I am writing this post for several reasons. First of all, I think it would be nice to share my blog readers -- you're all such a positive, friendly, and supportive group! Secondly, I want to always remember why I chose to step into this field, and I'm hoping this will motivate me when times are rough.
I knew from a young age I liked to help people. I started working at my parent's shop when I was only 7 and I loved to be at the front, talking to customers, and helping them with whatever I could. If they needed a bag, I would grab them a bag and would often try my best to smile. Because smiling often made them laugh (I think that was because I had no front teeth at the time!). I love making people laugh, and smile -- it's quite selfish, really.
I started volunteering when I was around 11 at my local library. And I would try to teach younger kids how to read, and where to find the best books. Everything I learned myself, I wanted to teach to others. That moment when someone goes "Aha!" is something I've always loved. And my favourite volunteer activity was spending my lunch hours at school in the secretary's office: answering the phone, taking messages, and giving ice packs and bandages to kids that were injured during lunch time play.
At the start of high school, I had little to no idea what I wanted to do. I remember I would spend endless hours drawing, trying to learn every technique I could. I also remember being a bad student, especially in my grade 9 year. I was unmotivated to go to class, and did not perform my best. Though, something happened mid-high school that changed the path I wanted to take. In science class, we started to learn about the human body, and illness. For the first time, I had something I loved to learn and was excited to go to class for.
At the same time, in my later high school years, I become highly involved in the arts. I had two passions that were competing against one another for my attention. But as you'll note, medicine won out. The primary reason for this was because, even though I loved drawing and acting, I wanted to devote my life to helping others. This was quite easy to realize since I was so committed to helping out my community. When you live in a small town, often the success of that town is dependent on individual efforts, and I wanted to contribute by doing something I loved. I wanted to enter a field where:
1) I would learn something I am most passionate about
2) I could help others
3) I could become a leader in my community
This was a time that solidified my ambitions to pursue medicine. Undergrad was very difficult for me. If it were not for the support from my family, my boyfriend, and my cat Jasmine, I doubt I would have made it through.
I was fortunate enough in my later years to be hired onto a clinical research position, focused on rural health. My supervisor is a physician who grow up in a rural environment, like me. She positively shaped my ideas of:
1) What a rural physician does every day
2) How much of an impact a physician can make on the lives of patients
3) The various roles and responsibility a physician can have (professor/clinician/researcher)
The choice to apply to medicine was a no-brainer for me. Though, it would prove to be quite a challenge due to the competitive nature of the application process. Constantly questioning myself, and every move I make, and thinking "Am I good enough? Will this ever happen? What more can I possibly do?"
Even though it took two application cycles, I am very happy I never gave up on my dream! There were a lot of times it was so easy to just say no (for instance, when I was rejected pre-interview last cycle), but I am a firm believer that if given the opportunity to pursue your passion, and you know what that passion is, you'll regret saying no to that chance.
I am still pinching myself, still can't believe things have worked out for this small town girl. And I am more excited than I have ever been! There will be obstacles along the way, but I hope that my future self can look back on this post and remember just how much effort it took to become a medical student. I am pursuing my passion, and I am so very grateful to be a part of this incredible profession.