This I Believe

Elise - Indianola, Iowa
Entered on September 13, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

As a little girl-playing doctor, I would never have imagined medicine would become so interesting to me later in life. Back then, it was just a game to play with my peers. However, as I continued to grow older I realized that I enjoyed science and going into the medical field looked very appealing to me.

I knew that becoming a doctor meant that I had a long hard road ahead of me, but based on my academic performance in high school I believed it was something I could do. My friends and family supported my goal and provided many words of encouragement. With this support behind me, I began my journey.

In college, I continued to succeed in my classes and never once doubted the path I had chosen, until the end of my junior year when I took the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). I felt that I had adequately prepared for the exam; yet after taking the rigorous eight-hour exam, I doubted my goals and myself for the first time. I was not so sure that medical school was for me anymore.

I left on a trip to Costa Rica one week after the exam and tried to forget about my worries and enjoy the trip. Nevertheless, I questioned myself again after an incidence on my trip. One night, three of my classmates and I had to perform CPR on a friend who quit breathing four times as a result of a cardiovascular condition she suffers from. Put in a situation I had never faced before, I initially panicked until I realized that we were my friend’s only hope. After later revealing my doubts to others, they informed me that my reaction was normal for a person with no experience in handling such a situation.

I put all that behind me and began a summer research program at the University of Iowa. I was back into the groove of science and feeling good. Then, MCAT scores were released. Until that point, I had not been very nervous about receiving my scores. But when they finally were released, the results were lower than I had hoped for and I almost sank back into self-doubt. Luckily, I was enjoying every minute of my summer program, specifically the job shadowing aspect, and I knew that I could not ignore the passion I felt for medicine.

I decided to retake the MCAT in August, and I worked hard to compile a competitive medical school application. Currently, I am waiting on my MCAT scores as well as invitations to interview at medical schools. Looking back at the past few months has helped me realize that I am happy with the decisions I have made. I stuck with my belief and followed my heart, and I know that by following my heart I will end up exactly where I want to be in the future.