More than a dream: I have found my calling


This past summer, before I moved to Macon with my mom and brother, I was sitting inside a clinic in Paseo Colón, Costa Rica. I was accompanying my father while he examined patient after patient. 

Then, I saw a woman walk into the clinic. She had a mass on her stomach that looked like a pelvic tumor, and my dad attended her that day. After that, my dad recommended she make arrangements to request a follow-up of the state and a referral to the hospital. 

Some weeks later, the same woman returned to the clinic. My dad told me how she had gone through surgery and was now healthy, so she visited the clinic to thank him for the help. 

From this moment, I was sure I wanted to be a doctor. 

Since I was a young girl, I grew up with many pets. First, I had a bunny. Then, I had two parrots, followed by hamsters, fish, a turtle, more parrots, and more fish. I loved spending time with animals, feeding them, taking care of them, and making sure they stayed healthy and safe.

In the spring of 2018, I approached the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation of Costa Rica about creating an animal warning sign for sloths. I noticed many were dying each year by human actions, such as electrocution, being hit by cars, or left without a habitat due to deforestation, clearing out trees for building.

I always have enjoyed helping people. Not only is there great satisfaction after helping someone, but being able to interact with them and do your best to make their lives better is the best part. 

In the end, this is what doctors get to do: their job is to save people’s lives or make them better. 

Apart from that, doctors use lots of critical thinking and problem-solving skills to help their patients. They apply these skills, find different ways to do things, and never stop learning and exercising their mind. I’m passionate and inspired by all of these. 

That day in the clinic sparked my definitive decision to be a physician. However, I’ve grown up surrounded by my parents’ influence since they are both doctors. I would always hear medical terms, cases, and how numerous patients’ lives changed. 

I’m unable to recall when I began learning how the body works — why we get sick, different types of medicines and treatments, and diseases. It was a natural thing to hear in my home. This interest and seeing my parents, Yen-Ting Shih and Vivian Gould, help people led me to go with my dad to the clinic.

Every Saturday, my father goes to a clinic and gives free office visits and appointments for people with scarce resources and without health insurance. The place is a school used on weekends to provide free consultations to people in Costa Rica, as well as foreigners. Here, I would help him with paperwork, transcripts, prescriptions, exam requests, and taking vital signs of patients.

On several occasions, my parents described to me many sad and severe cases they saw throughout their internships and career, where many people suffered for their medical conditions. But, in the end, my parents became satisfied after being able to ease the patient´s pain, heal, and indirectly make their family and loved ones feel alleviated.

These experiences with ill people made me realize that many people have needs which we can help them with, even in the slightest. If we all put our part, we can contribute to improving their lives.