So often, we think of the path to medicine as a predetermined one. It’s the young person who was pre-med in undergrad and went directly into medical school. It’s the nurse who is going back to school to get a Master degree and become an NP. It’s the older individual who is becoming a PA after taking gap years or changing careers. But in this day and age, there are so many paths to finding your career in medicine. And individuals are continuing to break the mold every day. Which means it’s so important to March to the beat of your own drum when deciding how, or if, you want to enter medicine.
Growing up with an NP for a mother, so many people in my life assumed I would follow in her footsteps and become a Nurse Practitioner, especially since I worked through college as a CNA. Or, they assumed that I would want “more” from my career and become a Physician. So, the idea of my wanting to become a PA was mind blowing to others. At times, there was a lot of push back to try to show me the error of my decision. It was as simple as asking me “Really, you only want to be a PA? You’re so young!” or as big as one of my supervisors sitting me down and listing all the reasons she thought I should be an NP. I’m not going to lie and say that there weren’t moments of doubt on my part; thoughts that maybe I should be “traditional” and follow the path that others thought would be best for me. Times when I let the voices of others telling me that I was making a mistake creep into my mind and take hold. Both of those careers are amazing and would have let me do the main thing I wanted - caring for patients.
But at the end of the day, it was my decision to make, and it’s my path to follow.
And I’m incredibly happy with the route into medicine that I chose. Even though I’m the youngest person in my class and have sometimes felt like I have less life experience than my classmates, I know that the experiences I do have will serve me well. I fought for my spot in school, and I worked hard to get past some of the obstacles in my way. It hasn’t always been easy. Yet, throughout it all, I’ve held true to who I am - a quirky person who sometimes stutters and struggles to find words and who doesn’t like emotions but loves caring for others - and I’ve stood tall in my decision. Luckily, there is this huge amazing group of individuals in medicine who, in partner with companies like Medelita, not only encourage individuality, but celebrate it. With their support, I feel like I’ve really been able to blossom into the best provider I could be.
So, I encourage you to March to the beat of your own drum and find your own way into doing what you love, whether it’s medicine or something else. Just because someone hasn’t walked that path before you, doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to. And even if someone has walked a similar path, it doesn’t mean you can’t put your own sparkle on it.