An important decision we all must make is what career path to follow. Making a decision that so heavily affects your future requires an enormous amount of thought, self-reflection, and introspection. Most people, myself included, have trouble with committing to one path. Sometimes, people need an event that will motivate and encourage them. That event for me was a seminar I participated in while attending a career camp at Touro Infirmary. Prior to the seminar, I had an interest in medicine, but I convinced myself that a medical career would entail too much work and responsibility. However, after listening to the prospective doctors on the panel, I gained a renewed confidence in myself and began to look forward to the challenge of medical school.
After hearing my older sister Haley rave about the Touro Healthcare Career camp, I quickly enrolled the following summer. Touro, located on Foucher street in New Orleans, held an annual week long camp. The itinerary consisted of visiting the different wings of the hospital and interacting with the patients and doctors within them. Haley described the camp as “life changing” and “an eye-opening experience,” but in all honesty, I did the camp because I thought a medical camp would look good on my resume for colleges. I was interested in learning more about medicine, but since I convinced myself I could not become a doctor, my motivations were not of learning about a potential career option. Little did I know the enormous affect this camp would have on my future.
The first few days of camp went on without a hitch; I woke up at 6:45 a.m., dressed in my scrubs, left my house at 7:15 a.m., drove in intense traffic on the interstate all the way to the camp, and walked through the winding hallways of Touro to make it to the morning meeting room. After the counselors went over the day’s plans, the campers set off in our assigned groups of three and explored the hospital. I loved seeing the different types of medicine being practiced in the hospital, but I still did not entertain the idea of possibly becoming one of the many doctors I met along the way.
On the last day, the camper’s schedules changed up a bit. Instead of making the usual rounds we had grown accustomed to, we were to attend a panel of five LSU medical school students in which we would hear about life as a doctor in training. As I walked into the room where the seminar was being held, I saw a long table at the front of the room with five chairs that I assumed would be where our guests would be sitting. Touro set out a few uncomfortable- looking chairs for the campers that made me feel oh-so-excited. I sat facing the long table with a few friends I had made along the week, and after about 15 minutes of waiting, the LSU people finally came in. In walked three men and two women, looking just as miserable as the rest of the campers. At this point, I had lost all interest in the meeting. The chairs hurt, the camp counselors would not let us chat with our friends, and the speakers were late. When the first guy started to speak, I tuned him out and decided to take a little nap.
I did not start paying attention until I heard one of the women start speaking. She described her life as having been raised in a Catholic environment, going to an all-girls school, making decent grades, and then attending LSU. Her story sounded a lot like mine. She said she was not sure if she was cut out for being a doctor, but she decided to try anyway in fear of missing out. She did not get accepted to medical school the first time and actually had to apply three more times before she got in. After hearing that she, a woman who made A’s and seemed like a well-rounded individual, did not get into medical school right away, I thought I had no chance, but what she said next still sticks with me: “I almost gave up on my third try. The only way I was able to motivate myself was to think, I do not want to live a life of “What ifs?”.” I started to see that if I doubted myself, I would never be able to achieve any of my goals. This woman showed me that I could do whatever my heart desired as long as I tried.
This unexpected inspiration from the Touro Healthcare Career camp seminar helped show me that a career in the medical field is not impossible. I may not have perfect grades or be the most responsible person, but I learned that if I believe in myself and do not give up, I can achieve anything. Living a life ruled by fear of failure is no life at all. Even if my dreams of being a doctor are never achieved, at least I will know that I gave my all and did not let hardships deter me.