University of Hawaii at Manoa
- Biology (B.A.) - 2014
There is something incredibly satisfying in helping others achieve their goals whether it be learning how to make a layup in basketball, figuring out the SN1 and SN2 substitution mechanisms of organic chemistry, or gaining admittance to medical school. I have always had a passion for teaching and mentoring which is what led me to be a youth basketball coach and organic chemistry tutor at the Learning Emporium as an undergraduate at UH Mānoa, and now a board member of the Medical Student Mentorship Program (MSMP) as a medical student at the John A Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).
My name is Jordan Wang and I am a 2nd year medical student at JABSOM. I graduated with my BA in Biology from UH Mānoa in Spring 2014 and was entered medical school the following fall with the help of many mentors and teachers I was blessed with along my journey. One such mentor was Eddie, a 4th year medical student I met through MSMP. He had an incredibly busy schedule flying across the country to fulfill the last of his MD requirements and interviewing for residencies, but despite his lack of time he still made the effort to speak with me and mentor me through the application process, MCAT study material, and general medical school preparation. He was an incredible resource and helped me achieve my dream of entering medical school and I would not have met him without MSMP. Now as a current medical student I have the opportunity to, like Eddie, help others pursue their dreams of medical school .
One of the best pieces of advice Eddie gave me was to spend my time while an undergraduate in the medical community and see what it is like to live the life of a physician or medical professional. During the application process, the most frequently asked question is: “why do you want to go into medicine?” It’s the topic for your personal statement, it’s one of the first questions interviewers will ask, and it’s the question all your friends and family are probably wondering as well. Having a passionate and personal answer to this question is vital to making you a strong medical school candidate and is the reason Eddie told me that it was imperative that I gain experience in the field.
Taking Eddie’s advice in stride I began volunteering at Shriner’s Hospital for Children during my sophomore year of undergrad. While at Shriner’s I worked in the Recreational Therapy (RT) department where my job was to play with the children who were receiving long term care and needed to be in the hospital anywhere from one month, a year or sometimes even two years. Now “playing with kids” doesn’t really sound like it would teach me a lot about what it’s like to be a medical professional. I, too, was wondering if my time at Shriner’s would really help me see what it was like to be a physician. I decided to stick with it and after a year of volunteering, I learned what the “art” of medicine is and it was the most significant lesson that inspired me to be more than a strong medical school candidate and it now drives me to become the best future physician that I can be.
Over my first year at Shriner’s I spent a lot of time working with a young Fijian boy. I watched this boy get wheeled into the RT department in a wheel chair with broken spirits, and after a year I walked with him as he strode out the doors of the hospital, eyes full of joy as he took his first steps back home to Fiji. Over that year I realized medicine is so much more than prescribing the right medications, performing the perfect surgery, or diagnosing the right problems. While all of these are important, connecting with your patients is just as important in medicine - it’s about helping others through some of the most difficult times of their lives and that to me is the “art” of medicine.
“Playing with kids” was just as vital a component of this boy’s treatment as his many surgeries and his many medications. Our conversations about his favorite new book, about his friends back home, and our countless games of Uno, rummy, and crazy 8’s helped him get through those many surgeries and medications. All of them combined help get him back on his feet. This realization is what inspires me through my countless hours of studying, through my many long nights, and through those days when I am anxious about the years and challenges ahead of me. I know that through my hard work and perseverance, I will eventually be able to help more patients like my young friend from Fiji and be more than just a smart man with all the medicines. I will be a physician; a man who can be a positive influence on the health of those who seek my care.
While my classes prepared me academically for the challenge of medical school, it was my many mentors, like Eddie and my young friend from Fiji, who got me to where I am today. MSMP was what connected me to Eddie, his advice led me to Shriner’s, and it was there that I truly discovered why it is that I want to be a future Physician. In this way MSMP played a significant role in inspiring me to medicine and through MSMP I hope to encourage aspiring medical students to both discover the field of medicine and find mentors of their own.