hula dancers
Anthony Lim, third from the right, dances with his hālau on the Merrie Monarch stage. (Photo courtesy of Lim)

Not many first-year medical students know exactly where they want to spend the rest of their lives as a doctor, but San Francisco Bay Area native Anthony Lim already has his mind made up: He wants to practice as a physician in Hawaiʻi and he owes it all to his love of hula.

The lights dim. The arena turns quiet. Beads of sweat form on Lim’s palms and his heart begins to pound, while standing in front of thousands at the renowned Merrie Monarch Festival.

Anthony Lim
Anthony Lim

His journey to the stage

Flashback to a year ago when Lim was in the crowd watching wide-eyed as his friend performed onstage at the same festival. At that moment, he hoped that one day he would be able to dance at the Merrie Monarch Festival, too. But he thought he’d have to put his dream on hold as he had been preparing to begin his journey of rigorous studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine in just a few months.

“Dreams really do come true because I didn’t know that 365 days later, I’d actually be on that stage. It’s pretty crazy. I just feel super lucky,” Lim said.

Read more on how Lim’s story unfolds.

Read more JABSOM stories at UH News.

—By Deborah Manog Dimaya