Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Work Hard and You’ll Succeed

Name: Divya Jasthi
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Grade: College Freshman
School: Case Western Reserve University
Votes: 1

I cannot recount how many times I have been told, “Work hard, and
you’ll succeed.” To this day, when I call my grandmother in
India, she reminds me that studying hard will lead to success in
life. As a little girl, I always had an interest in medicine and
pediatrics, but I never truly understood the extent to which I could
meaningfully impact a child’s life. I was only focused on excelling
in an academic environment to reach my ultimate goal of being a
doctor, never taking the time to consider that medicine is a career
path that requires an understanding of human emotions and the ability
to make connections with people.

When I began volunteering at the Aurora Public Library in sixth grade I
became addicted to working with children and helping other people.
Seeing the children smiling and laughing, while I talked to them
during activities like painting and reading story books made me feel
so delighted. I became so enraptured by the thrill of knowing that I
could make a difference in someone’s life that I began to spend
most of my weekends doing community service. My love of helping
children led me to become a counselor at the Balaji Temple Summer
Camp. I interacted with children by teaching them about the Hindu
religion and culture, helping them with math, doing fun art projects,
and dancing. Through this camp, I affirmed my passion for making a
difference in children’s lives, but I also learned the value of
culture and language in making meaningful connections with other
people. It was a moment of realization for me when I was playing
“doctor” with a three-year-old girl and she tugged on my arm and
said, “Can you please speak in Tamil? Please?” looking longingly
up at me. This particular instant and my other volunteering
experiences have shown me that culture can sometimes be a barrier in
helping others. I realized that my dreams of becoming a pediatrician
require that I immerse myself in many different cultures, so I can
ensure that people receive the most benefit from my services and feel
truly cared for. Volunteering at my temple has inspired me to speak
my own native language, Telugu, to gain an in-depth understanding of
the Spanish language, and even to pursue my aspirations in global

As I continued to develop my passion for medicine during the first two
years of high school, I decided to apply my dedication to medicine to
my love for community service by volunteering at the Adventist
Bolingbrook Hospital. When I was discharging a man from the hospital,
he offered me five dollars to use for my medical education. As much
as I refused, he insisted that I take the money and even put in a
plant pot so that I could say that “I just found it there” and
keep the money. That was a very touching moment for me because
realized that the man valued the care and knowledge of the physician
to such an extent that he wanted to encourage me to influence someone
else’s life in the same manner. His faith in the power of medicine
enlightened me on how deeply helping someone by caring for them can
impact their life. My desire to further explore medicine and
led me to pursue a research project at the Loyola University Medical
Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I shadowed my mentor during his
rounds and learned what it truly means to making an impact on
someone’s life.
the parents of a premature newborn (born with bowel on the outside of
his belly) smiling as Dr. Muraskas talked to them, warmed my heart.
At that moment, I saw that medicine was a combination of all of two
things I cherish in life, science and compassion.

My volunteering experiences have served as the foundation for my
aspirations of becoming a pediatrician. Through each of these
experiences, I have learned that medicine is not only about the
science and academics but also heavily relies on human empathy and
By studying medicine, I hope to make every patient feel sincerely cared
for through empathy, communication, and understanding, traits that I
have learned through my dedication to community service.
an aspiring pediatrician, I hope to meaningfully impact the lives of
children around the world by doing scientific research and being a
compassionate physician.

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