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Keeping the Fire Alive

We get so busy working to satisfy all that is required of us to be the “right” candidate for a job, that we often neglect the passions that led us to this career path. I got into the pre-med track because I felt an undeniable connection with medicine and the human body. It’s seventh grade, sixth period, the last class of the day and I am impatiently watching the clock hand move second by second and then our teacher finally declares, “It’s time to go to the lab to perform the cow eye dissection.” Everyone’s facial expressions dramatically changed, but my eyes lit up. There were very few moments that I enjoyed going to school as a kid, and this was one of them. These small middle-school dissections and biology classes had sparked a fire in me that only grew over the next few years. However, somewhere along my first semester as a freshman I had lost the fire to continue this journey. Instead, I hated it. I hated struggling so much in my classes and constantly feeling that I was not cut out to be a physician. When winter break came along, I was relieved for this long overdue break, but this was my time to reconsider my path. I spoke to family, friends, mentors, and so many others, but all of them asked me the same exact thing, “If you don’t go to medical school, what else do you see yourself doing?” Honestly, I tried to play every possible scenario in my head, but none of them made sense for me except for the one where I became a physician. I knew that I did not want to give up on myself just yet, because medicine had been engraved in me. However, I had to find a way for myself to ease the process, so it wouldn’t continue to make me doubt myself. I began to dig through organizations and student councils on campus to reignite my passion. Needless to say my new mentality second semester reflected in the things I was involved in on campus and my academic life. For the summer, I had made a goal to remind myself of the aspects of science that were near and dear to my heart. My detail-oriented self began to create spreadsheets and documents on intriguing researchers and physicians I encountered and made it a point to follow their work. One of the scientists I came across was Joelle B. Thorpe. Dr. Thorpe has been working on steroid hormonal mechanisms of reproductive failure in stress, using mice as her subject. As the summer went on I immersed myself in her research because I have always been fascinated by the various systems in the human body, and her work focused on reproductive endocrinology of blastocyst implantation as well as stress-induced implantation failure in mice. Besides Dr. Thorpe, I had been keeping up with various other professionals - and though I am aware this was not necessary in any of my classes at the time or in the future,it served as reassurance that this was the field for me. I still have my doubts because the journey only gets harder as the years progress. However,  I have realized in the past year that as STEM majors, we must constantly remind ourselves of the things we truly are passionate about in order to conquer the rigorous classes on our plates that may seem pointless now. Therefore, we need to seize any and every opportunity that provides us a sense of relief and reassurance.

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