Not Just a Passion, but a Calling
By: Paulina Luella Puskala
“Draw what you want to be when you grow up,” announced my preschool teacher as we finished our grape juice. Pulling a gray crayon out of the basket, I, without hesitation, whipped up a stick figure sporting a colossal stethoscope. From that moment, proudly sharing the disproportionate figure with the class, I have been set on becoming a doctor. My journey however, has since become so much more.
Fascinated by the life and growth of my three younger siblings, I am blessed with the calling to work as a midwife or in neonatology. Coming from a culturally non-diverse region – the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - my passion for exploring and attempting to submerge myself in other cultures began at an early age. A children’s textbook of cultures around the world, along with a plastic globe, proved to be among my favorite material objects, inspiring my passion to “go places.” Having had opportunities to visit with members of our sister church in Nairobi, Kenya, I often raised money penny by penny, holding lemonade sales for their local, impoverished orphanage for HIV positive children.
As a translator for the Central American Youth Ambassadors inbound group, as well as being a U.S. State Department-sponsored ambassador in the outgoing group, I have had experience abroad - in Panama and the Dominican Republic specifically - working with individuals from all walks of life. Becoming inspired by the strength and determination of the HIV positive children at La Casa Rosada in Santo Domingo, my will to become a doctor has been confirmed. Throughout my travels abroad in addition to my experiences locally, I have seen an extreme need for good doctors: not just doctors with competence, but with compassion. With a belief that truly everyone is equal, I cannot think of a more fulfilling career than helping to protect and ensure the wellbeing of life itself. Without health or at least life, all else that we may strive for as individuals becomes nonexistent. Good health is the first step in helping people to move forward in the world. Thus, there is nothing more fulfilling that being able to save a life or ensure the best possible quality of one.
Although science and research are important to becoming a competent health professional and should not be compromised, leadership, open-mindedness, and compassion, are equally essential. This well-roundedness combined with a great respect and understanding of the values of others is essential in providing adequate care not just to those in other countries and cultures, but within our own country. Our country is becoming increasingly diverse every day, and it is essential that healthcare professionals are capable of providing compassionate, quality care to everyone. My experiences have greatly impacted me by giving me confidence that I will one day contribute these qualities to the medical field. I have seen hard work pay off, and am a true believer that it does. The dynamic, diverse, essentiality of the healthcare community is something that I not only feel passionate about becoming a part of, but a calling.