Challenging My Beliefs


Bianca Pate, Copy Editor, Online Editor, Assistant Editor in Chief

“Be the voice they wish they had. Make the choice they wished they could.” Constantly reminded by this plaque in my kitchen, I grew up learning to not harm animals. My family’s beliefs about the treatment of animals are so strong that we are Lacto-Ovo vegetarians, so we do not eat anything that requires the killing of an animal. This belief of mine all started the day I was born. Since my first breathe, I have never inflicted harm to any animal. My beliefs as a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian were questioned when I took Anatomy and Physiology my sophomore year. I never let an obstacle stop me from learning, so I received permission from my teacher to observe the dissections rather than perform them.

Walking to the laboratory, I heard students discussing the thrill of getting their hands soaked in blood dissecting the deer heart. Disappointed that I was unable to experience this thrill, I settled at my desk ready to observe when a feeling of uneasiness unexpectedly stirred over me as I imagined the hearts’ origin. Visualizing a butchered deer laying hopelessly in a patch of grass, I questioned the morality behind unwillingly sacrificing the deer for science. Unable to see, I moved closer, and the stench of the decaying heart radiated through my nose. Without thinking twice, I picked up the scalpel with trembling hands. As though it were second nature, I began to make incisions to the heart. All my life I strictly followed my beliefs, but my fascination toward the structure of the heart was no ordinary feeling.

This moment sparked my curiosity to learn more about anatomy and the human body. Although my beliefs hindered me entering the medical field, my fascination inspired me to volunteer at my local hospital. I knew from the moment I walked through the doors of the emergency department that this is my calling. “Code blue,” I heard echoing over the speakers. I stood still in the middle of the hallway gasping at the medical professionals working together to save the dying patient. Amidst exciting missions from medical professionals and deep conversations with patients, I lost track of time. One hour turned into ten and before I knew it, my entire summer was spent volunteering. One night, I returned home at 11 p.m. and my parents questioned me, “Why are you spending so many hours at the hospital?” I finally confessed my newfound love for medicine that was sparked by the dissection previously that year. The truth came out: by going against my beliefs, I discovered who I am and who I desire to be… Dr. Pate.