From time to time we encounter situations in our undergrad years that make us question our capabilities. Sometimes I think that I’m in way over my head. Maybe it’s a difficult course, the pressures of not fitting into a specific mold I think I need to become to get accepted into a medical school, or it could be a bad shadowing experience, etc. So I sometimes look for inspiration and reassurance from someone who can tell me everything will be ok and not to give up.
For me, inspiration came from a new friend, “Danielle” who I’d met last semester in biology lab. We didn’t keep in touch during the semester break and our relationship remained strictly academic. I saw her the first day of our genetics class, and debated whether or not to send her a text. I was afraid that she would not remember me. Typical introverted thoughts that make me a little socially awkward. I ended up texting her anyway, and I made the right decision because she became my backbone when that class got rough.
My friendship with Danielle made me learn several things about myself. For example, I discovered that I’m not as optimistic as I thought I was; I was less positive in certain situations, like anticipating my grade while she was seemingly very optimistic about everything. What I admired most about Danielle was her courage to not give up. She didn’t do as well as she had expected in the course, but I never heard a negative remark. I was used to seeing pre-meds lose confidence, drop classes, and decide on a different path. I had never seen anyone fight for their dream of becoming a doctor as she did. I’m glad to have met her because it has been so uplifting to be around a person who takes her studies as seriously as I do, and has the same goals and aspirations. To be able to share challenges with a friend who understands what I’ve gone through has truly been a blessing.
It’s always good to have a positive force in your life to reassure you of your capabilities, someone who helps you improve, and shines a ray of sunlight when you are having a rainy day. And to all my fellow pre-meds reading this, if you don’t have a “Danielle” I hope you find someone like her who can take on that role for you—to tell you that no matter what bridge you’re crossing right now, you will make it! Even if you have to make or repair that bridge yourself. Don’t give up. Push through it, persevere.
About Stephanie Cantu
Stephanie Cantu is from El Paso, TX and is a junior at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is a pre-med biology major with a minor in Spanish and chemistry. She is the first of her family to attend to a university. She volunteers for South Texas Healthcare System and is a student researcher for Texas A&M Agrilife Research Extension in Weslaco. She plans to get more involved in her community by volunteering and shadowing at different facilities to learn more about the health issues affecting her community. She is on a new and mysterious road where it has been doubted if she can succeed, and hopes to prove them wrong as she takes the remainder of her biology courses and continues her journey of becoming a surgeon.