“I was 17 years old. I was a volunteer at Marie Stopes, a specialized chain of clinics and ho…”

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I was 17 years old. I was a volunteer at Marie Stopes, a specialized chain of clinics and hospitals that provides services for Reproductive health. It was a prerequisite for attending the medicine and Surgery School at the University. One day, my cousin came to me. She was pregnant; she was confused about whether to let her parents know or to abort. She had been shortlisted for an air force general service officer, cadet job in the military. She was 20 years old. This meant that she couldn't be shortlisted the following year again. Being pregnant meant that she would fail the entry test. The future was uncertain for the baby. The baby's dad had been diagnosed with cancer and had less than 2 months to live. She wanted to have a baby for her boyfriend but she also wanted to ensure her future and get the job. What was right? What would a person with high core values do? What would a person with low care values do? I helped her flip the switch, she got the job. I showed low core values (to some). But it felt as though I had really done something good all along. I later failed school. I was a brilliant student. However, I didn't feel good when cadavers were mishandled in the dissection Lab. My dad had passed away by then. And he had donated his body to our medical school. To me, even dead bodies have to be treated with respect. I was coincidentally assigned my dad's body, I didn't feel good when my teammate made the wrong cut on the body. It was my dad's body but only I knew. For me. It got too personal. One of my peers was my classmate, he was at Marie Stopes with me. He knew I had helped some young lady carry out an abortion and cracked a joke about me pretending to be holier than the others who mishandle cadavers. It consistently challenged my core values: it questioned my integrity, my honor, my character, and my courage. It hit me that this incident (with the cadaver) would haunt me for the rest of my medical life and I had to quit. Sometimes the most courageous decision is to confront your river of fear in your most trying moments.

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