By Jaleesa Follens-Jones –
Since my years in high school and during my current years in college I have met many students and fellow peers who have expressed aspirations of becoming health professionals. However, during my four years of college I have met many fellow “aspiring medical students” who have decided to rethink their medical career plans-some become wearied by the heavy academic work load, others may not score well on the MCAT, and others may become discouraged by the rigorous and stressful application and interviewing process which is a required step toward becoming a student of medicine. Being that I am a current Biology major at Baylor University I have encountered many struggles during my academic career. I even thought about dismissing my dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon due to an overwhelming schedule. But in the back of my mind I knew that I did not want to settle for less. I needed to push myself past my comfort zone and past my mistakes in order to elevate my capacity for learning and my capacity for enduring difficult circumstances. I was blessed to be able to receive wise counsel from Joseph A. Bailey, an orthopedic surgeon and advocate for the developing of youth life skills. Doctor Bailey, not only shared helpful information on how to be successful in medical school, but he also made a statement that I will never forget “Never give up” he said, “Never stop- If you get tired GO TO SLEEP, but don’t ever stop!”. This statement continues to encourage me past the late nights of studying and the mornings that I wish I could just stay in bed. As future medical professionals we should expect trials and uncomfortable situations to occur on our journey, but we should also expect to learn, grow, and adapt because of those situations, thus allowing us to be experienced, well-rounded, tested individuals with a conscious awareness of what is necessary to become great health care providers and to impact the lives of people in our communities in the most positive and uplifting ways.
I also believe that if we figure out why we are traveling this journey in medicine and constantly remind ourselves of that reason; it will maintain the drive and perseverance we need to be successful. My reason is my family and the people in my community. Being an African-American woman , I am underrepresented in the medical field especially that of orthopedic surgery. I feel that my journey (tripups included) will help my young nieces and nephews, children at my church home and just the youth that I may come across to help them see that their goals are not set too high and that they can become a surgeon even though no one in their immediate family finished college, or that they can become an astronaut even if their family cannot afford airline tickets at the present time. So you see, for me my success is not just about myself, or the potential large figure salary I may earn, but it is mainly about the passion that I have to help others medically and the desire I have to see other hopeful youth excel and succeed.
What is your passion? What is your motivation? It is clear that we lack an easy to follow guide to assist us in reaching our goals, and most learning comes by trial and error, but the key is that we do learn, grow, and adapt to become the most phenomenal individuals that we can possibly be and impact our communities as such. I pray peace and blessings as you travel your journey.
Things to consider and apply to your daily journey:
• Team up with people who are also goal oriented.
• Be Vocal
• Seek wise counsel
• Be deliberate with your life and your choices
• Most important-“Never give up!”
Follens-Jones is a biology student at Baylor University.