Omar is a sophomore. He wrote this essay responding to his teacher’s prompt:
Does the current situation with COVID-19 change your desire to work in the field of medicine?
An essay assignment by Omar (CRSM ’23)
During the early to middle weeks of January, I began following COVID-19. Around those weeks the virus was fairly new and there were no confirmed cases in the United States. Nevertheless, I was following international news and researched information regarding the total number of cases, symptoms, and how life was shifting in Wuhan, China. While I saw that the cases were increasing in China, I remained calm and thought that this was another Ebola Virus scare. The only thing close to this that I have experienced was in 2016 with Ebola, where there were a few cases in the United States but they slowly faded away. This virus, however, is not something that we can take lightly. At first, I saw many people around my age make jokes about the situation and how carelessly they acted since it was on the other side of the planet. It was only after it began affecting their communities when they reacted.
Flash-forward to April 2, 2020; the world has changed extensively. With the help of the internet and social media it has allowed healthcare workers to show us what is going on in the frontlines. And it makes me very sad that these actual heroes do not have enough personal protective equipment and ventilators to help out the large influx of patients. As a sophomore, who hopes to be a physician in the future, it is times like this when I am even more motivated to go into this field. Seeing doctors, nurses, and hospital workers go into long shifts every day, showing the kind of commitment and bravery that they have, only makes me want to help. From this situation, I learned what it means to be a doctor. I read stories about Italian doctors who have been retired for more than 10 years; yet they took it onto themselves to return and help people. These sorts of stories teach me that being a healthcare worker is not just a job but it is a commitment to put others ahead of you and help them heal and grow.
Now is the time to think about the future; to let us teenagers realize how unprepared we are for a pandemic. We have to educate ourselves about the real dangers that we could face. This pandemic will serve as a reminder that we must work towards making sure everybody does their part, because in the end this virus does not discriminate. We have to realize that all the necessary tools are available to us. That we have platforms where we can learn from real doctors and epidemiologists. While learning about the science behind diseases is important, we have to do a better job of understanding its social effects. We need to do a better job of being for others. While we love our families and will do anything for them, we have to think about others; the people who have underlying health conditions or our seniors who have to risk their lives to find essentials since everyone has overstocked on goods. We must help our front-line healthcare workers get the sufficient amount of protective equipment. We teenagers have the potential to grow from this and do better – and it starts now.