I want to be an accountant.
So, why medical school?
I changed my mind. Something I, and you, have the prerogative to do!
My higher education extravaganza began on the firm foundation that I was to be a comfortably stable accountant. I declared the major right away and got to work.
I want to be an accountant.
All the while I was supporting myself by working at the hospital just across the road from my university.
Fast-forward to a pause from school during which I spontaneously relocated to California and a couple of years later to Colorado.
Side note: these 2 relocations on my own were so scary but even more so beneficial to my maturation. If you've got the "ganas," go for it!
I was excelling in my healthcare financial analysis career, especially for where I was--a teenager without a college degree (I had started college at 16 years young).
It was pretty awesome. So awesome that it motivated me to return to school to finish my accounting degree so that I could climb the professional ladder.
I returned to my undergraduate institution, fully intending to be in and out in 2-3 semesters and back on my independent voyage.
Funny how things change...
The transformation that turned me (pre-med, that is) is probably best summarized in my medical applications personal statement:
“Live a healthy lifestyle”–consume nutritionally dense foods and drink plenty of water; exercise; practice exceptional sleep hygiene; etc. For a great amount of time, I struggled with the worry that my ignorance had positioned me within a minority population of folks too embarrassed to ask exactly how to practice healthy behaviors. That was, until I manifested the exemplary version of myself that then put me on the receiving end of such inquiries… which I still couldn’t answer.
I had done it: resolved aches, fatigue, and isolation that were a package deal with a heavy, sixty-five pounds of excess body weight. In awe of my mental and physical transformation, I was often pressed by peers for my secret to success. Disappointingly, I, too, found myself falling back on the vague and directionless “make healthy choices.” Frustrated by my inability to help, I was motived to education so that I could not only be an inspiring image but also a respected resource.
Studying the physiological adaptations resultant from prescribing exercise for individuals with chronic diseases led me to the revelation that not only did I want to understand the intricacies of building leaner, stronger, and more capable bodies, but I was determined to learn how exercise science might be integrated into clinical care plans as a means to prevent illness and manage overall health. It so happens that it was around this epiphany that I was too distracted to recognize the progression of my own illness. Maintaining my cover as the superhero of high stress that I so prided myself upon, there was no time for the painfully sleepless nights I had been enduring for months—coursework, work, and a slew of extracurricular activities needed to be tended to before my concentration could be compromised… at least as long as I had a choice.
School slowed as I proved unable to keep stride with my drive during several semesters, starting with the Spring, 2016, term. My series of unfortunate events screenplay included scenes from several inpatient hospitalizations, surgeries, family suicide, and more. As with any delicate balance, the unforeseen toll on my academic capacity was only matched by my will to become an advocate for others, mirroring the support I found during my time of hardship.
Outpourings of love, and opinions, surrounded me. Perhaps for the first time, I truly understood and experienced loved ones rushing in to hand over the shirt off of their backs and can now say with confidence that I have incredible examples to follow when I will inevitably find myself on the giving end. Call it my scientific mind or enthusiasm for medicine, but the most impactful and impressionable support that I can recall receiving was sourced from my health care team. Of the many professionals who I came to know so well—women’s advocates, psychologists, and general and specialty physicians—my own primary care physician embodied my light at the end of the tunnel.
My tired, slightly disheveled, plaid-sporting, primary care physician balancing on his short stool with both legs and arms crossed, grandiosely thrusted his nose down to align his assertive gaze right through me: “I am here to care for all of you.” These few but powerful words refueled my passion to recover and continue my exhausting aspiration to one day find myself seated on his stool. One man, who cares for many, concerned himself with so much more than any one part of me because a patient is not just a mind, a set of lungs, or a reproductive system. Patients are incredible and complicated beings who deserve to be seen, and expertly treated, in whole.
It is my promise to exercise the same holistic care as a dedicated and continually advancing physician. A redirected goal, which started simply as a journey of enlightenment, has grown to be flexible and multi-faceted. By pursuing a medical education, I hope to: arm myself with the wisdom and experience to advocate for others’ health and wellbeing from a place of reliable and relevant expertise; advance evidence-based practices through continued education and involvement in research; and influence policy in ways that will launch healthcare into a greater focus on preventative measures.
Long story short, shit happened, as it tends to do. But that shit found my passion.
And now I have a B.S. degree in Exercise & Sport Science with minors in Chemistry (consequence of pre-med prerequisites) and Accounting (since I made it to a mere 2 courses short of fulfilling the major).
Along the way I've overcome just to be set back... from which I've emerged only to falter and then find my footing yet again.
This is the road to medicine--for students, residents, physicians, their loved ones, patients, for us all.
It's perseverance in a never-ending nutshell.
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