A Black Female Medical Student

I don’t know.

Posted on: February 8, 2012

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my career lately. I had a talk with a mentor today, and I’m really appreciative of how honest he was and how willing he is to share his insights with me. It got me thinking.

I’ve attended a lot of talks, seminars, symposiums, presentations, conferences, workshops…. (lol)

and whenever you have a bigwig at the podium they are almost always asked “how did you get involved in _____________.” I rarely hear someone say that it was a straightforward journey, or “oh I knew from _______ age that I was gonna do exactly this.” They often say that they fell into it. Or there was some meandering, tortuous path that they took to get to that point.

Many times they’ll tell the a story that seems too lucky, too serendipitous to be true, and it will be really UN-helpful to the rest of us in the audience who are really just looking for a formula. I mean, for the longest, I’ve been looking for someone to tell me how to be a leader, to tell me how to be successful. Just tell me steps 1-3 and I’ll do it. I mean, that’s how I got into medical school, that’s how I got into college. Someone gave me a formula and I followed it.

But its a little different now. Its not straightforward, and definitely not formulaic. After hearing soooo many speeches and reading as many books, I realize that most of these people just saw an opportunity and went for it. Saw an open door and walked through, saw a crack in the wall and pushed through it. Some of them were looking for it, some of then just happened to glance over at the right time, but either way… it was there and they went for it.

So… for the past few years, I’ve been interested in a certain niche. Its not a niche that’s really popular or common these days… but it was in the past. These days its over-populated and under-funded at the same time. Unfortunately. I’ve been pretty staunch in maintaining my interest in this field. And I would say that I am more well-read, more insightful, and probably more experienced in this area than many of my peers. But its still not enough, because its not my peers that I’m competing against… but people who are really well-known.

However, there’s another niche that’s opening up. One that it seems like I’m oddly and uniquely well-connected in… and there’s an opportunity for me to establish myself in it early, and if all goes to plan, be a leader in the field at a very young age.

Its a conflict for me b/c while I’m interested in the field, its not necessarily where I saw myself working at this point in my life. I saw myself pursuing that area a few years down the road. But here is a very unique and tantalizing opportunity to jump in now, and get training and mentoring from some awesome people in the field who, for whatever reason, seem to like me and believe in me. But I’m afraid I might be turning my back on this other population that I really want to advocate for, and one that I truly care about.

So I don’t know.

I’m afraid that this is a crack in the wall that I’m staring directly at…. and I just walk on past it, I could be missing out on a major opportunity. But I also feel like this population that I really care about, doesn’t have enough bright, well-connected and passionate people going for it…. and that I will be abandoning them like so many others have done.

I don’t know.

 

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