The Flame Deep Inside

Jason Beste

This question was in my mind as I walked through the slums of Kolkata, India, after my first year of medical school. I kept asking myself, “What called me to be here? Why are there so many injustices in this world? What is my role in all of this?”

 All these questions can be traced back to my Jesuit education at Creighton during my undergraduate years, when I opened myself up to what the university had to offer me as a student. By participating in spring break service trips and events organized by Campus Ministry, attending basketball games and other extracurricular events, and simply hanging out with amazing new friends and mentors on a daily basis, I opened  my eyes and heart to the wider world.

I grew to understand that happiness and fulfillment would not come solely from my own accomplishments but rather from living a selfless life for others, one in which God is fully present. Creighton gave me the strength and the supportive environment to face my biggest obstacle—myself. Challenged by Jesuit values to look beyond my own needs and desires, I was able to discover how to combine my love of the sciences with my goal of helping the poor. I began to realize that there is a “flame” deep inside all our hearts, and the activities that fanned this flame in my life fortunately coincided with those that involved helping the underprivileged, pursuing a medical degree, and engaging with a supportive community of friends.

After graduating from Creighton, I spent a year on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, participating in the Red Cloud Volunteer Program, which operates under the auspices of the Holy Rosary Mission, run by the Jesuits. During my years of volunteer work, I applied to a number of medical schools, and, ultimately, I decided to return to Creighton, confident that my alma mater would provide me the opportunities and support that would enable me to follow my calling—serving those who are marginalized, exploited, and impoverished. During my four years of medical school at Creighton, I have volunteered in India, helped start a free clinic for the homeless with supportive services and medications for hiv/aids and other infectious diseases, taught diabetes awareness classes to the homeless, organized a yearly spring-break medical- immersion trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and participated in several service projects.

Now, I am again faced with the prospect of graduating and leaving Creighton, committed to tending to the flame inside my heart. This time I am headed to start residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Montefiore in New York City and specialize in internal medicine with a focus on social medicare, global health, public health, and infectious diseases. As I pursue my objective of promoting a more equal and just world, I will continue using the lessons Creighton has taught me and the gifts God has given me to act as an agent of change and to live a life being a man for and with others.

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