My Journey From Farmworker Boy To Pediatrician

Book Excerpt from the Inspiring Story of Ramon Resa, MD:
Excerpt #16 of 17


Even though I want to go on living close to my family, I’m drifting farther away from them. Joe calls me “College Boy,” not in a mocking way but as the way it is. I’ve crossed a bridge they’ll never attempt and have effectively severed a link with them.

Some of the family is amazed that I’m not satisfied with what I’ve already accomplished. I try to explain to them that I want to be a doctor and that I need to go to medical school for 4 more years.

As I wait for the letters to come back, I realize that the only things I have going for me are my miserable background and my ignorance about what my chances are. But I know I can prove I’m capable. All I need is to be given a chance.

Ama still wants to know when I’m going to get a job. She thinks four more years of school will be as much a waste of time as the first four were.

“Look at your brothers,” she says. “Most of them have good cars and nice houses because they didn’t waste time away at some fancy college. They worked for what they have.”

But I’ve learned a concept called “delayed gratification.” When I try to explain it to her and the others, it’s lost on them. I try to urge them to think beyond today, but money is what everyone is seeking. The more material goods and the newer your car, the higher your standing with the rest of the family.

When I go home, I always hear about who has a new car or a new baby. They brag about their kids’ exploits in baseball or football, but no one ever talks about how well their kids are doing in school. I try to encourage the little ones to do their homework and get good grades so they can go to college, but their parents interrupt me. “Don’t bother with him,” they tell me. “He isn’t very smart, and he’s lazy to boot.”

I know they’re repeating what their own parents said to them years ago.

“You’re an exception to the rule,” they say. “We can’t compete.”

“I’m no different!” I protest. “The only difference between us is that I’m willing to go after a dream. If I fail, at least I can say I went for it.”

One day when I’m talking with one of my cousins, I try to convince him that he should try to go after a better life if he isn’t happy with what he has now.

“It’s too late for me,” he tells me. “I’m stuck in my job at the plant and it’d be too hard to go back to school.”

He is only twenty years old.

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