The time is 6:30 am. I’m outside my residence hall, having completed my morning run. I look around me and see faces and lights begin to appear. People in cars and buses slowly move into the empty streets. The chirps of birds and songs of the bugs break the desolate wasteland of the hour before. The dark void of isolation is warm as always. The sun will shine, and the world is mine. In the morning, I tell world that I’ll be there when you wake up. I own the world in everything I do during the day. Time and tide wait for no man because time had better catch up with me.
As I began my years at Indiana University-Bloomington in the fall of 2013, the spurious curtain of the undergraduate’s desire for achievement and professionalism soon fell before my eyes. I found an atmosphere in which we were told to seek leadership positions and involvement. To the contrary, I stood resolute in my conviction that one does not become a leader before making a difference. I believed that one makes a difference and, through that process, becomes a leader. I knew that, in order to be successful, I had to create my own meaning and not receive it from somewhere else. On top of that, I noticed that neurotic and obsessive pre-medical students weren’t realizing the real beauty of an undergraduate education that comes from the curious pursuit of knowledge. I wanted to create an environment that would give students, especially pre-medical students, this opportunity.
Sometime in the middle of my Introduction to Philosophy class freshman year, I had the idea to create a Medical Ethics Discussion Circle. We would meet as groups to read articles with relevant ethical issues in bioethics, sociopolitical ethics, and other areas that would relate to medicine and health care. This would prepare students for careers in health care, but, more importantly, give them a greater, curious understanding of the world to help them cultivate their own passions. I wanted to create an atmosphere in which students could offer ideas, criticism, discussions, and arguments. On top of that, I plan on inviting other speakers to lead discussions and provide their own perspectives on ethical issues in medicine if we have enough support. (Perhaps it was also fueled by my skeptical nature that lead me to arrive at the conclusions I stated in the previous paragraph.)
When I pitched the idea to MAPS (Minority Association of Pre-medical Students), I was met with with immediate praise, and, with a bit of planning and recruiting, the Medical Ethics Discussion Circle is now under way. I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback already, even thought we’ve had only one meeting so far. I hope that my efforts to promote a love of humanistic causes will help others pursue their goals in life.
The path to making a difference can be lonely and tortuous. But, every now and then I stumble upon moments of satisfaction and glory. I believe that the undergraduate education is a journey, and I hope you enjoy how I share it with you.