By Maha Laiq
A child sits eagerly on a couch, staring at the TV in front of her. Dressed in scrubs, a physician appears on the screen, performing surgery on a patient. A younger Ritika Bawa watches, fascinated, her attention completely captivated by the TLC series Untold Stories of the ER.
“I used to watch Untold Stories of the ER and embarrassingly enough, I think that first sparked my passion for medicine,” Bawa said. “I felt ‘alive’ watching the show. I was interested in how they diagnosed and treated the patients.”
Helping others is the core of why Bawa gravitates towards a career in medicine.
“In the future, I hope to see the smiles of my future patients brighten up the room,” Bawa said.
Learning about Different Cultures
Bawa also finds great joy in public speaking and educating herself on different cultures. She believes that her love for cultures will build on her future aspirations as a physician.
“I enjoy learning about cultures because you’re able to juxtapose yours with others and see all of the amazing similarities. As a Sikh, I educate people about my own culture and my love for my Punjabi culture,” Bawa said. “I want to apply my passion for international cultures overseas and help those who need it across the world.”
Bawa carries her goal of spreading goodwill by valuing the opportunity to lead others. She supports others through her role as the president of International Club, FBLA, Pioneer Ambassadors, Science Olympiad, and South Asian Student Association.
“Leadership means to take on something you’re really passionate about,” Bawa said. “It means to take that passion and then to expand on it by being able to build and connect people.
During a public health emergency, Bawa realized that she wanted to study Public Health as a major in college.
“The pandemic was what specifically made me want to study Public Health. I found inspiration within individuals such as the Chief Medical for Canada, Supriya Sharma,” Bawa said. “Through hearing her opinion on vaccinations and masks, I admired her as a great public speaker. Using her as my inspiration was really key in combining my love for public speaking, public health, and medicine as the core center of that. She showed me that I could bridge all of my interests into this one amazing topic: medicine.”
Through all of her accomplishments—whether placing first place in the Science Olympiad regional tournament for the Disease Detectives Category or for qualifying in the FBLA Public Speaking Nationals—Bawa understands the importance of hard work. Her motivation behind all of her educational pursuits can be traced back to elementary school.
“I’ve always valued education. It all started in third grade when I read I am Malala,” Bawa said. “She really made me appreciate the education I have in America.”
10 Quick Q’s With Ritika
Most memorable moment in high school?
I loved going to BJ’s after my junior year homecoming.
Most embarrassing moment in high school?
Standing by the library… my big hydro flask fell from my backpack. The sound of it falling was so loud that everyone stopped to look at me.
Favorite class ever taken in high school?
AP Econ, AP Bio, and AP World
What is your favorite quote?
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”- Unknown
Books or Movies?
Favorite TV show?
What is your least favorite animal?
I dislike seagulls. I was in Finland, and some seagulls chased me while I was eating my fish sandwich.
Right now it’s Heatwaves by Glass Animals and Iann Dior
What is your favorite food?
Ice cream. I could have it for every meal.
If you could give advice to a rising freshman in high school, what would it be?
Work hard and get involved as fast as you can. It gives you amazing friends and you discover your interests.
Maha Laiq is writing about local high school seniors.