Okay guys, this is going to be a long post but I promise that it is worth the read if you are interested in a career in medicine.
This summer I had the extraordinary privilege of being a student in the SMDEP program at Yale. SMDEP, Summer Medical and Dental Education Program, is a 6-week program that is meant to immerse students from disadvantaged backgrounds into the field of medicine. At Yale we were able to take two science classes. Now before you get too excited, these classes weren’t for credit. The purpose of these classes was to expose us to new concepts so that when we took them at our respective institutions, those concepts would not be so foreign to us. We also took a Writing and Communications class that helped us with public speaking and writing. We were taught how to get in the frame of mind for writing the most excellent personal statement possible.
I think I am a different person now compared to the person I was when I first stepped foot onto the Yale Medical School campus. I am now more confident in my abilities. Prior to this program I never accepted failure really well; I used to think that it was a direct reflection on my work ethic and character. I have now learned that defeat is not final, rather it is a challenge to self reflect and work towards a higher standard. This program reinforced my intention to be my own best advocate in pursuit of my goals. It was up to me to teach myself the material. Self motivation has the key lesson that I am bringing with me from Yale SMDEP.
In addition to that, I learned that my future is mine for the taking. I used to think that no matter how much I worked…I would never be enough. I’ve learned that I am MORE than enough. If I really want that future as a physician, then I am going to make damn sure that I get there. As Caledon Hockley said in Titanic, (yes…I watch Titanic twice a month…every month), “I make my own luck,”.
My conviction to be a primary care physician has grown exponentially since taking part of this program. I was able to speak to wonderful leaders, peers, mentors, doctors, and heroes of tomorrow. Those conversations have been among the most pivotal in my life. I learned from them and their experiences that nay-sayers do NOT have the last word—only I can have that privilege.