I’ve always had a passion for science. I love the rush of performing chemical reactions and the excitement of synthesizing DNA. But it wasn’t this love for science that drove me toward medicine. Rather, it was the art, communication, and creativity of it.
Don’t get me wrong; science is a huge component of medicine — but hardly the only one. The truth is, medicine is a complex amalgamation of fields ranging from ethics and anthropology to mathematical biology. And, that’s precisely why I decided to pursue it.
Last year, as a college freshman, I, like many other premeds, attempted to involve myself in as many biology-related clubs, classes, and projects as I could, while letting go of my artistic side. Within my first quarter, I quickly noticed that I was straying away from my reasons for choosing medicine. Sure, I was doing things that I loved — researching in a lab, learning about anatomy — but I was also sacrificing many of my other passions — dance, writing, art, music.
This realization struck me hard and encouraged me to take a step back for a moment. In hindsight, I attempted to mold myself into a one-sided, cookie-cutter version of the premed stereotype losing sight of my true self — and I wasn’t going to let this continue.
About a month after beginning college, I tried out for a competitive dance team, became a reporter for multiple student publications, and enrolled in a music class. I found an equilibrium between science and art, logic and creativity, clarity and ambiguity, translating to a restored sense of balance in my own life.
And, with this balance, I found myself to be happier and much more successful overall. In fact, it was the skills I learned in journalism that helped me translate my thoughts in the laboratory, and my ability to learn intricate dance routines that helped me memorize complex physiological terms. My decision to indulge in creativity is what has gotten me this far, and I don’t plan on ever losing that side of me again.
So, my fellow premeds, never minimize the importance of creativity and passion— it’s what will keep you sane. Continue playing musical instruments, acting out roles on stage, testing new recipes, or doodling in your notebooks, but most importantly, continue doing what you love.
Medicine is a continuously evolving field of innovation that integrates history and literature with mathematics and chemistry — and creativity will be necessary to keep up. It will improve our abilities to design novel research experiments, determine complex medical diagnoses, communicate with team members, and interact with future patients. So, don’t be afraid to venture outside the boundaries of the hard sciences and explore all that college has to offer. You never know how it might help you.
About Anokhi Saklecha
Anokhi Saklecha is an undergraduate student in The University of California, San Diego’s combined BS/MD program, currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Over the years, she has become fascinated with the intersection of medicine and journalism, and hopes to spend her future translating the complexities of medicine in writing. Anokhi is also on a competitive dance team at her college, and loves to bake, volunteer, and watch movies in her free time.