USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences > Blog

July 31, 2013

Finding Passion in Unlikely Places

Filed under: Class,London,Oxford,USC — lpaisley @ 7:55 pm

The Botanic Gardens, where various herbs are used to treat ailments

With a hectic schedule that often consists of studying for tests, going to classes, doing research, participating in extracurricular activities, and working at my job, I often lose sight of my ultimate goal: becoming a pediatrician for underprivileged children.  Upon coming on this trip, I hoped to regain the passion I temporarily lost in the commotion that is ultimately life.

After completing a week of classes here at the University of Oxford, I have not only gained knowledge from courses that cover such topics as malaria, typhoid, meningitis, health economics, vaccines, maternal and child health, and alternative medicine, but I have also had an indirect lesson on the passion in one’s intended field by the various doctors that come in to teach us about their exceptionally interesting topics.

Each of the doctors comes in to the classroom with enthusiasm to discuss the topic for the day. The doctors are able to translate their passion in the field to the instruction of the students in the classroom by providing an expansive description on the different tropical diseases, along with discussing their particular investment in the specific tropical disease. One particular doctor that lectured us introduced us to the wonders of alternative medicine. Dr. Merlin brought us out to the Botanic Gardens and was able to identify various plants that are able to cure many ailments. He made all of the students interested in learning about alternative medicine because he exuberated passion. I was so interested in this topic that I individually asked him how I could learn more and he explained that it is not something that you could specialize in nor is it something that universities usually teach and he had to learn it on his own. To know that Dr. Merlin was this passionate about alternative medicine, and the medical field in general, that he would teach himself to become essentially an expert on the various herbs inspired me! I want my passion for children and the medical field to extend beyond basic knowledge so that I am more aware of the concerns of children’s health.


Rachel Rosales with Judy Haw at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

It is not only the doctors that led me to a rejuvenated passion, however, but also the individuals I’ve met here. Here at Oxford, a maid comes in to clean the students’ rooms everyday, and I’ve been able to grow close with one of the maids, Bridget. Bridget told me that she takes the train everyday from her hometown and walks thirty minutes from the train station to Oxford in order to support her two sons. She ardently cleans the students’ rooms and does it with such a warm spirit, that I am humbled and am able to have a different aspect on the various duties I must complete. Her hard work and dedication are so inspiring and these attributes motivate me to work hard for my future profession and in my future profession.

Oxford has been such an incredible experience because I’ve been able to take courses on amazing topics that encompass tropical diseases, and I’ve also been able to gain passion from unlikely sources. I hope to be able to inspire others through my newfound outlook and hard work it will take to obtain my future goals of becoming a pediatrician for underprivileged children.

Rachel is a junior majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and is from Temecula, CA.

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