I was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia and moved to the United States in the 7th grade. I attended Ramapo College of New Jersey and graduated from the Honors College with a double major in biology and psychology. While an undergrad, I was the President of the Pre-Medical Club. I held various positions in the Premedical fraternity, volunteered at a children’s hospital, all while working 3 jobs. Upon graduation, I moved to Miami, FL to work at the University of Miami Miller SOM on a project looking at sociocultural factors in the prevalence of CVD in Latinos living in the United States. Three years later, I took a position at Northwestern University Feinberg SOM with my former PI to work on a project looking at quality of life among Latino cancer survivors. I am currently a first year medical student at the University of Utah and plan to pursue an MD/MPH.
I would tell premed students to never give up, regardless of the obstacles ahead. I took my MCATs several times, spent a few years saving enough money to apply to medical school, and had numerous setbacks, but I never once doubted my passion for medicine. Mentors are key! They will guide you through it all. Don’t be scared to ask for help and take advantage of every single opportunity possible. Programs such as SMDEP are vital to achieving your goals. During my time at Yale, I made lifelong friends who have supported me through this process. I was exposed to physicians who had similar struggles as I did, yet achieved their goals. Most importantly, I would tell them to never forget to reach back and help the younger generation.
Without a doubt, the road to becoming a physician is a difficult one. Approach it as an adventure, confront every obstacle as a challenge. If this is truly what you want to do, it is possible. Dream big, believe in yourself and never give up.