Sunday, June 24, 2012
Upon the eve of each July, it has become my tradition to reflect on my career and look at my letter of acceptance into medical school framed above my desk (pictured above, my maiden name Jennifer Leigh Shine). As you may know from reading this blog, I am a dreamer. Then again, this whole career in medicine started as a dream.
In college, I was originally a journalism major with a dream of being a science correspondent on the Today Show that I watched religiously (and still do). However, my freshman year, as I began to miss the science classes that I so loved in high school, my dreams turned to the possibilities of a career in medicine. It was exciting to think about a career that combined science, communication, excitement, and helping people. I fearlessly and confidently pursued my premed course work with a hunger to fulfill my dream and to become a doctor. I never paid attention to the concerns of not getting into medical school that some of my other student colleagues expressed. I knew that I was going to succeed in becoming a doctor. That tenacity and confidence along with good grades, hospital volunteering, excellent MCAT scores, and a great essay did indeed allow me to enter medical school and become a doctor. As I reread my medical school essay each July eve, I ask myself: Have I satisfied that hunger that I had? Have I stayed true to my original dream? A portion of my original essay is as follows:
My achievements have shown me that I have what it takes to be a great physician but my heart tells me that I want to be a physician. While volunteering in the burn ICU, I changed dressings and cleaned wound infections. As I got to know the patients, I became fascinated and inspired by their determination, the loving support of their families and the medical staff, and the healing that I witnessed. I noticed first hand that every patient's world was important and their role in it was precious. The medical staff gave the patients the ultimate gift of a second chance to play that role and to have 'a moment in time when you're more than you thought you could be, when all of your dreams are heartbeat away'. I desire with all my heart to have the power as a physician to give this gift to the patients that I am lucky enough to meet.
As a medical school graduate and physician now 12 years later, I am a lot less cheesy and would never again quote a Whitney Houston song in an important essay, but I am happy to report that that young woman still lives inside of me. As a mobile health entrepreneur AND a physician, I am living the ultimate dream: creating a vision of good health using mobile phone tools that are a perfect fit into the precious and important lives of patients. I challenge you to ask yourself if you too are staying true to your dreams? :)