They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I’d argue that it takes a city to raise a future doctor. As I look back on my childhood, my time as an undergraduate, and my past careers, I can’t help but reflect on the people and relationships that have helped me get to where I am today. I write this as an open “Thank You” to those who have helped shape who I’ve become, and as encouragement for other premeds out there to recognize and thank the people in your lives as well.
Growing up, my family’s business was in the motorcycle industry. I learned quickly from my dad and grandfather the importance of relationships and friendships in business. I watched them interact with customers, sales reps, colleagues, and even their competition. I took every opportunity to observe their interactions and learned not only about business, but subsequently the reciprocal nature of relationships. My job at the family business eventually entailed doing the majority of the purchasing for the store. This meant that much of my time was spent interacting with sales representatives negotiating and deciding what products to bring into our store. As I grew into larger roles, sometimes filling shoes that I never thought I could completely fill, I learned to rely on these relationships. These colleagues and sales reps would eventually become lifelong friends and mentors, and taught me much of what I know about the industry today. I wouldn’t exchange my time in the motorcycle industry for anything in the world, because it taught me that you can learn something from everyone. To my motorcycle industry family, I thank you.
After I graduated college, I continued to work in my family’s business while I worked on my plan for MCAT prep and the application process. A friend told me that there were openings for scribe positions at the biggest hospital in the community. The hospital is home to a Level I trauma center and a residency program. With my strong interest in emergency medicine, I jumped at the opportunity. I applied and told myself that if given the job I would explore every opportunity it allowed me. I was given the position and immediately welcomed into a program that had our best interests in mind. They provided unique and exciting opportunities to get involved in research, watch procedures, practice techniques in skills labs, and attend morning rounds with the residents. The residents often explained their decision making to us so that we began to learn how certain conditions were treated. Some quizzed us about what to do with a condition just to see if we knew the correct treatment. As just a scribe, I have felt like I was a medical student doing a rotation. The feeling was priceless. Having the opportunity to learn and be involved in the educational process at that point in my preparation gave me so much to look forward to. In addition, my scribe experience reinforced my desire to go into emergency medicine. The residents and attendings have become more like friends and family, and I felt like I had a team on the sideline rooting for me. To my UCSF Fresno family, I thank you.
I was lucky growing up to have parents who were extremely supportive of whatever I chose to do, whether it was soccer, volleyball or an after school program. As I chartered through the waters of testing careers and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I found comfort knowing that my parents would support me no matter what I decided. My parents pushed a “choose whatever you want to be, but be the best you can possibly be at it” mentality rather than trying to influence me to choose a specific career. I can’t imagine what I would have done or where I would be without my parents. I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have such support, so I try never take that for granted. I am sorry that the lifestyle and career I have chosen doesn’t always allow the most time with them, or to be at every family dinner, but the “We’re proud of you” and “We love you” texts make it all worth it. To my parents, I thank you.
The demanding premed lifestyle and responsibilities aren’t always the most conducive to friendships and relationships. It can be easy for friends to get tired of hearing that you can’t go out because you have a midterm coming up, or because you’re buried in MCAT prep. It can also take a toll on relationships as partners get tired of you always being busy or too tired to spend quality time with them. I have come to realize that good ones will understand and stick around to support you. To those friends and partners who have been through everything with me, understand that I could never fully express my appreciation for you. To friends who take the second to send a message on social media to see how I’m doing, or to tell me that they’re proud or impressed, your support means the world. To all of my friends, I thank you.
As I embark down this tough road to becoming a doctor, I try to remember that there is no special award for doing things all by myself. In fact, I cannot think of any upside of doing things alone. The team of people that you surround yourself with are your support structure during your difficult times. I’ve learned that it is important to not only utilize these relationships, but to appreciate them as well. With that being said, friends, family, colleagues, employers, professors, and anyone that has ever helped me on this journey—I know that I would not be here without you. All of you have helped me on my way to achieving my dream of becoming a doctor someday. Thank you.
About Tyler Wilson
Tyler graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Fresno State in May 2015. During his time at Fresno State he was a two-term Senator for the College of Science and Mathematics where he spent time advocating for students on university committees, and was appointed to an Interim Dean search committee. While attending school, Tyler worked at his family motorcycle dealership nearly full time, and eventually launched his own side ecommerce company in 2014. After graduation, Tyler continued to run his business while also volunteering with the Fresno Free Medical Clinic and Needle Exchange program. Tyler also began working as a scribe at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. With the medical center’s affiliation with UCSF Fresno, Tyler has gotten involved in research, and is currently involved in a trauma study. In his free time Tyler loves to be with friends and family, and is an avid motorcycle enthusiast. You can follow him on Twitter at: @TWilson016