This summer I found the Cinderella shoe of an opportunity with the Los Angeles County Department of Health in South Central Los Angeles which is also, coincidentally, my home. I interned right in the heart of my hometown of Compton which was JUST the experience I needed to cement the fact that this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Several of my past posts have heavily hinted that I am interested in a career in medicine. Before this summer I wasn’t so sure of what that looked like. As a first generation student, it’s not like I was born into a network of physicians that could point me the right way or guide me into the kind of physician that I wanted to be.

This summer I was lucky enough to find someone who gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I swear it was exactly what I was looking for. I was going to be helping underserved communities in the area I grew up in. I was able to put faces on the homeless, undocumented, and substance abuse communities that we so objectively study in collegiate settings. Being able to learn about their stores has fueled my desire towards becoming a primary physician one day.

As a student you have to learn to trust your gut. I was initially so nervous about interning with zero office experience. But I’ve come to learn that it is from jumping into the unknown that we end up growing the most. It took a while for me to find my groove but it only took a couple of weeks for me to feel like I was actually helping out. I was able to help plan training sessions for community health workers, as well as make educational materials that could empower the patient in understanding their diseases.

Be patient when looking for your summer opportunities. Look for the kind of thing that you can learn and grow from. Summer opportunities should be fun and constructive to your dream.