November 2010 Archives

The Art of Making Something Out of Nothing

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"L'arte d'arrangiarsi"
-Italian proverb

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to be a speaker at the annual Minnesota Medical Foundation Scholarship Luncheon. It was truly an honor to have the opportunity and it was even more of an honor to be a recipient of a scholarship. Through generous donors, other students and I have the means to pursue out educational goals with less financial stress. It is also very motivating and inspiring knowing that you have such support.

Thus, I have much gratitude for the donors and wanted to take the opportunity to thank them again in this blog. Below is a copy of the speech:

"L'arte d'arrangiarsi or loosely translated is an Italian phrase that means "the art of making something out of nothing." I stumbled upon this saying over the summer and I realized that throughout my life, I have seen the power of making something out of nothing.

For me, this traces back to my parents who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam with literally nothing but a dream. They took a risky sea voyage to escape a war-torn country and spent months in a refugee camp before coming to America where they have successfully raised a family and pursued their dreams of freedom and higher education. I was lucky to have such role models growing up.

In particular, they imparted two important lessons. My dad told me that health is the most important thing a person could possess, while my mom told me education was your most valuable asset. With these two lessons, I was inspired to pursue a career in medicine where I could help others lead healthy lives and educate them on how to do so.

As I grew up, I pursued different experiences that exposed me to medicine. The most defining experience I had was participating in the Minnesota's Future Doctors program, which helps students from underserved populations prepare for medical school and alleviate health disparities. The program started with 22 students and now has more than 150 students and counting.

To help combat health disparities, several of my fellow Minnesota's Future Doctors participants and I started a student group focused on working towards alleviating health disparities and giving back to the community. Our group, called Circle of Giving or COG, started with five students with a shared interest and has grown into a nonprofit organization that has held various awareness events, service trips, and fundraisers with the goal of equipping students with the skills so they can continue to give back.

These experiences have led me to where I am today, a first year medical student with a passion for working with underserved communities and the goal of becoming a pediatrician. However, this would not have been possible without the generous scholarship support I have received.

Scholarship support provides other students and me the means and opportunity to pursue our goals. While throughout my life I have seen much can be accomplished with humble beginnings, with such generous support, that means there is even more potential to leave a greater impact and inspires me to one day give back so I can continue this circle of giving."

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