lwgtrrn 2 / 4 Nov 5, 2011 #1Prompt 2: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?It happened when I was eight years old. It was like any ordinary weekend as my mom and I cruised the mall, window shopping and eating hotdogs on sticks. Something caught my eye a little far off. As I squinted to see it clearer, I realized it was a kid about my age. But he looked different. Pale skin, tired eyes, and -most evident- no hair. I couldn't see the rest of his face because he had a mask over his mouth with a smile drawn on it. But for some reason I could already envision what he looked like underneath the cartoon-drawn grin. I knew there wasn't a real one."Look Mommy! That kid over there has that thing on his face and doesn't have hair! How come?" I asked. Her face became flushed as though she had become embarrassed by what I just asked. "Honey, don't ask so loudly. The boy is sick with cancer."Our eyes never met but the word cancer lingered in the back of my mind. "Mommy! Why does he have cancer? Why don't I have it? Does it hurt?" I was young and my questions were somewhat trivial, but something about this subject truly intrigued me. When my mom answered all she could, I had to seek answers elsewhere. My uncle, a biology major, was the closest person I knew to a doctor at the time , and I started pestering him instead. He taught me about how cancer patients' treatments make their hair fall out and that they have to wear masks because my sneeze could potentially harm them more. "I sneeze all the time!" I thought. It just didn't register how all these awful things could happen to someone who was no different from me. I couldn't imagine going to school without any hair or eyebrows. Being eight, the thing that upset me the most was the thought of what his friends might have said about his looks, completely unaware of the suffering he probably went through during chemotherapy.I continued to explore the different facets of the disease, from scientific studies to personal stories of survivors. By my freshman year in high school, while my peers were still struggling to find purpose in life, I already knew I'd found my path. I had decided to become a pediatric oncologist.I didn't think of the emotional burden of dealing with terminally ill children. I wasn't deterred by the fact that I may end up losing more lives than I would save. I just knew that there was this voice in my head telling me that the life of one child is more than enough reason to go against the odds.So does this experience make me proud? Absolutely not. In fact, it isn't something I share with most people. If someone asks why I've chosen pediatric oncology, I'll reply by saying I just knew it was for me which in a way is the complete truth. However, without this ten second glance, I would not be who I am right now. I would not be the girl telling you to put on sunscreen because chances of getting melanoma are doubled by a bad sunburn. I would not be the person you see in hospitals accidentally pushing heavy book carts into walls while trying to maneuver it into patient rooms. And frankly, without this experience, this essay wouldn't exist.