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I Am Not Sure Which Was More Shocking

I am not sure which was more shocking for me to hear: the fact that my father had a near-fatal car accident or the calmness of my uncle’s voice as he delivered the news one afternoon in 11th grade. Upon entering the intensive care unit, I was stunned by the sight of my father’s unrecognizable body. I had always an interest in science, but I was not sure where that passion would lead me. That afternoon, sitting beside my recovering father, watching his vital signs, solidified my desire to become a doctor.

My father was orphaned as a child, losing his father in the 1971 Bangladesh genocide. He was forced to migrate to Karachi, working blue-collar jobs to support his five siblings. Upon earning his medical degree in Pakistan, he moved to Brooklyn where he completed his residency and eventually married my mother before moving to rural Mississippi to complete his visa waiver.

My mother completed her Master’s in biology in Pakistan; alongside my father, they are upstanding human beings who have exemplified the necessity of a quality education. I was born in Forest, Mississippi—with a population of 5000, it is a stark contrast to the urban bustle of Brooklyn where my parents resided a year prior. My elementary-middle school was a private school in Alexandria, Louisiana. The standard of education was high, but the lack of diversity was prevalent; I was always the kid with the funny name and different colored skin who couldn’t eat certain meats.

While I am grateful for the seed of knowledge planted by my elementary school, I was bothered by the homogeneity. Where my love for science blossomed was Bolton High School, a public school with a refreshing socioeconomically diverse student body. I felt welcomed rather than shunned—the same qualities that made me the odd child in elementary were now embraced. Exposure to these different perspectives fueled my desire to understand and help the circumstances of others, a commonality in my academic and professional pursuits that has ultimately led me to medicine.

In 2010, after my freshman year, I began volunteer teaching at the community mosque, teaching Islamic Studies to middle school youth. Within a year, I was promoted to my current position of Assistant Sunday School Coordinator, responsible for the planning and coordination of the Sunday school. Many students who I taught in the mosque enlisted my help as a tutor when they reached high school. The joy I experienced from helping my students enforced the value of volunteerism and furthered my desire to positively impact lives.

Listening to others and determining their needs is a skill I cultivated while teaching at the mosque. When interacting with students, it is critical to accurately establish what they need assistance in. This very skill was prevalent in the doctors I shadowed at the Central Louisiana Surgical Hospital in the winter of 2015 and summer of 2016. Watching them during their rounds, it was impressive to see how they altered their demeanor to make patients comfortable. Observing the surgeons felt like witnessing magic—I was in sheer awe.

Various experiences throughout college allowed me to follow my passions of medicine, business, and technology; at LSU, I decided to pursue a major in Biology and a minor in Business Administration. In the summer following my freshman year of college, I interned at the DOW Healthcare headquarters in Houston, assisting in designing and launching the new DOW website. My internship at DOW allowed me to experience aspects of healthcare on an international scale, including the dreaded bureaucratic red tape I hurdled on a weekly basis during my phone calls to the Dubai Department of Health.

Working in my father’s pediatric business has allowed me to combine my love for technology and desire to help people. In 2010, upon the opening of the third Mansoor Pediatrics clinic, I was appointed as the Director of Technology, responsible for the purchasing and implementation of hardware and software. This position has offered me a unique opportunity to experience medicine from a techno-business perspective as well as teaching me valuable skills like time prioritization, gained while training employees in efficient software usage.

During my junior year, I became involved with the LSU Psychology’s Flood Study, the goal of which is to understand how stress from the 2016 flooding in Baton Rouge impacts psychosocial well-being. Listening to study volunteers describing the physical and emotional damage caused by the flood is often a harrowing experience. Involvement in this study has drawn me to the intersection between quantitative forms of science and biology, as well as giving me insight on the complexity of well-being.

In my experiences with medicine, doctors exemplify the roles I seek to fulfill: caretaker, scientist, mentor. This convergence of roles in one field is what resounded so strongly with me when I saw my father in the hospital. Helping him in his recovery, it became evident to me that this is what I wanted to do as a career. Each of my interests lead me back to medicine and strengthens my resolve to become a doctor. In this field, I will be able to use the skills I have gained to help others at the interface where compassion, technology, and scientific discovery meet.