It was always important for me to live a life with meaning and purpose, but for a long time, I didn’t know how I could; It wasn’t until a few years ago when I finally discovered how. When I was 12 years old, I witnessed someone I love battle the pains and tribulations of cancer. As easy as it was to become resentful and angry towards the unfortunate circumstances, I never allowed myself to reach that point. Instead, I began finding ways through which I can grow from these obstacles. From this experience, I was able to find my true passion in life which is to become a doctor and humanitarian. For me, the greatest gift is having the knowledge and skill to save someone’s life. There is nothing more fulfilling for me than to have a career dedicated to giving back to my community and the world.

For 7 years now, I have dedicated my academic studies as well as my free time to learn how to become the best doctor I can be in the future. When I began high school, I started volunteering at local hospitals within the Los Angeles community. As a clinical volunteer, I saw fear in the eyes of patients and their families who were experiencing the same loss of control that I had felt. Watching others go through a similar struggles as I had was almost like I came full circle from my past. Now, I am currently a 3rd year premed student student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). With just a short amount of time life before I graduate and apply to medical school, I know that I must travel the world and expose myself to the most vulnerable and struggling situations. Global health matters to me because I know the pain and struggle of having one’s health stolen from them. Everyone deserves the right to health care no matter who they are or where they came from. For this reason, I have decided to travel to the Dominican Republic to provide free medical assistance to those who live in underdeveloped communities. I will be participating with the organization Global Medical Training (GMT). 

GMT provides students with a first-hand experience of cultural, social, and political life in the Dominican Republic. Through GMT, I will be exposed to a medical environment where I will be able to observe and actively participate in the medical assessments/treatments of patients who have scarce economic resources, poor access to healthcare, and have to live within various primitive types of Public Healthcare systems. Witnessing the plight of those who live in underserved communities will allow me to see the struggles we, in the developed first world, have never had to experience. This way, I will come home with a completely new perspective on my life and how I will chose to live it in the future. I only hope that by the time I will finish my work in the Dominican Republic, I will have made a real difference in someone’s life. 

The most important lesson I learned throughout my life is that we cannot take today for granted. Life is a gift, and it is our job to make everyday count-because we never know what tomorrow will bring. Ally was the embodiment of this. It’s beautiful human beings like Ally who remind me that we all have a responsibility to shine our light in this world. No matter where I end up in the future, or where the world takes me, as long as I am of service to others I know that my life will be filled with meaning and purpose. 

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