As the last week of classes is underway, I think it’s an apropos time to reflect on this crazy semester. What began as a carefully planned year – MCAT date set for May 16, Edwards Lifesciences internship lined up for the summer – turned out to be the most uncertain and unsettling period of my life. So much for having 2020 vision…
It’s been difficult to look past everything that I’m missing out on and precious college moments that have been lost, but I’ve learned a lot about our world and myself. This pandemic has revealed the disparities across all dimensions of society. Some people have premium access to health care while others are afraid of the cost incurred when going to the hospital, and some have a rainy day fund while others must wait for a stimulus check. It’s been frustrating to sit at home on the sidelines and feel like I can’t do anything impactful to help. Though being a doctor comes with the expectation that I must risk my life for the health of others, I want to be in that position. I want to be there for people when they have no one else to rely on.
Our current situation also draws attention to the need for biomedical engineers. Even with all of our advanced health technologies, COVID-19 has proven to be a formidable opponent. We need more efficient protocols for developing vaccines and devices that rapidly test for the presence of viral genetic material. It is imperative that we keep challenging ourselves to find improved methods so that we are prepared for the next pandemic or any global health challenge.
This pandemic will have long-lasting impact on all of us, and I believe that we will have a renewed appreciation for our many privileges. I will never again take for granted classroom learning and being in USC’s intellectually stimulating environment. I will cherish the time spent discussing Aeschylus’ Greek tragedies and huddling around desks to solve problems on operational amplifiers with my classmates. Every once in a while, I will stop to look up at the trees lining Trousdale Parkway and the brick buildings that are shaded different hues of red depending on the time of day. I will listen intently to everyone’s opinions at our weekly student organization meetings and admire the hard work put into planning each event. I will certainly not complain about having 9:00 AM lectures because right now, due to the time difference in Hawaii, I have 6:30 AM lectures. And I will never ever complain about having three-hour engineering labs and running experiments in research lab that don’t turn out the way I want them to because hands on experiences are the best way to learn. I am so lucky to be a student at USC, and I will never forget that again.