What A DUI Taught Me

What A DUI Taught Me

What happens when you wake up upside down dripping blood? What happens when the only person at fault was you? What happens when your entire life comes crashing down?
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I was your typical pre-med student at the University of Pittsburgh. People looked up to me, and praised me for my hard work. I was up every single weekday at 7am, and went to bed at 4am after working in a hospital. I did what I needed to do just to get right where I wanted to be academically, financially, and in life. I never thought one mistake could take that all away from me.

Last July 4th I thought I was okay to get behind a wheel after a family party. I was not. I lost control of my new car and rolled more than 3 times. My BAC was 0.162, and as a level 1 trauma (the most severe) I was hospitalized. I couldn’t subtract 7 from 15, and I couldn’t walk for a few days, but I was alive.

The first thought I had after I became conscious was: “What just happened, is there another car?” After crawling out the back window, I searched around in what seemed like a pitch black field for another car, for another person who was harmed by me. Once I found no indication of anyone else, I did what any pre-med student would do: I frantically searched for my brand new, clearly expensive (thanks college) Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. Don’t ask me why. Eventually a car came by, and thankfully those people from high school recognized me and called for help.

The hardest thing to do in this world is to look your family in the eyes while in a hospital bed plugged in to a million things and admit “I am sorry.” I couldn’t do it. I balled my eyes out. I let them down. I let my school down. I let every single person in my life down. I let my morals and ethics fly away, and I let my dreams go up in flames. Years and years of hard work to get to the point in my life where I was happy was thrown down the drain. My medical school application I was working on? GONE. The routine hours spent volunteering? GONE.

It doesn’t matter what my GPA was, or how well I did on my MCATs. It doesn’t matter if I never missed a day of school since Kindergarten, or that I spent routine hours volunteering in the nearby hospital’s surgical/trauma ICU. It doesn’t matter if I always put my seatbelt on before I started my car and drove. I got behind a wheel of a car after drinking, and I had to face the consequences. It doesn’t matter what kind of person I am, I have to face the embarrassment and shame of it all.

What is embarrassing? Being a pre-medicine student, only a few hops away from being a medical student and making one of the dumbest decisions any one could possibly make in their life. What is shameful? The fact that over and over again the saying “Don’t drink and drive” is pounded into your brain from such an early age, and I made that mistake that could have taken away a life (or a few) from this world. I told myself I would never drink and drive… but here I am.

The main thing that pains me every time I think about the accident is that I was fortunate enough to have only harmed myself. I could have killed someone. I could have killed an innocent family traveling safely and soberly home on the holiday. It was as if I got behind the wheel and never thought about who I could have harmed, or whose life I could have turned upside down on both ends.

If you think you are okay to get behind a wheel? YOU ARE WRONG. Just when you finally think you have everything in your college career and life figured out, you will ruin it.

So here is what I learned: Think before you do. I could be on my way to medical school right now, but instead I am forced to take a few years off. 10 months later, and I am still dealing with legal issues, and they don’t seem to be getting resolved any time soon.

I have spent hundreds of hours crying the past few months, because I was stupid. I threw away everything I worked so hard to achieve, and now I am set back a few years. I can’t think about the accident and DUI, without my eyes flooding with tears, and when someone asks me if I learned my lesson, I fight back the tears and think: “God only knows.”

So my advice to you? Don’t drink and drive. Don’t risk your life or your future. Don’t you dare risk the life of anyone else. You are not invincible. Ask yourself what your family would do if they had a knock on their door with a message that you had one two many drinks before getting behind a wheel and dying? What would you do if you woke up and find out you killed a mother and her child because you got behind that wheel after drinking? Seriously, what would you do?

I got behind a wheel after drinking, and I could have easily hurt or killed someone. I deserve the embarrassment. I deserve the shame. I deserve every single consequence the state legally wants to throw my way, and I more than deserve every medical school denying me the privilege of trust after this. I may have only made one big mistake in my life, but I have to live with it and become a wiser person with each passing day. I have to learn to be patient and never give up on my dreams in the meantime.

I have no one to blame, but me. So take it as you will. If you want to destroy your future, you go for it, but whatever you do, don't you dare put the life of a family member, friend, or complete stranger in danger. Please listen to me, it will never be worth getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking.

Cover Image Credit: Christopher Dixon

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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10 Things Economics Majors Want You To Know

For the MOST part, it isn't that bad.

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I decided to become an economics major the day I started college — I know, it wasn't easy for me to decide. Well, technically the real reason why I even chose the major to begin with was that I was undecided when applying for colleges. I was, and still am, an indecisive person.

When I saw economics as one of the majors at Stony Brook, I thought it was something I was interested in. After all, it was the "study of markets and the behaviors of people in that same market." Besides psychology and philosophy (the two majors my parents didn't want me to study), I then chose econ. While it wasn't a piece of cake, it wasn't too challenging either. Here are a couple things we all want so desperately to say.

1. It's not all math, don't worry

While so many people tend to think that economics is all math and no fun, I beg to differ. As I mentioned above, it is the "study of the behavior of people in the market," so while it is equations and statistics, it is also observing how people treat prices and products.

2. It's not difficult to understand

I don't understand why parents think that if you're majoring in econ, you're pretty much signing up to fail all your courses. If they actually took the course, they would understand that it isn't the economic theory you need to understand, but how people react to changes in the stock market.

3. Majoring in econ isn't the same thing as majoring in business

When I tell people I'm an econ major, they immediately say, "Oh, business?" And then I squeeze the urge to yell in their face that I said "ECON, ECON, NOT BUSINESS." Then they continue to say they know someone that majors in business, and then ask if I know the person. The annoyances then continue. Econ is the study of markets. Business is the study of being an entrepreneur. Totally two different things. Yes, they are co-dependent, but they are not the SAME thing.

4. Please don't rely on me to do your taxes or calculate tips at a restaurant

I hate it when everyone just stares at me when the check comes. I regret telling people I'm an econ major at that point. Because I don't know how to tell them I don't learn how to do taxes or calculate tips in class, that's what finance majors do. AGAIN, not the same thing.

5. I know most of us are Asian, but don't be racist

Don't come up to me, ask me what my major is, and automatically assume that I'm an international student. It really sucks. I have to then correct them and say I'm not, and then have them walk away.

6. One of the prime motives is because we want to learn game theory

How we play games is vital to econ majors, and it does involve heavy readings of game theory books.

7. We mostly won't do econ during grad school

Because grad school is a time where we want to actually exercise our skills, it isn't a time to dawdle and major in the same things as we did in undergrad. We're actually adults by then, and we most likely will resort to marketing, sales, or advertising agencies. At least I want to work at Instagram HQ someday.

8. Our classes never have curves

Finals season is always tough on us because it just means we gotta put in three times as much work to memorize formulas, theories, and math terms. Have mercy on our souls. Most professors aren't even nice enough to bring up our grades or give us extra credit.

9. The TAs are too busy with work to help us

Even they understand econ isn't a breeze, and as TAs, they can't really explain stuff to us that they don't understand either. In fact, most of the stuff we learn in class are self-taught, usually late nights with Starbucks coffee.

10.  We actually hate business majors

Because they have it easy. And they don't need math. Everything they do is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Not gonna lie, I love being an econ major. But some cons can be too much and it does teach me not to do econ in grad. One thing is for certain though, I love what I do and I don't regret choosing it.

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