Boonshoft Blogs

Dear Medicine
Justin Chu ’19
October 1, 2018

Dear Medicine,

Since I was ten years old, I have dreamed of becoming a physician. Looking back as a fourth year medical student, that little ten-year-old boy had no idea what was in store for him. I never imagined the road to your pursuit would be filled with so many bumps and mental bruises. Nor would I have ever imagined traveling to foreign countries implementing your skills, meeting outstanding colleagues and mentors, all the while interacting with others on the most personal and emotional level. Trying to learn and better understand you has not been an easy task, and I have relied on the support and encouragement of my family and friends every step of the way.

Similarly, studying you has motivated and empowered me mentally, physically, and emotionally. Thank you for pushing me to limits I could never imagine, and for challenging me to hold myself to the highest standards. There were many nights of studying and difficult exams when I struggled to understand you and grew frustrated. I now see the value in those times, because from those difficult tests and what felt like hopeless studying came something much more fruitful and infinitely lasting. During the times you made me struggle and fall, I gained the inner determination and resilience to come back even stronger and smarter the next time.

Throughout school, you have taught me that the journey is just as important, if not more, than the end goal. Through my patient interactions, you have taught me a myriad of life lessons, and not a day goes by without me learning something new about you. I have learned to appreciate the importance of strong leadership qualities and a well-functioning healthcare team to optimize patient care. You showed me that my skillset of communication, diagnostic thinking, and long-term commitment to patients coincide well with a team-based medical approach. I gained an even greater respect for you when I dealt with death in patients whom I cared for and worked hard to keep alive. For example, when I watched a young man go into cardiac arrest shortly after explaining to his mother that he would be undergoing surgery in two days to repair his infected mitral valve. Performing chest compressions on him until the bitter end is something I will never forget. At times, I feared you and your immense power to cause rapid deterioration. Through observing birth and the body’s ability to heal, you filled me with joy, and when I reflect at the end of each day, you never cease to put a smile on my face. Most of all, you gave me humility and taught me to always respect the sanctity of life, to appreciate every patient encounter and the unbelievably wonderful opportunity to play a significant role not only in a person’s medical care but also in their life.

I know we still have a long journey ahead together, but I look forward to whatever life has in store for us. As we both continue to progress, I am eager to learn how to adapt to your growth, and excited to grow alongside you. I am proud you represent a significant part of my life and thankful you have made me a more well-rounded person. I promise to give you my absolute best, to stay focused, and to continue to treat my patients with their best interest at heart. Thank you for making my ten-year-old dreams come true.

Love, Justin