#T4DWest Day 2: Adapting to Boulders
During the second day of my first tour and our first ever community college stop at Estrella Mountain Community College I quickly realized that the students were dealing with boulders that other students do not face. In the Schweitzer Fellowship we talk about “boulders” as obstacles that seem insurmountable and require a new path to get around them. This description seemed to fit my experience today as many of the students are not on the “traditional” path to medicine and are navigating around their own personal boulders. One student I spoke to today, in particular, was caught in a loop and looking for direction on to get out of it. She was scared to leave behind the plan that she had been crafting for so long and try something different, but she was ready to do something about it.
Adaptability is an integral part of medicine and life in general. I, as your typical type A personality in medicine, tend to love structure and knowing what comes next. Yet, no matter how well we sketch out our plans of the future curve balls manage to find their way into our lives. This is a lesson that I have learned time and again throughout my educational career and I have a few thoughts on how I deal with them now.
First, I try to deal with whatever threw my plans off to begin with. Self-care is very important for me and making sure that I am healthy in mind, body, and spirit typically comes first. Secondly, I have learned to rely on those around me. Support from family and friends cannot be stressed enough because these are the people who will be both your cheerleaders and a shoulder to lean on. The key is learning to ask for the help that you need. Lastly, reflection has become a much larger part of my life since beginning medical school. Where do I want to go and what will I do to get there? Most importantly, what will make me happy?
This is my process and we stress that individuality is key, but hopefully others can take something from my story and mold it to fit their own. As a new member of the tour it has been fantastic meeting the students, mentoring some of them, and learning from many more as we all journey together to increase diversity in medicine. Two days down and three more to go on this tour, but that will certainly not be the end of any of our stories.