For lots of people, medicine is a calling. Is it your calling?
In college, all I could think about was providing healthcare to those in need.
I am not sure where this desire came from, but I aspired to it from an early age.
I remember the excitement I would have when I had the chance to go to my pediatrician's office for a physical or to have my ears checked.
He had these beautiful children's anatomy books in the waiting room that I loved to read.
Even at the age of five, the human body inspired me. It mesmerized me!
I wanted to practice medicine so badly that from that young age, I committed to doing whatever it would take to get to that point. I also committed to doing right by my patients.
I didn't want medicine to be my job, I wanted it to be my vocation, a way to make the world a better place.
The Journey - Your Burning Desire
It began in high school. Like everyone, I love to waste time.
When I see and treat teenagers today, and they tell me, "I am just so bored," I try to empathize, but boredom, in my opinion, is just a lack of imagination and a lack of belief in yourself... That you have the chops to do what excites you.
I understand where they (or maybe you) are coming from. Many kids don't have the emotional and family support I had growing up. My parents instilled a belief in me that I could do whatever was in my heart. This is the main reason I made it to where I am today.
Many kids will never get this type of support. It is our job to help those kids, help them to attain their true potential.
But I digress...
For me, the sciences were inspirational, and they were my passion. Math was a hurdle I had to overcome, and it was the one thing I wished I could just side-step, but I couldn't.'If you want the things that others don't have you have to be willing to do the things that others don't do.'Click To Tweet
So I pushed hard, worked hard, and yes, I played hard. But in the end, I had a burning desire. Something inside of me that was established at a very young age.
Not Listening to What People Tell You
I tell my kids every day that they need to be better listeners, especially to their mom and dad.
But when I transitioned from high school to college, I met a guidance counselor who told me that I would never have what it takes to establish a career in medicine.
How she accumulated this "data" and came to this conclusion is beyond me. But it was demoralizing for me. This news came sometime around my sophomore year. I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was as if somebody had snuffed my burning desire. It crushed my dreams and, in a way, a part of who I was. It would take a spark to start it again.
Igniting Your Passion
I was working as a student in "Hall Health" as a phlebotomist. Demoralized by what the guidance counselor told me, convinced that I was on a "path to nowhere," I somehow landed in the office of an orthopedic physician assistant.
At this moment, talking with this man and learning about the physician assistant profession, my spark was re-ignited. And from that moment onward, I knew what I wanted to become.
Redirecting your Passion
I was pre-med. I spoke to a different guidance counselor who steered me into Zoology... Yes, "Zoology." As many believe, it was not a major focused on "animals" or working in a zoo but primarily on nature, life, physiology, and the essence of all the sciences.
For me, the spark turned into a fire. I found love again in what I was doing.
Upon graduation, I was now on the dean's list. I had made connections in the campus clinic, leading to a job as a mobile phlebotomist for Seattle's Blood Center. From here, I established grounding in my work, moved up the ranks to a mobile supervisor, made more connections, took night classes to get my EMS certification, and began applying to PA Schools.
Reaching your Goals:
From acceptance to practice was a long road. Heck, from high school to practice is a long road. You will confront many obstacles along the way. If you didn't, you would never learn to be grateful for what you have. These struggles make you appreciate, value and later do good with what you have.
Every day I wake up and help a patient feel better is a day I am thankful for.
Every day that I get to throw on my stethoscope and do what I dreamed of as a child is a reminder that in life, anything is possible.
But you must work hard, never give up (you know all the usual platitudes), but most of all, start believing in yourself enough to do what MUST be done to reach your goals. Otherwise, you will quit when the going gets tough and make the mistake of settling for less.