Rushing through swinging doors, sporting a white coat, reviving people each day, being on the forefront of modern technology: these are just a few aspects of the medical field that entice me. I wish to possess a frenzied life devoted to rescuing those who are too ill to care for themselves. It is through my profession as a surgeon that I will impact future generations.
Last February, my grandfather suffered a massive heart attack, which would have killed him if he did not immediately receive bypass surgery. After that experience, I realized he did not have much earthly time left, so I began to visit him frequently. On early dismissal days, I took the subway to Washington Heights and sat in his tiny apartment conversing with him in Spanglish about his life in Cuba and the reasons he chose to emigrate to America. During our bilingual conversations, I learned a lot about my grandfather that I almost did not have the opportunity to, had he passed earlier. My Abuelo taught me the importance of freedom, which we are blessed to have in the United States, the joy of identifying with one’s heritage, and the significance of education in striving for a better life. I became proud of my Hispanic heritage and decided to learn more Spanish. In his apartment adorned with photographs of my younger brother and me, I discovered why my Abuelo left his high-ranking military position in Cuba to come to the United States and face years of hardship: his selfless goal had been to provide a better life for generations to follow him.
A few weeks ago, my Abuelo passed away due to another heart attack. Although I am deeply saddened by my loss, I feel even more grateful that I was able to spend the last seven months getting to know him better. It was a blessing, as I know I can now instill his beliefs in my own children one day, teach them about our Cuban heritage, and share my Abuelo’s anecdotes to explain how fortunate we are to live in a land where there is limitless opportunity.
Like the surgeons at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital who prolonged my grandfather’s time on earth and inconspicuously improved my life, I wish to provide a similar, invaluable service to other families. If I save one person a day during my time as a doctor, I will be planting the seeds for generations of people who will be impacted by the memory of their loved ones. Though everyone must die one day, the work surgeons do to extend people’s lives is a precious service I yearn to be a part of.
We are proud to announce Jacqueline Basulto is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.