Essay by Hunter Liu

Hunter Liu won the 2020 $2,000 Orange County Mensa Scholarship.

I’ve always been interested in science. As a child, my daily 30-minute screen time was often used to watch the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet. While other children read comic strips and manga, I chose to spend my free time flipping through the pages of National Geographic and other science magazines. From a very young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the scientific field, but my passion for science would later be specified into a desire for a medical career, due to my grandfather’s passing.

During my seventh grade year, my family moved to Taiwan to spend time with my grandfather, who had become paralyzed after a blood clot-induced stroke. We chose to care for him at home, instead of having him lie in a gloomy hospital. Every other week, a medical worker would visit from the hospital. Despite the awaiting tragedy, my family insisted on optimism. I remember the countless post-dinner moments when we would all watch the news in the living room, listening to my father angrily commentate on the events being shown. We kept our heads up and were cheerful, encouraging my grandfather and even laughing with him. Although he could not respond verbatim, his smile informed us that he was never too dejected. However, these lighthearted feelings were quickly contrasted when the medical worker visited. We stood next to the worker, listening carefully as he updated us on my grandfather’s health and the medicine being prescribed. We nodded, despite not comprehending much of what he had said. When the worker left, we would sit in silence, discouraged by our medical incompetence which prevented us from caring for my grandfather any better. Three years later, the inevitable occurred and my grandfather passed away. Yet, we were unprepared, and, ultimately, regretful that we had no advanced medical knowledge to allow for a smooth passing. From this, our optimistic inclinations were unable to recover.

Thus is my decision to pursue a career in medicine. My family’s lack of medical understanding gave us unrealistic expectations for my grandfather’s situation. When the inevitable occurred, these unmet expectations instilled upon us tremendous sorrow and grief. Undoubtedly, there are others with similar backgrounds as me, where it wasn’t the inevitable passing of an elderly relative which was painful, but, rather, remorse from the misinterpretations of the boundaries of medicine. As a medical professional, I want to ensure that other families will be better prepared and, most importantly, informed during the transition of a passing relative.

I decided to begin my medical journey early. In high school, I enrolled in science-heavy courses, taking rigorous classes such as AP Chemistry and flustering myself with AP Physics C. Outside of school, I explored the route of philanthropy, a value essential to a medical professional’s qualities. I joined the American Red Cross, taking leadership roles and helping oversee county clubs’ activities. During summer break, I furthered my learning by volunteering at a dementia care center and interning at an anesthesia department, earning first-hand experience of working in a hospital setting. As I prepare for college, I’m sure these skills gained from my experiences, academically or otherwise, will help prepare me for my eventual career in medicine. I’m still unsure what the future holds, but I’m excited to see what it has to offer.

Back to Past Scholarship Winners.

These pages and all content Copyright 2024  by Orange County Mensa, all rights reserved.

Mensa does not hold any opinions, or have, or express, any political or religious views.

About the website