When I started my undergrad at UC Irvine, I was planning to work on my electronic music promotion YouTube channel fulltime with the hopes of moving forward into creating my own record label. What I realized as I went through college was that it was missing a critical element that I was looking for which was having a personal connection with others; the idea of creating a record label was missing the face-to-face connection for me. In my opinion, I did not believe that creating and managing a music label would provide that face-to-face connection and I decided to fully focus on the medical field.
What helped me commit to this decision was reading a report on pediatric oncology; I was immediately drawn to the dedication and emotional resilience the physicians cultivated. I decided it was time to pursue this avenue of community-driven support. Soon after I was volunteering at a hospital local to UCI and the community there was exactly what I was looking for. The upper-division classes required for my degree also reinforced and solidified my interest in the medical field and fascinated me every day. While my GPA did increase in my last 2 years of undergrad, it still was not enough to apply to medical school right after graduating with my undergraduate degree.
My counselors suggested that if I wanted to pursue a medical degree right after graduating from UC Irvine that I would need to apply to Caribbean medical schools, however I wanted to stay in the United States. Luckily for me, I was able to apply and be accepted into a Post-Baccalaureate program at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, California. I chose to stay a second year to complete my master’s degree because the school offered several opportunities for personal growth that I would not have had otherwise. One of the main factors that affirmed my personal growth in the medical field was that KGI offered courses and education in the business side of the medical field. For me, it shed light on the business and industry workings of how biomed and pharmaceutical companies operate. Ultimately KGI gave me a perspective of the medical field that shed light on the interplay of how doctors, insurance agencies, and companies operate, which is something that gave me a better understanding of how I can better fit myself into the medical field.
One of the other opportunities I was able to participate in was called “Mingle and Munch”, a monthly volunteer social event for elderly people to come and make connections with others their age with free refreshments and social activities. While “Mingle and Munch” was an off-campus kind of activity, I was also able to participate in “KGI Cares”, a student organization that revolved around mental wellness and helping under-represented communities within the KGI community.
One of my colleagues that I had met during my time at KGI was Eyouab Tadesse who had the idea of starting a podcast that would give back to future students of KGI and to broadly give back to the pre-med community. The podcast is called “The Not So Endless Cycle” and it is a platform for us to interview students and other medical professionals on topics relating to the pre-med journey. The podcast format is great because it is easy for us to talk about a wide variety of aspects of the pre-med path, such as your primary application to med schools, interviews, and update letters.
Essentially the whole point of wanting to be a part of the healthcare community and events like “Mingle and Munch”, KGI Cares, and co-hosting the Never Ending Cycle Podcast all stemmed from the importance of being a part of a community and to give back to those who need service. The community that you’re serving is an essential, and making yourself available to the community can be a pillar to you and a core principle to run your life by.