happened while I was traveling around that I can’t write all of it here, but everything was shocking to me, the same shock that I felt at Smoky Mountain. I never knew such realities exist in the world, those are so real than the things I had ever seen on TV or newspapers.
And I was mad at myself. I was just so powerless.
I don’t believe happiness can be only achieved by matter. However there is such a hard fact while I am living peacefully. Everybody knows it, but what I felt with my eyes, ears, nose, and skin were much more real.
This experience made me think about my life seriously. I wanted to do something sincerely. I didn’t want to make a cheep decision on this, and I hated forgetting these feelings which could happen when I’m in peacefulness in Japan.
By the end of my trip, the conclusion I finally reached were “doctor” and ”teacher”. When I thought about a life along my concept---to have something to do with many people worldwidely---I at that time could imagine only these two alternative choices. Judging from my little knowledge and experience of India and some other countries, it seemed like medicine and education were needed if I want to work worldwide. And I made my mind to be a doctor. There aren’t many reasons that I can put into words. Maybe I was interested in medicine, and I wanted a challenge in my life. In the airplane back to Japan, I was looking down India through a window with an awareness of my calling in my heart.
I have to say it was pretty tough to catch up studying at highschool because of the gap of 1 year. Since I’m not such a talented person, sometimes I almost gave it up. To tell the truth, I sometimes tried to run away. So I feel all the happier when I passed the examination this spring.
I have always had conflicts in my mind---Isn’t it just my ego that I want to be a doc?--- If I could find a specific remedy like for HIV or avian flu as a researcher, I would be able to save much more people even after I’m dead. Or in fact it is more helpful to improve infrastructure with a lot of money. However I wish to save even a handful of people in the front directly. Isn’t it
selfish of me? Isn’t my sense of justice twisted? Don’t I just want to satisfy myself? Is what I want to do really needed? …I’m sometimes at loss with all these questions.
I’m traveling Africa for a year from next spring. One of the reasons of this is maybe because I want to face all these my conflicts. Africa is one of the places I can’t ignore when I realize my dream. I want to feel this continent which is full of caos and contradiction with all my senses. This is what I’m now thinking.
So this is the reason why I want to be a doctor.
I’m sorry that it is hard to understand because of my English.
Thank you for reading.