What’s your why? † Finding your purpose in life and your career

By: Mohammed Hammoud

Many of us are confronted with hopeless situations in which we no longer feel led. Whether it’s rejecting dental school or not feeling passionate about our future choices, we wonder why?

It creates a feeling of frustration because we have not made our dreams come true. In most cases, people give up. But there are stories of people turning their personal tragedies into achievements. This is the purpose of this post.

My story

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mohammed Hammoud, and I am a sophomore dental student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-School of Dental Medicine. I was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan, by two immigrant parents seeking greater economic opportunity and social freedom.

My four siblings and I come from a humble but struggling working-class family. My mother was a stay at home mother who raised 5 children with my father who was a truck driver for most of his life.

As a result of the values ​​and morals they instilled in me, I was able to graduate in school despite neither parent having a college degree. I attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor for undergrad before applying and getting accepted into dentistry, but it was not an easy journey.


In Islam, there is a saying that the eldest son of a family takes on the role of father and helps to care for, guide and guide his younger siblings. My oldest brother, Ali, did just that. He was the backbone of our family and my best friend.

In the fall of 2015, he tragically passed away at the young age of 27. I could never be the same child before that day.

The unexpected nature of his death left me feeling alone and lost. Before that day I was carefree and dependent, but my responsibilities as a son soon changed. I was expected to take care of my younger sister and mother, even though I felt emotionally and mentally incapable of taking care of myself.

I asked myself, “How can I improve my future, be there for my family and recover from such an event?”

At this point in my life, my way of thinking had completely changed. It went from focusing on myself to focusing on my family. It went from living day to day, to creating memories in the time you have with the people you love. It ranged from not paying attention to my purpose in life, to WHAT is my purpose in life.

Reaching maturity in the US is not defined by age, but by experiences that define us and what we do in moments of weakness. To this day I think about the life my brother lived and how I want to be remembered: as a man of principles, respect and compassion, just like Ali.

My brother Abdullah always says, “Ali made you feel like you can grab any star in the sky, all you had to do was reach out and pick one.”

My quest for a purpose stayed with me during my studies. From shadowing local dentists in my hometown to getting my degree in public health to traveling around different parts of the world, my focus was how to make my mark on this earth without knowing how much time I have left.

My passion for dentistry

It seemed like as the years went by, my passion for dentistry wasn’t always to give someone the brightest smile (literally), but to give them the attention and love they deserve so they could feel comfortable in my dental chair. .

Personally, due to financial problems, I didn’t get dental care until I was 10. After years of work, I had a smile that I was proud to show, but more importantly, a story between a dentist and a patient that inspired me to want to do the same.

To inspire me even more, I had the opportunity to study in Cape Town, South Africa, and gain more experience in oral and public health. Through conversations and first-hand experience, I have learned that dental care deals with many inequalities, and I hope one day to play a vital role in this aspect as well.

My potential as a student and one-day practicing dentist is to empower individuals to make more health and life choices. I want to have the tough conversations with my patients, old or young, and show them how much value in their lives is only possible if they only ask themselves “what’s my why?”

How can a desire to find meaning align with our health, life choices, and how we interact with each other?

The concept of purpose in life is gaining popularity. I can tell you that my purpose blossomed during what was the most stressful time of my life because I gave this mental component of my life the same attention that any physical component of my life would need.

My goal has continued to grow through dental education and I look forward to sharing my experiences as my years go by. I remind myself every day why I’m doing this. I am in a healthier state that allows me to succeed in dentistry despite the challenges I may face.

To those who made it this far, thank you. I want to express that I am a resource that wants to help you in every way possible to improve yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. I look forward to growth, success and change with these posts.

I leave you with a quote from Friedrich Nietzche, a German philosopher:

He who has a why to live for can endure almost any how.

At your service,

Mohammed Hammoud

Mohammed Hammoud

My name is Mohammed Hammoud. I was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan by two immigrant parents who raised me and my four siblings. After graduating from high school, I took a bachelor’s degree in public health sciences from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s School of Public Health. It was then that I had a few opportunities to travel abroad and learn more about myself, my passions and my purpose. I have always had a dream of becoming a dentist and it was during the summer of my senior year that I applied and was accepted into LECOM where I am now a sophomore dental student.

photo by Ben Mack from Pexels

Next one: How to deal with your first dental contract?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.