As I type this into my computer, millions of things are currently working simultaneously to sustain me. Circuits of neurons connected to muscles in my back and legs are repeatedly sending impulses to and receiving responses from the brain in order to keep me upright in my chair. My brain sends repeated signals to my diaphragm, telling it to contract, so that oxygen might flood into the lungs and diffuse into the blood. Then the muscles in my heart must contract consistently and simultaneously, controlled by electrical signals, in order to supply all of my organs with this life-sustaining oxygen-rich blood. So many things have to work perfectly. A myriad of things could go wrong, yet they rarely ever do. It is a complex yet beautiful testament to the creation of a Master Craftsman.
As a Pre-Med major at the University of Mobile, I have an amazing opportunity to study His creation. In doing so, I am learning much more than I thought possible about the Creator, and about myself.
Is life as a Pre-Med major difficult? Absolutely. Does it require you to be disciplined? Yes. Does it require time? Definitely. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve been challenged repeatedly to be the best I can be. I’ve had my eyes opened to a whole new world. And I’ve learned countless lessons. Here are just a few.
1. If you choose Pre-Med, be prepared to work.
I think one of the most common mistakes that students make in choosing Pre-Med as a major is the assumption that becoming a physician is easy. I would argue that it might be the most difficult thing you can choose to pursue in life. As a Pre-Med major, you will work hard in school for many years. After receiving your undergraduate, you will work hard in school for at least 7 more years. That is what is required, and there are no shortcuts.
If the Pre-Med department at the University of Mobile has taught me anything over the last four years, it has been to give my best in every single task I perform, for the work I put in now will impact my patients down the road. UM has taught me to work hard. This is a mindset that I know will serve me well in the future as I walk this difficult path. In Anatomy & Physiology, I have been challenged to know both structure and function like the back of my hand. In Gross Anatomy, I’ve been taught to use right technique when wielding surgical instruments and dissecting cadavers. And in Biochemistry, I have been required to understand molecular compositions of essential structures in the body. Again and again, the University of Mobile has instilled in me a desire for excellence that will serve my patients well one day.
2. Medical treatment can be so much more than medicine.
The call for doctors is to serve and to help, and as Christians, our greater call is to serve and to help. Dr. Rana Awdish, an ICU physician in Detroit, says in her book, In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope, “It is entirely possible to feel someone’s pain, acknowledge their suffering, hold it in our hands and support them with our presence without depleting ourselves, without clouding our judgment. But only if we are honest about our own feelings.” I walk away, from my time in the ER, my time at Victory Health Partners, and my time studying here at UM, truly believing that compassionate medicine is not a lesser form of medicine. Rather, when we are able to show sympathy and suffer with those we serve, they leave feeling truly heard and cared for.
Time and time again, the University of Mobile has provided opportunities to solidify this idea in my life.
Professors have repeatedly taken me under their wings and shown me their willingness to run the race with me. Whether it be through allowing me to shadow them while performing surgery or having my classmates and I over for dinner and prayer, they have consistently shown me the same genuine care and support I will strive to show those in my future care.
Campus Ministries, and really the entirety of the Student Life department, have faithfully reminded me that our ultimate purpose as believers is to see the name of Jesus magnified whatever the cost. One way we do this is by allowing the life of Christ to live through us in the way we serve those around us. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. He looked not on his own needs, but to the needs of others. That is our calling, and it is this purpose that pushes me to flee complacency in every person I care for.
3. Enjoy the journey.
I am extremely grateful that the Lord has opened doors to allow me to pursue a career in medicine, but I am just as grateful, if not more so, that He allowed me to do it here at the University of Mobile. Ironically as I was writing this piece, I was asked by my youth pastor in Florida, “If you could do it over, knowing what you know now about UM, would you still go?” My answer was unhesitatingly simple. Absolutely. The University of Mobile has provided so much more than simply a place to hone my academic skills and prepare for a professional career. It has provided a genuine home, for it is here at UM that I have built my strongest friendships. It is here that I have formed unbreakable bonds with professors and mentors. And it is here, most importantly, that my trust in Jesus has deepened like never before.
Certainly, it hasn’t always been easy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Through the journey, the Lord has shown me that He is both faithful and good, and will be nothing other than faithful and good, even in the darkest days. University of Mobile has, without a doubt, been an answer to prayer for which I will be forever grateful.