While I knew I wanted to eventually become a doctor, I had myriad other interests that I was hesitant to push aside when considering my options for college.HPME gave me the flexibility to pursue opportunities throughout my undergraduate years and beyond that I otherwise may have forgone in a traditional pre-medical tract.
One of the biggest advantages of HPME for me was that it allowed me to spend a quarter studying abroad. I spent the fall of my junior year in Salamanca, Spain,studying everything from Spanish literature to economics of the European Union. That experience fostered in me a desire to explore more of the world, and I have not been able to stop traveling since. I would eventually like to return to Spain for a rotation during my clinical years,but for now I will be spending the summer conducting public health research in Central America.
Another reason I am thankful that I made the decision to be a part of HPME was that I was able to study and participate in exactly what I wanted during college, without worrying about how it would look on my medical school application. I majored in psychology, and am now interested in pursuing a career in psychiatry in the future. I also volunteered at the local YMCA and with National Student Partnerships, an organization through which I explored my interest in public policy, and partially inspired me to defer matriculation into medical school.
After graduation I decided to spend two years teaching 7th grade science in Brooklyn, New York with Teach for America. Both the HPME office and the medical school were supportive of my decision, and even allowed me to defer for a third year to continue working on a global health project I began during teaching. Though I eventually decided to begin medical school after my two years of teaching, I grew and learned more during that time than I ever would have imagined. My students reminded me of how exciting it was to learn new things, and I gained patience and organizational skills that have been invaluable in medical school. It also made me realize that my passion for educational and health equality runs as deep as my interest in medicine, and I hope to pursue a career that combines all of these areas. While I don’t know what the future holds in store for me, I know that the experiences that HPME allowed me have will shape what type of doctor I will eventually become.