The University of Texas at Dallas
Long School of Medicine
Coming from a low socioeconomic background, I was not sure if I could even pursue, let alone afford the process of applying to medical school. However, JAMP has provided numerous opportunities for me to learn about medicine through their Summer 1 and Summer 2 internships.
Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, distinguishes between a job, a career, and a calling. To me, it became abundantly clear that medicine is my true calling in life.
I first considered pursuing medicine back in high school, when my mom began exhibiting symptoms of her autoimmune disease. I often accompanied her to her doctor visits, translating for her while gaining a better understanding of her condition. I also did my own research in hopes of finding a “cure”, spending hours reading perplexing papers, articles, and forums about her disease. There were times when her symptoms got even more severe, and I could do nothing to soothe her from her pain. Those times were the hardest for our family, but that desperation to help my mom motivated me to pursue medicine.
Growing up, my favorite subjects in school were math and science. There was just something about abstract concepts like algebraic equations, chemical reactions, and biological processes that made perfect sense to me. Whenever I learned a new concept in class, it felt as if I was uncovering a new piece of the universe, increasing my curiosity to learn more. When college came, I decided to pursue a degree in biochemistry because I was interested in how physical science can be applied to living organisms.
Throughout college, I volunteered at a free clinic that served low-income, uninsured, and underserved patients throughout Collin County. Coming from a low socioeconomic status myself, I felt like I could easily empathize with the patients. I loved listening to them talk about their families and their backstories, and they complimented me for my desire to help people.
It was through these experiences that I felt like my stars had aligned. My interest in science, my warm personality, and my desire to help my mom confirmed that medicine is my true calling.
How has JAMP helped you strive to achieve your goal of becoming a doctor?
Coming from a low socioeconomic background, I was not sure if I could even pursue, let alone afford the process of applying to medical school. However, JAMP has provided numerous opportunities for me to learn about medicine through their Summer 1 and Summer 2 internships. They also provided me with MCAT resources, scholarships, and mentorships. These invaluable resources helped me my family and I realize that medicine is not beyond my reach and that I can definitely fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor as long as I put in the hard work. In addition, through JAMP, I have made some life-long friendships with people who understand what it is like to grow up with adversity and how resilience is important to overcome some of life’s greatest challenges. I am so excited to start medical school this fall with some of those friends, and I am confident that we will make it through the whole journey together!
What advice would you like to offer current or future JAMP students?
The pre-med journey is long and difficult, but it will pass, nonetheless. Having been through the whole process now, I think it is important to cherish small victories and to live in the moment.
Celebrating your accomplishments along the way, whether that is a quiz or test you aced, a project you did well on, or even an act of service you feel proud of, can keep you sane and help you avoid burnout. It is also important to live in the moment because always planning for the future may leave you feeling unappreciative of your accomplishments and memories you are making right now (I am guilty of this). The process is long and difficult and will only get tougher in medical school and in residency, so take the time to reflect on your experiences and to think about how you have grown as a person.
I often write in a journal about things that are going on in my life as a physical documentation of my growth. It’s always fun to go back and read how I was like a year or two ago. When I think about how much I have changed in college (in a positive way that is), I cannot help but smile.
What aspect of JAMP has been most beneficial to you?
I often tell people that JAMP is SO MUCH MORE than a guaranteed spot in a Texas medical school (given that you meet the GPA and MCAT requirements). Through JAMP, I have developed a network of mentors, advisors, medical students, and even physicians who I can always reach out to for support. It’s so helpful to be one text away from a friend or mentor who can answer my question about interview etiquette, how to study for the MCAT, what sort of extracurricular activities I should do, and other questions. Through the network of physicians who support JAMP at our summer internships, I was able to explore medical specialties that I didn’t know existed and shadowed surgeons in the operating room, an experience that I never thought I would have until medical school. The JAMP program understands that every student goes through challenges in life, but they are here to support us along the way. I am forever grateful for JAMP. They have made it possible for me to pursue my dreams!