As the first person in my family to attend medical school and pursue medicine, I know that I could not have gotten to where I am now without mentors. Being a first generation college student made it even more arduous because I had to figure out the whole college thing on my own and then somehow get myself prepared for this whole professional school business. Of course, I have always had the support of my parents and my brothers, but they themselves didn’t understand the application process or the multiple stages one goes through once in medical school.
Prior to post-secondary education, I am grateful for all my teachers who saw something in me and challenged me to do my best. They were teachers who wanted me to succeed and would help me find free enrichment opportunities sponsored at or outside the school. They pushed me to believe that I could really do whatever I put my mind to. I am forever thankful because these teachers fueled my imaginative spirit.
Once I got to college, I sought out people who wanted to help me flourish and who could help me cultivate my interests. The traditional outlets of the premed adviser and the academic adviser were fine, but I felt like I was just one of the many they had to see. In fact, the humanities professors I had and the research professors I worked with were the ones I really connected with. With them, I could discuss my dreams, my fears, and find ways to accomplish what I wanted to do when I had no one else to guide me. For me, a single mentor didn’t really suit my purposes. I was much more driven by the many people who could support me. In a way, the motto, “It takes a village to raise a child,” was true for me.
When I finally got to medical school, my mentors were also multiple in number. Academic guidance has come from the curriculum office and a certain retired professor and I credit them for helping me get through the biggest test of my life. I have sought out career guidance from the family medicine department and have found such great support from the folks there. With my interests in leadership and academic medicine, looking up to the administration involved in admissions has really helped me decide if it’s something I want to pursue in the future. As I move forward in my training, I hope to return the favor and be a source of support for premedical and medical students too!