Day 6: Doctors and Dentists are real people too!
As the tour comes to a close, one of the many comments from students that resonates with me is how approachable all of the mentors are. At every stop, the students we worked with commented on how friendly and down to earth all of the mentors were and this could be seen in how comfortable they felt with sharing their stories with us, especially during our final stop at University of Michigan – Dearborn.
While discussing this with students, I felt it was important for them to realize that most this was due to the relationship building that was taking place throughout the day. A day that began with them making the first step: by registering for the Tour for Diversity and then showing up. This same process applies to finding health professionals in the area to connect with. Students must take that initiative to seek out health professionals, mentors, and professors to build those relationships. Most professionals in the field do not have a full day to engage a student and build a relationship as we did while on the tour, but over time, the connection and that bond will come. Those seven hours that we spent with students in one day is typically just spread out over time with professionals in the field or professors and most enjoy working with prospective professionals in their fields.
Students also talked a lot about being too intimidated to approach doctors and dentists to inquire about shadowing experiences or a mentoring relationship, and mentioned feeling even more so discouraged if they felt that they were less than a “perfect” applicant or student. They also commented on how the Tour for Diversity Mentors were all friendly and made them feel welcomed to tell their stories and ask questions. The comment that sticks with me the most was from a student on this last stop. She said “you guys are real people” and I think that that one statement gets to the heart of the matter. At one point in time, they all were that same less than “perfect” student who had struggles but just learned ways to overcome them and continue on and part of that process began with them taking the initiative to seek out a doctor or dentist. Do not be discouraged because they have reached the goal you are trying to attain. You have a story and we need to hear your story. Doctors and dentists also have stories and we need to hear their stories. Doctors and dentists are real people too!