Sabri Mohiuddin: The Meaning of Life

Life.

The meaning of this word differs among people. Regardless of who you ask, you’ll get different answers almost every time. And yet, everyone knows how important the term itself is. Some of us get to know the significance of this word, of life, at an early age. Others aren’t so fortunate, but I was. For me, I was made to learn early on that life is not easy. It started when my elder brother of two years and I began our school lives together. Every morning we would wake up early, doing our homework as our mother told us, and then we went to school. One morning, however, when we were doing our homework, my brother began to act differently. His body suddenly started to shake. At the time, I had no knowledge of epilepsy, the disease he would come to be diagnosed with at a very young age. But what I did know was that what afflicted him was serious. I just didn’t know how much. I didn’t know that coping with epilepsy would make his life a lot harder to live.

I didn’t even know how it would impact the lives of those around him, either—my mother and I included. He hardly completed the eighth grade because of it. After that, we weren’t even able to send him to school. This was when my mother’s life became much harder than it used to be. On top of raising us, she had to stay and look after my brother (as she was the only one who could), sacrificing her time just to make sure he made it through the day. I was too young to really grasp the situation, so all I could do was watch as my mother remained at home every day to look after my brother. The only times she would catch a break were whenever my father or I could stay home instead of her. With no knowledge of my brother’s situation and how hard it made our lives, I lived life like always. What could I do? I wasn’t old enough to stay with him. None of us knew how to cure him or if he’d ever go back to the way he was before. I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. I tried to come up with a solution, but nothing seemed to work. But that’s when it happened. That’s when I discovered what I could do.

For my brother’s condition, I was familiar with the health care profession by watching doctors examining him and noticing the medicines prescribed to aid him. I figured that if I could venture into the health field and have a career in it, I could make a worthwhile contribution to my family. To my brother, most of all. I sought inspiration in my grandfather, a doctor back in my home country of Bangladesh. Unfortunately, he died one month after we came to America. But he was a hardworking and successful man. He started out indigent; penniless. And yet he still turned his misfortune into a blessing by becoming a doctor. He inspired me that way. Whenever I had a question about what it was like to be a doctor, he would always give me an answer. I found myself drawn to the profession because of what he told me. He became my mentor through the many stories he would share with me about his field. It’s because of him that I want to pursue a career in the medical field here in America. It’s because of him that I want to preserve and look after what’s so important to many people. I want to save lives.

It’s been four years since my family immigrated to America because of my brother’s condition. After all, they call America the “land of opportunity,” so then what better place is there to pursue my lifelong dream? Of course, nothing is handed to anyone for free. Adjusting to life here has been a challenge due to living in Bangladesh for over twenty years. It takes the time to get used to a different atmosphere. Even now, I’m still not completely used to live in this country. But life is all about to change and how one can adapt to it. And if I want to make the most out of my life to help others, I’ll accept the challenge of living in America. I have learned a lot from living here already: how to manage my time, how to make the most of the opportunities I’m given, how to interact with people, and how to see things from a broader perspective. Life in America not only expanded my outlook on life but gave me a chance to look at and understand the lives of others.

I know that becoming a doctor is a challenge. One that requires dedication, hard work, and no small amount of effort. But I want to expand my knowledge about the human body; every function of it from the brain to the heart. Whenever I hit a wall or feel like giving up, I stop and remember what’s made me come so far: my brother fighting to live with epilepsy, my grandfather making the most of his life, and my goal to support my family and to save lives. Those thoughts make me strive for good grades to get into medical school.