Sunday, August 31, 2008

Qualified to Succeed

Contrary to what my mother has told me from the beginning of my life, I feel completely not-special. Ever since arriving at the Keck School of Medicine, I have been accompanied by this strange thought that I am out of my league.

I am not one of the younger students, and yet everyone seems to have more relevant experience than me. I studied Psychology, not a hard science. I am from Utah, not from California (not that there is anything wrong with that, just that I have no idea where I am at all times, and have to start completely over with social things). I just finished my undergrad this last spring, not a couple years ago. I don't ask super-intelligent questions each lecture. And the list goes on...

After getting to know a few other students in my class of 168, I expressed how I was beginning to wonder why Keck even let me in. Some expressed feeling the same way, and everyone reminded me that I was admitted in, therefore qualified, that no mistake was made, and that the administration believed in each of us.

On occasion I have felt the same way in life. Everyone else has a better grip on life than me. Everyone else gets more out of Church than I do. Everyone else understands the Gospel better. I am the only one succumbing to the wiles of Satan. The journey is just too tough for me, and I am not equal to the task.

In those moments I am grateful for the hymn which teaches that I am a child of God. Just like the reminder that I was accepted to the school and therefore qualified, I occasionally need the reminder that before this life we all lived with God as His spirit children. We all have this opportunity on this earth because we promised we would do our best to learn of Him and to follow Him. We were qualified to come to this earth and fulfill our purpose in finding happiness, and we all have the capacity to return to live with Him. It is one of the simplest truths of the Gospel, and yet brings peace and direction in so many complicated situations. Simply put, knowing that I am a son of Heavenly Father helps me to remember the unlimited potential within me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Where did Sophie go?

For the past 5 weeks of my life, I have had the choice opportunity to see this beautiful face almost everyday. Now instead of getting to be a manny for her I get to pack my bags and head onto USC to start medical school. Yippee.

Since Sophie's departure for San Francisco, I have realized how amazing that little booger is at bringing joy into the lives of those around her. It doesn't matter how many times I have seen her respond to inquiries about the location of her belly button; each time she lifts up her shirt to point at it, I bust up laughing. No one else does it quite the same. In fact, just showing her my belly button would be enough to get a laugh out of her.

Now, if for some reason my midriff is showing, no one is there to point and smile at my belly button. Saying dog to those around me when I see one just doesn't have the same effect without Sophie around. No one smiles. Making fun of Chinese accents would probably be offensive if I wasn't at least half Chinese. The big underbite smiles I occasionally flash just get me weird looks. Last month I felt like I was funny. Now I have just realized that Sophie was lending me the spotlight.

It's interesting how little kids are so much better at cheering the sad then we ever could be. Even with my psychology background with the extensive understanding of human nature it gives me (uh... possibly overstated), there's no way that I could light up a room like Sophie can. For Sophie, all it takes is a hearty laugh, a huge smile, a hug or kiss, or even just reaching her arms towards someone, and the recipient of her actions has never seen a brighter day. The more I ponder her ability, the more I recognize I could learn from her simple actions. What's more interesting is the insight that can be found in learning from the recipient of Sophie's love.