Samar Haider: The Maxim I Chose to Live By

Samar describes her passion for healthcare, and discusses the obstacles and opportunities that have guided her desire to help people.  

His voice was barely audible through the Skype online phone call, but I could easily tell he was weaker than before. I asked my uncle how he was feeling, knowing fully that his answer would be a euphemism at best.  I’m feeling better,” he replied, as always, “And have you been working your hardest at school?” He was always prioritizing my school over everything, I thought. Replying that I was doing fine, I passed the phone on to my brother, the next in line to wish my uncle well.

My uncle was about to receive a liver transplant, due to a rare form of hepatitis he acquired called autoimmune hepatitis. His health had rapidly deteriorated over the past few months, but we had just managed to send him over from Pakistan into neighboring India for his surgery.

My family’s experience throughout my uncle’s disease and treatment proved to have a significant impact on my family’s economic status, as well as my overarching goal in studying medicine. In covering for those expenses, my immediate family in America struggled significantly. We tried to sell our home to try and raise the money, and after that didn’t sell, my father decided to dip into his retirement savings and take out loans here and there to cover the expenses. My family’s financial struggles during this time brought us closer together, but also motivated me to pursue my education with unyielding tenacity.

My career goal became one with a desire to take care of my family, and this is what continually pushes me to make the right decisions and work hard. I am thankful for having the ability to fight circumstance, and definitely consider this experience relevant in relation to my education. Despite the struggles financially, my personal confidence as a child never wavered.

My father sat me down in 6th grade and talked to me about being an outcast in society and revealed to me that there is no exchanging color or lives in this world. He told me to make the best of what I had, and I vowed to do so. I almost found it amusing when my peers made fun of me about my hijab (headscarf), as I found myself internally laughing at their ignorance. Indifference was my main weapon against bullying, and what anger I had left over was fuel for my education.

I vowed to myself to be more successful than anyone who ever made fun of me, and I did so, having a report card of all grades above 95’s throughout elementary and middle school, as well as remaining in the top 5% of my class throughout high school. Everyday after school I would go straight home and work on keeping at least 1 chapter ahead in every class I had, with my hardships being my prime motivations. By reacting to adversity confidently and boldly I greatly accentuated my personality and education. By following my father’s advice and controlling my own response to adversity, I allowed myself to be benefited rather than destroyed by it.

Grasping scientific topics was always exhilarating for me. As a child I’d always love to experiment with items I’d find in the house (my mom’s makeup drawer contained common reagents). Thankfully, my early experimentation translated to a strong performance in science academically later in life, and ultimately influenced me to pursue scientific studies in the years to come.

My dreams of becoming a doctor became vibrant while volunteering at a Muslim-owned clinic called City Medical Center, when seeing the exciting sight of multiple physicians constantly working towards helping every single patient. I learned the basics and theoretical concepts of medicine there, such as the steps to administering a proper shot and the different kinds of prescriptions given for certain afflictions. I was especially a help when Spanish-speaking patients needed assistance, in which I was able to translate the doctor’s prescriptions from English to Spanish, which inspired me to pursue the language professionally in the future.

Now in pursuit of a double degree in both Biomedical Science and Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M University, I am excited to focus my efforts and determination into my greatest passions. Gone is the small, angry, insecure child who was struggling to find a place in the world. Moss only grows on the stone that doesn’t roll. I am here and rolling, and I am ready to change the world with the maxims I’ve learned to live by.