Madison Hopkins: Happiness Comes from Knowing You Impacted Another Individual

Madison Hopkins is from a small town in Massachusetts by the name of Plainville. She is currently a junior Biological Sciences major at Clemson University in South Carolina. At Clemson she is involved in a wide array of campus activities anywhere from tutoring local elementary school students to being an undergraduate teaching assistant. She is on the PR (personal relations) Team for her sorority, the Outreach Committee from Camp Kesem Clemson, and is also the secretary of AMSA (American Medical Student Association). Outside of school she has a passion for traveling and photography. She will be applying to Medical School shortly in hopes of continuing her studies and pursuing a career in medicine.

Happiness does not come solely from the satisfaction of bettering yourself, but rather from knowing you impacted another individual. I came to this realization after meeting a woman, Theresa, who would change my outlook on both medicine and myself. She presented with a severe case of conjunctivitis and upon an eye exam, it was diagnosed that she also had a pterygium. A pterygium is a fleshy growth of tissue that impedes vision by slowing invading the cornea. The only possible cure of this sclera invasion would be surgery, and unfortunately it has a high chance of recurring due to her environmental factors. All my triage did was administer an NSAID for the conjunctivitis and inflammation. An hour after discharging her, she returned and interrupted me as I was with my next patient.

She handed me the earrings I complimented her on during her physical exam and a gold cross necklace that she walked all the way home to retrieve. I got chills as she spoke the following words through the interpreter, “Thank you and God bless you for all you are doing. Continue with your studies and you will make an incredible doctor someday. Take these and I truly hope to see you back here someday.” In that moment Theresa and I both had tears forming in our eyes and my heart sank to my stomach. I could have left her with absolutely nothing and she still would have shown her appreciation for my informed input with her prized necklace. The impact that my slight knowledge had on her and how much my time was valued in her eyes was moving. I plan to wear this necklace on my graduation day in her honor.