“Sally, we need you over here.” Marisa, a nurse at City of Hope calls over for me. I grab a pair of
gloves and am at her side in a moment. “We need to lift this man to do a chest x-ray,” she informs me. Placing my hands beneath the patient, I await the countdown: “3…2…1…lift.”
I am a volunteer in perioperative services at the hospital. My tasks include: transporting patients to
and from surgery, running samples to the pathology lab, and assisting patients in recovery. Often, I imagine myself in the role of a physician. I am guilty, at times, of considering the patients whom I am helping as my own. It is these Monday afternoons, then I take time away from my studies in the Post-Baccalaureate Pre Medical Program at Scripps College, that my commitment to becoming a doctor is affirmed. While I am unswerving in my desire to become a physician, I have not always had such intentions.
As a young girl, I was always one of the final contenders in the spelling bees, timed tests, and even
kickball games at recess. I enjoyed the challenge of schoolwork, the competition amongst peers, and the rewards of my successes. Yet, as I grew older I was more often complimented on what a pretty young woman I was developing into, and less noticed for my scholastic achievements. This shift of attention from my educational pursuits towards my physical attributes had an effect on me, as I had always valued the opinions of others in order to get their approval. I began to believe that my value was in my looks and not in my mind, and was, therefore, not as inclined to pursue my education as vigorously as before.
Coinciding with this digression in school was a turbulent divorce between my parents. Conflict in my
family, coupled with the efforts to maintain a pristine image in the eyes of others, led to the onset of an eating disorder. This problem followed me to college, where it initially interfered with my academic work. Yet, I was able to overcome this illness, and even use my experience as the basis of art.
I designed my major in Visual Arts in which I utilized Film, Photography, and Computer Arts to
create instillation artwork. My motives in creating art were primarily to resolve issues in my past; yet through
this process I found that my work affected a broader audience. I was approached by students who identified
with my work. They related similar...