From Pizza Parties to Medical School

October 18, 2009
By Anonymous

I never would’ve thought that a pizza party could have had such a huge impact on my life. Back in 5th grade, our school announced a fundraiser where each classroom would get a jar. The goal was to fill it up with loose change and maybe a couple dollar bills here and there. At the end of the fundraiser, they would total up the money and reward the classes which collected the most. The prize for third place was a dress-down day and for second was a pizza party. But the class in first place got the ultimate reward. A dress-down day AND a pizza party.

I went to a school with uniforms. Our cafeteria food wasn’t gourmet. To the students, dress-down days and pizza parties were considered holy. Not really thinking about anything but my desire to win, I decided to take two fifty-dollar bills from my secret stash and I nonchalantly tossed them into the jar.

After a couple weeks and re-fills of the jar, the results were to be announced. Third Place was 7A and second place went to 6B. Finally the big announcement came. The entire school went silent. Kids in my class were holding hands and crossing their fingers. The winner was 5A! My classroom erupted in cheers, laughter, and jumps-for-joy.

A couple weeks later, my parents called me up to my room. They calmly asked me to get out the money I received for my First Communion. Trying to play it cool, I claimed some one must have stolen it. After exchanging looks, my parents informed me that my teacher had somehow discovered I put the money in the fundraiser jar. She revealed this to them at another school function. They told me that they weren’t angry, but I would have to do something to remedy the event. My dad had the perfect idea in mind.
The day after Christmas, he told to me dress warmly and because we were going into the city. A couple hours later, we arrived at St. John’s Hospice in north Philadelphia. My father explained to me that we were going to be working in the kitchen for couple hours. We were going to hand out meals to the 300-400 homeless men that come in each day.

As the lunch began, all I could think about was how I wanted to get this over with so I could play with my brand new toys. But as the mealtime went on, I realized something. These men were overjoyed at the food they were receiving. I couldn’t believe it. A roll, some chicken, some mashed potatoes, and a piece of pie. I considered it a fairly simple and commonplace winter meal. The men’s faces lit up with each portion of food they were given. I realized how bad some people in this world today actually have it.

I had always heard about giving to the needy, but I never fully comprehended that statement until that day. It was enlightening to see how thankful they were over something I though was cheap. I attained an idea of how much I had taken for granted in my short lifetime. I learned that I didn’t really need all the materialistic things I initially desired. Afterwards, on the drive home, I thought about the earlier events and how happy those men were. My dad suggested McDonald’s for lunch and I abruptly answered no. I knew that I didn’t need it.

That day was where I came to know how good it felt to help people who really need it. I know it may sound corny, but it’s one of the greatest feelings one can feel. I now return to St John’s Hospice every year. I know how it great it feels to be a part of something trying to make a difference, and I want to make sure I do the same in my career. This is why I am becoming a doctor. I like to think that in my future I will be making a difference in people’s lives just like I did on that one December 26th.

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