This essay by Zachary Peterson, a senior at Fremont High School, won third place in the first COMMfest High School Essay Contest.

In recent years, I have found myself relishing in the fact that there are still so many things from so many different subjects for me to learn about. In my younger years I would have answered the question of “What speaks to you?” with a two-word phrase most of my peers would have recognized as their favorite pastime: video games. But as I grew, I found that I was thrilled to indulge myself in learning new concepts, facts and skills at any opportunity. Learning was my passion regardless of the subject. Knowledge is what speaks to me. I more recently discovered that the loudest speaker amongst all of the different realms of knowledge was that of the study of the human body and medicine.

The human body is what links every human being on Earth together. It’s the one constant that every race, culture and religion is forced to share. Its vast complexity has rattled the brains of ancient scientists and scholars for thousands of years. Only in the last hundred years have we been able to truly appreciate the enigma that is human anatomy. Those facts, along with the seemingly innumerable areas of study within the boundaries of health science, are why studying health science speaks to me the most.

Aside from literally speaking to you with vocal chords and a mouth, the human body is capable of speaking through a variety of different ways. To the trained eye, any abnormality can tell you what a person is going through or what they have been through. A simple blood test can help to diagnose thousands and thousands of different medical issues and diseases. A psychological therapist can detect even the slightest change in behavior and can decide which medication might be right for you. Every day, average communicators use the human body to communicate. Eye contact, posture, vocals and kinesthetics are all areas to which we humans owe our ability to communicate effectively with each other.

Imagine a world where smallpox, diabetes, mental illness and many other diseases were left unnoticed by science and medicine. Imagine in the year 2015 having to expect one out of every three children born that year to be dead within the first five years of their life as it was in the middle ages. Without medical study and advancement we would still be struggling with these problems today. The way medicine speaks to me is related to helping to either save lives or improve the quality of life of someone less fortunate than myself. Medicine is a constant reminder that most of us are in it for the greater good. Animals would never set up free clinics to help care for each other. They are competing with each other just to find their next meal! Medicine shows the best of human nature and the uniquely human ability to grow and evolve technologically, and I can’t wait to go to medical school and become a part of that.

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