As an active student in high school, I am very concerned about college. I’m trying to do everything right: I keep my grades up, participate in a few extracurricular activities, prepare for standardized tests, even perform community service. I spend most days thinking about the future. Hoping that I’m on the right path, I do my best at everything I can.
Being curious about the field of biology, I get good scores as well as a great number of awards. However, I feel myself too nerdish since I only approach biology through book knowledge. Besides, I am interested in pursuing career focusing on this subject. So I decided to try to secure a spot as a volunteer at the local hospital. It would be the best of both worlds: helping people while gaining valuable on-the-job experience. I put on a nice pair of trousers, a shirt, and some comfortable shoes and went to visit the business office. Fortunately, the hospital director was quite willing to let me help out, and he said I could start that summer as soon as I finished my finals. I accepted his offer immediately, thinking to myself that here lay all the opportunities I could ever want!
Soon enough, I showed up for my first day at the hospital. The director gave me a brief tour of various departments as he told me about the primary focus of each, an expert himself in every facet of hospital administration, until we stopped right in front of the maternity ward. “This is where you’re going to work,” he said, ushering me through the brown double doors. Thinking I was going to give a hand to infants, my enthusiasm rose up my mind.
But initially, things are not what I expected. Walking into the ward, I was overwhelmed by the sounds. Women yelled and newborns wailed. Nurses rushed around to adjust medical instruments that screamed for attention. I felt besieged in the center of so much action and wondered if I had been too hasty in seeking out such a difficult service project.
Apparently my fear must have shown clearly on my face as I looked around because the director said, “Don’t worry. You’ll get used to the pace up here. You are going to help in the laboratory.” With that, we walked down a hallway filled with bright blue and pink balloons, and into the room full of experimental instruments. The pastel colors provided a quiet backdrop to the humming of machines and knocking of test tubes. A doctor, the one in charge of the lab, welcomed me, thanked me for volunteering, and asked me to start recording the data presented by an incubator with a cute baby sleeping inside of it. The director gave me a questioning look, which I returned with a quiet nod. I got right to work.