by Kyra Buenaventura
My aspirations for becoming a physician started when I was in middle school. I also contemplated starting a bakery, becoming a forensic scientist or becoming a gemologist. However, I ultimately found my calling: to pursue a career in the health field. In high school, I volunteered at a hospital, and it was my first time being in a clinical setting. Through volunteering, I was able to meet people who further ignited my passion to be in the healthcare field.
During my junior year of high school, I got a job in an orthodontics office. I was incredibly excited about this opportunity because I was able to be hands-on in a clinical setting, and I talked to a dentist about her experiences in college. By the end of my time working at the office, I was more than excited but extremely nervous to start my journey into becoming a health professional.
Through my research into the process of becoming a physician, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work that I had to do in order to become a competitive applicant. I was insecure in my capacity to do the work I needed to do to the best of my abilities. In turn, I had trouble trying to adjust to the workload of college classes and the pressure of being accepted to medical school right after graduation.
Fortunately, as school progressed, I got into the rhythm of college life and schoolwork, and I started making more progress toward my career endeavors. I focused on the friendships that I have developed, and I got closer to my roommates. They were an integral part of my freshman year, and they acted as my support system through the rest of my college career.
I started going to the library and coffee shops more often because I realized that I was not productive when I studied in my dorm. I focused on bettering myself on what I could do in that moment instead of focusing on the things I was not able to do.
I volunteered at Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. I volunteered in the playroom, and I was able to facilitate activities for the patients. The patient interaction that I experienced as a volunteer was exceptional, and it furthered my passion for becoming a physician.
During my junior year, I went through the PAC (Pre-Health Advising Committee) process. This was the culmination of all of my health care related experiences. I utilized the Career Center to help with the interview that would happen at the end of the process. I was extremely nervous because I knew how important this interview would be towards my career aspirations. The help I received at the Career Center was extremely helpful, and I do not believe I would have been as successful as I was without their help.
After careful deliberation, I decided to take a gap year — one year “off” before starting medical school. This was so I could focus on taking the MCAT and gain even more experience as a health professional. Even though this was not my original plan, I feel more comfortable and excited as ever to continue my endeavors. This gap year will enable me to gain a breather from the academic world, and will allow me to develop my skills as an individual outside of the classroom.