People have come into life and left a profound impact on me and have left without ever really knowing how much they influenced who I am today.
This is my acknowledgment to some of the people who have shaped who I am today that never got the recognition they deserved.
Somewhere along the lines from the time I popped out of the womb to the time I reached the end of elementary school, I had thoroughly convinced myself I was not capable of doing math or science. I had never done poorly in science or math class to suggest this, but I had convinced myself of this fact anyway. I stayed contently in this little bubble for a few years.
My sophomore year of high school, I had two incredible teachers simultaneously and this catalyzed a complete change in my perspective of myself and my capabilities. That year dramatically changed how I viewed the world and my role in it. I was taking a class called Global Perspectives, which focused on problems that impacted people all over the world and how we could approach these problems. I remember appreciating the beauty of medicine. I learned about how vaccines and antibiotics and public health initiatives shaped the modern world and how science was being used all over the world to help people live longer, happier and healthier lives. I had this whole moment where I sat back and thought ‘hey wouldn’t it be neat if I could practice medicine and I could help people in this way?’
And for the first-time, intense doubt didn’t flood my conscious.
In my biology class that same year, fifteen-year-old me had another defining moment. I reasoned that if I ever wanted to even apply to medical school I needed to excel at biology. A switch flipped in me, and for the first time, I completely engrossed myself in science. I loved it. I absolutely loved it and I felt astonished because I genuinely believed that this was something I would never like or do.
To me what made all the difference was having teachers who had high expectations and pushed me to try harder and think more. Both of these classes were taught by women who loved learning, loved what they taught and created a healthy classroom culture. I felt safe failing, asking questioning and I felt confident in my knowledge of science for the first time ever. This changed my entire high school trajectory which spiraled into changing my college decisions. Now, four years later, I am in my second year of college happily majoring in neuroscience and on the premed track.
Continuing my venture into science, I started working in a mechanobiology lab the summer before my senior year of high school. I learned about lab culture, the highs and lows of a career in academia and an incredible amount of information about the intersections between physics, biology and engineering. The most important part of that experience to me was being taken seriously by the scientists and students that worked in the lab. I had only established a sense of my ability to do science a couple years before, so having my lab mates ask for my input or just simply validate my responses was remarkable. The undergraduate student I worked with most closely was always willing to entertain my questions and trusted me to run experiments for him. He also challenged me to think more critically and work harder. That summer I gained a new sense of confidence in my ability to perform research and critically think about science.
I have been lucky to have incredible educators, scientists and researchers in my life that invested time in me and my education. These people have significantly impacted my life. I don’t think they realize how much they helped me and how much I value them.