For Martin Luther King’s day, while I was back at home in D.C., I attended an MLK “Day of Service” presentation at my old high school that focused on homelessness. My dad and other individuals who work for non-profit organizations discussed homelessness in the D.C. area. With my dad having worked in affordable housing for the homeless for the past few years, I was very interested in learning more on the subject.
The presentation expanded my notion of being “homeless”. The presenters discussed some of the most damaging forms of homelessness like the condition of being chronically homeless, in which individuals suffer from a mental disease preventing them from getting the help they need. For a long period of my life, I really wondered what drove my dad to work in a non-profit field like in the various homeless coalitions that he had worked. What I witnessed growing up was that the hours are long and that the people you work with aren’t the easiest to deal with.
At the presentation on MLK day, a student asked one of the presenters, who runs a company to find affordable housing for formerly homeless clients, what inspired them to do their line of work. That presenter pointed to his residents as inspiring him to keep working at his job. The selflessness and honestly of his answer struck me, and triggered me to reflect on what I really inspires me in a career of medicine. As I thoughout about what to discuss about my academic and personal life in my medical school interviews (“how to say this” or “when to say what”), this presentation showed me that the most important thing is to stay genuine.