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Encouragement from an ND alumna

| Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Two weeks ago, the Multicultural Pre-Medical Society hosted our annual concession stand during Notre Dame’s season opener against Michigan (Go Irish!). We are an inclusive group of students, embracing and promoting cultural and ethnic diversity in pre-health professions with a particular emphasis on the medical field, and this year, I am proud to serve as president. At some point during the day, a middle-aged Hispanic woman came to our stand, but she was not interested in buying anything. Rather, she just wanted to talk. She shared her story with me about how she was once an undergraduate student here at the University of Notre Dame. She, too, was on the pre-med track during her time as a student and she said that her advisor would write to her at the end of every semester suggesting that she change her professional aspirations. She went through her undergraduate years with many trepidations, doubting herself at the end of each semester and feeling like a glass ceiling was already in place for her at every hospital in this country before she could even set foot in one with her resume. But she prevailed. She completed the pre-med track, got accepted by a highly-ranked medical school here in the States, and is now a fully licensed, practicing physician who loves what she does.

She left our stand soon afterwards, but not before underlining the significance of believing in one’s self. Many obstacles come up in one’s pursuit of becoming a doctor, as she knows. But she also knows that no one, not even an established professional who knows the ins and outs of the field, should stop you from achieving your goal or tell you that you cannot do it. Nobody can make that decision for you. And just like we have all heard at some point in our lives, sticking through with it all and reaching the finish line is well worth it.

She did not share her anecdote to boast, but to encourage, and that she most definitely did. There is without a doubt a lack of diversity in the medical scene in this country. While we can sit and debate the reasons for why that is the case, I find it better to just sit for a moment and admire the woman’s narrative. To relish in the inspiration that it provides, which applies most obviously to pre-med students but can most definitely be applied to all other students’ professional ambitions.

At the end of the day, our club made a lot of money, which we will use throughout the course of this year to support our members and put on fun events for them. But my exchange with the ND alumna was by far the most valuable transaction made that day, for my club and hopefully for many other members of the Notre Dame student body.

Casey Raymond is a junior neuroscience and behavior major serving on Diversity Council board as Parliamentarian. He can be reached at [email protected]

The Diversity Council of Notre Dame advocates for awareness, understanding and acceptance on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and other intersectional identities in the Notre Dame community. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Diversity Council, but are the individual opinions of the author. You can contact Diversity Council at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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