I had a meeting with the PI (principle investigator) of my lab today, not about my project, but about my plans for the future, and for the first time, I mentioned my intentions of applying to medical school this upcoming fall. Training students like me in various lab techniques takes up a lot of valuable time and money, and so usually labs prefer to hire students who are able to make a long term commitment to the lab, in order to make the time and money spent on training worthwhile. Despite my news of early application (meaning I would possibly leave his lab earlier than planned), he was incredibly supportive and gracious. Reflecting on my time in the lab, words cannot describe how grateful I am and how privileged I feel to be part of this lab. The PI along with the rest of the lab members have been nothing but patient in their teaching, supportive of my goals, and understanding of my mistakes. And believe me, I have made my share of mistakes. One night, I left a 20mL bottle of reagent for a experiment out at room temperature overnight , when it was extremely temperature sensitive and had to be stored at -20 degrees. That little bottle of 20mL had a price tag of 600 dollars. Needless to say, I was horrified, but during my talk with the PI, he was nothing but forgiving. (In the end, by the will of some external magical being, the reagent still worked and wasn’t degraded).
Working on my medical school application has really given me the opportunity to look back on my life, and truly see how fortunate I have been in terms of the support and guidance I have received from the people in my life, many of whom I have yet to openly thank.
First and foremost, my parents. As part of an immigrant family, I have seen first hand the struggle and sacrifices my parents have made for my education, and for my personal growth. Even at a time when they were only making minimum wage, I was enrolled in piano class, art class, and other classes they felt were beneficial to my growth. Thank you, mom and dad, for giving me unwavering emotional support, love and guidance for the past 19 years.
If I have learned anything over the years, it would be that our accomplishments are never just our own. Our success is the additive sum of our efforts and also the support, guidance, and sacrifices of our parents, teachers, supervisors and other people in our lives. I think it’s immensely important, at various points in our career and life to reflect, acknowledge and thank the people in our lives that have helped us get to where we are. Gratitude is lost too often in a sea of ambitions and constant pursuit of the next goal.
Now I challenge you now to take 5 minutes, think of everyone in your life who has helped you get to where you are right now in your career, in your life, and ask yourself if you have ever openly thanked them. If not, what are you waiting for?