Children love to be different. Even from birth, they make it known. If you had said to me, when I was a child, that one day I would be a pediatrician and eventually have my medical practice, I would have replied with, “I told you.” Considering my age, friends of the family thought I didn’t have a clue. But my faith in what I wanted was rock solid. By the end of my first year at WAU, I learned, really learned, what it meant to both cry—and smile—as a premed student. Here is my story.
When I was much younger, my parents moved from Liberia to the United States for a better future for my sibling and me. My father, a jack of all trades, used it to his advantage. My mother, a strong and sweet, walking dictionary, was my first “why” into becoming. The reason I had to make it. I was registered at WAU quicker than expected. By the time I left that day, I was enrolled for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) major as a Biology and premed student.
To say I was never scared would be a lie. I was as fearful as I was excited. There were so many people to meet, things to do, and things to learn. There was no cheat sheet for being a college student. No pocket-sized cards to give you exact directions. No book of your life to tell you what to avoid. Every moment was a success or a period of growth.
But with an unshakable mindset and a personalized “why,” anyone—experienced or not—can enjoy the journey and succeed. I am living proof, and you can be too. Undergoing the first few stressful nights made me realize how unprepared I was. It had not occurred to me that there was more to being a premed student than dreaming about it. I spent nights (alone and with friends) studying, stressing, crying, and laughing about the workload. I spent my time tumbling, feeling like my back was against the wall, and doing all the wrong things.
I underwent a period of intensive growth, and as much as I did not like it, I needed it. It got to a point where the weeks were a mixture of smiling and crying. Each result showed me that there was room to improve. Being a premed student, like any other major, is always a surprise. No one can know everything. Reading, reviewing, and revising are the three R’s you find yourself doing over and over.
WAU has taught me a lot of things. My professors, all in their unique ways, have taught me lessons I hold dear. Dr. Roberts, the former department head, taught me that there was always room for growth. He said that if your environment does not challenge you to grow, you need it to change to continue growing. So, I advise you to find a path that challenges you. From many other professors, I have learned to be ready for new ideas, stand up proudly, speak for myself, and always strive for excellence.
Not only have my professors taught me something, but my friends have as well. In their unique ways, they have shown me the value of taking breaks and feeling sad—but also getting back up. Because of them, I have made the best of my college experience. I became more adventurous, focused, and outgoing.
A success story cannot finish without including everyone who helped you become successful. Even though I did not mention everyone, I’m still thankful to them for their positive impact on my life. I will never forget about my parents and God, who gives me the strength to get up every morning, and the encouragement I get from my close friends. Now, go and live your experience.