We don’t do it for the money. We don’t do it to get paid. We don’t do it for the glory but for the life that might be saved.
While growing up in Los Angeles, California, I worked at my parents nail salon. I know what you’re thinking…typical Vietnamese. I started working as soon as I could hold a paint brush. First, just polishing little kids’ nails, then adults. I started designing and eventually learned how to apply acrylics. Manicure. Pedicure. Full set. You name it. I knew how to do it. Everything was second nature to me.
Our clientele had been coming to our nail salon for over 3 decades – some knew me before I was even born! “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was a question often asked. I used to say “massage therapist” because when I was 6, I used to massage my family members and it was an easy 5 bucks made in a matter of minutes. Then one day, I decided to change my answer to “doctor.” This answer was met with much praise and encouragement which only motivated me to pursue this path. I was naturally a good student, but especially in math and science.
Once I started college at UC Irvine, I felt like I couldn’t say I wanted to be a doctor if I had never even stepped foot in a hospital! So, I joined the Clinical Care Extender Program (now known as the Health Scholar Program – highly recommended). Here is where I discovered the impact that small gestures can have on people’s lives (i.e. providing a warm blanket, some ice chips or a little company). Little things you do for people can certainly go a long way.
Throughout my experiences in healthcare, I was able to provide comfort and witness life-changing effects medicine can have on people’s lives. And like many pre-meds, I wanted to do more than just provide a warm blanket.
I heard about osteopathic medicine during a seminar at UC Irvine. The philosophy behind it made sense to me. The goal is to treat mind, body & spirit and to view the body as one unit, capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance.
Once the application cycle came around, I decided to apply to both M.D. and D.O. programs. To me, there wasn’t much of a difference between them. The major difference was the philosophy and the additional 200 hours of training in osteopathic manipulation which is very useful in some specialities (i.e. PM&R, Obstetrics, Orthopedics). So personally, it didn’t matter what letters were next to my name so long as I got to gain the medical knowledge necessary to help those in need.
I interviewed at both M.D. and D.O. programs and was offered two acceptances. Both of which were D.O. programs. So, I am proud to be a future D.O. and now that I have had some time to reflect, I see now that my application was very patient-centered which aligns perfectly with the mission of osteopathic medicine. And now, I have the privilege of gaining this medical knowledge that I will someday use to contribute back to society.
Dr. Ho will be with you shortly….currently loading at 50%.
Thank you for reading my story and for those of your who are currently applying, best of luck! I know it’s hard to feel encouraged when it seems like all the odds are against you, but let me share this.
My dad always says “If it were easy, everyone could do it.” It’s NOT easy and NOT everyone can do it. But YOU can do it!