There is no defining moment when I suddenly wanted to become a doctor. In fact, as a kid being a doctor was the furthest thing from what I wanted to be. Growing up I was the oldest child of six siblings split between two different households. My dad, a lawyer and my mom, a struggling actress and teacher; I learned how to grow up quickly. With my siblings aging from 2 to 15 there are many different needs that had to be meet.
I would often baby sit on the weekends and on the week days. I learned how to be patience and to relate to all ages of kids. This in part lead to me wanting to become a pediatrician and help all types of children.
Growing up I wanted to become an actor as I toured with a Nevada play company for a couple years from an early age. At the age of 14 I got very involved in the community around me.
Moving from Dayton, NV it was a hard adjustment getting to know people in such a bigger city [Reno]. I decided to start volunteering anyway and everywhere I could; in part to keep busy and in part to keep out of the chaos in my life. The first place that I volunteered at was our local park’s Discovery Room. On every Sunday for about 8 months I would manage and facilitate the learning about Nevada’s history in the ‘Discovery Room’. Soon after I was also involved in JROTC, student Leadership and the local Humane Society.
Volunteering helped me network and gain new friends. I volunteered at all the different places that I enjoyed; places that excited me. A hospital however seemed like a foreboding presence filled with disease and death and so I refused to work anywhere near one.
Around the age of 16; someone played a significant role in changing my perspective on volunteering in the medical field. One of my family’s friend; Cindy; was diagnosed with ALS. ALS is a degenerative disease that shuts down the nervous system slowly causing people to lose their motion abilities’. She had doctor appointments, and still had to do grocery shopping so I would drive her around and she would pay me twenty dollars for gas for every outing. Over time we got to become really close as she became one of the only people that I could talk to and be myself around. She would give me life advice and we would talk about my future, whether it was medicine or law; she encouraged me to strive to be what I wanted to be despite what everyone else thought. Cindy became my inspiration to start pursing the medical field. She showed me how medicine is more than just diseases and germs, but it is more about how to help individuals and ease their pain. She was able to stay positive even though she was suffering.
Cindy inspired me to start volunteering in the medical field. In the summer that followed I decided to start volunteering with the local hospital; Carson Tahoe. After training the administers decided to place me in the Patient in/out surgical center. Working in the surgical patient in/out center I got to meet a variety of people and learn the secrets to hospitality when dealing with patients. My duty consisted of bringing patients and parents back to see the doctors and nurses. Eventually, I got to know the nurses and I felt like I had found a fun working environment. As the days shortened and school started I had to switch my shift to the weekends. The Surgical center wasn’t open on the weekend, and so my volunteer position was switched to the Surgical orthopedics shift. For four hours every week I had to walk around with a water cart and ask people who were mostly asleep if they needed more water. The nurses also had me label patient charts- a pointless and unnecessary task. I felt underappreciated as none of the nurses would even acknowledge me as I would come and volunteer, even on my birthday. I eventually grew tired of feeling under-appreciated; so, I quit the Carson Tahoe Hospital Volunteer program and was disinterested in medicine.
As the days rolled on I grew more restless and bored and so I looked a possible overcoming my vow of being done with medicine and retry being a candy-striper volunteer. In Reno, NV there is one large hospital agglomeration called Renown. Many of my siblings were born at Renown so the halls had a familiar glow to them. I decided to interview for a volunteer position at this hospital. Facing my fear of getting back into medicine, being alone, and feeling useless helped me grow as a person. I received a position in the Renown volunteer position and met many other like-minded volunteers ranging in age from 16 to 80. Learning through vast different perspectives and knowledge reignited my passion to pursue medicine. After working the Renown front desk for several months I was able to move into the Emergency Department (ED/ER) and finally volunteer in a meaningful fast paced environment. In the ED I met a friendly staff and a variety of people ranging from the sick to the elderly to perhaps the mentally imbalanced.
All of the fore mentioned is owed in part to my mentor and my dear friend, Cindy. Without her helping me find my desire to pursue medicine I wouldn’t have volunteered in a hospital setting. There is still a part of me that is uncertain of committing myself to a life of medicine. The concerning fact of medicine for me is the fear that I may tire of it. The continuous routine of being a physician was my main issue with learning to practice medicine. I need creativity, passion, and authority in whatever career I choose.
As senior year approached and passed by I applied for UNR’s BSMD program (University of Nevada-Reno Bachelor of Science Medical Doctorate program). Volunteering for two years in the medical field helped ease some of the worry and concern that I felt getting involved in medicine. After much deliberation I applied and was accepted in the BSMD program essentially guaranteeing myself a spot in UNR’s medical school in the next three to four years.
Choosing biology as my major is not in part because I had an innate desire to learn the building blocks of life; but more to utilize science to apply into graduate school. A biology major is very much a means to an end. A major in science is a requirement for the program that I am currently enrolled in (BSMD); and while I don’t have the desire to learn the building blocks of life it is fascinating to me to learn about how everything works together to create the world that surrounds every individual. Through my journey into medicine I have learned to respect every individual and how there is suffering that is eased by the miracle of modern medicine. I aspire to become a pediatrician and help children who always amaze me and never cease to make things less exciting.
The hero’s journey focuses on the traditional and the already done; the bored and the boring. Hero’s journeys are as old as time itself. From the very traditional story of Gilgamesh to the Green Knight to even more contemporary literature works; they all follow the exact same ideology. There are trials and tribulations; ups and downs; the good and the bad. Through learning my passion for medicine, I too, had the trials, tribulations, doubts, and the ups and downs. I was able to overcome many of my concerns and doubts.
In stories there is always the hero and the villain; the black and the white; the good and the bad. Stories however are much more complex than that. There is morality, and gray areas, and a whole ideological series of events each different, as there are different perspectives. How I came about choosing my major is not a simple story, but a journey. As cliché as that sounds the uncertainty of the future is at times as ambiguous as the recollection of the past. My future may be uncertain, but one thing is for sure; I have aspired to make a difference in the world; I am aspiring to make the world a positive and creative place for everyone; and I will aspire to make the world of tomorrow, brighter than the world of today.